Middle East
4:32 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Is Assad Carving Out A Haven For Syria's Alawites?

A Syrian man holds a national flag bearing pictures of President Bashar Assad during a pro-regime protest to condemn a deadly attack in the central Midan district of Damascus on April 27.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 9:04 pm

As fighting between the Syrian military and rebel fighters rages, concerns are growing about how the regime of President Bashar Assad might react if it becomes convinced it's about to lose power.

One theory involves the establishment of a breakaway region dominated by Syria's Alawite minority — which includes the Assad family — in the northwestern coastal mountains. Analysts say this would be a disaster both for Assad and the region, but it can't be completely ruled out.

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It's All Politics
4:17 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Support For Same-Sex Marriage Could Be Official Democratic Stance

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 9:45 am

Democrats are on the path to including an endorsement of same-sex marriage for the first time in their official party platform.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reported Monday that the proposal has made it through an important Democratic committee.

The 15 Democrats who serve on the party's platform drafting committee voted unanimously to endorse same-sex marriage in the party's official agenda, says Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who serves on the committee.

Frank recently married his partner.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:02 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Legal Battle Erupts Over Whose Plastic Consumers Should Trust

CamelBak-brand water bottles on display at an outdoor supply store in Arcadia, Calif., in 2008. The company removed BPA from the plastic in its bottles.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:46 pm

In 2007, Eastman Chemical began marketing a tough new BPA-free plastic called Tritan. Business was good, says Lucian Boldea, a vice president at Eastman.

"We were able to make the statement that our product is not made with BPA and would release data to consumers to support that fact," he says.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:49 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

What Does The Future Hold For Bird Flu Research?

A government official in Bali, Indonesia, holds a chicken before administering an injection to cull it as a precautionary measure in April to prevent the spread of bird flu.
Firdia Lisnawati AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 4:43 pm

In a hotel ballroom in New York City, a couple hundred flu researchers watched with interest Monday as a government official ran down a list of seven kinds of experiments that could raise special security risks.

The official noted that one item on the list was any experiment that could make an infectious agent more transmissible, or contagious. "It wouldn't take long for this audience to come up with an example of that," he noted wryly.

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Music
3:48 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Shawn Colvin wears the crown of hero humbly

Shawn Colvin plays and sings with "Today Show" co-host Savannah Guthrie. Provided photo

In her memoir “Diamond in the Rough,” Shawn Colvin takes a deep breath, then rattles off a list of heroes that she has been lucky enough to meet during the course of an almost 40-year career.

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The Torch
3:38 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Franklin Wins Gold, While Lochte Misses Out; Grevers Wins Backstroke [Results]

Record setter: U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin celebrates winning the women's 100m backstroke final at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:22 pm

Yannick Agnel of France has won the 200m men's freestyle at the London 2012 Olympics, beating a field that included American Ryan Lochte and German world record holder Paul Biedermann. Sun Yang of China and and Tae-Hwan Park of South Korea finished with identical times of 1:44.93 — which means that both of them will receive silver medals.

We'll be updating this post with more results from today's action.

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The Two-Way
3:26 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Apple, Samsung Face Off In Court Over Alleged Patent Infringements

Samsung Electronics Co. representatives wait to enter the Robert F. Peckham Federal Courthouse in San Jose, California on Monday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Fortune calls it "the patent trial of the century." And based on money alone, it might as well be: Apple and Samsung are accusing each other of infringement. Samsung wants higher royalties on some technology and Apple is seeking $2.5 billion in damages.

A jury will decide which, if any, company is right. With jury selection, Reuters reports the trial begins today in San Jose, Calif.

Reuters adds:

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Jonah Lehrer Resigns From 'New Yorker,' Admitting He Made Up Quotes

Jonah Lehrer.
Nina Subin Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:56 pm

Jonah Lehrer, the super star science writer, has resigned from The New Yorker and admitted that quotes that he attributed to Bob Dylan in his latest book, Imagine, don't exist.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:52 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Cancer Patient Gets Help From 'Bake Sale' And Aetna CEO

One of the slogans on a T-shirt sold to raise money for the care of Arijit Guha.
Poopstrong.org

It's a diagnosis nobody in grad school would ever expect.

Arijit Guha, who's working on a doctorate at Arizona State, felt sick after coming back from a trip to India in early 2011. His severe stomach pain, which he thought was probably from a bug he caught on the journey, turned out to be caused by colon cancer. He was 30.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:48 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Ebola Outbreak Kills At Least 14 In Uganda

Although infections with the Ebola virus are rare, they can be deadly.
Cynthia Goldsmith CDC

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 2:48 pm

An outbreak of the Ebola virus has emerged in western Uganda.

Twenty cases were reported by the World Health Organization yesterday. At least 14 people have died. The number of Ebola infections is expected to rise in the next few days, as more patients are admitted to hospitals.

The outbreak began in a rural district of Uganda about 125 miles west of the Uganda capital, Kampala.

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