Middle East
5:02 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Syrian Activists Attack Assad Regime, With Puppets

This episode of Top Goon featured the Syrian president on the left, a member of the security forces on the right, and a photo of the former president, Hafez Assad, who is the father of the current leader.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:07 am

"I'm not crazy," the figure says, standing alone in a dark room, as if trying to convince himself.

"I'm not crazy?" almost a question this time.

"I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy!" he yells, finally making up his mind.

And, of course, he sounds crazy.

Meet Beeshu, an avatar of the embattled president of Syria, Bashar Assad, rendered in papier-mache and mounted on someone's finger. He's the star of the show Top Goon and the inspiration for its title.

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It's All Politics
4:24 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

The Race To 270: A Swing State Scorecard

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:11 am

From now until Election Day, the U.S. might as well consist of just eight or so states, not 50.

Those are the battleground states where President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, their running mates and spouses will be spending much of their time in what remains of the 2012 race for the White House.

It's all about amassing the 270 electoral votes required to be elected president. NPR's analysis of the race at this point suggests the eight states that are most in play are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

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It's All Politics
4:22 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

During Debates, Silence On Some Issues Was Deafening

Demonstrators clash with riot police in Athens while protesting the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 9. The euro crisis is one of several issues that came up little, if at all, during the U.S. presidential debates.
Max Gyselinck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 11:13 pm

It's possible that the presidential debates will be remembered mainly for trivia — Big Bird, binders and bayonets.

But Mitt Romney and President Obama did discuss issues of paramount importance, including taxes, entitlements and the role the U.S. should play in the Middle East.

Those issues — and above all else, the economy — dominated discussion throughout the debate season. That meant other important topics such as immigration were barely mentioned, while others never came up at all.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Update: USAID Says Figures On Flood Aid In Pakistan Misinterpreted

Aug. 28: A flooded road in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Umar Qayyum Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:11 pm

Update at 6 p.m. ET:

Our original headline on this post was "U.S. Pledges Exceed Pakistan's Spending On Its Own Flood Relief." As we reported, the Christian Science Monitor has looked into the details of a Congressional Research Service report and concluded that U.S. aid to Pakistan for flood relief exceeded that country's own spending.

But Ben Edwards, a spokesman at the U.S. Agency for International Development, tells us in an email that:

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It's All Politics
3:58 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Horses, Bayonets And The Modern Military

U.S. Army Special Forces ride horseback as they work with members of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001.
AP

President Obama said during Monday night's debate that the U.S. Army has fewer horses and bayonets than in the past.

That's true. Although Army Special Forces were on horseback in Afghanistan when they helped defeat the Taliban in 2001, the Army's horses are now used only for ceremonial occasions.

As for bayonets? The last bayonet charge was during the Korean War in 1951.

The bayonet has somewhat gone the way of the horse cavalry, as far as the Army is concerned (although Marines still use bayonets in training).

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Asia
3:54 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Cambodia Vs. Sotheby's In A Battle Over Antiquities

The United States and Cambodia are locked in a legal battle with the auction house Sotheby's over this 1,000-year-old statue of the Hindu warrior Duryodhana that may have been looted from the Cambodian temple complex at Koh Ker.
Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:18 am

The governments of Cambodia and the United States are locked in a legal battle with the auction house Sotheby's over a thousand-year-old statue. The two governments say the statue was looted from a temple of the ancient Khmer empire. Sotheby's says this can't be proved, and a court in New York will decide on the matter soon.

The case could affect how collectors and museums acquire artifacts, and how governments recover lost national treasures.

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Court Lays Bare Strip Club's Argument That Lap Dances Are Art

In New York State, she's not an artist.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

No, the Nite Moves strip club in Latham, N.Y., can't claim that lap dances, pole performances and other moves in its ladies' repertoire are "art" and therefore exempt from sales taxes, New York State's highest court ruled today in a 4-3 decision.

According to The Associated Press:

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World Cafe
2:26 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Alt-J On World Cafe

Jory Cordy

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 3:26 pm

Alt-J (stylized as ∆) may be the most successful new British band of 2012 — a favorite to win the Mercury Music Prize in November and a Top 20 chart phenomenon in the U.K. The group, which chose its name from the mathematical symbol for change, made a splash with its debut album, An Awesome Wave, which came out in September. The record mixes upbeat indie rock and brooding synths with vocals that sound like no one else's in music today.

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Buying Food Past Its Sell-By Date Tough To Swallow For Greeks

Bargain-hunting Greek shoppers may soon have more options at the grocery store. The government is asking retailers to discount expired nonperishable products in response to rising food prices.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:00 am

Austerity measures continue in Greece as the country sinks deeper into a recession. Incomes have dropped nearly 50 percent in some cases, but food prices are at record highs. The Greek newspaper Ekathimerini recently reported that the country has some of the most expensive food and the costliest dairy products in the entire European Union.

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Photo Of Dying WWII Veteran Casting Last Vote Inspires Thousands

Oct. 17: Frank Tanabe, center, casts his vote with help from his daughter Barbara Tanabe, left, and his wife Setsuko Tanabe.
Irene Tanabe AP

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 11:12 am

See if you agree with most of the nearly 600,000 people who have seen this photo and think it should inspire others to vote this year.

As The Associated Press writes, it shows 93-year-old World War II veteran Frank Tanabe casting what's almost surely to be his last vote — from a hospice bed in Hawaii. He has liver cancer.

This message was posted with the photo:

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