Shots - Health Blog
8:55 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Americans Say Security Checks Are A Bigger Health Concern Than Flights

A Transportation Security Administration volunteer demonstrates a full-body scanner at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in March 2010.
Scott Olson Getty Images

If you're heading for the airport humming I'll Be Home For Christmas, all of us at Shots hope your trip goes without a hitch.

With all the comings and goings of the holiday season on our minds, we recently asked Americans a few questions and air travel and health.

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Vaclav Havel, Hero Of The 'Velvet Revolution,' Laid To Rest

A picture of former Czech President Vaclav Havel lay among candles and floral tributes as people gathered in Prague on Thursday to honor him.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Arlington Cemetery: Possible Problems With 64,230 Graves Or Records

A review of 259,978 gravesites and more than 510,000 records at Arlington National Cemetery has identified 64,230 cases of potential problems that range from minor mistakes in files to errors on gravestones, according to a U.S. Army report delivered to Congress on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Payroll Tax Cut's Last Hurdle Cleared: House Gives 'Unanimous Consent'

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Capitol Hill Thursday (Dec. 22, 2011).
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 1:35 pm

(This post was retopped with the latest news at 1:30 p.m. ET.)

Marking the end of the latest pitched political battle in Washington, President Obama said this afternoon that Congressional approval of measures to extend for another two months a payroll tax cut and benefits for the long-term unemployed is "good news just in the nick of time for the holidays."

"I said it was critical for Congress not to go home without preventing a tax increase" and the expiration of the long-term jobless benefits, Obama said, "and I'm pleased to say they've got it done."

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Asia
4:29 am
Fri December 23, 2011

With N. Korea In Flux, Neighbors Reassess Policies

South Korean soldiers face a North Korean soldier standing at the border village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Thursday. North Korea's neighbors are reassessing their policies following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
Wally Santana AP

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 10:23 am

The boundary between North Korea and South Korea has been called the world's most dangerous border. But on Thursday, the most dangerous thing about it appeared to be the biting cold and bone-chilling wind, with one Korean soldier jokingly describing the temperature as "hell."

At the Joint Security Area where the actual demarcation line is, half a dozen South Korean soldiers stood at the alert, facing off against one solitary North Korean soldier in khaki. The only unusual sign was the North Korean flag flying at half-staff.

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Still No Job: Over A Year Without Enough Work
12:01 am
Fri December 23, 2011

For Black Americans, A Longer Time Without Work

Willa Booker, 53, has been out of work for more than two years. A former medical records administrator in Chicago, Booker says she just wants someone to give her a chance.
Cheryl Corley NPR

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 11:32 am

Although the U.S. gained more than 120,000 jobs last month, the numbers of long-term unemployed barely shifted, and unemployment rates for African-Americans continued to go through the roof.

A recent NPR and Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that although the long-term unemployed face many of the same difficulties regardless of race, there are distinct differences between blacks and whites struggling to find work.

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Afghanistan
12:01 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Ten Years Of Hanging On As An Afghan Potter

Abdul Wahkeel at his pottery stall in the Afghan village of Istalif. He was among the first potters to return after the fall of the Taliban.
Jim Wildman NPR

After the fall of the Taliban, Abdul Wahkeel was the first potter to return to the Afghan village of Istalif.

Istalif had been home to generations of potters who crafted teapots, dishes and pots that glow a jewel-like blue. But Wahkeel and other villagers left after the Taliban torched workshops, smashed pottery and — it was said — killed birds in their cages.

When NPR's Renee Montagne first arrived in Istalif in 2002, she heard Wahkeel's story as he was centering clay on his potter's wheel.

"It is two months now that I have returned back to my home," he told her.

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Animals
12:01 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Myth Busting: The Truth About Animals And Tools

A tufted capuchin uses a stone hammer to crack open a nut in Brazil's Parnaiba Headwaters National Park.
Ben Cranke Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 1:28 pm

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Ron Paul
12:01 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Ron Paul Has Support In Iowa, But Old Issues Linger

Texas Congressman Ron Paul is anything but an establishment GOP candidate. Yet, he is at the top of the polls in Iowa, largely because his message appeals to more than just the typical Republican caucus-goer. That was made clear when he met John McCarthy and Michelle Godez-Schilling, both of whom attended a campaign stop in Dubuque, Iowa.

"I would like to say I'm an independent, and for the first time in my life I'm affiliated with one of the two major parties because of you," McCarthy told Paul.

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