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Election 2012
3:57 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Bush Tax Cuts: The New Middle-Class Norm

Josh Walling and Randi Cartmill with their children, Jacqueline, Josh and Ryan. Josh Walling says his family, whose household income is below the national median, would lose a substantial amount of money if the Bush tax cuts expired.
Courtesy of Randi Cartmill

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 2:42 pm

The first in an occasional series, Fiscal Cliff Notes, which breaks down the looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and deep automatic spending cuts set to hit around the first of year.

Much of the political focus when discussing the Bush-era tax cuts is on the wealthy, but they're not the only ones who would be affected if the tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of this year.

The vast majority of American taxpayers would take a hit, including Randi Cartmill and Josh Walling, who live in Madison, Wis., with their three children.

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Middle East
3:51 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Walls Of Palestinian Homes Come Tumbling Down

Palestinians collect their belongings after Israeli bulldozers raze their house in an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem on Feb. 9.
Ahmad Gharbali AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 8:46 am

Israel has dramatically increased its demolitions of unauthorized Palestinian homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a recent United Nations report.

Last year, 1,100 Palestinians — more than half of them children — were displaced, an 80 percent increase from the previous year. And demolitions this year continue at a high rate.

For Sami Idriss, the Israeli bulldozers came while the 26-year-old Palestinian was at work.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
3:28 am
Tue July 10, 2012

'Globals' Generation Focuses On Experience

Jennifer Larr (center) is seen here in Rwanda at the Gashora Girls Academy, where she was a teacher in 2011. Larr is part of a new generation of young adults focusing on travel, studying abroad and global experiences.
Courtesy of Jennifer Larr

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 2:58 pm

Jennifer Larr has the itch to go abroad. She's 26 years old and has already spent a year studying in France and two years in Rwanda with the Peace Corps, and she is headed to Uganda this summer for an internship. She's also a graduate student, studying international relations at UCLA.

Larr is part of a growing number of 20- and early 30-somethings whose American dream has moved beyond suburban homes and traditional nuclear families, and it's one that now goes even beyond U.S. borders.

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Africa
3:25 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Mubarak's Dream Remains Just That In Egypt's Desert

A sign on undeveloped land welcomes visitors to "New Toshka City." Toshka was to be a new settlement along the Upper Nile Valley, complete with enough jobs and infrastructure to support the relocation of 20 million Egyptians from polluted and over-crowded cities.
Holly Pickett Redux

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 8:57 am

In the middle of southern Egypt's windy desert, wheat fields stretch as far as the eye can see on a 24,000-acre farm. It's part of a grandiose project called Toshka that was dreamed up 15 years ago by the government of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's authoritarian leader who ruled the country for three decades before being ousted last year.

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Asia
3:17 am
Tue July 10, 2012

China's Post-Olympic Woe: How To Fill An Empty Nest

Fireworks light the night sky above the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The stadium is largely empty these days.
Franck Fife AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 11:31 pm

As the opening date for the London Olympics nears, Beijing's acclaimed Olympic venues are saddled with high maintenance costs and are struggling to get by. And the most famous, the Bird's Nest stadium, has been repudiated by its own creator, dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

Even the state-run government mouthpiece, the China Daily, worries that Beijing's iconic structures risk becoming "white elephants."

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Business
3:16 am
Tue July 10, 2012

For Manufacturing Jobs, Workers Brush Up On Math

Brian Gasiewski removes the external housing for an industrial shock absorber from a CNC, or computer numerical control, machine at Fitzpatrick Manufacturing Co. in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Duane Burleson AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 7:52 am

Politicians have touted modern manufacturing as the solution for lifting the economy and providing good jobs.

But today's manufacturing work requires strong math skills — not just adding and subtracting, but a good grasp of fractions, decimals and basic trigonometry. And job applicants who want to go into manufacturing often don't have what it takes.

So colleges and nonprofits, especially throughout Illinois, are stepping in to bridge this skills gap by combining manufacturing training with basic reading and math.

Doing Math On The Job

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It's All Politics
3:14 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Democrats Say Anonymous Donors Unfairly Influencing Senate Races

Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 12:25 pm

In Senate races, Democrats are fighting to preserve their thin majority. Their party campaign committee wants the Federal Election Commission to crack down on some of the Republicans' wealthiest allies — outside money groups that are using anonymous contributions to finance a multimillion-dollar onslaught of attack ads.

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The Two-Way
6:22 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

From Our Readers: A Car Worthy of 'The Saint'

Comments under today's piece on a very well-travelled Volvo, reveal an abundance of affection for the make. "I'll be here all week" recalls with fondness all the "quirky features" of his white 1968 P1800S, including "rear view mirror ... mounted on the center of the dashboard, vertical temp gauges between the speedo and tach, the funky aircraft style levers for the vents and fan."

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It's All Politics
5:21 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Justice Department, Texas Face Off In Court Over Voter ID Law

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 6:54 pm

The Justice Department and the state of Texas faced off at trial Monday over the state's new voter identification law, which the Obama administration claims violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

In opening arguments before a three-judge panel in federal district court in Washington, D.C., a lawyer for Texas argued that the photo ID requirement was intended to limit voter fraud, not to curb turnout of legally registered voters.

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All Tech Considered
5:20 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

The Next Silicon Valley? Berlin Startups Catching Up With The Hype

Simon Fabich (center) is CEO and co-founder of the Berlin-based online shopping startup Monoqi. Artsy and relatively inexpensive, Berlin is an up-and-coming city for European tech startups.
Courtesy of Monoqi

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:29 pm

California's Silicon Valley remains by far the dominant arena for high-tech startups and venture capitalists looking to back innovative projects.

But Europe is starting to make its mark on the startup scene. London, Paris and Berlin are starting to hold their own as more and more European startups look to compete on the global stage and attract investors.

A 'Crazy Green Field' For Creative Types

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