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It's All Politics
3:04 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Reluctant Justices May Be Forced To Make History

Police stand guard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices hear arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 10:34 am

Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.

It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.

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The Two-Way
2:57 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

French President Tries Again For Tax On Rich

French President Francois Hollande takes part Thursday in an interview on French 2 TV in Paris.
Fred Dufour AP

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 4:41 am

French President Francois Hollande is trying again with his 75 percent tax on millionaires.

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Business
2:33 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Farm Bill's Sugar Subsidy More Taxing Than Sweet, Critics Say

While many people enjoy sweet treats — like these chocolate bunnies — the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 8:55 pm

While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.

Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors — even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.

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Animals
2:33 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

What's Behind The 'Fairy Circles' That Dot West Africa?

Thousands of "fairy circles" dot the landscape of the NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia. Why these barren circles appear in grassland areas has puzzled scientists for years.
N. Juergens AAAS/Science

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 4:19 pm

There's a mystery in West Africa that's puzzled scientists for years. Strange circles of bare soil appear in grassland; they're commonly called "fairy circles." These naturally occurring shapes last for decades, until the grass eventually takes over and the circles fade.

Now German scientists think they have an explanation — a horde of insects seems to be bioengineering thousands of miles of desert.

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Shots - Health News
2:12 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Sand From Fracking Could Pose Lung Disease Risk To Workers

A worker stands on top of a storage bin on July 27, 2011, at a drilling operation in Claysville, Pa. The dust is from powder mixed with water for hydraulic fracturing.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 10:50 am

When workplace safety expert Eric Esswein got a chance to see fracking in action not too long ago, what he noticed was all the dust.

It was coming off big machines used to haul around huge loads of sand. The sand is a critical part of the hydraulic fracturing method of oil and gas extraction. After workers drill down into rock, they create fractures in that rock by pumping in a mixture of water, chemicals and sand. The sand keeps the cracks propped open so that oil and gas are released.

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

1,569: S&P 500 Closes At All Time High, Rising Above Oct. 2007 Mark

A trader on floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 25, 2013. U
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 1:31 pm

The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index broke new ground today, closing at 1,569, an all-time high that erased the record set on Oct. 9, 2007.

The S&P joins the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which broke its 2007 record earlier this month.

Both indices have now recovered all the losses they suffered during the Great Recession.

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It's All Politics
1:30 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Obama Forms Presidential Commission To Study Voting Problems

Voters line up into the night outside a Miami polling station, some waiting for hours to vote in the 2012 presidential election.
Wilfredo Lee AP

President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.

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Animals
1:15 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Algae Bloom Kills Record Number Of Florida Manatees

A rescued manatee suffering from exposure to an algae bloom called red tide in southwest Florida comes up for air as it swims into a critical care tank at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
Steve Nesius Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 3:38 pm

More than 200 manatees have died in Florida's waterways since January from an algae bloom called red tide, just as wildlife officials try to remove the marine mammal from the endangered species list.

It used to be boat propellers that were the biggest killer of manatees, but red tide has been especially bad this year.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officer Steve Rice routinely scours the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida for dead manatees. He has found more than 20 in the past few weeks.

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Latin America
12:59 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

From The Stone Age To The Digital Age In One Big Leap

Chief Almir of Brazil's Surui tribe attends a press conference with Google representatives in Rio de Janeiro last year. Chief Almir has brought technology to his previously isolated people, who now use smartphones to send photos of illegal logging in the Amazon.
Vanderlei Almeida AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 3:38 pm

In the heart of the Amazon in western Brazil, an Indian tribe called the Surui lived in the Stone Age as recently as the late 1960s. They wore loincloths, hunted monkeys with bows and arrows, and knew little of the increasingly modernized country in which they lived.

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Music + Culture
12:45 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Marches Madness: Spielberg's Symphonist

Wendy Maeda Boston Globe via Getty Images

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