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3:50 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Laws Tightening Abortion Rules Gain Traction In States

Dr. Howard Novick says new abortion restrictions in Texas could force him to close the Houston clinic he opened in 1980. He says he doesn't have the more than $1 million required to convert his office into a surgical center with wide corridors and sophisticated airflow systems.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:31 pm

A judge has temporarily blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned abortions beginning around six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat is detectable. It's one of several state laws passed this year intended to limit abortion.

Those backing the new rules say they will make abortions safer. But abortion-rights advocates say the laws are about politics, not safety.

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Shots - Health News
3:46 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Female Genital Mutilation On The Decline, But Still Too Common

A mother and daughter walk home after attending a community meeting about eradicating female genital mutilation in the western Senegalese village of Diabougo.
Finbarr O'Reilly Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 3:53 pm

More than 125 million women and girls in Africa and the Middle East have suffered from genital cutting and other types of mutilation, UNICEF said this week in the most comprehensive and quantitative survey to date. Nearly half of those women live in Egypt and Ethiopia, where the practice is still entrenched in the culture.

"It's seen as tradition — something that has just always been there," UNICEF's Francesca Moneti said. "It's just like how we get up in the morning and get dressed. Your daughter reaches the age of cutting, and she just gets cut."

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The Salt
3:44 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Taco Bell Says Adios To Kids' Meals And Toys

Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:32 pm

That Crunchy Taco will no longer come with a side of toy.

Taco Bell announced Tuesday that it is ditching kids' meals and the trinkets that come with them at its U.S. locations. The items will begin to come off menus starting this month, the company says, and should be completely gone by January 2014.

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Parallels
3:28 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

With An Assist From Smugglers, Cuban Players Make It To U.S.

Cuban baseball players have been defecting to the U.S. in growing numbers over the past two decades. Increasingly, smugglers play a role in getting the players off the island, U.S. baseball agents say.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:55 pm

Cigars aren't the only thing smuggled out of Cuba these days.

Cuban baseball players are also a hot commodity, and sports agents in the U.S. say the process is increasingly dominated by smugglers who track down players willing to defect and find surreptitious ways to deliver them to the United States.

"The whole business got pretty much taken over by smugglers," says former baseball agent Joe Kehoskie.

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The Two-Way
3:09 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Court Rules Against Dallas Suburb That Barred Renting To Illegal Immigrants

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:24 pm

Back in 2006, when many municipalities across the country took Arizona's lead passing stringent laws against illegal immigrants, the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch became a kind of poster boy.

With much controversy, the city passed legislation that among other things barred anyone from renting property to undocumented immigrants.

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

WATCH: Disco, The Parakeet, Takes On 'Monty Python'

Disco, the parakeet.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:49 pm

We'll get back to the real news in a little bit. But we would be downright irresponsible, if we didn't point you to the latest from Disco, the parakeet.

His owners just posted a video that shows Disco trying to learn the famous line from Monty Python, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

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Shots - Health News
2:19 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Obama Turns To Comedians To Promote Health Coverage

Comedian Sarah Silverman helped get out the vote for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
YouTube

Who needs jocks when you've got Jennifer Hudson and Amy Poehler?

That seems to be the message coming out of the White House following a star-studded meeting yesterday led by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Its mission: Figure out how to help promote the Affordable Care Act.

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All Tech Considered
2:15 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

See The 10 States With The Fastest Internet Connections

Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.

Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.

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Education
2:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Teachers Hit The Books To Master New Education Standards

Teacher Karen Pate assists math teachers with Common Core materials in Baltimore. As in other states, Maryland teachers are attending trainings to prepare to implement the new standards this fall.
Gwendolyn Glenn WYPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:16 pm

Almost all the states and Washington, D.C., are grappling with a big challenge as the new school year nears: getting teachers up to speed on the Common Core, a sweeping set of new education standards for English language arts and math.

The Common Core will soon apply to most of America's students from kindergarten through high school. The policymakers behind the Core know that it could fail if they don't help teachers make the change. So this summer, the state of Maryland has been hosting what it calls "academies" to do just that.

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The Salt
2:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Howard Buffett Battles Hunger, Armed With Money And Science

Buffett in a pinto bean field on the Arizona farm, where he grew 60,000 pounds of beans for a Tucson food bank in 2012. Another goal of Buffett's research farm is to find better crops for poor subsistence farmers.
Nick Oza for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 9:12 am

Get Howard Buffett into the cab of a big ole' farm tractor and he's like a kid — albeit a 58-year-old, gray-haired one. He's especially excited when it comes to the tractor's elaborate GPS system, which he describes as "very cool."

"I'm driving hands-free," says Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

He says that the tractor has been automatically set to plant 16 perfect rows of seeds, "so it makes everything more efficient. And it's going to give you a better crop in the end."

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