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Europe
3:26 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Vatican II: A Half-Century Later, A Mixed Legacy

Thousands of faithful Catholics carry torches in a procession in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on Oct. 11, 1962, the opening day of the historic Second Vatican Council. Over a three-year period, more than 2,000 bishops from around the world issued 16 landmark documents, which championed a more inclusive, less hierarchical and open church.
Girolamo Di Majo AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 8:23 am

At Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, 50 years ago this week, the newly elected pontiff stunned the world by calling the first Catholic Church Council in nearly a century — the Second Vatican Council, or what's known as Vatican II.

Pope John XXIII called for the institution's renewal and more interaction with the modern world.

As a result of Vatican II, the Catholic Church opened its windows onto the modern world, updated the liturgy, gave a larger role to laypeople, introduced the concept of religious freedom and started a dialogue with other religions.

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Fiscal Cliff Notes
3:24 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Could Hit Civilian Pentagon Workers First

A Marine Corp F-35B Joint Strike Fighter lands at Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland in 2011. Analysts say that if mandatory Pentagon budget cuts are imposed next year, fewer new planes could ultimately be ordered.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 2:23 pm

Unless Congress acts, the Defense Department faces some $55 billion in cuts after the first of the year. The cuts are part of what's known as sequestration — automatic across the board spending cuts to both defense and nondefense government spending set in motion by last year's debt-ceiling fight.

Salaries for uniformed personnel are the one major thing that's protected. Otherwise, it's about a 10 percent cut to everything from Pentagon civilian staff to the acquisition of multimillion-dollar aircraft, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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Law
7:21 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Supreme Court Questions UT's Affirmative Action Plan

Abigail Fisher, the Texan involved in the University of Texas affirmative action case, talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 7:25 pm

Affirmative action in higher education appeared to take a potentially lethal hit on Wednesday, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments testing the constitutionality of a race-conscious admission program at the University of Texas, Austin.

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The Two-Way
6:49 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Honoring Slain SEAL's Mom's Request, Romney Will Drop Story On Stump

This undated photo provided by Mark and Kate Quigley shows Glen Doherty, who died in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.
AP

The campaign of Gov. Mitt Romney says the Republican presidential candidate will no longer tell the story of meeting Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was killed during the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Romney revealed during his stump speeches that he met Doherty at a Christmas party he crashed in his San Diego neighborhood.

In a campaign event in Iowa, yesterday, Romney choked up when he retold the story.

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The Two-Way
6:22 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Man Involved With Muhammad Film Denies He Violated Probation

This Sept. 27, file courtroom sketch shows Mark Basseley Youssef, right, talking with his attorney Steven Seiden in court.
Mona Shafer Edwards AP

A man who admitted he was involved in the making of the film Innocence of Muslims says he did not violate his probation.

Mark Basseley Youssef made a court appearance today not for making the film that resulted in protests throughout the Muslim world but for his 2010 conviction of bank and credit card fraud, The Los Angeles Times reports.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:55 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Romney's Remarks On Abortion Cause A Stir

Mitt Romney's comments on abortion have surprised those on both sides of the issue.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 9:22 am

Just how many abortion positions does Mitt Romney have? Once again, that answer is unclear.

This time the confusion began Tuesday, during a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register.

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Science
5:31 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Two Americans Share Nobel Prize In Chemistry

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:57 pm

Two Americans have won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Koblika were awarded the prize for their work on protein receptors that tell cells what's going on around the human body. Their research has allowed drug makers to develop medication with fewer side effects. The pair with share the $1.2 million award.

The Two-Way
5:24 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

A Rare Case: Canadian Navy Officer Pleads Guilty To Selling Secrets To Russians

Sub.-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle is escorted into Nova Scotia provincial court in Halifax in June.
Mike Dembeck AP

Canada is not used to high profile spy cases. But today there is news that the country has tried its first successful case using the Security of Information Act. And it's quite the case.

The CBC reports that a Navy sub lieutenant pleaded guilty to selling secrets to Russia. Canadian Forces Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, the CBC reports, simply walked into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa and offered to work for them.

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Religion
5:12 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Sisters And Vatican II: A Generational Tug Of War

A nun chants while she and her sisters pray together during Vespers at their home near Dumfries, Va. Unlike older sisters shaped by Vatican II, a new generation of women are flocking to more conservative orders.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 5:37 pm

Fifty years ago, Pope John XXIII launched a revolution in the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council opened on Oct. 11, 1962, with the goal of bringing the church into the modern world. Catholics could now hear the Mass in their local language. Laypeople could take leadership roles in the church. And the church opened conversations with other faiths.

For American nuns, Vatican II brought freedoms and controversies that are playing out today.

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Opinion
5:11 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Listeners Take Stock Of Affirmative Action

A word cloud of listener responses to the question, "Is there still a place for affirmative action in 2012, and why?"
NPR via Wordle

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 12:53 pm

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that could put an end to policies that take race into account in college admissions decisions.

NPR's All Things Considered recently asked listeners if there is still a place for affirmative action policies in America today. Below are just a few responses from among the more than 50 received.

'Still A Need'

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It's All Politics
5:09 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

'I Was Just Too Polite,' Says Obama, Vowing To Hit Hard At Next Debate

President Obama promised to take it to Mitt Romney in future debates.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 5:44 pm

No more Mr. Nice Guy. That was essentially what President Obama told Tom Joyner, the black-radio megahost, to expect at upcoming presidential debates.

On Wednesday, the president explained that his main mistake at last week's debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney was an excess of gentility.

Obama's self-critique, such as it was, came in response to a Joyner question:

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

JPMorgan Chase CEO: 'I Should Have Caught' $5.8 Billion Error

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, wearing a dark suit possibly made of sackcloth, didn't hold back when discussing the derivative trades that led to massive losses for his company.

"We made a stupid error," he said before a lunchtime audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on Wednesday. "We screwed up."

Then he got more specific: "I should have caught it ... I didn't."

The company estimates it lost $5.8 billion, thanks to a London-based trader, nicknamed the "London whale," who took large, risky positions in credit derivatives.

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World Cafe
4:49 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Debo Band On World Cafe

Debo Band.
Shawn Brackbill Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 2:18 pm

The 11-member group from Boston known as Debo Band has a sound influenced by the traditional music played in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the late '60s and early '70s. This style, labeled "Addis swing," came about amid the cultural freedom of that period, before a military coup put an end to the era. Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, who was born in Sudan and grew up in Texas, founded Debo Band, which released a self-titled album in July.

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It's All Politics
4:38 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Romney, Obama Surrogates Clash Over Military Strategy

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 5:16 pm

The Romney campaign is putting more meat on the bones of its defense policy, and the result is a muscular, almost hawkish posture.

Dov Zakheim, Mitt Romney's special adviser for foreign policy and national security, went toe-to-toe with Richard Verma, who plays a similar role for the Obama campaign, at a forum Wednesday.

The two tussled for over an hour in a foreign policy debate of sorts at a Washington, D.C., hotel.

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Music News
4:24 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

An Immigrant's 'Star-Spangled Banner,' En Español

Clotilde Arias (seated) with composer and arranger Terig Tucci, circa 1943.
Courtesy of the Arias family

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:57 pm

In 2006, Roger Arias went into his garage searching for a long-lost treasure. He remembered a story about his grandmother and a Spanish translation of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"I dug through my boxes and sure enough, there was a folder," he says. "It said 'The National Anthem,' and she had version 1 through 10. She kept every one of them."

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Religion
4:15 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Why Is Vatican II So Important?

Pope Paul VI hands Orthodox Metropolitan Meliton of Heliopolis a decree during the December 1965 session of the Roman Catholic Ecumenical Council in Vatican City. The decree cancels excommunications that led to the break between the Roman and Orthodox churches nine centuries before.
AP

When Pope John XXIII announced the creation of the Second Vatican Council (also known as Vatican II) in January 1959, it shocked the world. There hadn't been an ecumenical council — an assembly of Roman Catholic religious leaders meant to settle doctrinal issues — in nearly 100 years.

"Many people maintained that with the definition of papal infallibility in 1870, councils were no longer needed. So it was a big surprise," Georgetown University professor Rev. John W. O'Malley says.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:06 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

During Lockout Season, Orchestra Musicians Grapple With Their Future

The Minnesota Orchestra is one of many orchestras around the country dealing with labor disputes.
Greg Helgeson

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:05 pm

It's been a tumultuous time for American orchestras. Labor disputes have shut down the Minnesota Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, and strikes and lockouts have affected orchestras in Chicago, Atlanta and Louisville in the past year.

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Music News
4:02 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

You, Too, Can Print Your Own Guitar

Industrial engineer Scott Summit made this guitar out of nylon powder.
Courtesy of Scott Summit

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:57 pm

Though it's been around for three decades, 3-D printing has finally started to take off for manufacturing and even for regular consumers. It's being used for making airplane parts on demand and letting kids make their own toys. One designer is pushing the limits of 3-D printing by using it to make an acoustic guitar.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:40 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

How Do Public Data About Heart Attack Treatment Change It?

Too risky to fix?
Clayton Hansen iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 7:38 am

Measurement has long been a cornerstone of quality improvement, whether it's on the factory floor or the hospital ward.

And making the quality scores of doctors and hospitals publicly available is central to the idea that health care can become a service that patients shop for intelligently. The results can also ratchet up professional peer pressure for improvement.

But does public reporting lead doctors and hospitals to game the system by withholding care from the sickest patients?

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It's All Politics
3:27 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

As Race Tightens, The Electoral Map Still Favors Obama

A boy examines CSPAN's 2012 presidential race electoral map at the American Presidential Experience exhibit last month in Charlotte, N.C.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 7:17 pm

Mitt Romney may have seized the advantage in terms of poll numbers and momentum, but there's one area where President Obama enjoys the upper hand.

In the end, it's the only area that counts: the Electoral College. Over the past 20 years, Republicans have had a much lower ceiling when it comes to electoral support, while Democrats have had a significantly higher floor.

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