Three-Minute Fiction
10:03 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction Round 10: Leave A Message After The Beep

Author Mona Simpson is the judge for Round 10 of Three-Minute Fiction. She has written five works of fiction (among other short stories and essays): Anywhere but Here, The Lost Father, A Regular Guy, Off Keck Road and My Hollywood.
Alex Hoerner

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 9:59 pm

It's Round 10 of Three-Minute Fiction, the short story contest from weekends on All Things Considered. Here's the premise: Write a piece of original fiction that can be read in about three minutes (no more than 600 words).

Our judge for this round is author Mona Simpson, whose most recent book is My Hollywood. She most recently won a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other prizes. Here's her twist for Round 10:

Write a story in the form of a voice-mail message.

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Shots - Health News
5:17 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

White House Tries Again To Find Compromise On Contraception

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:35 pm

The Obama administration on Friday issued another set of proposed rules — and asked for yet another round of public comments — in a continuing quest to find a way to ensure that women receive no-cost contraception as part of a package of preventive health services under the 2010 Affordable Care Act without requiring religious employers to violate their beliefs.

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It's All Politics
4:12 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

What's Behind Rubio's 'Full Circle Back' On Immigration?

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, is among a bipartisan group of eight senators who this week announced a plan to overhaul the nation's immigration laws.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:17 pm

Marco Rubio has been the junior senator from Florida for barely two years, but he's already considered a likely 2016 presidential contender.

The 41-year-old Republican's political star rose still higher this week when he joined a bipartisan group of senators offering a path to citizenship to millions of unauthorized immigrants.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Carrot Juice Instead Of Coke? USDA Proposes New School Snack Rules

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposed new rules for school snacks promote healthier options, like the fruits and vegetables served in this Palo Alto, Calif., cafeteria.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 8:24 am

The Department of Agriculture has proposed a new "Smart Snacks in School" rule that aims to promote more healthful options in school vending machines, snack bars and cafeterias across the country.

The USDA's updated regulations, which are open to public comment for 60 days, will set nutrition standards and calorie limits for snack foods that are sold in schools.

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Health Care
4:02 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Obama Administration Wades Into Birth Control Coverage Fray

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 4:33 pm

The Obama administration has issued a proposal detailing how coverage for contraception will be paid for under Obamacare. The health overhaul law requires insurance plans to provide birth control coverage, but those opposed to artificial contraception argue they should not be made to use their own funds to pay for it. Audie Cornish talks to Julie Rovner.

Economy
4:02 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Pentagon Remains Big Target In Likely Budget Cuts

The winding down of the war in Afghanistan and efforts to slice the budget deficit will likely mean more spending cuts for the Pentagon.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:17 pm

The economy shrunk in the fourth quarter — for the first time in three years — and one of the critical reasons was a drop in defense spending. Apparently, contractors took precautionary steps and held onto money in case the federal government failed to avert the fiscal and tax crisis known as the fiscal cliff.

But there's now a new deadline — automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, which may hit at the beginning of March.

The Effect On Contractors

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Barney, Former First Dog Who Loved Playing With His Soccer Ball, Dies

Barney at the White House.
Tina Hager Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum

Barney, a Scottish Terrier who loved playing with his soccer ball and golf ball and was better known as President George W. Bush's pet, has died.

"Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House," Bush said in a statement posted on his Facebook page. "He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal."

Barney was 12 and died after a battle with lymphoma.

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Shots - Health News
4:01 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Quick TB Test Builds Up Arsenal Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria

A medical worker in Carletonville, South Africa, examines a sample at a mobile testing facility for tuberculosis.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 3:56 pm

The people on the front lines of tuberculosis control have their hands full, but their biggest challenge for the moment may be containing strains of the disease that are resistant to drugs.

Worldwide the number of TB cases is going down. The bad news is that the number of drug-resistant cases is going up. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of reported TB cases that were multi, extremely- or totally-drug resistant doubled between 2009 and 2011.

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U.S.
3:47 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

For Some Donors, Boy Scouts' Ban On Gays Doesn't Add Up

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls delivers cartons of petitions to the Boys Scouts of America national board meeting in Orlando, Fla., last May, calling for an end to anti-gay discriminatory practices. Helping to carry the cartons are Mark Anthony Dingbaum and Christine Irvine of Change.org.
Barbara Liston Reuters/Landov

Years of criticism and even a U.S. Supreme Court challenge couldn't force the Boy Scouts of America to admit openly gay members and leaders. But money talks, and after the defections of major donors, the 103-year-old organization is poised to lift its national ban.

Just last summer, the Boy Scouts reaffirmed the ban after a lengthy internal review. Several incidents since then have tarnished the organization's image and fueled an aggressive nationwide protest led by an Eagle Scout.

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It's All Politics
3:43 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Why Steven Chu Was One Of Obama's Most Intriguing Choices

Energy Secretary Steven Chu tours the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Waynesboro, Ga., last year.
David Goldman AP

Of all the individuals in President Obama's first-term Cabinet, physicist Steven Chu was arguably the least likely to be found in official Washington.

The Energy Department secretary, after all, was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist from the University of California, Berkeley, the first science laureate to serve as a Cabinet secretary.

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