Latin America
10:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

United Opposition A Challenge To Venezuela's Chavez

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles (center) waves to supporters on Oct. 12, 2011. Capriles is the front-runner in the opposition primary election to pick a candidate to run against President Hugo Chavez. The primary is scheduled for Feb. 12.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 2:51 am

The opposition to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has tried everything to end his long rule: huge protests, a coup and an oil strike. Nothing has worked, but now opposition leaders have coalesced into a united and focused movement that is preparing to choose one candidate to run against the president, posing the strongest electoral challenge to Chavez's populist rule.

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Middle East
10:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Jews With Ties To Iran And Israel Feel Conflicted

Iranian-born Menashe Amir (shown here in 2006) hosts a call-in show on Israel Radio's Farsi service, one of the few forums for direct discourse between Iranians and Israelis.
Gali Tibbon Getty Images

As tensions between Israel and Iran ratchet up, one community is caught in the middle: Iranian Jews living in Israel. There are some 250,000 people of Persian descent living in Israel, and they maintain strong ties with their homeland.

As a result, they are uniquely conflicted over the possibility of war between the two countries.

In a small cluttered apartment in Jerusalem, Naheet Yacoubi cooks a traditional Persian meal for her Shabbat dinner. Originally from Tehran, she came to Israel when she was a child.

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Latin America
10:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Drought Ravages Farms Across Wide Swath Of Mexico

A vulture picks at a dead steer. Ranchers say many cattle have died because of the drought that has ravaged much of Mexico.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 2:51 am

In the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, 76-year-old Genaro Rodarte Huizar rides his donkey along a dry riverbed. On his left is a dried out pasture; on his right is what used to be a cornfield; now it's just long furrows of gray, dusty dirt.

Rodarte says that for the past two years, the crops that he's planted here have failed. Normally, he plants beans and corn to feed his family, and oats to sell. He says he hasn't harvested anything because the land is too dry and there's no water.

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It's All Politics
10:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Romney Brings Up Religion To Attract Social Conservatives

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:52 am

GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is reaching out to social conservatives in a new way. At a rally in the gym at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., Monday night, Romney rolled out some new material: the rights given to people by God.

"I am just distressed as I watch, as I watch our president try and infringe upon those rights," Romney said to the capacity crowd. "The first amendment of the Constitution provides the right to worship in the way of our own choice."

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Middle East
4:55 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

As Syrian Violence Worsens, U.S. Diplomats Leave

Syrians attend a Feb. 4 burial ceremony of what activists say are victims of shelling by the Syrian army in the central city of Homs. The city has been the scene of the bloodiest fighting in Syria in recent days.
Handout Reuters/Landov

President Obama says it's time for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. Yet Monday's decision to shut down the U.S. Embassy in Damascus reflected the deteriorating conditions in a country that appears locked in a protracted conflict with no end in sight.

"The closing of the U.S. Embassy is a clear signal to the international community that it's not safe for diplomats in Syria," says Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat.

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World Cafe
4:49 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Polica On 'World Cafe: Next'

Channy Casselle of Polica combines jazz, blues and electronic elements with AutoTuned vocals for a chilling effect.
Colin Kerrigan

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 9:09 am

Polica's sound is crisp, minimalist and mesmerizing. Singer Channy Leaneagh plays her voice like an instrument, using AutoTune both in the studio and at live shows to manipulate her vocals. Against the sliding violins, saxophone solos, relaxed bass and dueling drums of Polica, it's hard to believe that before this, Leaneagh sang folk music for six years in her previous band, Roma di Luna.

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It's All Politics
4:48 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Obama: Being President Makes You Better At It

President Obama tells NBC's Matt Lauer the experience of being president has made him a better one.
NBC "Today" show screenshot

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 12:26 pm

In his interview with NBC's Matt Lauer which aired Super Bowl Sunday and Monday, President Obama was asked how he would respond to a disenchanted 2008 supporter frustrated that he didn't transform Washington.

The president acknowledged that the soaring idealism of his 2008 campaign rhetoric ran smack into the wall of reality that is the nation's highly partisan politics.

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Planet Money
4:48 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

What An Economist Learned From Reading 21 Books About The Crisis

Now read 15 more.
NPR

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 12:50 pm

A while back, the MIT economist Andrew Lo set out to review a couple books about the financial crisis. Those books led to a couple more books, which led — you see where this is going — to 17 more books.

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Political Junkie
4:48 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin's ScuttleButton 020612

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 1:29 pm

Now that the Super Bowl is over, and pitchers and catchers are still days away from reporting, there's obviously only one thing left for you to do.

Solve this week's ScuttleButton puzzle.

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Planet Money
4:48 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

The Case For Economic Optimism, From A Leading Pessimist

Sandy Huffaker Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 10:22 am

The economists who predicted the housing crisis tend to be a gloomy bunch, as Adam Davidson notes in his latest Times Magazine column. Dean Baker is the rare exception. In the following guest post, he explains why he has parted ways with the economic pessimists.

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