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Latin America
3:50 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

As U.S. Consumes Less Cocaine, Brazil Uses More

Brazilian federal police patrol the Mamore River, which separates Brazil from Bolivia. The river is used by traffickers to ferry cocaine from Bolivia into Brazil, where cocaine consumption is rising rapidly.
Juan Forero Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

As cocaine consumption falls in the United States, South American drug traffickers have begun to pioneer a new soft target for their product: big and increasingly affluent Brazil.

And the source of the cocaine is increasingly Bolivia, a landlocked country that shares a 2,100-mile border with Brazil.

As Brazilian police officers and border agents can attest, the drug often finds its way to Brazil by crossing the Mamore River, which separates the state of Rondonia from Bolivia in the heart of South America.

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Law
3:50 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

'Check Yes Or No': The Hurdles Of Employment With Criminal Past

For Americans with criminal records, it can be tough to land job interviews — especially when employers bar them from applying.
CYH iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Melissa spent months looking for a job — any job. For days, the 25-year-old consistently visited her welfare-to-work program in downtown Brooklyn, resume in hand and an interview smile splashed across her face.

"Every day, Monday through Friday, 9 to 4," she explains. "That's dedication."

Melissa, who asked us to not reveal her last name, has plenty of job experience. She's a self-identified "people person" and says she aces every interview. But there's just one thing holding her back: the past.

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Latin America
3:48 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

The Mexico-Canada Guest Worker Program: A Model For The U.S.?

Armando Tenorio at his home in Mexico last December. Tenorio spends most of the year working on a blueberry farm in Canada, on a temporary work permit, to support his family in Mexico.
Dominic Bracco II The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:29 am

In the U.S., farmers and farm workers alike say the current system to import temporary workers, especially in agriculture, is slow and fraught with abuses.

But the shape of a new guest-worker program is still being hashed out. Some say the U.S. should import temporary workers the same way Canada does. For nearly four decades, the governments of Canada and Mexico have cooperated to fill agriculture jobs that Canadian citizens won't do, and that Mexicans are clamoring to get.

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Around the Nation
3:05 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

South L.A. Teens Doubt New Laws Will Change Gun Culture

Handguns collected in South-Central Los Angeles as part of a Gun for Gift Card exchange in 2009. One teenager here says getting a gun on the streets is just "one phone call away."
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:04 am

On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation. This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common — and so are guns.

"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."

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Art & Design
2:54 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Graffitied Gnomes Allowed To Roam On Oakland Utility Poles

An anonymous artist started placing the hand-painted gnomes on the bases of utility poles all over Oakland.
Courtesy of the photographer

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Over the past year, small gnomes started springing up all around Oakland, Calif. The elfin creatures are hand-painted on wooden boards; each is about 6 inches tall, with red hat, brown boots and white beard. They're bits of urban folk art from an anonymous painter who surreptitiously screws them onto the base of utility poles.

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