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Shots - Health Blog
1:27 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Scientists Go Deep On Genes Of SARS-Like Virus

Cheryl Gleasner, a research technologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, works with a genome sequencing machine designed for disease surveillance. Since the SARS epidemic in 2003, advances in sequencing technologies have greatly speed up the ability to detect and track a new virus.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:51 pm

When an unknown virus emerges, disease detectives turn to gene sequencers — not magnifying glasses — to identify the culprit.

So when a new type of coronavirus killed a man in Saudia Arabia and hospitalized another in the U.K., investigators got cracking.

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Freddie Mac Didn't Harm Homeowners, Inspector General Says

In January, NPR and ProPublica reported on a potential conflict of interest at Freddie Mac, a mortgage giant sponsored by the federal government. The stories noted that even as Freddie Mac was writing rules making it harder for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, it also was stepping up investments in securities that gain when homeowners remain stuck in high-rate loans.

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Asia
1:00 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Tokyo's Governor Stokes The Island Feud With China

China, Japan and Taiwan all claim the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands as sovereign territory. On Tuesday, coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan dueled with water cannons after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around the islands.
Yomiuri Shimbun AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 12:25 am

Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.

Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.

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It's All Politics
11:53 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Romney's Nevada Problems Explained By A Political Scientist Who Voted For Him

Mitt Romney at a Las Vegas fundraiser last week.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:04 pm

Nevada, with its six electoral votes, is far from the biggest Election Day prize sought by President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

But in a race that could be so close that neither candidate can afford to concede a single electoral vote, Nevada is being courted by the candidates to a degree far greater than its size would suggest.

Also, while Obama carried the state by 12 percentages points in 2008, the Great Recession hit the state hard, with widespread foreclosures and high unemployment.

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World
11:41 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Badger Battle: British Animal Lovers Protest Cull

Badgers have been blamed for spreading disease among cattle in Britain. But a campaign to cull the badgers has been met with opposition from prominent figures like Queen guitarist Brian May, who joined this rally in Bristol earlier this month.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:54 pm

The badger, a stalwart of BBC nature programs, is one of Britain's most beloved animals and is a protected species.

To many English dairy farmers, though, this timid omnivore with the black and white stripes is a mobile biological weapon, exposing their cows to bovine tuberculosis through its urine and saliva.

And they've persuaded the British government to sanction extreme measures.

This month, the government issued licenses allowing trained marksmen to wipe out 70 percent of the badger populations in two pilot areas.

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