3:32am

Fri January 4, 2013
Europe

Old Greek Blasphemy Laws Stir Up Modern Drama

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:16 pm

A Greek Orthodox priest is blocked by riot police as he takes part in a protest outside an Athens theater in October. The play, Corpus Christi, portrays Jesus and his apostles as gay men living in modern-day Texas. The director and the cast have been charged under Greece's blasphemy laws.
Alexandros Vlachos EPA/Landov

Before he died in 1994, a Greek monk named Elder Paisios told his compatriots to turn to faith in hard times.

The monk is said to have predicted the economic crisis — as well as a triumphant return of a Greek empire.

With unemployment now at Great Depression levels, many Greeks see him as a prophet.

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3:30am

Fri January 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Bargain Over Fiscal Cliff Brings Changes To Health Care

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 8:46 am

A compromise bill that passed the Congress at the last minute included provisions that will reverberate through the nation's health care system.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

The bill that prevented the nation from plunging over the fiscal cliff did more than just stop income tax increases and delay across-the-board spending cuts. It also included several provisions that tweaked Medicare and brought bigger changes to other health care programs.

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3:29am

Fri January 4, 2013
It's All Politics

Outspoken Alan Grayson Gets Another Chance In Congress

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 9:24 am

After losing his bid for re-election in 2010, Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida is back in Congress after winning a safer district.
Evan Vucci AP

Among the more than 80 House freshmen who were sworn in this week, there were several who had been there before — including Florida Democrat Alan Grayson.

After starting his first term four years ago, Grayson quickly made a name for himself with biting comments targeting Republicans — like when he said during the health care debate: "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."

His national stature didn't prevent him from being defeated in 2010. But now Grayson is back.

'The People United'

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3:28am

Fri January 4, 2013
Science

From Canada To Latin America, The Christmas Bird Count Is On

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 8:46 am

From left, bird-watchers John Williamson, Donna Quinn, Bruce Hill and Frances Raskin try to spot as many different species as possible during this season's bird count in Loudoun County, Va.
Veronique LaCapra NPR

Every year at around this time, tens of thousands of people take part in a kind of bird-watching marathon. From Canada to Latin America and throughout the United States, participants will get up in the middle of the night. Some brave frigid winter temperatures, and many do whatever else it takes to count as many birds as they can in 24 hours.

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3:28am

Fri January 4, 2013
Energy

Drilling For Facts Under The 'Promised Land' Fiction

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 11:41 am

Matt Damon's character in the movie Promised Land comes to town to convince a landowner to allow a gas company to drill on his property.
Scott Green Focus Features

There is plenty in the movie Promised Land that will prompt energy industry insiders to roll their eyes. But the overall issues explored in the film, which is being widely released in theaters Friday, are very real.

A process called hydraulic fracturing has led to drilling booms that are transforming rural communities into industrial zones. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," makes it possible to tap into natural gas reservoirs deep underground. But first, gas companies have to convince landowners to allow them to drill.

The Natural Gas Pitch

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6:17pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Shots - Health News

You Can't See It, But You'll Be A Different Person In 10 Years

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:06 am

iStockphoto.com

No matter how old people are, they seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they'll be tomorrow.

That's according to fresh research that suggests that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize that they have changed in the past.

Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University who did this study with two colleagues, says that he's no exception to this rule.

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6:15pm

Thu January 3, 2013
The Two-Way

Kansas Presses Sperm Donor To Pay Child Support

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 7:36 pm

A Kansas man's decision to donate sperm to help a lesbian couple conceive a child in 2009 has landed him in a complicated legal case, as a state agency is now pursuing him for child support payments. William Marotta, 46, is asking a judge to dismiss the case, which has grabbed national attention.

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5:36pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Energy

Wind Industry Secures Tax Credit, But Damage May Be Done

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 6:10 pm

Wind turbines dwarf a church near Wilson, Kan. Although Congress voted to extend a wind energy tax credit, the temporary uncertainty dealt a blow to the industry.
Charlie Riedel AP

The wind energy industry is dependent on something even more unpredictable than wind: Congress. Hidden in the turmoil over the "fiscal cliff" compromise was a tax credit for wind energy.

Uncertainty over the credit had lingered long before the last-minute political push, causing the industry to put off further long-term planning. So while the now-approved tax credit revives prospects for an industry facing tens of thousands of layoffs, don't expect to see many new turbines coming up soon.

Growing Uncertainty

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5:29pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

After Sandy, Can The Jersey Shore Come Home Again?

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 8:25 pm

A woman walks past a cabana complex pulled off its foundations by Superstorm Sandy in Sea Bright, N.J., in November.
Seth Wenig AP

Think about it and you'll start to realize how important the Jersey shore is to American culture. Sure there's the television show Jersey Shore, but there are more enduring signs. Consider the board game Monopoly; properties are named after Atlantic City locations. And during a television fundraiser for Superstorm Sandy victims in November, comedian Jimmy Fallon talked specifically about the Jersey Shore.

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5:10pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Politics

New Congress Already Has Full Plate With Spending Cuts, Debt Ceiling

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 6:10 pm

The 113th Senate formally began on Thursday, with fully one-fifth of them women, the highest percentage to date. Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke a year ago, also made his return.

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