5:44pm

Fri March 23, 2012
Religion

Thousands Rally For Religious Freedom Nationwide

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 6:50 pm

Protesters rally for religious freedom in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall on Friday. Rallies took place nationwide to protest the mandate that some religious organizations cover the cost of contraception.
Alex Brandon AP

Across the country, thousands of people skipped lunch Friday to protest what they see as a threat to religious liberties in the United States.

The protesters' specific complaint was the birth control mandate in the new health care law, but the discontent runs far deeper.

It didn't take much for the Rev. Pat Mahoney, an evangelical minister, to warm up the crowd in Washington. He gazed out at hundreds of people who filled the plaza in front of Kathleen Sebelius' office at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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5:19pm

Fri March 23, 2012
Election 2012

How Would A President Romney Handle Afghanistan?

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 6:17 pm

In this 2005 photo, then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney presents Afghan President Hamid Karzai with a memento at Boston's Logan Airport. Karzai was preparing to speak at Boston University's commencement.
Dina Rudick AP

An Army staff sergeant's alleged massacre of Afghan civilians has brought new calls for the United States to leave Afghanistan even before the timetable set by President Obama, who has announced that the U.S. combat mission will be over by the end of 2014.

Some Republican presidential candidates are among those publicly asking if now is the time for the U.S. to leave Afghanistan.

But not Mitt Romney.

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5:18pm

Fri March 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Calif. Exec Pleads Guilty In Huge Tomato Price-Fixing Scheme

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 5:21 pm

Frederick Scott Salyer, 56, has pleaded guilty in a massive tomato price fixing scheme that investigators say affected almost every American home.

Salyer, the former chief executive officer of SK Foods LP, said he bribed purchasers and fixed prices for the sale of his tomato products to McCain Foods USA Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc.

The AP reports:

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4:55pm

Fri March 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Report: Mine Safety Agency 'Could Have Prevented' Deadly Disaster

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 6:40 pm

An independent review of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) enforcement at the Upper Big Branch (UBB) coal mine in West Virginia says the agency failed to spot "a number of enforcement deficiencies" at the mine which were major factors in the April 2010 explosion that took 29 lives.

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4:53pm

Fri March 23, 2012
The Salt

Europe's Mixed Record On Animal Antibiotics

Pigs take a mud bath at the De Jofrahoeve pig farm in Esch, Netherlands. Dutch farmers treat their animals with almost three times the antibiotics that their Danish neighbors use.
Robin Utrecht AFP/Getty Images

If Danish pigs can live with fewer antibiotics, why can't their American cousins?

It's a hot topic, especially today. Yesterday, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed with a 1977 plan to outlaw the use of certain antibiotics as growth promotion drugs.

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4:53pm

Fri March 23, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Why Getting Grimy As A Child Can Make For A Healthier Life

Maybe the kids would be healthier if Mom skipped this sometimes.
iStockphoto.com

We've known for a while that people who grow up on farms are less likely to have ailments related to the immune system than people who grow up in cities. Those include asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

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4:43pm

Fri March 23, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Census Show Asians Are Fastest Growing Racial Group

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 6:37 am

Growth of Asian Population
NPR Using Census Data

Asians are the fastest growing racial group according to a recent report released by the U.S. Census Bureau analyzing 2000 and 2010 census figures.

For those following the nation's changing demographics that may sound surprising because we've also been hearing that Hispanics are the "fastest growing minority group."

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4:34pm

Fri March 23, 2012
Asia

Along Korea's DMZ, No Sign That Tensions Are Easing

Originally published on Sun March 25, 2012 5:35 pm

With a new leader in North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea are watching for clues of his policies. But so far tensions have not eased along the demilitarized zone. Here, two North Korean soldiers look across at a South Korean soldier on Dec. 2.
Lee Jae-Won Reuters/Landov

Cold winds blow through pine trees and across nearby mountains. On the horizon are guard posts and cameras. There's little movement, except for wildlife.

U.S. Lt. Col. Ed Taylor, lives and works on the Korean armistice line that has divided North and South for almost six decades. He even sleeps in a bed right next to North Korea.

"I cannot compare it to anything I've ever done. And I say that with 23 years in the Army and two deployments to Iraq," Taylor says.

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4:08pm

Fri March 23, 2012
It's All Politics

Trayvon Martin Tragedy Edges Onto Presidential Campaign Trail

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 5:44 pm

President Obama heading to the White House Rose Garden, on Friday, March 23, 2012, where he made his first public comments about the Trayvon Martin.
Charles Dharapak AP

Pressure had been building on President Obama for days to say something about the killing of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer, and on Friday the president finally did.

And almost as soon as he did, some people suspected him of a cynical election-year attempt to appeal to black voters, judging by the reaction by some on social media and conservative sites. Martin was African American, his killer of mixed white and Hispanic parentage.

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4:06pm

Fri March 23, 2012
Judging The Health Care Law

The Legal Wunderkind Challenging The Health Law

Former Solicitor General Paul D. Clement speaks during a forum at the Georgetown University Law Center on March 9. Clement will be arguing against President Obama's health care act in the Supreme Court next week.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Paul Clement is, quite simply, a walking superlative. A wunderkind who at age 34 became deputy solicitor general and then was promoted to the top spot, solicitor general of the United States, becoming the youngest person to hold that post in more than a century. Now 45, he has argued an astonishing 57 cases before the Supreme Court, more than any other lawyer since 2000. And next week, he will lead the challenge to the Obama health care overhaul, in the Supreme Court.

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