2:38am

Sat December 22, 2012
U.S.

Democrats Slam NRA's Response To School Shooting

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 8:40 am

Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, speaks in response to the Connecticut school shootings, at a news conference in Washington on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

The nation's largest gun owners group had said little in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, broke that silence Friday with a call to place armed guards at all of the nation's schools.

The idea was met with immediate criticism from Democrats in Congress.

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2:38am

Sat December 22, 2012
Business

Naughty Or Nice? Retailers Use Smiles To Fight Self-Checkout Theft

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 8:40 am

Retailers are finding that shoplifting at self-serve checkout lines is surprisingly common.
Jessica Hill AP

3:10pm

Fri December 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Obama On Fiscal Cliff Talks: 'I Actually Still Think We Can Get It Done'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 3:13 pm

At a press conference Friday, President Obama urges Congress to pass a scaled-back package to avert end-of-year tax hikes and spending cuts.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

In a news conference Friday, President Obama said there were still things the parties could agree on about the automatic tax-rate increases and spending cuts at the end of the year. But he said parties would have to work together to get a plan approved in the next 10 days.

"Call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done," he said, after meeting with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and speaking to Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

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2:30pm

Fri December 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Kerry's Cabinet Nod Sets Off Massachusetts Senate Fight

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 2:55 pm

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., gets into his pickup truck after voting in Wrentham, Mass., on Nov. 6. Brown lost the election to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, but both he and his truck could be back on the campaign trail soon.
Gretchen Ertl AP

President Obama's nomination of Democrat John Kerry to be secretary of state sets off a chain of events that could put another Kennedy in the Senate, at least on an interim basis.

And it gives ousted Republican Scott Brown a fighting chance of returning to the Senate by midyear.

On Friday, Obama nominated Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, to replace Hillary Clinton as the nation's chief diplomat. A 27-year veteran of the Senate and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry should win easy Senate confirmation early in the new year.

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2:06pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Asia

Australians Urge U.S. To Look At Their Gun Laws

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 6:21 pm

After a 1996 mass killing, Australia tightened its gun laws. Here, graffiti covers the wall of the hospital holding the suspect of the massacre that left 35 people dead.
Rick Rycroft AP

A the U.S. wages a debate on its gun laws, some Australians are urging Americans to consider their experience.

For Australia, the turning point came on April 28, 1996, when a lone gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in Port Arthur, a popular tourist destination in the state of Tasmania.

Cathy Gordon was there that day, escorting six visiting musicians as part of her job with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. They were leaving a cafe just as the shooter, Martin Bryant, pulled out an AR-15 assault rifle.

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2:06pm

Fri December 21, 2012
It's All Politics

House GOP Leaves 'Lump Of Coal' In 'Fiscal Cliff' Negotiations

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 6:21 pm

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., speaks to reporters about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations at the Capitol on Friday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

In 10 days, virtually all Americans will be hit with a tax increase and deep government spending cuts will follow shortly behind. That is, unless Congress and President Obama can find a way to avert the "fiscal cliff."

It's not looking very promising at the moment. On Thursday night, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pulled the plug on a measure he was calling his "Plan B" and sent his members home for Christmas.

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2:06pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Asia

Japan's Economic Woes Offer Lessons To U.S.

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 6:21 pm

Japan's economy has been struggling for two decades and faces some of the same problems the U.S. has. Here, a man in Tokyo passes an electronic board displaying falling global markets.
Yuriko Nakao Reuters/Landov

In the 1980s, Japan appeared to be a world beater — the China of its day. Japanese companies were on a tear, buying up firms in the U.S. and property around the world.

But these days, Japan is considered a cautionary tale for post-industrial economies around the world. The country is facing its fourth recession in what are commonly known as the "lost decades."

Japan's story resonates this holiday season as American politicians try to reach a debt deal.

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2:06pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Free Toy Shop Brings Cheer To Sandy's Displaced Families

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 6:21 pm

Each FEMA-registered family with kids can pick out toys at the volunteer-run Staten Island store.
Margot Adler NPR

The New York borough of Staten Island was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Almost two months after the storm hit, many residents will not be back in their homes by the Christmas holiday.

One organization is trying to make the season a bit brighter for uprooted families with a free toy store on the island. This all-volunteer effort looks like a real toy store, but it feels more like a community of neighbors.

The shop boasts shelves filled with toys like model cars, Monopoly, dolls, craft supplies and books — almost everything you would want in a regular toy store.

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1:33pm

Fri December 21, 2012
U.S.

For NRA, There's Nothing To Debate About Guns

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, holds a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

The National Rifle Association won itself no new converts with its news conference Friday.

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1:25pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Shots - Health News

Online Education Didn't Boost Colon Cancer Screening Much

Kristen Miller, a colonoscopy patient, sits with Dr. Stephen Hanauer at the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago in 2010. They're looking at an interactive computer program describing benefits and risks of the procedure.
Brian Kersey AP

Turn 50, and you can pretty much count on an invitation to join the AARP and a referral to the gastroenterologist to be screened for colon cancer.

Two-thirds or less of people ages 50-75, the target range for colorectal cancer screening, are up-to-date on testing, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

That's better than it used to be, but still isn't up to par. The national screening goal is 70.5 percent of eligible people in 2020.

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