3:08pm

Mon December 3, 2012
World

U.S. Steps Up Aid (But No Arms) To Syrian Exiles

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:12 pm

Rajiv Shah (left), the head of USAID, speaks with children during a visit at the Oncupinar Syrian refugee camp in Turkey, near the Syrian border, on Nov. 27.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration remains wary about arming Syria's rebels. But when it comes to humanitarian aid, the U.S. contribution, over $250 million, is second only to Turkey.

Then there is non-lethal aid, an additional $50 million for communication equipment and training courses.

If you are surprised by the numbers, so are Syrian activists, who say American support is still almost invisible on the ground. Now, U.S. officials are highlighting the American aid profile.

High-Profile Visit

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3:08pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Around the Nation

New York, Orthodox Jews Clash Over Circumcision

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 5:25 pm

Rabbi A. Romi Cohn, a noted mohel, prepares an infant for circumcision at Congregation Shaare Zion in Brooklyn on Sept. 4. Cohn opposes a New York City rule requiring parental consent for a type of circumcision ritual practiced by some Orthodox Jews.
Michael Nagle for The New York Times Redux

An ancient circumcision ritual is at the center of a present-day legal battle in New York.

The New York City Department of Health wants to require parental consent for a controversial circumcision practice, which it says can spread the herpes virus. But several Jewish organizations are suing to block the new rule, which they say violates their freedom of religion.

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2:23pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Space

NASA Scientists 'Very Careful' With New Mars Data

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:22 pm

This photo, taken by NASA's Curiosity rover, shows Mars' Gale Crater, where the rover has taken samples for chemical analysis. Scientists believe that at some point in the very distant past, there was a riverbed here.
AP

NASA is finally receiving data on Martian soil samples from Curiosity, its rover currently traversing the red planet. The results from the soil samples hint at something exciting, but rover scientists are making very sure not to raise expectations.

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2:23pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Africa

Malians In The South Want Islamists Out Of The North

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:08 pm

People originally from northern Mali carry signs that call for military action to retake that part of the country, now under the control of Islamist militants. The rally was held in Mali's capital, Bamako, in October.
Harouna Traore AP

In the southern part of Mali, which includes the capital, Bamako, it's not hard to find people who are angry about the Islamist militants who have taken over the country's north.

But there's little reason to believe the Islamists will be ousted soon. The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet this week to discuss plans for a 3,300-strong regional force to enter Mali. But it is unlikely any sort of military operation will take place in the near future.

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2:19pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Africa

Is Morsi Morphing Into Authoritarian He Opposed?

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:08 pm

Egyptian protesters hold a banner depicting Morsi as a pharaoh, during a rally expressing opposition to Morsi's decrees, in Cairo, on Nov. 23.
Andre Pain EPA/Landov

When Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was elected, some Egyptians jokingly referred to him as the Muslim Brotherhood's "spare tire." He was the backup candidate of the Islamist organization, whose first choice for the presidency was barred from running.

But Morsi has proved much more formidable than many Egyptians believed.

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2:18pm

Mon December 3, 2012
It's All Politics

Closing Tax Loopholes Easier In Theory Than In Political Practice

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:08 pm

As leaders in Washington try to make a deal to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts slated to go into effect in the new year, one major focus of the negotiations is whether to let taxes go up on the rich.

The Obama administration wants to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for top earners. House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans have countered with a proposal that they say would raise revenue through ending loopholes and deductions in the tax code and would not increase tax rates.

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2:17pm

Mon December 3, 2012
The Two-Way

House GOP Sends Obama Its 'Fiscal Cliff' Counteroffer

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:26 pm

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner arrives for a news conference in November.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Leaders of the Republican-controlled House sent President Obama a counteroffer that would avoid the fiscal cliff and cut $2.2 trillion from the country's deficit over the next decade.

According to NPR's David Welna, the bottom line is that it achieves those cuts with $800 billion in new tax revenue and the rest through a combination of cuts to entitlements.

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2:15pm

Mon December 3, 2012
The Salt

Can Big Food Kick Its Obesity Habit? Does It Really Want To?

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 10:11 am

A sign protesting a beverage tax in Richmond, Calif. The U.S. soft drink industry has fought proposals that would put a tax on sugar sweetened beverages like sodas and energy drinks.
Braden Reddall Reuters /Landov

A few days ago, two big names in food policy squared off for a formal debate on the following proposition: There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the food and beverage industry's interests and public health policy interests on obesity.

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1:54pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Shots - Health News

Evidence Mounts Linking Head Hits To Permanent Brain Injury

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:57 am

Dr. Ann McKee, professor of neurology and pathology of Boston University School of Medicine and co-director of the Veterans Affairs Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, inspects a brain in the Bedford Veteran Medical Center last year.
Stan Grossfeld Boston Globe via Getty Images

Researchers at Boston University have found more evidence supporting a link between repeated knocks to the head and chronic brain disease.

The results, just published in the journal Brain, add weight to concerns about the effect of repeated mild head trauma in athletes, whether they're pros or peewees.

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1:07pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Monkey See

PBS Remixes 'Reading Rainbow,' Delights Map And Book Nerds Everywhere

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 1:48 pm

LeVar Burton and 7 year old Shane Ammon exploring the all Reading Rainbow adventure app at the "Reading Rainbow Relaunch" event in June.
AP

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