10:51am

Sun December 2, 2012
It's All Politics

No Deal On 'Fiscal Cliff' Without Tax Increase On Rich, Geithner Says

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 11:50 am

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, seen here on NBC's Meet the Press on July 10, 2011, took to the Sunday talk shows to make the administration's case on the negotiations over the "fiscal cliff."
William B. Plowman AP

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner took to the Sunday talk shows to push the Obama administration's plan to avert the "fiscal cliff," saying that while he was optimistic about a deal with Republicans, there would be no agreement without an increase in tax rates for the top 2 percent of income earners.

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3:14am

Sun December 2, 2012
Education

Pencils Down? French Plan Would End Homework

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 4:39 pm

President Francois Hollande argues that homework puts poor children at a disadvantage, but others argue the extra work is needed to help those students succeed.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.

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2:59am

Sun December 2, 2012
Asia

In Pakistan, Secrets Of A 3,000-Year-Old Cemetery

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 12:46 pm

The graves were apparently opened and reopened multiple times, serving more than one generation.
Courtesy of ACT Project

High on a hill overlooking Pakistan's scenic Swat Valley sits a recently excavated cemetery. Italian archaeologist Luca Maria Olivieri walks across the site and lays a sun-beaten hand on a clay slab jutting out from a high, dun-colored wall. It's an ancient grave.

Olivieri says the remains still have to be carbon-tested, but archaeologists believe the graves contain members of a Dardic community, which dominated this part of Pakistan 3,000 years ago.

It's believed Alexander the Great fought one of his battles here, in the village of Udegram.

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2:58am

Sun December 2, 2012
Afghanistan

Afghans Begin New Exodus, Often At Great Cost

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 5:00 am

Afghan families walk along a dusty road in Kabul, the Afghan capital, last month. In the latest in a series of dramatic inflows and outflows, more Afghans are leaving the country than returning, fueled by unease about next year's withdrawal of NATO forces.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Convulsed by war and civil strife for decades, Afghanistan has experienced some of the largest ebbs and flows of migration anywhere in the world.

It began with the Soviet invasion in 1979, which sent millions of Afghans fleeing to Iran and Pakistan. When the Taliban were driven from power in 2001, many Afghans began returning home.

Now, the country has hit another milestone: For the first time since 2002 and the beginning of the current war in Afghanistan, the country has a negative migration rate — more Afghans are leaving than returning.

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2:58am

Sun December 2, 2012
All Tech Considered

The Sight Of Road Kill Makes A Pretty, Data-Rich Picture

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 1:26 pm

When wildlife ecologist Danielle Garneau finds roadkill, she uploads data about it onto her smartphone.
Sarah Harris NCPR

Wildlife ecologist Danielle Garneau is making a habit of tracking down roadkill. She actually seeks it out, hunting for clues about larger ecological trends. Garneau records it all on a free smartphone app, EpiCollect.

Standing by the side of the road in upstate New York, phone in hand, Garneau peers down at a dead, bloody and smelly skunk.

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12:20am

Sun December 2, 2012
It's All Politics

The 3 Unofficial GOP Rules That Are Making A Deficit Deal Even Harder

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 4:40 pm

House Speaker John Boehner takes questions during a news conference Friday on Capitol Hill.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Making an already head-splittingly difficult deal on the fiscal cliff even harder to resolve is a set of three rules by which the Republicans who run the House play.

These are not official regulations; they're more shibboleths that House GOP leaders have adopted in recent years. And those rules are leaving House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, little room to maneuver as lawmakers try to avoid a set of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year.

1. "The majority of the majority"

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12:09am

Sun December 2, 2012
Europe

Ach! No End In Sight For Berlin Airport Woes

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 4:54 am

The opening date of Germany's new Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg International Airport has been delayed three times due to construction delays and safety concerns.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Germans are famous for their efficiency and being on time. But a much-delayed, expensive new airport in the German capital, Berlin, is rapidly destroying that reputation.

Located in the former East Berlin neighborhood of Schoenefeld, the new airport is to replace three others that serviced passengers in the once-divided city. One of those, Tempelhof — made famous by the Allied airlifts of food and supplies during the Soviet blockade of the late 1940s — is already closed.

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2:25pm

Sat December 1, 2012
Business

Beauty Pageant Economics: The Sash Isn't Cheap

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 7:03 am

Jessica Bermudez, 24, models a dress at Deja Vu in Alexandria, Va. Bermudez is competing for the title of Miss District of Columbia USA, and says she regularly enters beauty pageants.
Coburn Dukehart NPR

Miss America's walk might look effortless, but her road to success probably cost more than you think.

Ten-thousand women will compete in a Miss USA-sponsored pageant this year. That organization is just one of more than 15 small circuits, each with its own local, state and national competitions. It's a big industry. From the organizers, designers and coaches, lots of people make money — except the contestants.

Twenty-four women are in the running to become the latest Miss District of Columbia USA.

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9:39am

Sat December 1, 2012
It's All Politics

Think Congressional Gridlock Is Bad? If Reid Changes Filibuster Rules, Look Out

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 9:44 am

Jimmy Stewart in a scene from the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
AP

Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, was clearly frustrated with the tactics some of his colleagues were using to gum up the legislative process.

The mere threat of a filibuster of a procedural motion to allow the defense authorization bill to be considered on the floor caused the Senate's leadership to balk at scheduling the legislation at all.

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8:52am

Sat December 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Reports: Kansas City Chiefs Player Shoots, Kills Self

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:45 am

Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

A Kansas City Chiefs player shot and killed himself at Arrowhead Stadium early Saturday morning after fatally shooting his girlfriend.

Police say linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, shot the woman at her home, then drove to a training facility at the stadium just east of Kansas City, Mo. When police arrived at the scene, according to reporter Laura Ziegler of member station KCUR, they found Belcher with a pistol to his head, thanking team coaches for everything they had done for him.

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