12:27pm

Wed September 26, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Scientists Go Deep On Genes Of SARS-Like Virus

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:51 am

Cheryl Gleasner, a research technologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, works with a genome sequencing machine designed for disease surveillance. Since the SARS epidemic in 2003, advances in sequencing technologies have greatly speed up the ability to detect and track a new virus.
Ross D. Franklin AP

When an unknown virus emerges, disease detectives turn to gene sequencers — not magnifying glasses — to identify the culprit.

So when a new type of coronavirus killed a man in Saudia Arabia and hospitalized another in the U.K., investigators got cracking.

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12:22pm

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

Freddie Mac Didn't Harm Homeowners, Inspector General Says

In January, NPR and ProPublica reported on a potential conflict of interest at Freddie Mac, a mortgage giant sponsored by the federal government. The stories noted that even as Freddie Mac was writing rules making it harder for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, it also was stepping up investments in securities that gain when homeowners remain stuck in high-rate loans.

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12:02pm

Wed September 26, 2012
Arts & Culture

Today's Local Music: Mark Goldenberg

Today we're featuring the melodic finger-style guitar of long-time session player Mark Goldenberg.

Goldenberg -- who has played lead guitar for Jackson Brown since the Nineties -- is one of a trio of guitar masters taking part in the Acoustic Guitar Summit on Sunday, September 30th, at the Freight & Salvage Coffee House in Berkeley. The show starts at 8pm.

12:00pm

Wed September 26, 2012
Asia

Tokyo's Governor Stokes The Island Feud With China

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 11:25 pm

China, Japan and Taiwan all claim the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands as sovereign territory. On Tuesday, coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan dueled with water cannons after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around the islands.
Yomiuri Shimbun AFP/Getty Images

Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.

Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.

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11:41am

Wed September 26, 2012
Author Interviews

'Sutton': America's 1920s, Bank-Robbing 'Robin Hood'

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 11:49 am

Hyperion

After the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer was so angry at banks, he says, he decided to write about the people who rob them — in the form of fiction, since he's not an economist.

"I thought it would be healthy to live vicariously through a bank robber at that moment that bankers were ruining the world," Moehringer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

In his first historical novel, Sutton, Moehringer writes from the point of view of Willie Sutton, whom he calls the "greatest American bank robber."

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10:53am

Wed September 26, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's Nevada Problems Explained By A Political Scientist Who Voted For Him

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 2:04 pm

Mitt Romney at a Las Vegas fundraiser last week.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Nevada, with its six electoral votes, is far from the biggest Election Day prize sought by President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

But in a race that could be so close that neither candidate can afford to concede a single electoral vote, Nevada is being courted by the candidates to a degree far greater than its size would suggest.

Also, while Obama carried the state by 12 percentages points in 2008, the Great Recession hit the state hard, with widespread foreclosures and high unemployment.

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10:50am

Wed September 26, 2012
Dispatches from Kolkata

Missed Connections in a Mobile World


The leader of the world’s biggest democracy and one of the most powerful women in the country said they just couldn’t manage to talk to each other. "I waited and waited but didn’t even get a text message" said the chief minister. "But I left two messages and she didn’t answer" said the Prime Minister’s office......


 

10:41am

Wed September 26, 2012
World

Badger Battle: British Animal Lovers Protest Cull

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 2:54 pm

Badgers have been blamed for spreading disease among cattle in Britain. But a campaign to cull the badgers has been met with opposition from prominent figures like Queen guitarist Brian May, who joined this rally in Bristol earlier this month.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

The badger, a stalwart of BBC nature programs, is one of Britain's most beloved animals and is a protected species.

To many English dairy farmers, though, this timid omnivore with the black and white stripes is a mobile biological weapon, exposing their cows to bovine tuberculosis through its urine and saliva.

And they've persuaded the British government to sanction extreme measures.

This month, the government issued licenses allowing trained marksmen to wipe out 70 percent of the badger populations in two pilot areas.

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10:36am

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

Young Man Who Helped Capture Gadhafi Dies After Being Tortured

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 10:58 am

Friends and relatives of Omran Ben Shabaan carried his coffin Tuesday after it arrived as the airport in Misrata, Libya.
AFP/Getty Images

A year ago, Omran Ben Shaaban was among the young men who helped capture Moammar Gadhafi as the former Libyan leader tried to hide in a drainage ditch.

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10:27am

Wed September 26, 2012
Animals

Mammalian Surprise: African Mouse Can Regrow Skin

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 2:54 pm

The African spiny mouse has the ability to regrow large patches of skin and hair without scarring.
Ashley W. Seifert Nature

Scientists have discovered that a mouse found in Africa can lose large patches of skin and then grow it back without scarring, perhaps as a way of escaping the clutches of a predator.

The finding challenges the conventional view that mammals have an extremely limited ability to replace injured body parts. There are lizards that can regrow lost tails, salamanders that can replace amputated legs, and fish that can generate new fins, but humans and other mammals generally patch up wounds with scar tissue.

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