9:59am

Wed July 18, 2012
Health and Welfare

Beshear Establishes Insurance Exchange

As Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order to establish a state insurance exchange this afternoon, lawmakers voted along party lines against a lease that would have housed employees of the exchange, once again illustrating the divisive nature of the controversial Affordable Care Act. Members of the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee voted 4-3 against the nearly $300,00-per-year lease, with Sen. Tom Buford of Nicholasville, Sen. Jared Carpenter of Berea, Rep. Steven Rudy of Paducah— all Republicans — voting no, along with Independent Sen. Bob Leeper of Paducah.

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9:59am

Wed July 18, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

FDA Approves Second Diet Drug In A Month

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:14 pm

The range of Qsymia doses approved by the Food and Drug Administration Tuesday.
AP

After a 13-year hiatus, the Food and Drug Administration gave its OK to the second weight-loss drug in a month.

This time it's Qsymia, previously called Qnexa, from Vivus. The pill contains two active ingredients: topiramate, an anti-seizure medicine, and phentermine, a stimulant.

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9:57am

Wed July 18, 2012
World

Syrian Regime Hit By Deadly Blast In Damascus

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's follow up now on what appears to be a serious blow to the regime in Syria today. A blast repeatedly killed the country's defense chief, the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad and wounded other top officials. This explosion, we're told, occurred inside the tightly guarded national security headquarters in Damascus. To sort out what we know, or don't know, about this incident so far, we've called Neil MacFarquar. He's a correspondent for the New York Times. He's in Beirut. Welcome back to the program.

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9:26am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Housing Starts Hit Four-Year High; Bernanke Heads Back To Capitol Hill

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

In Phoenix earlier this month, workers were framing this new home.
Matt York AP

There's more evidence that the housing sector is on the mend and may be the sector of the economy that's got the most going for it these days.

According to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development there was a 6.9 percent increase in "housing starts" last month. At an annual rate of 760,000, ground-breaking for construction of single-family homes, apartments and condominiums the pace hit a four-year high, The Associated Press says.

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8:43am

Wed July 18, 2012
All Politics are Local

Luallen Refuses Run for US Senate

Former Auditor Crit Luallen says she will not challenge Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014. Luallen has long been considered to be among the best-situated Democrats to unseat McConnell. She served two terms as auditor and many political observers credit her with raising the office's profile during her tenure. Luallen also served in former Governor Paul Patton's administration for several years. But the long-time public servant tells Kentucky Public Radio she will not enter the 2014 race.

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8:40am

Wed July 18, 2012
Business and the Economy

Kentucky Chamber Increasingly Conservative

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is taking a firmer stand on conservative issues. Republican legislators have criticized the chamber in the past for supporting Democratic-led proposals like expanded gambling and a higher dropout age while staying quiet on so-called right to work and prevailing wage laws.

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8:40am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Iceberg Twice The Size Of Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier In Greenland

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:30 am

A view of the glacier taken Tuesday. Inside the square: the iceberg that broke off.
NASA Earth Observatory

A huge iceberg that's about twice the size of Manhattan has broken off the Petermann Glacier in Greenland — the same sheet of ice that just two years ago "calved" another massive berg.

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7:56am

Wed July 18, 2012
Around the Nation

Following Up On Tuesday's Feline Mayor Story

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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7:48am

Wed July 18, 2012
Media

Gotcha Story Idea Backfires On Conservative Blogger

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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7:30am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Syrian Defense Minister Killed In Explosion, State TV Says

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:49 am

Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha last September.
Syrian Arab News Agency AFP/Getty Images

The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad took a dramatic turn today when an explosion at a government building in Damascus killed the country's defense minister and a brother-in-law of the president.

Syrian state TV, which is reporting the deaths, has blamed a suicide bomber. There have been at least two claims of responsiblity from groups opposed to the Assad regime. There are also reports that the bomber was a member of the Assad inner circle's security team.

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