5:15pm

Wed May 2, 2012
All Tech Considered

Explosion In Free Online Classes May Change Course Of Higher Education

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

It's become much cheaper and easier to offer classes online.
Matjaz Boncina iStockphoto.com

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are teaming up in a $60 million venture to provide classes online for free. The move is the latest by top universities to expand their intellectual reach through the Internet — a trend that is changing higher education.

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4:48pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Middle East

A Syrian Graffiti Artist, Defiant Until Death

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

Zahra was an anti-government activist and graffiti artist in Syria. He and his friends spray-painted slogans against President Bashar Assad around the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital.
Courtesy of friends of Nour Hatem Zahra

They called him "the spray man" for his graffiti that appeared all over the Syrian capital of Damascus. But in truth, 23-year-old Nour Hatem Zahra was an activist like any other activist.

He started protesting in Syria last spring. Back then, the opposition thought it would only take a few months to get rid of President Bashar Assad, as it had in Tunisia and Egypt.

Then Syrian forces started killing protesters, detaining them, torturing them. And the people started fighting back.

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4:45pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Latin America

Cuba's New Mantra: Viva Private Business

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 6:26 pm

Two self-employed florists prepare bunches of flowers in Havana last year. The Cuban government is stepping up economic reforms and estimates that in four or five years, nearly half the workforce will be employed in the private sector.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Socialism has been Cuba's official economic policy for more than a half-century, and some 85 percent of the Cuban workforce is employed by the state.

But that is changing fast. Communist authorities say that nearly half of Cuba's economic activity will shift to the private or "non-state" sector in the next four or five years.

Those plans signal a new urgency to Cuban President Raul Castro's economic reforms, and one reason is that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the island's biggest benefactor, is battling cancer and facing re-election in October.

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4:21pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Europe

In Greek Election Campaign, Anger Trumps Civility

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 6:26 pm

Communist Party of Greece lawmaker Liana Kanelli enters her car after protesters threw yogurt at her as she tried to reach the Greek Parliament on June 29, during a 48-hour general strike in Athens. Such attacks are not uncommon in Greece, where ordinary Greeks' anger over the debt crisis and austerity measures is boiliing over.
AFP/Getty Images

Greeks will vote Sunday in what is expected to be the most fractious parliamentary election in decades.

People are so divided that no party is expected to get enough votes to form a government. Voters blame politicians for bankrupting the country and then selling it out to international lenders, who forced the government to impose painful austerity measures in exchange for billions of euros in bailout loans.

This election is an early one; the economic crisis forced out the previous elected government led by George Papandreou.

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4:15pm

Wed May 2, 2012
The Salt

Lard Is Back In The Larder, But Hold The Health Claims

Could you taste the lard in a freshly-baked crust?
Steven Depolo Flickr.com

What secret ingredient makes the pie crust so crisp and flaky? If you're from the Midwest, you may have guessed: Lard. The pig fat reviled for decades as supremely unhealthy is undergoing a lipid rehabilitation by American chefs and home bakers.

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4:14pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Afghanistan

What The Afghanistan Deal Means For U.S. Troops

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 6:26 pm

President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a long-term partnership agreement on Tuesday in Kabul. The deal calls for the U.S. to remain engaged in Afghanistan for another decade, even as U.S. combat troops are withdrawn. Still, there are few details in the agreement. Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and talks to Audie Cornish about the practical implications of the new deal.

4:03pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Monkey See

Studios To Movie Fans: Take Our Clips, Please

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

Robert Duvall and Al Pacino in a scene from The Godfather Part II.
AP

Maybe you needed a good cry, but you were at work and didn't have easy access to your DVD of "The Notebook." So, you searched for that heart wrenching break-up scene on YouTube and let the tears flow freely.

Could be, nostalgic for times past when "real" men wore suits and drank bourbon, you were itching to watch Humphrey Bogart tell Ingrid Bergman, "Here's lookin' at you kid."

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3:55pm

Wed May 2, 2012
State Capitol

Battle over ALEC Reaches Commonwealth

A national battle between two legislative groups has reached Kentucky. The advocacy group Common Cause is asking federal agencies to remove the non-profit tax-exempt status of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.  ALEC provides lawmakers with sample legislation and talking points, often to promote conservative issues, and Common Cause says the organization is a lobbying group.

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3:46pm

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Former NFL Player Junior Seau Is Dead; Possible Suicide

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 4:36 pm

Junior Seau in 2009, when he played with the New England Patriots.
Elsa Getty Images

San Diego's Union Tribune reports that former NFL linebacker Junior Seau "has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at his beachfront home."

It adds that:

"Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said he was notified of the death and is on his way to be with family members."

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3:40pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Newt Gingrich

Gingrich Formally Ends Campaign, 'A Truly Wild Ride'

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:06 am

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announces he is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on May 2 in Arlington, Va.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

What to say about Newt Gingrich that Newt Gingrich hasn't already said about Newt Gingrich?

Employing his admittedly "grandiose" ideas, Gingrich said all that he could to will his candidacy for president past low expectations. He arguably did, managing to resurrect his political career (at least temporarily), help focus the zeitgeist of conservative voters and even briefly wear the mantle of front-runner.

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