5:09pm

Wed March 21, 2012
Space

Spacecraft's Wild Ride To Mercury Yields Surprises

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 6:40 pm

The Messenger spacecraft is depicted over the Calvino Crater on Mercury in this enhanced-color image of the planet's surface.
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

There's a small spacecraft called Messenger that's been orbiting the planet Mercury for a year. Today, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, astronomers revealed what they've learned about the innermost planet in our solar system, and some of the new knowledge is puzzling.

Maria Zuber, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied a large crater 900 miles across called Caloris.

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5:02pm

Wed March 21, 2012
Law

High Court Throws Out Conviction In 'Bad Lawyer' Case

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown on Capitol Hill in April 2011, wrote the court's ruling Wednesday that for the most part, plea bargaining determines "who goes to jail and for how long. It is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system. It is the criminal justice system."
Evan Vucci AP

For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that defendants have a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel in plea bargains. In a 5-4 decision Wednesday, the court went further, declaring that when a lawyer acts unethically or gives clearly wrong advice, the defendant may be entitled to a second chance at accepting a plea offer.

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5:00pm

Wed March 21, 2012
Middle East

As Illegal Immigrants Increase, Israel Plans To Act

Originally published on Sun March 25, 2012 9:08 am

Israel says it will begin taking tougher action against illegal immigrants, many of whom are from Africa. Here, African immigrants demand the right to stay in Israel during a protest in Tel Aviv on Aug. 1, 2009.
Yehuda Raizner AFP/Getty Images

The place is Tel Aviv, but it doesn't look at all like Israel: Dozens of African men are sitting on broken stools and plastic at a makeshift restaurant.

Sudanese fare is on the menu. The men scoop up the stews and salads that remind them of home.

Abdullah Mohammad Mustafa started this restaurant with a couple of other African men who arrived in Israel five years ago from Sudan's troubled Darfur region. They are among some 40,000 Africans who have come to Israel illegally, and many have congregated in neighborhoods in Tel Aviv.

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4:30pm

Wed March 21, 2012
The Salt

Into The Wild Science Of Sourdough Bread-making

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 4:50 pm

Margaret Palca in her bakery in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Chris Eichler for NPR

My sister is no science writer, and I'm no baker, but recently our worlds melded in a surprising way.

Here's what happened: Last October, I attended a workshop on artisanal bread and cheese-making at Salt Water Farms in Lincolnville, Maine. Farm manager Ladleah Dunn introduced us to the concept of making sourdough bread with levain, or starter, instead of packaged yeast.

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4:29pm

Wed March 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Adviser's 'Etch A Sketch' Comment Draws Flak From Rivals

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 1:18 pm

iStockphoto.com

Instead of taking a victory lap after a big win in Illinois, Mitt Romney's campaign ended up with another gaffe to clean up Wednesday.

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4:07pm

Wed March 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Dutch Catholic Church Is Accused Of Castrating Boys

Dutch lawmakers are calling for a parliamentary hearing, today, after new allegations of abuse by the Catholic Church surfaced over the weekend. This time, an investigation by the newspaper NRC Handelsblad found that Catholic-run institutions had surgically castrated young boys.

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4:00pm

Wed March 21, 2012
The Record

Reggae In The U.K.: A Steady Force

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 8:44 pm

Music For 'Disenfranchised Working-Class Youth': The British reggae band Steel Pulse formed in Birmingham in 1975. Mykaell Riley is third from the left.
Echoes/Redfern Getty Images

3:35pm

Wed March 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Aspirin Might Reduce Cancer Risk, But It Has Risks, Too

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 5:57 pm

Aspirin helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but the jury's still out on cancer.
iStockphoto.com

Regular aspirin use might reduce the risk of cancer by as much as 38 percent, according to a big new review of research on the issue. But "might" is the key word here, other scientists say. And even if it works, that benefit comes with costs, including an increased risk of ulcers and internal bleeding.

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3:18pm

Wed March 21, 2012
State Capitol

Lowering the Minimum Age on Elected Offices

The minimum age to run for office in Kentucky could soon drop. House Bill 112 is a on track to clear the General Assembly soon. It would allow 21-year-olds to run for mayor and 18-year-olds to run for councils in Kentucky cities and towns. Currently, council members must be 21 and mayors must be 25. The bill has already cleared the House and it passed a Senate committee today.

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3:05pm

Wed March 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Wisconsin City Wonders: What Keeps Going Boom?

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 3:49 pm

As Green Bay's NBC26-TV shows, Clintonville's mysterious boom times are the "big story" in that part of Wisconsin.
NBC26

It's "the big story" in east central Wisconsin, as Green Bay's NBC26-TV reports:

Something keeps going boom in the city of Clintonville, and no one there has figured out for sure why it's happening.

For three days now, folks in Clintonville (population 4,600) have been rattled and rolled by noises that residents say sound like explosions and feel like little earthquakes.

City officials have mobilized work crews to get out to see if the noises are coming from gas lines or other pipes. No evidence was found.

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