6:14pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Canada's Less Productive, Yet Gaining On U.S. Quality Of Life

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 7:09 pm

Canadians live it up, while Americans work. This is actually an October picture of Canada's national baseball team at the Pan American Games in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico.
Javier Galeano AP

According to Canada's statistics agency, Canadians are less productive than their U.S. counterparts, yet their standard of living gained 5 percent during the 14 year period they analyzed.

Now, the reasons for that argument are quite complex, but The Wall Street Journal boiled it down to a lesson Americans can take from their neighbors to the north: "Be less productive, live better."

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5:45pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Ditch This Massager, If It Shows Up Under The Christmas Tree

This massager could also strangle you, the Food and Drug Administration warns.
FDA

The ShoulderFlex massager looks harmless enough. But don't be fooled.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to use the product because it could kill or injure them. There were reports of one person being strangled by the device and another near-death by strangulation, the FDA says.

Clothing, hair and jewelry can get tangled up in the device's rotating parts. And that's a recipe for trouble.

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5:12pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Salt

A Christmas Pudding In The Mail Carries A Taste Of Home

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 8:35 am

The pudding's dark glossy dome is flamed with brandy and carried to the table before the shimmering blue aura dies away.
Chris Elwell iStockphoto.com

Any day now it will arrive stamped by the Royal Mail: a truly homemade Christmas pudding from my family in England.

My mother always made Christmas puddings. And before moving to the U.S., I would make two or three puddings every November, too. Now it's my sister and brother-in-law who keep up the tradition. They use a mid-Victorian recipe handed down to my brother-in-law's father by his mother, the former Miss Mortlock. She was a Quaker so these are teetotal puddings.

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5:06pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Faith and Values

Hanukkah Celebration in Central Kentucky

There are religious traditions which, carry the same meaning each year, but still undergo some evolution.  For example, a central Kentucky Rabbi has noticed several changes in the way Hanukkah is celebrated.  Hanukkah, or the festival of lights, runs until December 28th .  The eight day religious holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem at the time of the second century Maccabean revolt. It’s not unusual to see attendance at Christian churches grow this time of year.   And, Rabbi Moshe Smolkin of Ohavay Zion temple says a similar trend is often seen in synagogues.

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4:58pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Russian Billionaire Buys Daughter $88M New York Pad

15 Central Park West.
Google Street View

The New York Post simply called it "the best Christmas present ever."

And would you disagree? Dmitry Rybolovlev just bought his 22-year-old daughter Ekaterina Rybolovleva a 6,744-sq-ft penthouse overlooking New York's Central Park. The price tag? $88 million.

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4:56pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Movies

Glenn Close Finds Chemistry In Role Of Albert Nobbs

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 7:14 pm

Glenn Close portrays a woman quietly living as a man in 19th-century Ireland. The character, Albert Nobbs, worked and saved money to avoid the wave of poverty plaguing the country at the time.
Patrick Redmond

Early in her career, Glenn Close was often cast in the "good girl" role: the idyllic muse in The Natural; the understanding friend, wife and mother in The Big Chill.

Things took a sharp turn for her when she played an evil manipulator in Dangerous Liaisons and then created one of film's greatest villains in Fatal Attraction.

The range of her roles alone would make Close one of the great actors of her generation. Now, she adds another remarkable character to the list, playing the title role in the new movie Albert Nobbs.

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4:44pm

Wed December 21, 2011
All Politics are Local

EPA Finalizes Pollution Rules

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled new rules that will reduce pollution from power plants. The rule has been in the works for more than two decades, and the EPA was under a court order to finalize the rules by last week. Under the rule, utilities will have to drastically reduce the amounts of toxic metals power plants emit into the air.

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4:26pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Movie Reviews

Tintin's 'Adventures' Take Him To Hollywood

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 1:31 pm

Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis, left) and Tintin (Jamie Bell) chase fortune and treasure in The Adventures of Tintin.
WETA Digital Ltd.

Tintin — star of a series of vintage Belgian comics that have sold hundreds of millions of copies in dozens of languages — is a crime-fighting boy journalist who specializes in solving riddles with the assistance of his intrepid dog, Snowy.

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4:06pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Middle East

Iran And Its Rivals Dig In On Nuclear Dispute

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 5:01 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly defends his country's nuclear program despite international criticism. The president is shown here on a visit to Varamin, south of Tehran, on Wednesday.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

The year began on a note of cautious optimism on the Iran nuclear front. But talks in Geneva and Istanbul proved inconclusive, and the Arab Spring uprisings soon pushed Iran off center stage. And as 2012 approaches, observers see little reason for optimism regarding a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear dispute.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under attack from other conservative factions at home, continues to find a safe rhetorical haven in defending Iran's nuclear program — and in attacking the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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4:04pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Latin America

What Greece Can Learn From South America

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 5:08 pm

Greek demonstrators protest in Athens on Nov. 8. Similar economic crises in Argentina and Uruguay a decade ago may be instructive for Greece today.
Orestis Panagiotou EPA /Landov

As Greece struggles with a financial crisis, there have been violent protests, creditors demanding their money, people losing their jobs and officials hunkering down.

A decade ago, that was the scene in South America when Argentina and Uruguay defaulted. The two handled the economic calamity in very different ways. Economists say their approaches — and what's happened in each country since — are instructive for European leaders as they try lifting Greece from its turmoil.

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