4:21pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Circumcision May Lower Risk For Prostate Cancer

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 5:18 pm

Circumcision might reduce a man's risk of cancer.

Really?

It's possible, though not yet proved.

But the latest evidence in favor of protection comes from a study just published in the journal Cancer.

University of Washington researchers found a 15 percent lower risk of prostate cancer in men who'd been circumcised before they first had intercourse compared to men who hadn't been.

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4:12pm

Mon March 12, 2012
The Two-Way

British High Court Will Hear Right-To-Die Case

In this family photo released in Jan. 2012 by Tony and Jane Nicklinson, former corporate manager, rugby player, skydiving sports enthusiast Tony Nicklinson sits at his home in Wiltshire, England.
Jane Nicklinson AP

Tony Nicklinson wants to die.

Except he can't commit suicide because he has "locked-in syndrome," which means his mind works fine but everything below his neck is paralyzed. A 2005 stroke left the 57-year-old unable to speak and he communicates largely by blinking. His case has been making headlines in Britain because the man wants a court to OK a doctor to end what he calls his "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable" life.

Today, the country's high court said it would hear his case.

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3:58pm

Mon March 12, 2012
The Salt

How A Sunflower Gene Crossed The Line From Weed To Crop

Sunflowers in Birmingham, Ala.
Michelle Campbell Birmingham News /Landov

I'm rounding out The Salt's impromptu Pest Resistance Week (which started with stories about weeds and corn rootworms) with a little-known tale that may scramble your mental categories.

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3:57pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Europe

For Russia's Troubled Space Program, Mishaps Mount

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 9:56 pm

Russia's unmanned Progress space freighter, headed for the International Space Station, blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Oct. 30, 2011. A string of mission failures has raised concerns over the reliability of Russia's space program.
STR Reuters /Landov

Russia was once the world leader in space exploration, but its space program has suffered a string of costly and embarrassing mishaps over the past year.

NASA says Russia is still a trustworthy partner, but critics say the once-proud program is corrupt and mismanaged — good at producing excuses, but not results.

The Memorial Space Museum in Moscow showcases the achievements of the Soviet Union's space program.

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3:37pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Afghanistan

Afghan Shootings Could Complicate U.S. Mission

The deaths of Afghan civilians, who were allegedly shot by an American soldier, could make the U.S. mission even harder. Here, an Afghan soldier leaves a home where civilians were killed Sunday in the southern province of Kandahar.
AP

It's unlikely that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant, will drastically alter the course of the war.

U.S. and NATO strategy calls for a sizable contingent of international troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, with residual support after that. That timetable is unlikely to change.

But the task U.S. forces face in trying to stabilize the country could well be made more difficult by the shootings.

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3:24pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Music Reviews

Gospel Meets Jazz, With Unpredictable Results

Don Byron released Love, Peace, and Soul with his New Gospel Quintet on Feb. 21.
Till Krautkraemer Courtesy of the artist

3:18pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Around the Nation

Vegas Museum Offers A Mob History You Can't Refuse

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 9:56 pm

Look Out, Copper: A 1928 Ford Model A car (left) and a 1938 Ford paddy wagon arrive at the Feb. 14 grand opening of The Mob Museum in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

As soon as you step in the elevator of Las Vegas' new Mob Museum, a cop on a video monitor reads you your rights. When the doors finally open, you're greeted by a huge photo of 1920s-era gangsters standing in a police lineup, wearing fedoras.

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3:00pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Games & Humor

'Dr. Fill' New E-Competitor At Crossword Contest

Challengers work to solve puzzles in the 2011 American Crossword Puzzle tournament. This year, a computer program named "Dr. Fill" will be allowed to unofficially compete.
Don Christensen American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

There's a new kind of technology that may be able to beat you at your own game — at least if your game is a crossword puzzle. Its name is "Dr. Fill," but unlike the TV psychologist, this doctor solves less complicated problems. Its solutions only go down and across.

The computer program will be an unofficial competitor at the 35th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in New York this week. It was created by Matt Ginsberg's software company, On Time Systems, which specializes in optimization algorithms.

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2:43pm

Mon March 12, 2012
It's All Politics

Presidential Speeches: Sound And (Partisan) Fury, Signifying Not Much

When presidents give major set-piece speeches, they're mainly engaged in exercises in futility since a commander-in-chief's high-flown rhetoric rarely shifts voter attitudes for long.

Indeed, the exercise could even be more negative than neutral since speeches by presidents advocating specific policy not only leave citizen unswayed but can fire up political opponents in the other party, according to Ezra Klein in an essay in the New Yorker.

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2:39pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Rebuilding Japan

Rethinking, Not Just Rebuilding, Japan's Northeast

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 9:56 pm

Demolished ships lie strewn about near the fishing port of Minamisanriku town, in Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Feb. 23, 2012. The local fisherman's union says last year's tsunami wiped out 90 percent of local fishing boats.
Yuriko Makao Reuters /Landov

With a fierce yell and a resounding thwack, 13-year-old Japanese student Nanami Usui brings her bamboo sword down on her opponent.

By practicing Kendo, or Japanese swordsmanship, Usui is one of several students in the town of Minamisanriku who are rebuilding their confidence after last year's tsunami washed away their homes and shattered their hometown in the country's northeast.

Usui says she dreams of being a police officer, but she doesn't know yet where she wants to live and work.

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