4:35pm

Fri March 2, 2012
Around the Nation

Tourism Boom Pays Off For N.Y. Hotel Union

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:01 pm

New York hotel workers protest at a hearing for former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in June 2011. Under a new contract, workers will receive "panic buttons" to use if they fear for their safety. They also won several other significant benefits.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

When the New York Hotel Trades Council ratified a new contract for hotel workers last month, much of the media coverage focused on "panic buttons." Coming after the sexual assault allegations against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the idea of housekeepers wearing a badge that could call for help was all over the news.

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4:34pm

Fri March 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Rescued Photographer: In Syria 'It's Not A War, It's A Massacre'

An image grab from a video uploaded on YouTube shows Paul Conroy in the Syrian city of Homs.
AFP/Getty Images

The British photographer who was rescued from Syria gave his first interview to Sky News today.

Paul Conroy, who was injured during the shelling of the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, said that what he saw in the city was a "massacre beyond measure."

"It's not a war, it's a massacre," he said. "An indiscriminate massacre of men, women and children."

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4:21pm

Fri March 2, 2012
Sports

With Playoff Expansion, Baseball Goes Wilder

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was the face of frustration when his Atlanta Braves collapsed last year and missed the playoffs on the last day of the season. If this season's rules had applied, he might've been smiling: The Braves and the Boston Red Sox would've made the postseason.
Patrick Smith Getty Images

Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format to 10 teams Friday, adding a second wild-card in each league.

The decision establishes a new one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners, meaning a third-place team could win the World Series.

This is the only change in baseball's playoff structure since the 1995 season, when wild-card teams were first added.

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4:18pm

Fri March 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Phones His Support To Fluke, Law Student Limbaugh Derided

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 5:01 pm

Law student Sandra Fluke talking to House Democrats, February 23, 2012.
Alex Wong Getty Images

In a move certain to bring even more attention to one of the latest media tempests, President Obama on Friday got on the phone to encourage the Georgetown University law student disparaged by conservative radio superstar Rush Limbaugh with misogynistic epithets.

Sandra Fluke, who is also an activist, was about to appear on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports when she took a phone call from the White House. It was the president. As an emotional Fluke explained once she was in front of the cameras with Mitchell:

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4:03pm

Fri March 2, 2012
Europe

After Fraud Charges, Russian Election Under Scrutiny

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:01 pm

There were widespread allegations of fraud in Russia's parliamentary polls in December. In advance of Russia's presidential election Sunday, Russian citizens abroad have been allowed to vote early. This woman casts a ballot in Kyrgyzstan on Feb. 26.
Vyacheslav Oseledko AFP/Getty Images

Just three months ago, Russia's parliamentary elections prompted widespread allegations of fraud and drove thousands of protesters into the streets in the days afterward.

The Russian government and government critics both say they are trying to prevent a similar outcome in Sunday's presidential poll.

Valdimir Putin, who has been either the president or the prime minister for the past 12 years, is widely expected to win another six-year term as president. But the credibility of Russian elections is also at stake.

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3:42pm

Fri March 2, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Cancer Drugs Thwart Ebola In Lab

The Ebola virus causes a hemorrhagic fever that can be deadly.
Frederick Murphy CDC

Ebola is one virus you never want to catch. Ever.

After some aches and a fever, many infected people develop uncontrolled bleeding. The mortality rates from Ebola infection can run as high as 90 percent.

There's no cure for Ebola. But a group of scientists is exploring whether some drugs already approved to treat cancer might help tame the virus.

Sounds wild. But there's a reason — and now some evidence — to think it might work.

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3:38pm

Fri March 2, 2012
Music Interviews

Estelle: Coming To America

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 10:48 am

Estelle's new album is titled All of Me.
Keith Major

Estelle Swaray is a Londoner. But for the past few years, the British singer best known for the song "American Boy" (her 2008 Grammy-winning hit with Kanye West) has called the U.S. home. It was a particular American boy, she says, who convinced her to make the move.

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3:37pm

Fri March 2, 2012
The Commonwealth

Severe Weather Arrives in Commonwealth

Severe weather has begun moving through the Ohio Valley region, as tornado warnings or watches have been posted for counties in western and central Kentucky and southern Indiana. Several funnel clouds have been spotted in southern Indiana. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Forecasters say there’s a strong likelihood that severe thunderstorms passing through the area could spawn tornados, hail and heavy rain. The storms are expected to move out of the Louisville area this evening and exit eastern Kentucky by early morning. People in the path of the storms are being strongly urged to keep a close eye on weather conditions and take proper safety precautions. For the latest storm and flood warnings from the National Weather Service, click here.

3:34pm

Fri March 2, 2012
Monkey See

Jennifer Lopez In 'Q'Viva': A Talent Search Goes Bilingual, With A Dash Of Drama

Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN: Jennifer Lopez travels through 20 countries to find and showcase the most outstanding Latin singers, dancers and performers in Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN premiering Saturday, March 3 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Fox

Their marriage may be over, but singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have come together for a new TV show that seeks out talent from throughout Latin America. It's been airing on Spanish language TV in the U.S. and in 21 countries. And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on today's All Things Considered, the show will also premiere on Fox this weekend, with English subtitles.

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