5:20pm

Tue February 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Retired Massachusetts Judge Defends Forced Abortion Ruling

A retired Massachusetts judge is explaining and defending a controversial decision to order a mentally ill woman to have an abortion and be sterilized despite her objections.

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5:19pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

The Big Squeeze: Calif. Weight Loss Clinics Under Investigation

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 6:24 pm

A group of weight-loss clinics in Southern California is under fire for an aggressive advertising campaign and the death of five patients.

The 1-800-GET-THIN marketing campaign and its affiliated surgical centers are being investigated by local, state and federal agencies, including Congress.

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4:50pm

Tue February 21, 2012
The Picture Show

From Waterfall To Lavafall: Yosemite's Fleeting Phenomenon

Copyright Michael Frye

If you head to Yosemite National Park this time of year and stop by Horsetail Fall at just the right time, you might see something spectacular: As the sun sinks low in the sky, the waterfall glows with streaks of gold and yellow — and it looks just like molten lava.

Photographers like Michael Frye flock to the park every February to try to capture the phenomenon. Frye, author of The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite, describes the sight to NPR's Audie Cornish.

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4:48pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Europe

Rent-A-Crowds May Be Boosting Pro-Putin Campaign

Russians take part in a pro-Putin rally at a Moscow park on Feb. 4. Pro-Kremlin forces have been accused of paying people to attend campaign events ahead of the presidential election in March.
Alexey Sazonov AFP/Getty Images

With fewer than two weeks remaining before Russia's presidential elections, supporters and opponents of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are trying to show their strength with rallies and demonstrations.

After being stunned by the size of opposition rallies in December, pro-government forces bounced back with competing events of their own.

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4:43pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Court Overturns Wilson Creek Ruling

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has overturned a previous ruling that restricts coal mining on Wilson Creek in Floyd County. In 2006, residents of Wilson Creek asked the Energy and Environment Cabinet to declare the area unsuitable for mining. They cited concerns about water quality, flooding and the destruction of renewable resources. The cabinet rejected the petition, but placed certain restrictions on mining in the area.

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4:41pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

City Signs Labor Agreement

Mayor Jim Gray (left) and Sgt. Kevin Johnson signed the contract Tuesday.

The city of Lexington signed a four-year labor agreement Tuesday with employees of the Fayette County Detention Center. The contract, which was ratified last month, represents $1.2 million in savings to the government. "The Community Corrections officers and sergeants understand the financial crisis the great city of Lexington is facing and we wanted to answer the mayor's call for public safety employees to make sacrifices," says Sgt. Kevin Johnson, President of Town Branch FOP Lodge #83.

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4:38pm

Tue February 21, 2012
All Politics are Local

Virginia Moves Forward with Adoption Bill

Legislation to add a conscience clause to the state law on adoptions placed by private organizations has passed the Virginia Senate and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.  Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports that the bill would also prohibit the state or localities from denying the private agencies any contracts because they object to some adoptions on religious grounds.

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4:21pm

Tue February 21, 2012
All Tech Considered

Twitter Diplomacy: State Department 2.0

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 8:13 pm

Robert Ford (left), the U.S. ambassador to Syria, speaks to an unidentified U.S. military attache during a guided government tour in the northern Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughur last June. The U.S. has closed its embassy in Syria owing to security concerns, but Ford is using Facebook to stay involved in the country.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. evacuated the staff of its embassy in Damascus earlier this month owing to security issues. But that hasn't stopped Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, from using social media to keep in touch with events on the ground, and to try to shape them.

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4:14pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Law

Supreme Court Wades Into Affirmative Action Issue

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the 2003 Supreme Court opinion on affirmative action in college admissions. The newly energized conservative majority on the court could now change course.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

The U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will revisit the divisive issue of affirmative action in higher education. The court agreed to hear arguments next fall in a case that challenges the affirmative action program at the University of Texas. By re-entering the fray after more than 30 years of settled law on the issue, the newly energized conservative court majority has signaled that it may be willing to unsettle much of that law.

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4:07pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Middle East

Israel Agrees To Free Palestinian Hunger Striker

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 4:51 pm

Khader Adnan, a senior member of the radical Islamic Jihad group, has been held by Israel without charge. Israel agreed Tuesday to release Adnan, 33, who was on a hunger strike for more than two months.
AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of Palestinians are in Israeli jails. But one case in particular — that of Khader Adnan, a member of the radical Islamic Jihad group — has been raising tensions between the two sides.

Israel's Justice Ministry agreed Tuesday to free Adnan, who has been on a hunger strike for more than two months and was apparently near death.

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