6:12am

Sat February 11, 2012
Space

A Real Estate Deal That Spans The Earth

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 11:46 am

The Jamesburg Earth Station closed in 2002, but the 10-story satellite dish still stands tall.
Courtesy of Bert Aronson

For sale: 160 acres of rolling hills in California perfect for a vineyard, cattle ranch or communication with outer space.

To understand how Silicon Valley businessman Jeffrey Bullis ended up owning the Jamesburg Earth Station — a former telecommunications center with a 10-story satellite dish — you have to think back to 2004.

The real estate market was booming. Bullis was visiting a friend in Carmel Valley on California's Central Coast, where homes can still sell for millions.

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5:58am

Sat February 11, 2012
Politics

Religion And Birth Control: Not Just A GOP Fight

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Catholic up for re-election this year, was one of the Democrats who spoke out against the White House birth control policy before it was altered.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

President Obama moved swiftly Friday to quell a politically perilous uproar involving two hot-button issues: birth control and religious institutions.

In January, the Obama administration announced that under its health care law, religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and schools would have to include birth control in their employees' health coverage.

All this week, Republicans on Capitol Hill bashed that policy as a violation of religious freedom, and some of the president's fellow Democrats added to the heat.

'An Accommodation'

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5:57am

Sat February 11, 2012
Politics

New Contraceptive Plan: A Successful Balancing Act?

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 5:53 pm

President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announce the revamping of his contraception policy, at the White House on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

The White House is trying to mend fences with Catholics and others who were outraged at a new rule governing insurance coverage for birth control.

That policy would have required Catholic hospitals, universities and other institutions to cover birth control in their employees' health insurance. Critics called that an assault on religious freedom.

President Obama announced a change of course Friday, and the White House is hoping to regain religious allies and maintain support from the women who voted for Obama.

A Change Of Policy

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5:00am

Sat February 11, 2012
Latin America

In Honduras, Police Accused Of Corruption, Killings

University students take part in a wake against violence held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in October. According to the United Nations, Honduras is the most violent country in the world.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

This is the first of a two-part series about the roots of violence in Honduras.

Honduras is hot, mountainous and about the size of the state of Louisiana. According to the United Nations, the Central American nation is also the world's most violent country.

A mix of drug trafficking, political instability and history has contributed to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico. The Peace Corps has withdrawn its volunteers.

Contributing to the volatility are the police themselves.

'They Don't Respect The Law'

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7:57pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

With Contraceptive Coverage Plan 2.0, Obama Pleases Allies, But Not Everyone

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 8:44 pm

President Obama, flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announces the revamp of the contraception-care policy on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

President Obama's latest proposed change in how contraceptives are covered by employer health insurance may not have ended the controversy that has raged for the past three weeks. But what the administration is calling an "accommodation" for religious employers has apparently mollified key allies who had opposed his original plan.

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5:52pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Middle East

With Death Toll Soaring, What's Next In Aid To Syria?

Bodies of what activists say are victims of shelling by the Syrian army in a Sunni Muslim district in the central city of Homs, on Feb. 8.
Handout Reuters/Landov

As the death toll mounts in Syria, the U.S. and its partners have been scrambling to come up with new diplomatic initiatives to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to silence his army's guns and give up power.

Last week, Russia and China blocked a U.N. resolution that would have supported the Arab League peace proposals. Since then, the violence has only intensified.

Like other international diplomats, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is still reeling from Russia and China's refusal to back the Arab League proposal's to solve the crisis in Syria.

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5:50pm

Fri February 10, 2012
It's All Politics

At CPAC, Gingrich Takes Aim At 'Republican Establishment'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Newt Gingrich was the last presidential candidate to speak Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

And he kept his Romney powder dry, preferring instead to attack establishment Republicans who have not embraced the Gingrich campaign. To put it mildly.

That establishment, Gingrich charged, is "managing the decay" of the party, and sees his campaign as a "mortal threat" to their insider Washington lives.

"We intend to change Washington," said the former House speaker, "not accommodate it."

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5:49pm

Fri February 10, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Says Satellite Images Show Weaponry Syria Is Using Against Civilians

A satellite image taken Feb. 6.
U.S. State Department

The United States has declassified a series of satellite images it says show the kinds of weaponry the Syrian regime is using against its own people.

The first image was released on the Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. It was accompanied by a note from Embassador Robert Ford, who in the past has taken to Facebook to criticize the regime of President Bashar Assad.

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5:02pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Music Interviews

An Understudy Turned Star Shines On The Met Stage

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 11:46 am

Jay Hunter Morris has received glowing reviews for his role as Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera's most recent production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Siegfried is a Norse hero, and one of the most demanding roles in all of opera. He slays dragons and has to sing about it — in Gotterdammerung, The Twilight of the Gods, the last opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle.

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4:53pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Animals

Return Of Gray Wolves Renews Debate Over Hunting

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 6:24 pm

A gray wolf in the wild. Park officials say hunting restrictions in place in parts of of Montana have protected Yellowstone's wolves from a repeat of a 2009 hunt in which four Yellowstone wolves were shot.
MacNeill Lyons/National Park Service AP

Gray wolves were taken off the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana last year and put under state control. But they're still on the list in neighboring Wyoming. That's because Wyoming has been the most aggressive about wanting to kill wolves.

Wyoming has finally struck a deal with the federal government regarding how wolves will be treated once the state takes over. But environmentalists believe the agreement denies wolves an important refuge.

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