6:03pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Salt

Cuban Chefs Modernize Their Cuisine Despite U.S. Embargo

Lobster salad, pineapple sorbet and truffle oil-infused black sesame seeds, as prepared by Cuban Chef Luis Alberto Alfonso Pérez.
Robert Vesco

Ham sandwiches, hot-pressed and gooey with cheese. Neat piles of black beans and rice. Grilled chicken.

This is the simple, filling fare served at Cuban restaurants around the world. And like the iconic, rusty Studebakers that line the streets of Havana, Cuban food hasn't changed much since the 1950s. The communist government's stranglehold on the economy, combined with the U.S. trade embargo, has meant that Cuban chefs haven't picked up the modern cooking techniques, or exotic ingredients, that have invigorated the cuisines of much of the rest of the world.

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5:54pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Poetry

NewsPoet: Tracy K. Smith Writes The Day In Verse

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:40 pm

Tracy K. Smith poses for a portrait outside of NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Today marks the start of an exciting project at All Things Considered called NewsPoet. Each month we'll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's news.

The first poet to participate is Tracy K. Smith. She has received degrees in English and creative writing from Harvard College, Columbia University, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her latest book of poems is titled Life on Mars.

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5:30pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

'Welcome Home Heroes' Parade For Iraq Vets Set For Saturday In St. Louis

Veterans of the war in Iraq will be honored Saturday morning in St. Louis in what organizers say is the first major welcome home parade in the nation.

Local KSDK-TV reports that "75 floats, two marching bands and the Budweiser Clydesdales" will be involved.

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5:22pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Education

Higher Dropout Age May Not Lead To More Diplomas

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

President Obama delivers the commencement address for Kalamazoo Central High School's class of 2007 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The state requires students to stay in school until they turn 18.
Charles Dharapak AP

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on every state to require students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18. "When students don't walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma," he said.

The White House cited studies that showed how raising the compulsory schooling age helps prevent kids from leaving school. And while some of that is true, some of it is also wishful thinking.

For New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Education Paul Leather, the president made the right call in his address.

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5:22pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Romney's Unlikely And Persuasive Defense Of The 'Individual Mandate'

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney offered a spirited defense of the individual mandate during Thursday night's GOP presidential candidate debate in Jacksonville, Fla.
Matt Rourke AP

For a candidate who keeps vowing to repeal the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sure can make a convincing argument on its behalf.

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4:42pm

Fri January 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Revs Up House Democrats For Election-Year Fight

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 10:09 am

Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat., introduces President Obama at the House Democratic Issues Conference on Friday in Cambridge, Md.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

President Obama flew out to Maryland's Eastern Shore on Friday to fire up his rank and file in Congress.

House Democrats have spent the past few days in their annual retreat, regrouping and strategizing for the year to come. Lawmakers say their hopes for success — in the economy and in politics — depend on sticking together and sending the same message to Americans.

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4:30pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Multiple Views Add Perspective To Colten Moore's Extreme Crash At X Games

Colten Moore lost his hold on his snowmobile in mid-air.
X Games

The cable news networks have been replaying a pretty spectacular crash from Thursday's snowmobile freestyle event at the X Games in Aspen, Colo.

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4:01pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Middle East

U.N. Atomic Agency To Visit Iran For New Probe

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, is sending a team to Iran on Sunday to further look into the country's nuclear program. Here, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the agency, is shown at an IAEA meeting in Vienna on Nov. 18, 2011.
Ronald Zak AP

A senior delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits Iran on Sunday in a renewed attempt to probe aspects of Iran's nuclear program that could be connected to nuclear weapons work.

For years, the IAEA has been trying to get answers to some very uncomfortable questions about Iran's nuclear program.

Iran insists it has only a peaceful, civilian nuclear program, and so far it has refused to discuss evidence that it is engaging in some nuclear weapons work. But international pressure on Tehran is growing.

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3:53pm

Fri January 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Heading Into Final Fla. Swing., GOP Candidates Keep Courting Latino Voters

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

Fresh from a confident debate performance, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was jaunty as he campaigned at the Hispanic Leadership Network's lunch in Miami on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Fresh from Thursday night's debate, the two leading Republican presidential candidates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, traveled across Florida on Friday.

Gingrich and Romney spent the morning in Miami, where they are both looking to shore up support from Florida's Hispanic community.

Gingrich started the day talking to an influential business group, the Latin Builders Association. Later, he spoke before the Hispanic Leadership Network — a group devoted to building Republican support among Latinos.

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3:49pm

Fri January 27, 2012
State Capitol

Judge Lets State Withhold Abuse Details

An appeals court judge has granted an emergency request by a state agency to temporarily withhold more details from records it must release on children killed or hurt as a result of abuse or neglect. The order by Chief Court of Appeals Judge Jeff Taylor came minutes before a noon deadline Friday for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to release at least 1,000 pages of child abuse records that contained only limited redactions. Instead, the cabinet began providing documents that were expected to exclude a broader range of information about Kentucky children who were killed or severely hurt during 2009 and 2010.

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