6:14pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Basil Al-Sayed, Who Chronicled The Syrian Uprising, Is Dead

Basil al-Sayed, a Syrian citizen journalist who lost his life documenting the uprising in Homs.
Rami Jarrah

This was the last thing Basil al-Sayed, a citizen journalist in Syria, filmed before he was shot in the head by security forces:

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5:19pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Salt

What The World Eats For A Better, Luckier 2012

In Denmark they eat a towering cake called kransekage for New Year's Eve.
Jeremy Noble via Flickr

Many cultures greet the New Year with a feast that symbolically sets the table for the year ahead. As they sit down to traditional dishes, people often try to internalize their hopes and goals for the coming year.

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5:09pm

Thu December 29, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Transplants Bring New Faces In 2011

Charla Nash received a full-face transplant after she was mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009.
HO AFP/Getty Images

If there's a medical advance that seized the public imagination this year, we'd venture to say it was facial transplant surgery.

Three transplants gave severely injured patients completely new faces in 2011. Now the doctors involved have revealed details about the complex cases in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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5:07pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Two-Way

China Officially Sets Its Sight On The Moon

China laid out its vision for space exploration in a white paper released today. In it, China declares its intention to put a man on the moon, a feat accomplished last by the United States almost 40 years ago.

The Financial Times says that while the prospect has been discussed by scientists in the past, the paper is "the first public government document to enshrine it as a policy goal."

The Times adds:

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5:04pm

Thu December 29, 2011
Middle East

In Syria, Arab League Observers Caught In Crossfire

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 6:51 pm

In this frame grab from an amateur video posted on YouTube, members of the Arab League monitor violence in the Syrian city of Homs this week.
YouTube

Despite the presence of an Arab League monitoring mission, Syrian security forces shot dead at least 40 protesters on Thursday, according to activists.

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4:51pm

Thu December 29, 2011
States Of The Economy

'It's A Great Day In South Carolina' - If You Have A Job

South Carolina has an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent, above the current national figure.

But that's not the message you'll get if you call Republican Gov. Nikki Haley's office, where you'll be greeted with a cheery message: "It's a great day in South Carolina..."

And that's the same message you'll receive when calling call any other state agency. Or attend any recent event with the governor, like one last month in Columbia where TD Bank announced its plans to create a regional hub.

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4:31pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Body Odor May Explain Why Mosquitoes Prefer Certain People

An Anopheles albimanus mosquito, which is an important vector for malaria transmission in Central America.
James Gathany CDC

It's a question that has surely crossed the minds of many of you: Why is that mosquitoes tend to prefer certain people?

Scientists think they have an answer — at least to what attracts the the African mosquito Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto, which is partly responsible for the transmission of malaria. The researchers, led by Niels Verhulst of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, found that the blood suckers are attracted to certain people because of the kinds of bacteria on their skin.

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3:57pm

Thu December 29, 2011
Environment

U.S. Military Tests Out Green Tech In Afghanistan

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 8:19 pm

In this photo released by the U.S. Marines and taken in December 2010, Lance Cpl. Dakota Hicks, from Laharpe, Ill., connects a radio battery to a portable solar panel communication system in Sangin District, in Afghanistan.The U.S. military is trying to wean itself off reliance on fossil fuels by employing solar energy and biofuels, among other measures.
Gunnery Sgt. William Price Small AP

The heavy, mine-resistant vehicles that almost all U.S. military personnel use to move about Afghanistan are gas guzzlers. And even though the U.S. military buys that fuel at a reasonable price, the energy it takes to fly it and truck it to remote parts of Afghanistan drives the price into the stratosphere.

There's also a much greater cost, says Ray Mabus, secretary of the U.S. Navy.

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3:56pm

Thu December 29, 2011
National Security

Terrorists Struggle To Gain Recruits On The Web

The Twitter page for al-Shabab, the radical Islamic group in Somalia that has been branded a terrorist organization by the U.S. Such groups are active in social media, but have not attracted many recruits.
Twitter.com

Terrorist groups seemed to be all over the Web in 2011. There were al-Qaida videos on YouTube, Facebook pages by Islamic militants in Somalia, and webzines – like Inspire magazine – produced by al-Qaida affiliates in Yemen.

If there were an award for the best known terrorist music recording in the past couple of years, it would probably go to the Somali militia group al-Shabab for a YouTube video that extolled the virtues of jihad, or holy war.

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3:26pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Commonwealth

Kentucky and Indiana Finance Bridges Project

A financing mechanism has been decided for the Ohio River Bridges Project, putting the project on track to start construction next year. Both Indiana and Kentucky have agreed to oversee and pay for half of the $2.6 billion project. Kentucky will be responsible for building a new I-65 bridge, and improving the existing Kennedy Bridge and Spaghetti Junction. Indiana will oversee and pay for the East End portion of the project.

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