6:11pm

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: U.S. Takes Top Spot As Most Charitable Nation

Antionette Levi solicits donations for the Salvation Army in Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Despite the gloomy economic situation, the United States has become the world's most generous nation, according to this year's Charities Aid Foundation's World Giving Index.

Ireland is ranked second followed by Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. Charities Aid Foundation used Gallup's Worldview Poll to look at three behaviors: "giving money, volunteering time and helping a stranger."

The U.S. came out on top after being ranked fifth last year.

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6:01pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Latin America

In A Drug War, Mexican Forces Accused Of Abuses

Federal policemen escort the armored car carrying a member of Los Zetas drug cartel on June 17. The security forces have been accused of abuses in the fight against the drug cartels.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

In Mexico, the last five years of President Felipe Calderon's drug war have been marked by brutal violence, unsolved kidnappings and tens of thousands of deaths. Most of violence has come from the drug gangs, but some of these atrocities have been committed by the Mexican military and police.

Human rights groups say that as state security forces battle the drug cartels, they've tortured, abducted and killed criminal suspects and even innocent civilians.

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5:05pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Asia

After Kim's Death, No Signs Of Power Struggles

The body of Kim Jong Il, the deceased leader of North Korea, now lies in state in the capital, Pyongyang. His sudden death has raised concerns about possible power struggles. But so far, all outward signs suggest that the North Korean leadership is lining up behind his son, Kim Jong Un.

5:02pm

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Scores Dead In Syria; Thousands Of Women Protest In Egypt

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 5:07 pm

Hundreds of Egyptian women march at Cairo streets, angered by the recent violence used against them in clashes with police.
Amr Nabil AP

A day after Syria said it would allow Arab League observers into the country, the deadly clashes with government forces continued. Al Arabiya reports that activists said at least 100 Syrian army defectors were killed or wounded and 36 people were killed in clashes with police.

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4:29pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Still No Job: Over A Year Without Enough Work

Marriage Economy: 'I Couldn't Afford To Get Divorced'

iStockphoto.com

Lindsay Reynolds lives in Waterloo, Wis. Even before the recent economic downturn, Reynolds and her husband struggled to make ends meet. They quarreled, especially over money.

"We never had enough income to pay bills, to pay rent. We were constantly late on rent," Reynolds says. "He always wanted to go do things. He wanted to go buy things. And I said, 'No, we can't. We have to be fiscally responsible.' "

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4:24pm

Tue December 20, 2011
State Capitol

Historic Resources Inventory Adds Entries

The Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory, the primary record of Kentucky's historic places, has now topped 90,000 entries, according to the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office. The registry contains detailed information about historic buildings and sites throughout the Commonwealth, with files dating to the first statewide survey in 1971.

4:12pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Lexington/Richmond

Owner of Messner Home Defends Operation

Most of the men living on a campus of three aging homes off Versailles Road have mental illness or developmental disabilities. "I get the ones that nobody else wants," said owner Ralph Messner. He says he runs a good home and often works more than 65 hours a week to meet the needs of the residents. But Kentucky officials have been investigating allegations of poor living conditions and have expressed a concern about the lack of government oversight at the homes for at least the second time since 1996.

4:07pm

Tue December 20, 2011
It's All Politics

'We The People': NPR Readers Would Ratify Four New Amendments

The people have spoken: NPR readers would add four new amendments to the Constitution.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

In "Reconstituting The Constitution: How To Rewrite It," we invited readers to share their own thoughts on how we might change the founding document for 2011. Now the people have spoken.

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3:52pm

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

A Mighty Release This Is: Star Wars Video Game Is EA's Most Expensive

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 3:59 pm

Part of the packaging of "Star Wars: The Old Republic."
EA

The video game "Star Wars: The Old Republic" is estimated to have cost Electronic Arts somewhere between $100 and $300 million to make. To put it into perspective Avatar, released in 2009 and one of Hollywood's most expensive movies, cost $237 million to make. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, released in 1977, had a budget of $11 million.

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3:48pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Opinion

A Quest To Seek The Sublime In The Spiritual

A globe Buddha is visible against the sunset in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma).
istockphoto.com

Eric Weiner's most recent book is Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine.

Surveys show religious people are happier than the secular? Why is this? Is it — as an atheist friend quipped — that "ignorance is bliss?" Not long ago, that's what I would have concluded. Like many people of my ilk — cerebral East Coaster, highly skeptical, and, yes, latte drinking — I reflexively viewed the religious as less sophisticated. And, if I'm brutally honest here, somehow less intelligent, or at least more narrow-minded. I don't feel that way anymore.

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