1:28am

Sat October 1, 2011
Election 2012

Florida Faces Protests Over Early Primary Date

This December, along with the holidays, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire can also look forward to lots of visits from presidential candidates. The primary calendar now looks like it will start early in January—first with the Iowa caucuses, followed closely by New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and then, by month's end, Florida.

On Friday, officials in the Sunshine State announced they were scheduling their presidential primary on Jan. 31 — breaking party rules and forcing four other states to move up even earlier to maintain their places in the batting order.

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12:38am

Sat October 1, 2011
Space

Flying Telescope Makes An Out-Of-This-World Find

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, known as SOFIA, is a modified Boeing 747 airplane that houses a NASA telescope.
Melissa Forsyth NPR

Astronomers are lining up to use a powerful new NASA telescope called SOFIA. The telescope has unique capabilities for studying things like how stars form and what's in the atmospheres of planets.

But unlike most of the space agency's telescopes, SOFIA isn't in space — it flies around mounted in a Boeing 747 jet with a large door cut on the side so the telescope can see out. Putting a telescope in space makes sense: There's no pesky atmosphere to make stars twinkle. But why put one on a plane?

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5:26pm

Fri September 30, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

On Anniversary Of Funding Ban, Even Allowed Abortions Often Go Unpaid For

Today marks 35 years since Congress first passed what's come to be known as the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal abortion funding.

While the actual language of the rider to the annual funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services has changed considerably over the years, since 2003 it has allowed federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is endangered by the pregnancy.

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5:23pm

Fri September 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Messenger Reveals Mercury Is Not What Scientists Theorized

This dramatic view was captured as the spacecraft's highly elliptical orbit positioned MESSENGER high above Mercury's southern hemisphere.
NASA

For years scientists have been faced with a mystery about the planet Mercury. Its iron core is much bigger than that of most other planets. More than half of Mercury's mass comes from its core. In comparison, about 32 percent of Earth's mass comes from its core.

Scientists theorized that was because Mercury is so close to the sun that its rocky surface simply melted away.

A new study, which was released along with a series of other papers about Mercury in this week's issue of Science, disputes those theories.

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5:13pm

Fri September 30, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Death Toll Rises To 15 In Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak

Worker holds up a cantaloupe for sale
Ed Andrieski AP

Illnesses linked to tainted cantaloupes continue to mount.

Updated figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 84 people in 19 states have been sickened by listeria bacteria from an outbreak linked to cantaloupes, and 15 have died.

Jensen Farms recalled its Rocky Ford cantaloupes two weeks ago. That recall was just expanded to three more states: Indiana, Louisiana and Wisconsin.

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4:58pm

Fri September 30, 2011
Music Interviews

Hank Williams' Unfinished Thoughts, Finished

The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams puts unreleased works by the country legend in the hands of a dozen contemporary songwriters.
Courtesy of the artist

"When Hank Williams died, he left behind a scuffed, embroidered brown leather briefcase. Like its owner, the briefcase appeared weathered beyond its years, yet it retained a dignified bearing that abuse couldn't erase."

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4:51pm

Fri September 30, 2011
National Security

Debate Erupts Over Legality Of Al-Awlaki's Killing

Within moments of Anwar al-Awlaki's death, debate erupted over whether the U.S. had a legal basis to target one of its own citizens with deadly force.

Last year, President Obama put al-Awlaki on a secret list that gave the intelligence community a green light to target him in a deadly drone attack.

The move bothered human rights advocates so much that they sued, enlisting al-Awlaki's father as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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4:40pm

Fri September 30, 2011
Middle East

Drone Strike Ends Hunt For Al-Qaida Leader

A Hellfire missile fired from an American drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki on Friday, ending a two-year hunt for a radical cleric who had called on his followers to attack the U.S. any way they could.

Some details of the strike are sketchy. U.S. officials and the Yemeni Defense Ministry both confirmed that a drone had fired on a convoy of cars that was carrying Awlaki in northern Yemen. They said it was a joint operation, but it is unclear what role the Yemeni military played in the attack.

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4:31pm

Fri September 30, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Ambassador To Syria Responds To Attack By Regime Supporters

After his convoy was attacked by pro-regime protesters in Damascus, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford used the embassy's page on Facebook to comment on the incident.

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4:26pm

Fri September 30, 2011
Books

'The Cat's Table': A Romp Through Mystery And Memories

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 3:48 pm

In writer Michael Ondaatje's mind, the "cat's table" is where the undesirables sit in a boat's dining room. It's for the hecklers, the lowly ones and the ones farthest away from power. And it's also where you'll find the narrator of Ondaatje's new novel, Michael, an 11-year-old who's on a 21-day voyage from Sri Lanka to London all on his own.

He and his companions — two other boys who are travelling alone — live by only one rule: to every day do at least one thing that is forbidden.

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