Wed September 21, 2011
The Commonwealth

I-64 Bridge Inspection At Midpoint

Engineers say it will take another week-and-a-half to finish their inspection of the Sherman Minton Bridge.   Then they’ll be able to determine how long it will take to repair the bridge and re-open it to traffic. The bridge has been closed since September 9, when inspectors found a crack in a load-bearing support.  Now its getting a thorough examination to determine if there are other faults, and inspectors are on schedule to finish the job in about ten days.

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Wed September 21, 2011
All Politics are Local

McConnell Questions Obama's Motives

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., questioned the motives of President Obama’s planned visit to the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, alleging it’s more about his re-election than solving the country’s economic woes.

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Wed September 21, 2011
Middle East

Tiny Nation Played Pivotal Role In Americans' Release

The two American men who stepped out of an Iranian prison Wednesday after spending more than two years in custody may have a tiny Persian Gulf nation to thank for greasing the wheels of their release.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, had been accused of espionage along with fellow American Sarah Shourd and sentenced to eight years in prison. They were freed in exchange for $1 million dollars and flown to Oman.

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Wed September 21, 2011
The Commonwealth

Troubled Ohio River Bridges in Spotlight

Bearing the weight of Interstate-75. the aging Brent Spence Bridge (left) is the main link between Kentucky, Ohio and other points north.

Kentucky has big bridge problems. Cracks have closed the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville, which bears the weight of Interstate-64. Democrat Ben Chandler says it’s crippling daily commutes.  “The situation in Louisville is particularly troubling at the moment because one of the bridges has gone out recently and they have terrible traffic jams in Louisville right now,” said Chandler.  The Louisville Bridge is one of several Ohio River bridges causing trouble in the Commonwealth.  Loads on the Ironton-Russell Bridge in northeast Kentucky have been restricted.  Earlier this year, work crews in western Kentucky found a hole in a deck on the Owensboro Bridge.

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Wed September 21, 2011
Conflict In Libya

What Role Will Islamists Play In Libya?

Libyan rebels pray before going out on patrol outside the port city of Misrata on April 30. Religion plays a major role in Libyan life, and Islamist groups want to be part of the new government.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

As Libyans work to form an interim government, some of those competing for power are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, raising fears that Islamist radicals may try to hijack the revolution. But many Libyans say those fears are mostly in the minds of Westerners.

Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi banned the Muslim Brotherhood. The group attempted to overthrow Gadhafi in the 1990s, and he responded with a ferocious crackdown that put many of its members in jail.

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Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Billy, Giants' Missing Fan Is Found, Says 'I'm Fine... Just Broke Right Now'

Billy (left) poses for a photo with San Francisco Giants' Pitcher Matt Cain.
Courtesy of the San Francisco Giants

Earlier this month, we reported a heartbreaking story about Billy, a San Francisco Giants fan, who showed up to every game for years, until one day he just stopped coming. The Giants went searching. Giants manager Bruce Bochy told NPR's All Things Considered that he was worried, "hoping to get some good news."

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Wed September 21, 2011
The Salt

'Biggest Loser' Nudges Many Viewers To Think Thin

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 3:33 pm

Contestants from NBC's "The Biggest Loser" do yoga in Auckland, New Zealand.

Contestants on the Season 12 Premiere of TV's The Biggest Loser last night may not be the only people motivated to lose weight. Viewers are influenced by weight-loss reality shows, too.

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Wed September 21, 2011

The Curious Case Of The Vanishing Chinese City

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 8:20 pm

Chinese officials announced on Aug. 22 that the large city of Chaohu in eastern China no longer existed. The move caught residents by surprise. Chaohu's museum, shown here, houses a Han dynasty tomb, and the city is known for its huge freshwater lake.
Louisa Lim NPR

Imagine a city like Los Angeles disappearing from the map completely. That's exactly what happened to Chaohu, a city in eastern China's Anhui province with a similar population — about 4 million. The people have remained, but the city has vanished in an administrative sleight of hand.

That was the Kafkaesque reality for Chaohu's inhabitants, who went to bed one night and woke up the morning of Aug. 22 to find out that their city no longer existed. For many, their first inkling that something had changed was from the local news.

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Wed September 21, 2011
The Salt

What's In That Wine Glass May Not Prevent Aging After All

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 5:43 pm

Red wine's rep as a fountain of youth is facing a challenge.

If you've been counting on your daily dose of merlot to stave off mortality, you might want to consider Plan B.

The links between red wine and longevity aren't nearly as strong as they once seemed, according to new research in the journal Nature. In fact, the research calls into question the whole mechanism used to explain wine's power to extend life.

Sorry, oenophiles.

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Wed September 21, 2011
Music Interviews

Fountains Of Wayne: Transcending Time And Place

Fountains of Wayne's new album is Sky Full of Holes. Left to right: Adam Schlesinger, Jody Porter, Chris Collingwood, Brian Young.
Courtesy of the artist

Often, you only need to hear a few lines to know you're listening to a Fountains of Wayne song. "Richie and Ruben," from the new album Sky Full of Holes, introduces its title characters as the kind of hapless losers the band loves to write about: "They opened up a bar called Living Hell / Right from the start, it didn't go too well / They didn't have the vibe or quite the right clientele."

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