3:47am

Sat March 9, 2013
The Salt

Gluten Goodbye: One-Third Of Americans Say They're Trying to Shun It

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 3:47 pm

Michele Kelly, owner of Pure Knead bakery in Decatur, Ga., is one of many businesspeople catering to soaring demand for gluten-free baked goods.
John Bazemore AP

Sure, we know that gluten-free is the Jennifer Lawrence of food trends. But we were still startled to hear that one-third of Americans say they're trying to avoid gluten. Really?

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3:40am

Sat March 9, 2013
Latin America

Venezuelan Oil Subsidies Still Buoy Neighbors, For Now

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 12:06 pm

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Leonel Fernandez, the president of the Dominican Republic, sign an agreement in 2010. The Dominican Republic gets about 40,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela.
Manuel Diaz AP

Venezuela's late president, Hugo Chavez, was a tremendous supporter of Latin American countries, especially those sympathetic to his socialist ideals.

The country's vast oil reserves are a key source of economic aid, but the Chavez didn't just help out his ideological peers like Cuba and Nicaragua. He was also a great benefactor to key U.S. allies in the Caribbean — many of whom now worry whether their vital oil lifeline is about to be shut off.

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3:39am

Sat March 9, 2013
Asia

How Credible Are North Korea's Threats?

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:18 am

North Korea's rhetoric has been particularly aggressive recently, but analysts say it remains difficult to gauge the country's intentions and its military capabilities.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

When it comes to talking a big game, no one does it better than the North Koreans.

Just this week, Pyongyang vowed to turn Seoul, the capital of archrival South Korea, into a "sea of fire," promised to launch a "pre-emptive strike on the headquarters of the aggressors" (read: the United States) and called on its army to "annihilate the enemy."

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3:39am

Sat March 9, 2013
Africa

A Big Battle Over A Tiny Isle In The Nile

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 6:18 am

An Egyptian farmer drinks tea near his home on Qursaya island, in the Nile River, next to Cairo, in January. The Egyptian military says it is the registered owner of the island's land, a claim disputed by the farmers and fishermen who live there.
Nasser Nasser AP

It's not easy to get to Qursaya island, a tiny bit of land in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt's capital. You have to take a boat from the riverbank. There are no cars on the island, and it's only had running water for a few years.

It's a quiet 70-acre patch of agricultural land amid a megacity, where mooing cows provide the soundtrack, and farmers and fishermen have lived for generations.

But not all is as bucolic as it seems: The island is at the heart of a yearslong legal battle between those farmers and the government.

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3:02am

Sat March 9, 2013
The Two-Way

With Hagel In Afghanistan, Explosion Hits Near Defense Ministry

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 12:38 pm

Afghanistan National Army soldiers and security personnel walk at the site of a suicide attack next to the Ministry of Defense main gate in Kabul on Saturday.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

A bomb exploded near the Defense Ministry in Kabul on Saturday morning as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was visiting in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility, calling it a message to the new Pentagon chief.

Update At 10:49 a.m. ET: Hagel Not Surprised

Hagel was nowhere near the attack, but the AP reports he heard the blast:

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4:14pm

Fri March 8, 2013
The Two-Way

French Mother On Trial For Sending Her Son, Jihad, To School With 'Bomb' Shirt

Bouchra Bagour, left, leaves a court house with her lawyer Gaelle Genoun.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat AFP/Getty Images

A French mother was in court Wednesday for what she says was a simple birthday celebration but what the government alleges is a clear provocation, an allusion to terrorism.

The BBC reports that Bouchra Bagour, 35, has been charged with "glorifying crime" after she sent her three-year-old son — named Jihad — to school wearing a T-shirt that read "I am a bomb" and "Born on 11 September."

The BBC adds:

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4:09pm

Fri March 8, 2013
Music Interviews

Dave Grohl Finds Music's Human Element — In A Machine

Dave Grohl reunited with his old friend Butch Vig (at console), the producer of Nirvana's Nevermind, for the making of Sound City: Real to Reel.
Sami Ansari Courtesy of the artist

4:07pm

Fri March 8, 2013
The Two-Way

'World's Best Restaurant' Blamed For Diners' Illnesses

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 10:12 am

The famed Noma restaurant in Copenhagen has been blamed for more than 60 of its diners falling ill. Investigators say an illness spread from the staff to the customers.
Keld Navntoft AFP/Getty Images

Noma, the Danish eatery that has won fans with its innovative approach to Nordic cuisine, and won Restaurant magazine's "World's Best Restaurant" title the past three years, is getting some unwelcome press, after dozens of people who ate at the Copenhagen restaurant fell sick.

Update: Monday, March 11

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4:03pm

Fri March 8, 2013
Around the Nation

Death Cafes Breathe Life Into Conversations About Dying

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 11:20 am

iStockphoto.com

We live knowing that everything dies. Like the sun, it's a fact of life. And like the sun, we tend not to look right at it. Unless you've experienced a recent death, it's probably not something you discuss. But a new movement is trying to change that, with a serving of tea and cake.

The fear of death haunts us like nothing else. And it makes sense. All other fears — such as public speaking, centipedes and heights — pale in comparison. So we don't really talk about it.

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3:16pm

Fri March 8, 2013
Music

Can You Make Sad Songs Sound Happy (And Vice-Versa)?

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 5:15 pm

Michael Stipe broods on the cover of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" single. Earlier this year, a remarkably cheery-sounding major-key version of the song appeared online.
Album cover

Oleg Berg, an engineer and musician in the Ukraine, had a dream as a kid. He wanted to be able to take popular songs, the recordings of which were instantly recognizable, and invert their sound: making major keys minor and vice versa.

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