2:14pm

Mon May 21, 2012
World

For Chinese Dissidents, Exile Can Mean Irrelevancy

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 6:21 pm

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng and his wife, Yuan Weijing, arrive at an apartment complex in New York on Saturday. A number of Chinese activists have become far less prominent after leaving their homeland, but Chen hopes to continue his work and remain relevant in China.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

U.S. diplomats were relieved this weekend when China allowed a prominent dissident, Chen Guangcheng, to fly to New York with his family.

China, too, is presumably happy that Chen is no longer in the country doing his advocacy work. Chinese exiles tend to fade into obscurity when they leave the country, and Beijing might be counting on that to happen with Chen.

But social media may be changing this equation.

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2:13pm

Mon May 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Katie Beckett Defied The Odds, Helped Other Disabled Kids Live Longer

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:46 am

Katie Beckett fits herself with a vibrating vest that helps clear mucous from her lungs. A nurse comes over to her apartment in Cedar Rapids to help her do this twice a day. On the wall to the right are pictures of Katie as a child with Ronald Reagan. This story starts twenty-nine years ago with an angry President Ronald Reagan. <> We just recently received word of a little girl who has spent most of her life in a hospital. <> The little girl in the hospital was three-year-old Katie Beckett. Because of a brain infection, she needed to be hooked to a ventilator at night to breathe. Her parents wanted her home. Her doctors said she'd be better off at home. And it'd be cheaper, too: Just one-sixth the cost.
John Poole NPR

A few years ago, I asked a 13-year-old girl who was receiving care for cystic fibrosis on a Medicaid program known as the "Katie Beckett waiver" if she knew who Katie Beckett was. "Probably some kind of doctor," the girl said.

It was a logical guess. But Beckett was another child with a significant disability, and she changed health care policy for hundreds of thousands of other children with complex medical needs. On Friday, Beckett, at age 34, died in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, of complications from her disability.

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2:12pm

Mon May 21, 2012
The Salt

Hail The Conquering Chicken! A Story Of Dinner Plate Domination

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 10:23 am

Timothy Archibald Courtesy Smithsonian magazine

Why did the chicken cross the road? That's just about the only bit of chicken-related trivia not answered by the cover story in Smithsonian magazine's new food issue this month.

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2:09pm

Mon May 21, 2012
Europe

In Fiery Protest, Italian Museum Sets Art Ablaze

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 6:21 pm

Antonio Manfredi, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Casoria, Italy, burns an artwork by French artist Severine Bourguignon. Manfredi is burning the museum's works to protest deep cuts to the arts.
Roberta Basile AFP/Getty Images

Casoria is a small town in the Naples hinterland known mostly as a hotbed of the local mafia. But last month, it achieved a different kind of notoriety when Antonio Manfredi, director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) launched his provocative challenge to the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Manfredi's "art war" consists of setting works of art on fire to protest cuts to Italy's arts budget. He's pledged to incinerate two or three pieces of art each week from a museum collection housing about 1,000 exhibits.

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1:54pm

Mon May 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Booker, Bain, Romney & Obama: Ad Wars Go Full Circle And Then Some

Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J.
Bennett Raglin Getty Images for Macy's

This is a classic chain of events that never seems to go out of style in an election year.

First one of the presidential campaigns put out videos that it says are informational but critics say are attack ads. This time, it's President Obama's team and the target is Republican rival Mitt Romney. The point of the spots, such as this one, is to make the case that when Romney ran Bain Capital, some of the companies the investment firm took over ended up shedding jobs rather than creating them.

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12:59pm

Mon May 21, 2012
Parallel Lives

At Harvard, Romney Wasn't Your Typical Student

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:37 am

Mitt Romney already had a young family during his time at Harvard, which set him apart from most other students. Here, Romney is with his wife, Ann, and two sons at a business school clambake in 1973.
Courtesy of The New York Times

From now until November, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at Romney's time at their shared alma mater.

When Mitt Romney attacks his Democratic opponent on the campaign trail, he often derides President Obama's Ivy League credentials.

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12:25pm

Mon May 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Someone Couldn't Count To 10, So British Olympian Can't Claim Personal Best

Heptathlon athlete Jessica Ennis in March at the official British team kit launch for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Warren Little Getty Images for adidas

When she hit the tape Sunday at the Powerade Great City Games in Manchester, England, Britain's Jessica Ennis hadn't only beaten Olympic heptathlon champion Dawn Harper.

Ennis had also run a personal best 12.75 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles — 0.04 of a second faster than she'd ever run that race.

It was her personal best, that is, until 2004 Olympic heptathlon bronze medalist Kelly Sotherton, also of the U.K., tweeted this question:

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12:01pm

Mon May 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Queen Elizabeth's Stylist: A Servant Breaks In The Queen's Shoes

A flag with Queen Elizabeth II's portrait made entierly of Legos is pictured in the window of a shop in central London.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

We'll get back to real news in no time, but we just couldn't resist a couple of curious details that a Sunday Times' interview (pay-wall) with Queen Elizabeth's sylist for 11 years revealed.

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11:50am

Mon May 21, 2012
All Tech Considered

Military Addresses Double-Edged Sword Of Troops On Social Media

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 6:21 pm

At Forward Operating Base Payne in Afghanistan's Helmand province, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Odriscoll looks at pictures of his sister on Facebook. Troop access to social media has been both a blessing and curse for the military.
Bay Ismoyo AFP/Getty Images

Inside a plywood shack at a combat outpost in Marjah, in Afghanistan's Helmand province, three Marines sit before a bank of computers provided by the military to help keep up morale. The dingy outpost is made up of a collection of tents where troops live among swarms of flies and the constant hum of generators.

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11:20am

Mon May 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Health Think Tank Crunches Health Prices For The Masses

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 7:06 am

Ricardo Reitmeyer iStockphoto.com

It turns out we may not know nearly as much about all the money spent on health care in the U.S. as we thought we did.

But there's a new group that wants to, well, remedy that.

The problem, Martin Gaynor, chairman of the Health Care Cost Institute, told Shots, is that "two-thirds of the population has private [health] insurance, but most of the information comes from Medicare."

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