3:18pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Europe

Greece's Left Wing Tries To Form A Government

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:07 pm

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, speaks to the press in Athens on Tuesday, May 8, after the Greek president gave him a mandate to form a government. Tsipras has three days to put together a coalition. An attempt by a conservative party has already failed.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

In debt-burdened Greece, the president has given a left-wing coalition a mandate to form a new government, but it faces an uphill battle following an election in which no single party was dominant.

The Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza, vehemently opposes the austerity program imposed by international creditors.

Syriza finished second in the vote Sunday, when Greek voters decisively rejected the tough conditions for international bailouts.

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3:08pm

Tue May 8, 2012
The Salt

From Weed To Whimsy: Chefs Conquer Wild Foods With Butter And Oil

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 3:58 pm

In another era, this plate of Spanish mackerel topped with wild tamarack, basswood leaves, garlic mustard, fiddlehead ferns, and knotweed might seem cheap. Not anymore.
Courtesy of Leif Hedendal

At 8:30 p.m. last Friday, Mark Andrew Gravel was watching nervously as 40-odd assembled diners in the exposed brick basement of the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn plunged their forks into a plate of food he had just served.

This plate was piled with a curious combination of sunchoke (known to some as Jerusalem artichoke), olive, cattail heart, buttermilk, and whey.

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2:37pm

Tue May 8, 2012
The Two-Way

A Presidential Debate, A Plunging Neckline And An Apology In Mexico

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 2:55 pm

In this screen grab taken from Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute's YouTube channel, Julia Orayen, second from right, carries a box from which candidates will select a speaking order.
AP

It's no secret that Mexico has many very important problems, not the least of which is a drug war that has killed more than 47,000 people since President Felipe Calderón began his assault against cartels in 2006.

But during the first of two debates in run up to the July 1 presidential elections, the talk of the country is not policy differences. Instead, the talk since Sunday night has been the busty hostess who made her way on stage to hand out cards assigning the candidates a speaking order. Julia Orayen was wearing a long white dress with a plunging neckline.

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2:30pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Israeli-Palestinian Coverage

Palestinians Rally Around Prisoners On Hunger Strike

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 6:28 am

Palestinian protesters rally in east Jerusalem on May 5, 2012 to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, many of whom are currently on hunger strike.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

At least 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are on hunger strike in a growing protest movement that has captured the imagination of the Palestinian public. Daily demonstrations are taking place in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in solidarity with the hunger strikers.

The protest outside the West Bank's Ofer prison this past weekend is now familiar scene. For the past two weeks there have been daily rallies there, and across the West Bank. Some joke that holding the protests close to the prison makes it easy for Israeli authorities to arrest and detain them.

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2:30pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Election 2012

Enthusiasm For Romney Runs Low In Fla. Panhandle

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:07 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a rally in Pensacola, Fla., in January.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Now that former candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are endorsing Mitt Romney to be the Republican nominee for president, the GOP is working to get the rank and file to fall in line.

That's especially important in swing states like Florida. But in the primary, Romney struggled in the Panhandle of the Sunshine State — a bastion of conservative voters. And it might take more convincing for them to really get behind the former Massachusetts governor.

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2:11pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Afghanistan

As The Clock Ticks, Americans Train Afghan Troops

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:07 pm

U.S. troops are training Afghan soldiers to take more responsibility in the war against the Taliban. But the Afghans still depend heavily on the Americans. Here, an Afghan solider fills up gas cans with diesel fuel from a U.S. Army tanker in southern Afghanistan.
David Gilkey NPR

Just outside Kandahar, the main city in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military is starting a new program it hopes will wean Afghan troops off American assistance.

A dozen or so American soldiers make up one of the Security Force Assistance Teams, and the goal is to help the Afghan army plan for operations and supply itself in the field.

But the mission is still a work in progress.

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2:00pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Afghanistan

For Afghan Soldiers, A Battle For Respect

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:07 pm

Manullah Ahmadzai, 27, lost the sight in his right eye while serving as a front-line soldier in the Afghan military. Ahmadzai is one of many soldiers who have been severely injured and say promised government benefits don't always arrive.
David Gilkey NPR

Last month, the Taliban carried out their largest coordinated attack across Afghanistan, including three sites inside the capital Kabul. It took an 18-hour gunfight to end the assault.

But even as they took cover, Kabul residents saw something new: their own soldiers taking the lead, with limited help from NATO. Television footage showed Afghan soldiers moving confidently into the building where the militants were holed up, avoiding reckless gunfire that might have endangered civilians in the crowded city.

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2:00pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

These Health Law Bets Are No Figure Of Speech

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 7:43 am

How much would you wager on the constitutionality of the sweeping federal health law?
Images_of_Money Flickr

The stakes are high in the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of the 2010 health law, as countless commentators have observed. In some circles, however, the gambling metaphor has been pushed to its logical conclusion.

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1:22pm

Tue May 8, 2012
The Two-Way

GOP Senators Block Democrats' Student Loan Bill

Senate Republicans gave a thumbs down to a Democratic plan that would have frozen interest rates for 7.4 million students taking out new federally subsidized Stafford loans.

The vote was 52-45. Sixty votes were needed to avoid a certain Republican filibuster and to move the bill toward debate.

From the Republican perspective, it wasn't the idea of keeping the rate at 3.4 percent rather than letting it double starting in July. The impasse was over how to fund the one-year rate freeze, which would cost the government $6 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

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1:18pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Music Reviews

Chicha Libre: Sonic Predators Rock Peruvian Grooves

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:07 pm

A Brooklyn band with musicians from three continents, Chicha Libre has just released its second album, Canibalismo.
Txuca

Chicha is a corn-derived liquor native to the South American Andes since ancient times. It's also a quirky style of pop music that developed in the Peruvian Amazon in the 1960s and '70s. All of that provides inspiration for the Brooklyn band Chicha Libre, which has just released its second album, Canibalismo.

Founder Olivier Conan developed a passion for chicha music while crate-digging through old vinyl in Peru. He says all pop-music innovators are really sonic predators.

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