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Latin America
4:40 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Venezuelan Oil Subsidies Still Buoy Neighbors, For Now

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

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 1:06 pm

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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Author Interviews
4:40 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Living A Life Of Joy 'Until I Say Good-Bye'

Cover of Until I Say Goodbye

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 7:18 am

Susan Spencer-Wendel knows how to spend a year.

She left her job as an award-winning criminal courts reporter for The Palm Beach Post and went to the Yukon to see the northern lights. Then to Cyprus, to meet family that she never knew. She and her husband, John, took their children on trips on which her daughter got to try on wedding dresses and Susan got kissed by a dolphin.

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Africa
4:39 am
Sat March 9, 2013

A Big Battle Over A Tiny Isle In The Nile

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

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 7:18 am

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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Asia
4:39 am
Sat March 9, 2013

How Credible Are North Korea's Threats?

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

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 7:18 am

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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The Two-Way
4:02 am
Sat March 9, 2013

With Hagel In Afghanistan, Explosion Hits Near Defense Ministry

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

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 1:38 pm

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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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

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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The Two-Way
5:07 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

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

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

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

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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Music Interviews
5:00 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

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

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 5:09 pm

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Around the Nation
4:59 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Death Cafes Breathe Life Into Conversations About Dying

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 12:20 pm

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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Music
4:16 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 6:15 pm

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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