Afghanistan
1:46 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

For Afghan Women, Rape Law Offers Little Protection

Afghan women walk in the northwestern city of Herat on Nov. 23. Women still have few rights, and can end up in jail on adultery charges when they accuse a man of rape. There are fears that women's rights will be further eroded when Western troops leave the country.
Aref Karimi AFP/Getty Images

This week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced the pardon of a 19-year-old Afghan woman who was imprisoned for adultery after being raped by a relative, in a case that has attracted international media coverage.

But what happened to the woman, Gulnaz, who has been in prison for two years, is not an isolated episode.

Many other women have suffered similar fates. A recent U.N. report suggests that laws to protect women in Afghanistan from rape and forced marriage are still not being enforced — with devastating results.

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Opinion
1:41 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

The Marvels And Messes Of A Month Of Writing

istockphoto.com

Erin Morgenstern is the author of The Night Circus.

Yesterday I was told I had approximately 20 hours to write an essay: 450 words about National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I'm quite partial to the event. Still, I thought about declining the essay, given the time constraint.

But then I decided, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, that it was rather silly to say "oh, I can't write 450 words in less than a day" So here we go:

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Monkey See
1:15 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Bow Bow, Chk-a-Bow: Five Voices Rise To The Top Of TV's A Cappella Competition

Pentatonix performs on The Sing-Off.
Lewis Jacobs NBC

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 5:00 pm

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Asia
12:57 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

World Starts To Worry As Chinese Economy Hiccups

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 4:55 pm

Not long ago, economists and others expressed concerns that China's economy was expanding too quickly. Now, the latest data are raising concerns about a slowdown — and the woes it could trigger.

With a sluggish U.S. economy and troubles in the eurozone, Chinese exports are taking a hit, causing a slowdown on shop floors in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Earlier this week, the Chinese Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, fell to its lowest level in nearly three years.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:50 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Insurance Brokers' Fees Won't Count As A Health Care Expense

A broker's fee for insurance coverage isn't a medical expense, the feds have decided.
iStockphoto.com

The Obama administration ruled today that fees paid to health insurance brokers and agents won't count as medical care expenses, under limits imposed on insurers in the 2010 federal health law.

That decision, in one of the regulations for implementing the health overhaul, is sure to disappoint insurance agents, as you might have guessed. But it's more important than you might have imagined.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Cain To Make Announcement Saturday; Wife Leads 'Women For Cain' Effort

There's word from Rock Hill, S.C., that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he'll be making an announcement on Saturday about the future of his presidential bid, The Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, here's a related bit of news to consider: His campaign just launched a "Women for Cain" effort, chaired by the candidate's wife Gloria.

As the webpage says:

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The Salt
12:05 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

To Kill Or Not To Kill Horses That Others May Eat?

Since the ban on U.S. slaughterhouses in 2006, tens of thousands of unwanted or aging horses were exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.
Nate Jenkins AP

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 3:52 pm

The thought of eating Mr. Ed or Seabiscuit is likely to pull the heartstrings of most Americans. But there are plenty of people around the world who see our horses as just another source of protein and energy.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Egyptian Elections: 62 Percent Turnout

Nov. 28: Women place their votes in a ballot box at a polling station in a girls school in Cairo.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Results from the first round of voting in Egypt's parliamentary elections are being announced this hour. Already, according to al-Jazeera and other news outlets, there's word from the head of Egypt's Elections High commission that 62 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

The Associated Press adds that Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim called the number "the highest since the time of pharaohs."

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Online Gaming Company Zynga Says Target Valuation Is Around $7 Billion

As we've noted before, 2011 has been a great year for Internet companies seeking to go public. Today, Zynga said it hoped to price its shares at $8 to $10 per share during its initial public offering later this month. Depending on whose math you trust, that means the company will try to raise about $1 billion and the debut could value the company at $7 billion. (Some news outlets are putting that number as high as $9 billion.)

What is Zynga you ask? They're the makers of social games like Farmville and Cityville.

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Fronteras
11:40 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Transportation Systems in Indian Country get Federal Grants

U-S Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico says the grants will expand much-needed services in rural and often remote communities. The federal program has awarded almost half a million dollars to the Navajo Nation to meet increasing transportation demands within the country’s largest reservation that’s the size of West Virginia. Many tribal members live far from medical or veterans services. And many tribes bus students a hundred miles or more to and from school. One tribe in Nevada, the Duckwater Shoshone, lives 75 miles from the nearest town.

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