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Middle East
3:52 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

With Death Toll Soaring, What's Next In Aid To Syria?

Bodies of what activists say are victims of shelling by the Syrian army in a Sunni Muslim district in the central city of Homs, on Feb. 8.
Handout Reuters/Landov

As the death toll mounts in Syria, the U.S. and its partners have been scrambling to come up with new diplomatic initiatives to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to silence his army's guns and give up power.

Last week, Russia and China blocked a U.N. resolution that would have supported the Arab League peace proposals. Since then, the violence has only intensified.

Like other international diplomats, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is still reeling from Russia and China's refusal to back the Arab League proposal's to solve the crisis in Syria.

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It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

At CPAC, Gingrich Takes Aim At 'Republican Establishment'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Newt Gingrich was the last presidential candidate to speak Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

And he kept his Romney powder dry, preferring instead to attack establishment Republicans who have not embraced the Gingrich campaign. To put it mildly.

That establishment, Gingrich charged, is "managing the decay" of the party, and sees his campaign as a "mortal threat" to their insider Washington lives.

"We intend to change Washington," said the former House speaker, "not accommodate it."

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The Two-Way
3:49 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

U.S. Says Satellite Images Show Weaponry Syria Is Using Against Civilians

A satellite image taken Feb. 6.
U.S. State Department

The United States has declassified a series of satellite images it says show the kinds of weaponry the Syrian regime is using against its own people.

The first image was released on the Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. It was accompanied by a note from Embassador Robert Ford, who in the past has taken to Facebook to criticize the regime of President Bashar Assad.

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Music Interviews
3:02 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

An Understudy Turned Star Shines On The Met Stage

Jay Hunter Morris has received glowing reviews for his role as Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera's most recent production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 9:46 am

Siegfried is a Norse hero, and one of the most demanding roles in all of opera. He slays dragons and has to sing about it — in Gotterdammerung, The Twilight of the Gods, the last opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle.

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Animals
2:53 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Return Of Gray Wolves Renews Debate Over Hunting

A gray wolf in the wild. Park officials say hunting restrictions in place in parts of of Montana have protected Yellowstone's wolves from a repeat of a 2009 hunt in which four Yellowstone wolves were shot.
MacNeill Lyons/National Park Service AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 4:24 pm

Gray wolves were taken off the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana last year and put under state control. But they're still on the list in neighboring Wyoming. That's because Wyoming has been the most aggressive about wanting to kill wolves.

Wyoming has finally struck a deal with the federal government regarding how wolves will be treated once the state takes over. But environmentalists believe the agreement denies wolves an important refuge.

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Politics
2:50 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

On The Trail, Romney Avoids His French Connection

Mitt Romney with his then fiancee, Ann (right), and Romney's parents, in Washington, D.C., in 1969. Romney had returned from Mormon missionary work in France the previous year.
JH AP

Mitt Romney waxed eloquent in French as he promoted the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, calling the two years he spent as a young man in France an "enriching experience."

But now that he's running for president of the United States, Romney doesn't talk a lot about his time as a Mormon missionary in France.

"Voilà," says Philippe Brillaut, as he points to the site of what would be France's first Mormon temple.

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Business
2:49 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Angel Investors And Startups Mingle In Milwaukee

HarQen CEO Kelly Fitzsimmons delivers a presentation to Silicon Pastures, a Milwaukee-based angel investment group that has already put more than $1 million into her company.
Jeff Fitzsimmons HarQen

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 4:03 pm

Thirty-five well-dressed men and women are sipping wine and chatting in the lounge of one of Milwaukee's oldest and most exclusive social clubs. A century ago, this is where the city's beer and banking giants mixed and mingled. Tonight's crowd isn't all that different — many of these men and women are worth at least a million dollars. Once a month, they pool their money to invest in high-tech, fast-growth startups. They call themselves the Silicon Pastures Angel Investment Network.

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World Cafe
2:49 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Craig Finn On World Cafe

Craig Finn's solo debut is titled Clear Heart Full Eyes.
Courtesy of the artist

Ever since Craig Finn's band The Hold Steady first broke through in 2004, he's gotten famous for a mix of hyper-literate story songs and classic-rock arrangements. After releasing a string of highly praised albums and EPs, Finn took a five-month break from The Hold Steady to record his solo debut, Clear Heart Full Eyes.

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Religion
2:44 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Catholics Split On Obama's Birth Control Decision

Archbishop Thomas Wenski, shown celebrating Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Miami last month, says the new birth control policy is a "smoke screen."
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 8:21 pm

Reaction from the Catholic community to the Obama administration's decision to revise its birth control policy was swift and mixed.

Under the new rule, employers with a religious objection to offering contraceptive coverage as part of their health care plans wouldn't have to provide it directly. Instead, the requirement to provide that coverage free of charge would fall on the insurance companies.

Some Catholics believe the president's new rule resolves the religious liberty issues. But others, including key bishops, say it is smoke and mirrors.

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Religion
2:36 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

With Vatican's Backing, Catholics Address Sex Abuse

Cardinal Marc Ouellet presides over a penitential mass at St. Ignatius Church in Rome, Feb. 7, 2012. The mass, which asked the forgiveness of victims of clerical sexual abuse, was part of a Vatican-backed symposium addressing the scandal of pedophile priests and the church culture that enabled such abuse to take place.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

A decade after the clerical sex abuse scandal erupted in the United Sates, Catholic religious officials from all over the world met in Rome this week to tackle the painful topic.

The Vatican endorsed the symposium — called "Toward Healing and Renewal" — the aim of which was changing the culture of how the church deals with cases of pedophile priests.

One of the highlights was a late-afternoon penitential mass on Feb. 7 — apparently the first time a senior Vatican official conducted a service to ask the forgiveness of abuse victims.

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