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Asia
2:20 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Become A Successful Chinese Bureaucrat, In 5 Easy Steps

Former civil servant Wang Xiaofang is the author of 13 books on "bureaucracy literature," including The Civil Servant's Notebook, which recently was translated into English.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 7:16 pm

Forget Fifty Shades of Grey. In China, "bureaucracy lit" is flying off bookstore shelves. With the books' stories of Machiavellian office politics, they're read avidly, both as entertainment and as how-to guides for aspiring civil servants.

So what is the secret to success in the corridors of power?

Here is a five-point guide to success, with tips gleaned from the pioneers of bureaucracy lit.

Lesson 1: Cultivate your connections.

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Sweetness And Light
2:17 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Steroid Accusations Likely To Bench Baseball Hall Of Fame Candidates

Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees on Oct. 16. Morris is a candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 5:26 am

The results of this year's baseball Hall of Fame voting will be revealed on Wednesday.

Given the exit polling, it appears both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, as well as other candidates stained by accusations of steroid use, will not be admitted.

Among other reasons for not voting for them, I would suspect that accusations against Lance Armstrong for using performance-enhancing drugs in cycling is bound to have some carry-over effect. At a certain point, when the circumstantial evidence for drug use is so compelling, who can possibly believe these guys?

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The Salt
5:52 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Farm Bill Critics Claim Partial Victory Despite Stalemate

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:20 am

It's amazing how many different kinds of people have been trying to abolish or at least change the government's payments to farmers. They include economists, environmentalists, taxpayer advocates, global anti-hunger advocates and even a lot of farmers. Some have been fighting farm subsidies for the past 20 years.

This past year, those critics laid siege to offices on Capitol Hill because the law that authorizes these programs — the farm bill — was about to expire. (It has to be renewed every five years.)

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Environment
5:43 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Deep In Canadian Lakes, Signs Of Tar Sands Pollution

The Shell Oil Jackpine open pit mine uses trucks that are 3 stories tall, weigh 1 million pounds and cost $7 million each. There is explosive growth in the oil field areas around Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Canadian researchers have used the mud at the bottom of lakes like a time machine to show that tar sands oil production in Alberta, Canada, is polluting remote regional lakes as far as 50 miles from the operations.

An increasingly large share of U.S. oil comes from Canada's tar sands. There are environmental consequences of this development, but until recently, Canadian regional and federal governments left it to the industry to monitor these effects.

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Business
5:43 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

After The 'Fiscal Cliff,' Businesses Say Some Uncertainty Remains

U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. But the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent last month.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:23 pm

Businesses complained that the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" froze their decisions about hiring and expanding, which hurt the economy. Washington has now managed half a deal, which settles tax issues, at least for the time being. But has that removed enough uncertainty to boost some business hiring and investment?

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Europe
4:42 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

A Dash Of Olive Oil May Preserve British Cathedral

The stones of York Minster in northern England are decaying. Olive oil may be just the dressing the cathedral needs to preserve its Gothic architecture.
Nigel Roddis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 5:24 am

The British have some stunning cathedrals, and York Minster, in the north of England, is one of the most magnificent of all.

Construction on it began 800 years ago, and a mere 2 1/2 centuries later, work was complete.

The result was one of Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals and one that's had a rough ride through history: It's been pillaged and looted, and damaged by devastating fires and lightning strikes.

Today, there's another threat: acid rain. As a result, the cathedral's stones are decaying.

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Middle East
4:13 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

A Welcoming Way Station For Syrians Fleeing Home

Beit Qamishlo is a modest house in southern Turkey that caters to Syrian exiles seeking temporary refuge. It also hosts frequent discussions on Syria's future. Here, Malik Dagestani (center), a former political prisoner in Syria, talks about his detention in the 1980s and 1990s.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:37 pm

It's called Beit Qamishlo, or the House of Qamishlo. It's named after a city in northeastern Syria, though the house isn't even in Syria — it's just across the border in southern Turkey.

The house is humble, made of concrete blocks, with tile floors. Arabic slogans are taped on the walls: "Beit Qamishlo is a house for everyone," "It's a window to Syria's future," "Under one roof we plant life together and freedom."

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U.S.
4:09 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Gun Control Advocates Say ATF's Hands Have Been Tied

Officers transfer confiscated weapons after a news conference to announce the arrests of scores of alleged gang members and associates on federal racketeering and drug-trafficking charges in Lakewood, Calif., in 2009.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:37 pm

After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead a group tasked with drafting policies to reduce gun violence. One of the issues sure to come up in the Biden group's discussions is the role of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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U.S.
3:41 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

New York Town Up In Arms As Gun Show Approaches

Gun enthusiasts flock to the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates Arms Fair in March 2012 in Saratoga, N.Y. Some local residents would like the next show to be canceled, in light of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.
Ed Burke Courtesy of The Saratogian

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:37 pm

Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is the kind of town tourists visit and never want to leave. In winter there are skiing and snowshoeing; in summer, the horse racing season at its historic racetrack.

But this idyllic town of about 28,000 in the foothills of the Adirondacks is facing a crisis over the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair, an event held several times each year at the city's public exhibition space since 1984.

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Around the Nation
3:41 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Workshops Help Families Grappling With Alzheimer's Home Care

The nation's largest provider of nonmedical home care for seniors is now offering training to help family caregivers deal with the challenges of caring for an Alzheimer's patient.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 8:24 pm

There are more than 5 million people with Alzheimer's in the U.S., and most are cared for at home. Now, one company has begun offering training to family caregivers to help them deal with the special challenges of caring for an Alzheimer's patient.

The company, Home Instead Senior Care, is the nation's largest provider of nonmedical home care for seniors. The workshops are free and available to anyone, whether they're clients of the company or not.

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