5:38pm

Thu January 31, 2013
It's All Politics

Hagel's Hearing: 7 Things We Learned

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 6:56 pm

Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel testifies Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing.
Alex Wong Getty Images

So what did we learn from Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel's sometimes rocky confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee?

1) We learned that the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska with the reputation for speaking his mind and not sticking to his party's talking points has through the years said lots of things that could be used against him in such a setting.

And they were. Repeatedly.

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5:12pm

Thu January 31, 2013
The Two-Way

Explosion Hits State Oil Company Building In Mexico City

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 9:07 pm

Firefighters belonging to the Tacubaya sector and workers dig for survivors after an explosion at a building adjacent to the executive tower of Mexico's state-owned oil company PEMEX.
Guillermo Gutierrez AP

What appears to be a significant explosion has rocked the Pemex tower in Mexico City. Television images are showing smoke billowing from the glass high rise in the Mexican capital.

Pemex, the state-owned oil company, tweeted that an explosion happened in a building that is part of the oil giant's headquarters. According to the company and the country's interior minister, 14 people are dead and 80 are injured.

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5:10pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Shots - Health News

Salmonella Undermines Hedgehogs' Cuteness Overload

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 3:19 pm

We have no reason to think this little guy isn't clean as a whistle, but some hedgehogs carry salmonella.
Flickr

Salmonella is one of the most common illnesses people get from food. Undercooked ground beef is risky. And some of the biggest recalls ever involved eggs potentially contaminated by the bacteria.

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4:59pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Latin America

The Mexico-Canada Guest Worker Program: A Model For The U.S.?

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:29 pm

Armando Tenorio at his home in Mexico last December. Tenorio spends most of the year working on a blueberry farm in Canada, on a temporary work permit, to support his family in Mexico.
Dominic Bracco II The Washington Post/Getty Images

In the U.S., farmers and farm workers alike say the current system to import temporary workers, especially in agriculture, is slow and fraught with abuses.

But the shape of a new guest-worker program is still being hashed out. Some say the U.S. should import temporary workers the same way Canada does. For nearly four decades, the governments of Canada and Mexico have cooperated to fill agriculture jobs that Canadian citizens won't do, and that Mexicans are clamoring to get.

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4:50pm

Thu January 31, 2013
The Two-Way

Texas District Attorney Shot, Killed In Front Of Courthouse

An assistant district attorney in North Texas was shot and killed as he arrived at the courthouse where he worked on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports:

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Devin Katayama joined WFPL News in summer 2011. He adds to the newsroom a diverse perspective having lived and reported in major cities across the U.S. and spending time in Peru reporting on human trafficking. Devin earned the 2011 Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship Award for his report on homeless youth in Chicago. He reports on education affairs in Kentucky and Indiana.

4:36pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Around the Nation

Cyclo-Cross Championship Takes U.S. By Storm, Mud And Sand

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 6:55 pm

Competitors in a men's category race in the 2013 National Cyclo-cross Championships in Bradford, England, this month. The sport requires riders to traverse mud and sand on off-road courses peppered with obstacles.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

While many Americans will be tuning into the Super Bowl on Sunday, there's another big sports competition this weekend: the Cyclo-Cross World Championships. This weekend's event, in Louisville, Ky., marks the first time in its 60-year history that the world championships will be held outside of Europe.

Cyclo-cross, a grueling sport requiring riders to traverse mud, sand and other obstacles, is growing rapidly in the U.S. And the fans can be a bit crazy. At the 2012 Louisville Derby City Cup, hundreds of people — some in costumes — packed onto the course to cheer the riders on.

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4:31pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Latin America

As U.S. Consumes Less Cocaine, Brazil Uses More

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 6:55 pm

Brazilian federal police patrol the Mamore River, which separates Brazil from Bolivia. The river is used by traffickers to ferry cocaine from Bolivia into Brazil, where cocaine consumption is rising rapidly.
Juan Forero Getty Images

As cocaine consumption falls in the United States, South American drug traffickers have begun to pioneer a new soft target for their product: big and increasingly affluent Brazil.

And the source of the cocaine is increasingly Bolivia, a landlocked country that shares a 2,100-mile border with Brazil.

As Brazilian police officers and border agents can attest, the drug often finds its way to Brazil by crossing the Mamore River, which separates the state of Rondonia from Bolivia in the heart of South America.

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4:14pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Art & Design

Graffiti Gnomes Allowed To Roam On Oakland Utility Poles

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 6:55 pm

An anonymous artist started placing the hand-painted gnomes on the bases of utility poles all over Oakland.
Courtesy of the photographer

Over the past year, small gnomes started springing up all around Oakland, Calif. The elfin creatures are hand-painted on wooden boards; each is about 6 inches tall, with red hat, brown boots and white beard. They're bits of urban folk art from an anonymous painter who surreptitiously screws them onto the base of utility poles.

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4:05pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Around the Nation

South L.A. Teens Doubt New Laws Will Change Gun Culture

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:04 pm

Handguns collected in South-Central Los Angeles as part of a Gun for Gift Card exchange in 2009. One teenager here says getting a gun on the streets is just "one phone call away."
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation. This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common — and so are guns.

"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."

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