5:12am

Sat February 11, 2012
Research News

Deconstructing Dengue: How Old Is That Mosquito?

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 10:46 am

Mosquitoes like this one can carry the virus that causes dengue fever.
James Gathany CDC Public Health Image Library

Scientists can spend years working on problems that at first may seem esoteric and rather pointless. For example, there's a scientist in Arizona who's trying to find a way to measure the age of wild mosquitoes.

As weird as that sounds, the work is important for what it will tell scientists about the natural history of mosquitoes. It also could have major implications for human health.

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4:58am

Sat February 11, 2012
Politics

Religion And Birth Control: Not Just A GOP Fight

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Catholic up for re-election this year, was one of the Democrats who spoke out against the White House birth control policy before it was altered.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

President Obama moved swiftly Friday to quell a politically perilous uproar involving two hot-button issues: birth control and religious institutions.

In January, the Obama administration announced that under its health care law, religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and schools would have to include birth control in their employees' health coverage.

All this week, Republicans on Capitol Hill bashed that policy as a violation of religious freedom, and some of the president's fellow Democrats added to the heat.

'An Accommodation'

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4:57am

Sat February 11, 2012
Politics

New Contraceptive Plan: A Successful Balancing Act?

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 4:53 pm

President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announce the revamping of his contraception policy, at the White House on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

The White House is trying to mend fences with Catholics and others who were outraged at a new rule governing insurance coverage for birth control.

That policy would have required Catholic hospitals, universities and other institutions to cover birth control in their employees' health insurance. Critics called that an assault on religious freedom.

President Obama announced a change of course Friday, and the White House is hoping to regain religious allies and maintain support from the women who voted for Obama.

A Change Of Policy

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4:00am

Sat February 11, 2012
Latin America

In Honduras, Police Accused Of Corruption, Killings

University students take part in a wake against violence held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in October. According to the United Nations, Honduras is the most violent country in the world.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

This is the first of a two-part series about the roots of violence in Honduras.

Honduras is hot, mountainous and about the size of the state of Louisiana. According to the United Nations, the Central American nation is also the world's most violent country.

A mix of drug trafficking, political instability and history has contributed to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico. The Peace Corps has withdrawn its volunteers.

Contributing to the volatility are the police themselves.

'They Don't Respect The Law'

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6:57pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

With Contraceptive Coverage Plan 2.0, Obama Pleases Allies, But Not Everyone

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 7:44 pm

President Obama, flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announces the revamp of the contraception-care policy on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

President Obama's latest proposed change in how contraceptives are covered by employer health insurance may not have ended the controversy that has raged for the past three weeks. But what the administration is calling an "accommodation" for religious employers has apparently mollified key allies who had opposed his original plan.

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6:43pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Vandy Supporters Also Turn Out for Event

Students Protest Rule Changes at Vandy

Students conduct a silent protest on the Vanderbilt campus Feb. 10 in reaction to changes in university policy regarding the membership of student organizations
photo courtesy Brandon Lyle

MURFREESBORO, Tenn  (WMOT)  --  More than 100 students gathered on the Vanderbilt campus this morning to protest changes the university recently made to its policies governing student organizations.

The new policies require that, to remain certified, student organizations must allow any student to join and also allow all-comers to stand for leadership positions in the group.

The policy is being contested, largely by Christian groups, that insist their officers must be students who share their core beliefs.

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6:33pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Tenn. Promises Significant Student Improvement

Will No Child Waiver Boost Teacher Morale?

NASHVILLE, Tenn (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he hopes Tennessee's waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind education law boosts teacher morale.

President Barack Obama announced yesterday that Tennessee is among 10 states to receive the waiver.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014, which critics say is unrealistic.

Phil Waldrop, the Associate Dean at Middle Tennessee State’s College of Education says it’s one less thing for teachers to worry about.

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6:23pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Group Calls for Picketing At Downtown Hotel

Occupy Nashville Protests Loan Abuse Settlement

MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WMOT)  --  Occupy Nashville is calling for fresh protests in downtown Nashville today. The group is using social media to encourage supporters to picket at a meeting of the Tennessee Banker’s Association being held at the Renaissance Hotel.

Occupy protesters are upset over a $25 billion dollar settlement announced yesterday between the federal government, 49 states, and five of the nation’s top mortgage lenders for loan abuses in recent years. Tennessee will reportedly receive $146 million dollars as part of the deal.

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5:48pm

Fri February 10, 2012
The Two-Way

A Purple Squirrel In Pennsylvania Provokes A Host Of Theories

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 6:05 pm

The purple squirrel captured in Jersey Shore, Pa.
Facebook

A purple squirrel that was captured in Jersey Shore, Pa., has a bunch of people scratching their heads. The AP reports that Percy Emert and his wife, Connie, spotted the squirrel in their yard, then decided to try to lure it into a trap using some peanuts.

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4:52pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Middle East

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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