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Asia
5:36 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Seeking A Glimpse Of Immortality In The Waters Of India's Holy Rivers

A Hindu devotee prays after a holy dip at the Sangam, the confluence of three holy rivers — the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati --” during the Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad, India, on Sunday.
Rajesh Kumar Singh AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:19 pm

The Hindu gathering known as Kumbh Mela is on a scale difficult to fathom: The world's largest religious festival is millions of feet shuffling, millions of mantras chanted, countless sales of firewood to ward off the night cold. Millions of incense sticks will be burned and bells rung in devotional rituals called aartis.

Jet-setting swamis, naked holy men and foreigners fascinated by Eastern mysticism joined tens of millions of pilgrims for a dip in river waters believed to be holy.

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History
5:27 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

1963 Emancipation Proclamation Party Lacked A Key Guest

Guests at the party included Johnson Publishing magnate John Johnson and his wife, Eunice, and Whitney M. Young, head of the National Urban League.
Abbie Rowe Courtesy of JFK Presidential Library

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 7:04 pm

Fifty years ago, the White House was the site of an unusual party.

It was a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation's centennial, held on Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and many of the guests were descendants of the people Lincoln's historic document freed.

But noticeably absent was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights leader had declined the invitation after earlier conversations with President Kennedy about segregation had yielded few results.

Born Of Frustration

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Shots - Health News
5:13 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

World's Most Popular Painkiller Raises Heart Attack Risk

The painkiller diclofenac is sold under several brand names in the U.S. and abroad, including Voltaren.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 8:35 am

The painkiller diclofenac isn't very popular in the U.S., but it's by far the most widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, in the world.

A slew of studies, though, show diclofenac — sold under the brand names Voltaren, Cambia, Cataflam and Zipsor — is just as likely to cause a heart attack as the discredited painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib), which was pulled from the U.S. market in 2004.

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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Comcast To Finish Buying NBCUniversal For $16.7 Billion

An NBC store is seen through a window reflecting Rockefeller Center in New York City. Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, has owned 51 percent of NBCUniversal since 2011.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Comcast Corp. said Tuesday it will complete its buyout of NBCUniversal from GE for about $16.7 billion, ahead of schedule. Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, has owned 51 percent of NBCUniversal since their $28 billion merger in 2011.

NBCUniversal owns several familiar news and entertainment brands, including NBC, CNBC, Universal Pictures, Telemundo, USA Network and Universal Parks and Resorts.

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Politics
4:36 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Live Chat: State Of The Union

A U.S. flag flies Tuesday in front of the U.S. Capitol, where President Obama will give his annual State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress.
Alex Wong Getty Images

President Obama is expected to put specifics behind the vision he outlined in his inaugural address a few weeks ago. Get live updates from the speech and join NPR journalists in analyzing what it could mean for the future.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Alleged Calif. Gunman's Fate Unclear After Fire At Cabin

Police patrol a road block on Highway 38 into the Big Bear area where a shoot-out with suspected fugitive Christopher Dorner resulted in the death of one deputy in Angelus Oaks, Calif., on Tuesday.
Michael Nelson EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 5:55 am

(This post was last updated at 11:13 p.m. ET.)

The Los Angeles Police Department has rejected news reports that a body was discovered at a mountain cabin in California's Big Bear area where the fugitive accused of killing four people had engaged law enforcement in a hours-long standoff.

"Any reports of a body being found are not true," Cmdr. Andrew Smith said at a news conference Tuesday night.

He said the cabin was still too hot to enter.

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It's All Politics
3:32 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

The History Lessons Obama Hopes We'll Learn

President Obama began last year's State of the Union address by recognizing recently returned Iraq War veterans, adding: "At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known." Expect more historical references in Obama's Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress.
Evan Vucci AP

Sometimes the best way to advance an argument is by looking back.

President Obama's second inaugural address was filled with historical allusions. His State of the Union address on Tuesday, which will lay out a long list of agenda items for the year and his second term, is likely to employ fewer references to the past.

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Shots - Health News
3:31 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Folic Acid For Pregnant Mothers Cuts Kids' Autism Risk

Despite public health campaigns urging women in the U.S. to take folic acid, many are still not taking the supplements when they become pregnant.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:19 pm

A common vitamin supplement appears to dramatically reduce a woman's risk of having a child with autism.

A study of more than 85,000 women in Norway found that those who started taking folic acid before getting pregnant were about 40 percent less likely to have a child who developed the disorder, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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The Salt
3:29 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

What To Serve At A State Of The Union Party: 'Sour Grapes And Whine'

For your State of the Union address nibbling pleasure, how about some American cheese?
Courtesy of Esteban Pulido

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 4:20 pm

Plenty of people are ready to offer advice on noshing options when it comes to the Super Bowl. But what do you serve when the occasion for gathering in front of our screens is President Obama's State of the Union address?

When NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro posed that question to his 125,000 Facebook followers earlier Tuesday, plenty of people jumped at the chance to toss off a bon mot.* Among our favorites:

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Asia
3:09 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Did North Korea Test A 'Miniature' Nuclear Bomb?

An official with the Korea Meteorological Administration shows a seismic image of a tremor caused by North Korea's nuclear test, in Seoul on Tuesday.
Kim Jae-Hwan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:19 pm

North Korea's latest nuclear weapons test is much more powerful than the previous two, according to estimates made by instruments that measure seismic waves from the blast. It's about the size of the bomb that devastated Hiroshima in World War II.

But it's not so easy to verify the claim that the nuclear explosive has also been miniaturized. That's a critical claim because a small warhead would be essential if the rogue regime chose to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Big bombs are easier to make, but they aren't all that useful as a threat.

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