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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Newly Released Index Finds Perceived Corruption Increased After 'Arab Spring'

As demonstrations continue to rage in Cairo, nearing almost two years after the revolution's onset, perceived corruption in Egypt and neighboring countries has worsened, according to a newly-released index.

Transparency International's (TI) 2012 Corruption Perceptions index ranks countries from 0 to 100 based on perceived levels of public sector corruption — 100 meaning no perceived corruption. Egypt dropped six places and now ranks 118th out of 176 countries.

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It's All Politics
5:26 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Obama And House GOP Engage In Fiscal Cliff Talks, Only Briefly With Each Other

President Obama is introduced to the Business Roundtable by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney in Washington on Wednesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 5:30 pm

The president and House Republicans continued to snipe at each other Wednesday over the impending set of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. They traded accusations and blame during another day with plenty of talk, but — until late in the day, at least — no negotiations.

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It's All Politics
5:09 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Looming Spending Cuts Would Hit Hard All Over

Alan Krueger, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, warns that consumer spending will drop if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal on spending cuts and tax increases.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Tax increases are only a part of what lies ahead if Congress can't come to an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff by the new year. Massive spending cuts will also kick in — and those cuts will be felt throughout the economy.

The current stalemate got under way two years ago when Congress, locked in a bitter partisan battle over whether to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, passed what was known as the Budget Control Act of 2011.

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U.S.
5:07 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

White House To Seek Emergency Sandy Funds

Cleanup continues on the site of a demolished home on the Rockaway Peninsula in New York on Nov. 29.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 9:24 am

Billions in damages and not enough in the bank account — that's where federal officials find themselves in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The White House says it will send an emergency funding request to Capitol Hill this week — expected to be $50 billion to $60 billion. Top administrators told Congress on Wednesday that they want at least some of that money to go toward preventing the kind of devastation caused by Sandy and other recent storms.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

More Than 100 Injured, As Protests In Egypt Escalate

Egyptian protesters stand outside the burning office of the Muslim brotherhood in Ismailia, Egypt on Wednesday.
AFP/Getty Images

The standoff between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his critics escalated today, when more than 100 people were injured in clashes between supporters and detractors.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Cairo that the opposition accused Mori's Islamist government of escalating the situation and they dismissed calls to find a consensus.

Soraya sent this report our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
3:52 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

For The Aerospace Industry 'Fiscal Cliff' Represents A Red Alert

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 4:05 pm

It's red alert time for aerospace industry executives, workers and contractors.

As they mingled today at the Aerospace Industries Association's annual Year-End Outlook luncheon at a Washington Grand Hyatt, the bright red electronic digits kept counting down for them.

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Around the Nation
3:47 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Texas Twang Fixin' To Ride Off Into The Sunset

Lyndon Johnson, then the vice president-elect, with a prize-winning Hereford bull on his ranch near Johnson City, Texas, in 1960. Linguists say the twang that has long been synonymous with Texans is fading.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:25 pm

When most people think of Texas — and what makes a Texan — one of the first things that might come to mind is the way Lyndon Johnson or the late Gov. Ann Richards spoke.

But these days, "talking Texan" sounds a whole lot different than it did just a few decades ago.

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Environment
3:47 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

In Arid West, Cheatgrass Turns Fires Into Infernos

The Constantina Fire burning in Long Valley, Calif., in 2010, very likely started in cheatgrass.
Courtesy of Nolan Preece

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 5:36 pm

Cheatgrass is about as Western as cowboy boots and sagebrush. It grows in yellowish clumps, about knee high to a horse, and likes arid land.

One thing cheatgrass does is burn — in fact, more easily than anyone realized. That's the conclusion from a new study that says cheatgrass is making Western wildfires worse.

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Middle East
3:28 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Israel, Christians Negotiate The Price Of Holy Water

Patriarch Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem (center), splashes holy water toward worshippers after the washing of the feet ceremony in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 2009, during Easter celebrations. A crisis was narrowly averted recently when the church's $2.3 million water bill was waived.
Gali Tibbon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:13 am

One of the holiest sites in Christendom has also been one of the most contested. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem lies on the site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified and buried.

Multiple Christian denominations share the church uneasily, and clerics sometimes come to blows over the most minor of disputes. The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox all have a presence in the church.

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It's All Politics
3:24 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Celebrities And The Senate: Would Ashley Judd Stand A Chance?

Ashley Judd acknowledges the crowd during a University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., in January.
Andy Lyons Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 3:48 pm

Could an actress and political activist with no electoral experience give the Senate's top Republican a race in very red Kentucky?

It would be a long shot, say political experts, even though Ashley Judd has deep roots in the state, calling herself an "at least 8th generation Eastern Kentuckian."

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