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Middle East
4:54 am
Sat September 14, 2013

In Syria Debate, Obama's Internal Dialogue Becomes Audible

President Obama's speeches about Syria have at times seemed to reveal his own internal struggle on the topic.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 6:21 pm

A surprise agreement between the U.S. and Russia, announced Saturday, calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. The deal follows a chaotic week of seat-of-the-pants foreign policy.

Performing on the international stage, Obama and his Cabinet secretaries have offered up one plot twist after another, though it often seems as if the actors are working without a script.

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Around the Nation
4:53 am
Sat September 14, 2013

For Wounded Vets, Climbing Half Dome Only Half The Mission

At base camp, Timmy O'Neill, gives instructions to volunteers and veterans participating in the week's hiking and climbing activities.
David P Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 2:50 pm

Timmy O'Neill is guiding Steve Baskis through ancient yellow pines that almost touch the sky. They're hiking all day to base camp in California's Yosemite National Park, 2,000 feet up in Little Yosemite Valley.

Taking Baskis by the hand, O'Neill traces the distant ridge of Half Dome, a bald rock rising almost a mile from the valley floor. That's tomorrow's challenge.

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The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Social Security Wrongfully Paid $1.3 Billion In Disability

People line up outside of the Social Security Administration office in San Francisco, in February of 2005.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The Government Accountability Office says that the Social Security Administration made about $1.3 billion in payments over two years to about 36,000 people who were believed to be working, while claiming they were disabled.

The GAO arrived at this number by comparing names on the National Directory of New Hires and people on disability insurance.

While $1.3 billion sounds like a whole lot of money, keep in mind that this only represents less than 1 percent of all the disability benefits paid by the agency.

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Shots - Health News
6:23 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Synthetic Marijuana Prompts Colorado Health Investigation

A sign outside a medical marijuana dispensary in Manitou Springs, Colo. Voters amended the state's constitution to legalize marijuana for recreational use in November 2012.
Eric Whitney

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 5:58 pm

More than 150 people are now believed to have been sickened by synthetic marijuana in Colorado, which legalized recreational use of real pot last November. Three people may have died.

State and federal investigators are scrambling to identify the exact source of the illnesses. The state health department has named about a dozen illicit products, often sold as "incense," that it believes are responsible for at least some of the illnesses. The stuff goes by names like "Spice," "Crazy Clown" and "Dead Man Walking."

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Shots - Health News
6:04 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

After Disasters, DNA Science Is Helpful, But Often Too Pricey

A Thai medic checks bodies for forensic identity in Phang Nga province in southern of Thailand on Jan. 11, 2005. Thousands of people were killed in Thailand after a massive tsunami struck on Dec. 26, 2004.
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 7:32 pm

Human DNA is the ultimate fingerprint. A single hair can contain enough information to determine someone's identity — a feature that's been invaluable for identifying the unnamed casualties of natural disasters and war. But forensic scientists who use DNA say the technology isn't always available where it's most needed, like in poor countries, or in war zones like Syria.

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