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3:12 am
Wed October 23, 2013

It's City Vs. Creditors In Detroit Bankruptcy Trial

Detroit officially makes its case for bankruptcy before a federal judge on Wednesday. The city is currently saddled with $18 billion in long-term debt, and officials see bankruptcy as their only choice.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:46 pm

In Detroit on Wednesday, a federal trial begins that will determine whether that city is eligible for the nation's largest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

Hundreds of the city's creditors are lining up to oppose the bankruptcy, arguing that Detroit is violating Michigan's Constitution and that if officials tried harder they could find enough savings to pay the city's bills.

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Parallels
3:12 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Desperate Chinese Villagers Turn To Self-Immolation

Relatives of He Mengqing walk in front of his house, which the local government has slated for demolition. The rice farmer from Chenzhou in China's Hunan province rejected a government offer of compensation for his land; he set himself on fire when officials came for him.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:07 am

In order to turn China into an urban nation, local governments have demolished tens of millions of homes over the past decade. Homeowners have often fought back, blocking heavy machinery and battling officials.

In recent years, resistance has taken a disturbing turn: Since 2009, at least 53 people across China have lit themselves on fire to protest the destruction of their homes, according to human rights and news reports.

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It's All Politics
7:30 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

For Democrats, Obamacare Web Woes Create 2014 Headache

Glitches in the HealthCare.gov website, shown here, are making the White House and its allies very nervous.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 8:11 pm

President Obama radiated confidence when he took to the Rose Garden earlier this week to convince Americans that the flaws in the Affordable Care Act website would be fixed.

It's understandable that the president himself might be upbeat about the prospects of resolving the problems currently plaguing the technology behind the law.

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The Two-Way
6:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Pew: Most Latinos Can't Name 'Most Important Hispanic Leader'

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was named by 5 percent of respondents as "the most important Hispanic leader in the country today."
Win McNamee AFP/Getty Images

While most Latinos believe it's important for their community to have a national leader, most of them can't pinpoint whom they think that leader is.

That's the new finding from a survey released today by the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project. Survey participants were asked an open-ended question to name the person they think is "the most important Hispanic leader in the country today."

Sixty-two percent responded they didn't know and 9 percent said no one.

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The Two-Way
6:39 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

The Sounds Of New York City, Circa 1920

Times Square near 42nd Street in New York City, in the 1920s.
AP

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:59 pm

We can hear the music of the Roaring '20s anytime we want. But what if you could hear the day-to-day sounds of what it was like to live at that vibrant time?

That's the basis of Emily Thompson's project "The Roaring Twenties." She's a history professor at Princeton University who's been mapping the sounds of New York City in the late 1920s and early '30s.

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The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Sony Explains Why Its PlayStation 4 Costs $1,845 In Brazil

Sony announced U.S. and European prices for its new PlayStation 4 at a news conference this summer. The game system will cost some $1,845 in Brazil, angering fans.
Eric Thayer Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 6:05 pm

Sony's new PlayStation 4 won't be on store shelves until next month, but the gaming console has already raised eyebrows in Brazil, after reports that it would cost 3,999 Brazilian real — or about $1,845 at today's exchange rate.

The company says the steep cost isn't a case of price gouging, but instead a sign of Brazil's heavy taxes and fees on imported electronics.

The game system will be released in the United States on Nov. 15 and in countries including Brazil later that month. Large retailers in the U.S. will offer the PS4 at a base price of around $400.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

IRS Delays Start Of Tax Season Because Of Shutdown

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:59 pm

If you were one of those Americans who just can't wait to file your taxes because you're owed a handsome refund, the Internal Revenue Service has news for you: You're going to have to wait.

The IRS said today that the 16-day federal shutdown means it will delay the start of the 2014 filing season by one to two weeks. The shutdown delayed the updating and testing of some of the IRS' systems.

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Law
4:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

How A County Clerk Ignited The Gay Marriage Debate In N.M.

Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins talks with Thom Hinks and Richard Sunman (far right) after they obtained a marriage license at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, N.M. In August, Ellins' office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Juan Carlos Llorca AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:51 pm

New Mexico law doesn't explicitly ban or approve same-sex marriage. There were a spate of lawsuits seeking to clarify the issue, but they were tied up in the courts. Then in August, the clerk of Dona Ana County, Lynn Ellins, a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage, consulted his staff.

"And we all agreed that it was about time to bring this thing to a head, and if we did nothing, the cases would languish in the district court if we did not move to issue these licenses and try and put the ball in play," Ellins says.

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Environment
4:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Despite Efforts, The Rio Grande Is One Dirty Border

Kayakers head out on the Rio Grande toward one of the international bridges that connect Laredo, Texas, and the town of Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. Raw sewage and animal carcasses float in the water.
Neena Satija Texas Tribune

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:13 pm

There's one easy way to find out how bad the water quality is in the Rio Grande: get into a kayak.

Paddle through chocolate brown water in Laredo and the overwhelming smell makes it hard to breathe. A dog's carcass floats by; there are many dead fish, too.

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Music Interviews
4:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Lucy Wainwright Roche: In The Family Business

Lucy Wainwright Roche.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:13 pm

Songs by Lucy Wainwright Roche seems to be told with a shrug, a note of apology, or modesty. And, yet, her father is the witty and acerbic singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. Her mother is Suzzy Roche — one third of the harmonious Roche sisters.

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