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Parallels
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Portugal's Baby Bust Is A Stark Sign Of Hard Times

Nurse Carina Araujo gives care to a child in the neonatal intensive care unit at Maternidade Doutor Alfredo da Costa Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 6. Portugal's birthrate has dropped 14 percent since the economic crisis hit.
The Washington Post The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:11 pm

In Lisbon, the waiting area of Portugal's biggest maternity hospital is empty. You can hear the hum of soda machines across the hall. There's just one expectant father, pacing the room.

Mario Carvalho, 40, has a toddler son and now awaits the birth of his baby girl.

"Today, I hope!" he says with a nervous smile.

The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. But in Portugal, it's an increasingly rare one. Since the economic crisis hit, the country's birthrate has dropped 14 percent, to less than 1.3 babies per woman โ€” one of the lowest in the world.

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Environment
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Arctic Methane Bubbles Not As Foreboding As Once Feared

European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.

Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Forest Service May Try To Recoup Rim Fire Costs With Logging

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a large salvage logging operation in the area affected by last year's historic Rim Fire, which burned 410-square miles of California's Sierra Nevada. The proposal is meeting stiff opposition from environmental groups who say the land is better left untouched.

The Salt
3:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Ignatius R

No mouths were harmed in the eating of this sandwich. Except Eva's รขย€ย” she wants Worker's Comp for a bad case of Sandwich Jaw.
NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:01 pm

It's -16 degrees today here in Chicago, which for many of us has triggered hibernation mode. Fortunately the great Jerry's Sandwiches has created the Ignatius R., with enough calories to get us to the end of winter, which we expect to occur sometime in August.

The ingredient list: fried chicken, cold hickory-smoked sirloin, applewood bacon, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, Carolina vinegar, fried shrimp, fried green tomato, mortadella, country ham, pickled okra, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Southwest mayo on a potato bun.

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The Salt
3:22 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth

Say aaaaaah! Dental caries and other signs of oral disease are plain to see in the upper teeth of this hunter-gatherer, between 14,000 and 15,000 years old. The findings challenge the idea that the original paleo diet was inherently healthy, says paleo-anthropologist Louise Humphrey. It all depended, she says, on what wild foods were available.
Courtesy of Isabelle De Groote

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:16 pm

One of the hinge points in human history was the invention of agriculture. It led to large communities, monumental architecture and complex societies. It also led to tooth decay.

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Shots - Health News
3:08 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Frostbite Tips For Novices: Skip Whiskey And Shed Your Rings

Jenny Hackett walks across a street in St. Louis, Mo., on Sunday. Subzero temperatures are predicted there Monday, with bitter cold sweeping east.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 8:38 am

Frostbite isn't usually a major worry here in Washington, D.C., but with wind chills below zero forecast for half of the Lower 48 by Tuesday morning, millions of people from the Plains to the East Coast will have to start thinking like Arctic explorers while waiting for a school bus or heading to work.

Noses, fingers, toes and ears face the biggest risk. Those body parts have less blood flowing through them and a lot less mass than the body's core. They're also more likely to be exposed to the elements. Obviously, bundling up those tender parts is key.

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The Two-Way
2:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Deadly Violence Mars Elections In Bangladesh

Bangladeshi protesters burn election material Sunday at a polling station in the northern town of Bogra.
AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh's parliamentary election Sunday proved to be among the most violent vote in the country's short history. At least 18 people were killed, including an election officer who was beaten to death, and scores of polling stations firebombed, according to local media reports.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Last Game Is Finally Here: BCS May Go Out With A Bang

Look, But Don't Touch, Part I: Some players are superstitious and don't want to touch a trophy until they win it. Florida State defensive back Jonathan Akanbi poses with the NCAA's Coaches' Trophy, which goes to the winner of Monday night's game.
Chris Carlson AP
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tom Goldman previews the championship game

There are obviously many things that could be said about Monday night's Bowl Championship Series game between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn, starting with this:

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The Two-Way
1:49 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Ending 20-Year Era, Boston Welcomes A New Mayor

Mayor-elect of Boston, Marty Walsh (right), takes the oath of office Monday in Conte Forum at Boston College.
Michael Dwyer AP

A two-decade era came to an end Monday in Boston.

Thomas Menino, 71, left a job he had held since 1993. And Marty Walsh was sworn in as the city's new mayor.

Walsh and his early appointments, NPR member station WBUR reports, signal the "the emergence of a new Boston โ€” younger and more diverse โ€” in city politics."

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Television
1:39 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

'Downton' Returns, And It's As Rich As Ever

Michelle Dockery's Lady Mary is in deep mourning as Downton Abbey returns for a fourth season on PBS.
Nick Briggs Carnival Film & Television Limited

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:36 am

When you think about what Downton Abbey has achieved, and is continuing to pull off, it's actually pretty remarkable. In an era when the most acclaimed TV series of the decade is an edgy cable drama about a dying, meth-making criminal, Downton Abbey draws similarly large audiences on broadcast TV โ€” public TV, at that โ€” with an old-fashioned soap opera about servants and household staffers and those they serve. As Season 4 begins on PBS, Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in the history of public television.

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