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All Tech Considered
5:26 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

A City Turns To Lettuce Fields To Grow High-Tech Startups

A lettuce thinner created by an agricultural tech startup uses cameras and sensors to thin lettuce rows. Salinas, Calif., has hired a venture capital fund to help it attract other high-tech agricultural companies to the area.
Courtesy of Foothill Packing Inc.

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 8:46 pm

Salinas is just one hour south of California's Silicon Valley, but generations behind when it comes to technology. Many of its sprawling lettuce farms are stuck in the era of rakes and hoes.

City officials are hoping to change that — and also spur some job growth — by investing in high-tech agriculture.

At Taylor Farms in Salinas, Andrew Fernandez, the company's vice president of product, is stepping on heads of crunchy romaine lettuce, making his way over to a very big tractor. It's a water jet knife machine, and it's on the cutting edge of lettuce farming technology.

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Shots - Health News
5:16 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Poll: Americans Favor Age Restrictions On Morning-After Pill

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:50 pm

Emergency contraception has been embroiled in controversy pretty much from the start.

But this year the legal wrangling over who can buy the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill without a prescription came to an end. A federal judge in New York ruled in April that the morning-after pill also had to be made available over the counter to girls 16 and under.

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The Two-Way
5:07 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Dennis Rodman In North Korea 'To Open Doors For America'

Former U.S. basketball superstar Dennis Rodman arrives in Pyongyang on Thursday.
Kyodo/Landov

Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Thursday for his third visit this year to the hard-line Stalinist country, saying he will train the country's national basketball team and see his "friend," leader Kim Jong Un.

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It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Charles Rangel, Longtime Harlem Congressman, To Seek Re-Election

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Thursday he will seek re-election to the Harlem-area seat he has held since 1971.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Rep. Charles Rangel, the third-longest-serving member of Congress, announced Thursday he will seek a 23rd term in office next year.

There had been speculation that the New York Democrat, a veteran member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, would retire at the end of this term. But the 83-year-old Rangel, who could face a tough primary, said he still has "unfinished business" to tend to in the House.

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Around the Nation
4:45 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Hackers Stole 40 Million Credit, Debit Card Numbers From Target

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:42 pm

Right in the middle of holiday shopping season, some 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen in a major breach of Target customer data. The thefts occurred in stores, not online. Target says it's working with a forensics company to investigate and prevent similar data thefts from occurring in the future. Security experts say one way to limit them is to switch from magnetic stripes on cards to embedded chips.

Around the Nation
4:45 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

One Ohio Mall Store Offers Nothing For Sale, Just Faith And Cheer

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:42 pm

Christmas is less than a week away and shoppers continue their quest for the perfect gift at the perfect price. But at one shop in a southwest Ohio mall, Roman Catholic friars are offering their presence for free.

The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Dozens Hurt In Ceiling Collapse At London's Apollo Theatre

A rescue operation is underway at the Apollo Theatre in London after part of the roof collapsed during a performance, trapping people inside.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:17 pm

(This post was updated at 6:00 p.m. ET)

London's emergency services personnel say 88 people have been injured, several of them seriously, in the collapse of part of the ceiling at the Apollo Theatre in central London during an evening performance. Officials say there have been no fatalities.

Emergency services officials tell news agencies that seven of those are seriously hurt. The BBC quotes a spokesman for the theater as saying 720 theatergoers were in attendance at the time of the collapse.

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The Record
4:10 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Feminists Everywhere React To Beyonce's Latest

The audience at Beyonce's Dec. 3 performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Larry Busacca/PW WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:20 pm

617,000. That's how many copies of her self-titled album Beyonce sold in three days last week, after she dropped it without warning. As fans and critics have dug in, debates about the messages and images within it are roiling. Is Beyonce, the sexy pop goddess who has performed at two inaugurations, also this generation's highest-profile feminist? I spoke to six people who identify as feminists — all of whom feel differently about Beyonce — to find out how a pop album no one was ready for is capping off a year of think pieces and Twitter skirmishes.

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Code Switch
3:50 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Is A 'Pathway To Citizenship' The Right Concern?

Immigrants hold miniature U.S. flags as they listen to a video broadcast from President Obama during a naturalization ceremony in New York City.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Much of the debate over whether and how to overhaul the country's immigration policy has hinged on whether and how to create a pathway to citizenship. But a majority of Latinos now say that's less important for unauthorized immigrants than giving them relief from the threat of deportation.

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Obama Issues Year-End Commutations For Drug Crimes

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 4:28 pm

President Obama has commuted the sentences of eight people convicted of drug crimes, saying their terms were unusually harsh due to a system that treated crack cocaine as a more serious offense than powder cocaine.

The president also pardoned 13 others convicted of various other offenses.

The commutations come after the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which is aimed at reducing disparities in the way the law treats cocaine possession.

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