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2:57 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

The Long Road To GM's Ignition Switch Recall

Chevy Cobalts on the assembly line in Ohio in 2008. Documents show General Motors was aware of problems with the car's ignition switch years before, but failed to act.
Ron Schwane AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:08 am

The new head of General Motors, Mary Barra, goes to Capitol Hill Tuesday to begin two days of testimony.

It's the first time she'll be questioned about a safety defect that's been linked to at least 13 deaths and has sparked a 2.6 million-vehicle recall.

At issue for the Detroit CEO is a classic question: What did GM know about the problems with ignition switch problems in its cars, and when did the company know it?

And just as important for GM and government regulators is the follow-up question: Why did no one act sooner?

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Shots - Health News
2:41 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

How Your Face Shows Happy Disgust

Can you name the 10 emotions conveyed above? The first six are basic emotions. The last four are complex emotions that combine two of the basic ones. (Check at the bottom for the answers.)
Courtesy of Aleix M. Martinez

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:31 pm

We smile when we're happy. But how does a face strike the proper look to show, say, happy surprise? Or happy disgust, like when you're laughing at a really gross joke?

A new report, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that we instinctively mix and match actions from the six basic emotions to stitch together more subtle expressions.

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The Salt
2:39 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Waffle Taco From Taco Bell

Taco and waffle go together even better than Terry Gross and Gene Simmons.
NPR

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 11:05 am

For most people, the morning goes like this: Wake up, take a shower and wait six hours in painful agony until it's an appropriate time to eat Taco Bell.

But, finally, times have changed: Taco Bell has introduced a breakfast menu. The centerpiece is unquestionably The Waffle Taco.

Peter: I was driving in after picking them up, and I was terrified of getting in a fatal car crash. "Local radio host found dead next to bag of four Taco Bell Waffle Tacos."

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Shots - Health News
2:38 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

British Drugmaker Funds Research On Chronic Disease In Africa

Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, says that better control of infectious diseases in Africa is allowing chronic diseases to come to the surface.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:31 pm

One of the world's largest drugmakers says it will invest more than $200 million in Africa over the next five years in a push for better treatment of noncommunicable diseases there.

GlaxoSmithKline said the funding would be focused on sub-Saharan Africa, where the company already employs about 1,500 people and operates three factories. The money would go toward building five more factories and funding of research and development focused on the region.

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Monkey See
2:38 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

10 Absolutely True Stories About Writing For Television Without Pity

Tubey, the Television Without Pity mascot, rendered as a plush toy.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 5:13 pm

[What follows is a personal reflection. Please indulge me.]

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Sports
1:59 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Greyhound Racing May Be Headed For The Finish Line

Greyhound racing has been on a downward trend for decades.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:08 am

On a weekday afternoon at the Mardi Gras Casino near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., most guests are inside at the relatively new card tables and slot machines. Outside, at the 5 p.m. post time, only about a dozen people are in the grandstand.

This is what they're waiting for: The handlers lead out the greyhounds. The dogs are loaded into their starting boxes. Then eight greyhounds run in the first of 18 races.

Greyhound racing, a sport in decline, is still hanging on, mostly in Florida. But a bill gathering steam in the Legislature may hasten its demise.

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Politics
1:51 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

A Rising GOP Star In Oklahoma Aims For The U.S. Senate

T.W. Shannon speaks before a joint session of the Oklahoma House and Senate in Oklahoma City on Feb. 3.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 1:53 pm

The announcement by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn that he is resigning his seat at the end of the year has set up a spirited battle among Oklahoma Republicans to replace him.

Leading the pack are Rep. James Lankford and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. At age 36, Shannon is an up-and-coming star in the GOP, and if elected he would become the third African-American in the Senate — two of them Republicans.

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News
1:13 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Hoping To Slim POW-MIA Bureaucracy, Hagel Makes One Out Of Two

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:08 am

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the creation of a new defense agency charged with merging the multiple divisions currently responsible for finding and identifying the more than 80,000 members missing from past conflicts. A five-month investigation by NPR and the independent news agency ProPublica had found the U.S. recovery effort to be slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods.

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Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
1:13 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

QUIZ: The Strange Town Names Of Texas

Kermit — located near the Texas/New Mexico border — was named after President Theodore Roosevelt's son.
Matthew Rutledge Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 1:07 pm

Texas is full of rich, colorful town names — and many have great stories behind them. Melissa Block is highlighting some of them this week for Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas. Test your know-how with our quiz.

The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Hobie Alter, A Legend In Surfing And Sailing, Dies At 80

Hobie Alter, an innovator whose ideas brought surfing and sailing to wide audiences, died this weekend. Here, one of his Hobie Cat sailboats is seen sailing past North Head in Sydney, Australia.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:08 pm

Hobie Alter, whose innovations helped thousands of people go surfing and sailing, died in California on Saturday at age 80. In the 1950s, Alter helped perfect a foam-core surfboard that revolutionized the sport. A decade later, his iconic Hobie Cat catamaran design opened the world of sailing to a wider audience.

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Shots - Health News
1:03 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Orthotic Brace Takes Soldiers From Limping To Leaping

Soldiers participate in physical therapy while using a prosthetic brace called the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis (IDEO), which allows them to use and strengthen severely injured legs.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:31 pm

A deceptively simple leg brace is changing the lives of hundreds of wounded service members. Soldiers with badly injured legs who thought they'd have to live with terrible pain can walk and run again, pain-free.

Earlier this month, Army Spc. Joey McElroy took his first steps in the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, or IDEO (pronounced: eye-DAY-oh). The device squeaked a bit as he stepped briskly on an indoor track.

McElroy was hit by a car and thrown from his motorcycle on Dec. 5, 2012.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Feds Will Require Rearview Cameras On Vehicles In 2018

The 2009 Ford Flex vehicle showing the rear-camera view.
Andy Cross Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:39 pm

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require all new vehicles — from small subcompacts to commercial vans — to have "rear visibility technology" beginning in May 2018.

The new rule essentially mandates that all vehicles be equipped with a rearview camera.

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Shots - Health News
11:54 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Glitches Return To HealthCare.Gov As Enrollment Clock Expires

HealthCare.gov has more last-minute shoppers than it can handle.
HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:29 pm

The last day of sign-ups for health insurance on the HealthCare.gov website is turning out to have a lot in common with the first: lots of computer problems.

But there are some big differences, too. Back in October the not-ready-for-prime-time website was only able to enroll six people on its first day.

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The Two-Way
11:03 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Russia May Withdraw Some Troops From Near Border With Ukraine

A Russian armored vehicle on the road between Simferopol and Sevastopol in Crimea earlier this month. Russia annexed the region two weeks ago. Other Russian forces, across the border from Ukraine, may pull back in coming days.
Viktor Drachev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:21 pm

Russia is going to withdraw some of its troops from near the border with Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, according to the German leader's office.

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The Salt
10:48 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Rethinking Fat: The Case For Adding Some Into Your Diet

Nutrition researchers are reaching a new consensus: Cut back on all those refined carbs. And remember that some fat is good.
Stacy Spensley/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:10 pm

Remember the fat-free boom that swept the country in the 1990s? Yes, we know from the Salt readers who took our informal survey that lots of you tried to follow it. And gave up.

"I definitely remember eating fat-free cookies, fat–free pudding, fat-free cheese, which was awful," Elizabeth Stafford, an attorney from North Carolina, told us in the survey.

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