McConnell Proposes 'Plan B' on Raising the Debt Ceiling; Did CIA's Fake Vaccine Drive Undermine Global Health Efforts?

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

McConnell Proposes 'Plan B' on Raising the Debt Ceiling; Listening to the Stories of the Long Term Unemployed; Just Two Weeks in the Job, Panetta Changes Tone at Pentagon; As Heat Wave Hits U.S., Chicago Readies with 50-Year Forecast; Did CIA's Fake Vaccine Drive Undermine Global Health Efforts?; News Corp. Phone Hacking Scandal Takes Toll on British Prime Minster Cameron; Ahmed Wali Karzai Is Dead: What Is In Store for Kandahar?; Egypt’s Revolutionary Unity Turns Sour; More Medical Schools Emphasizing 'Compassionate Care'

Top of the Hour: Budget Talks Reach a Stalemate, Morning Headlines

A bipartisan deal on the budget seems to be at an impasse after rank-and-file Republicans forced House Speaker John Boehner to retreat on a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan.

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McConnell Proposes 'Plan B' on Raising the Debt Ceiling

As the August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling draws closer, there's more talk about the dire economic consequences that will ensue if policy makers in Washington fail to reach an agreement on a budget plan. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says that a bipartisan agreement is not likely to happen, and has proposed a plan in which the president could increase the federal debt limit without Congressional approval.

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Two Weeks in the Job, Panetta Changes Tone at Pentagon

Leon Panetta began his term as defense secretary on July 1, 2011. In the less than two weeks since, he's already visited Iraq and Afghanistan and set a new tone — and agenda — for the Pentagon. Though he was friendly with his predecessor, Robert Gates, Panetta has not been shy about publicly changing the goals for America's two wars. 

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Listening to the Stories of the Long-Term Unemployed

We have been hearing stories of struggles in the job market and small triumphs this week on The Takeaway. We’re asking listeners to tell us their stories of how unemployment has affected their lives. 

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As Heat Wave Hits U.S., Chicago Readies with 50-Year Forecast

A heat wave is hitting much of the United States, and some states say they’ll soon be reeling from the effects of climate change. Chicago’s long-term forecast looks like a scene from a horror movie: lethal and extreme weather, including blizzards; a termite invasion, and even a 1.5 foot drop in the depth of Lake Michigan.

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Top of the Hour: CIA Used Fake Vaccination Program to Trace Bin Laden, Morning Headlines

Before the raid where a Navy Seal team killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the C.I.A. reportedly used a fake vaccination program to gather intelligence on the Al Qaida leader's whereabouts. These revelations are drawing criticism from the international public health community.

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Did CIA's Fake Vaccine Drive Undermine Global Health Efforts?

Reports are emerging that the C.I.A. used a fake vaccination drive in Pakistan to gather intelligence on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, prior to the May 1 raid where the Al Qaida leader was killed. The fake vaccine drive has received criticism from members of the public health community, who say this type of strategy could undermine future efforts to combat diseases across the globe.

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News Corp. Phone Hacking Scandal Takes Toll on British Prime Minister Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron is the latest figure to be dragged into the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Cameron was apparently warned several times not to employ former News editor Andy Coulson as his chief spokesman. Now, the media is questioning what this means about Cameron’s judgement and character.

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Ahmed Wali Karzai Is Dead: What Is In Store for Kandahar?

Ahmed Wali Karzai, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's half-brother and head of Afghanistan's Kandahar provincial council, was killed early Tuesday morning at his home. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination, though their claims remain unconfirmed. Karzai was a powerful figure in Kandahar and his death may result in an unpredictable struggle for power, impacting U.S. goals in the region.

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Egypt’s Revolutionary Unity Turns Sour

Thousands of activists who helped topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February have returned to Cairo's Tahrir Square, unhappy at the scale of change. "We have a feeling the regime is still there, somehow," Tarek Geddawy, 25, told Anthony Shadid of The New York Times. "They sacrificed the icons of the regime, but the cornerstone is still there." Shadid, The Times' Beirut bureau chief, just returned from Tahrir Square and reports on the protesters' activities there.

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More Medical Schools Emphasizing 'Compassionate Care'

Until recently, few medical schools taught what most of us call "bedside manner," the ability to empathize and compassionately care for patients. Even fewer schools considered prospective candidates on their ability to communicate with patients. But now a growing number of medical schools are evaluating students through the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) in addition to M-CAT scores and grade point average. The MMI tests for ethical reasoning and communication ability. 

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New Police Technology Raises Privacy Concerns

Starting this fall, law-enforcement agencies across the country will be outfitted with new devices that will make iPhones capable of scanning a person's face and matching it to a database of people with criminal records. The new facial-recognition technology, which is also able to collect fingerprints, has raised concerns with privacy advocates who say police who use the device may be conducting "searches" illegally without warrants. Julia Angwin wrote about the new devices in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal.

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