Clinton announces two new envoys to Syria

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Clinton announces two new envoys to Syria

During her first trip to the Middle East as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton announced yesterday that the U.S. will be sending two high-level envoys to Syria. This is the latest sign that the Obama administration is willing to engage Damascus on issues of regional and international concern. The two envoys are Jeffrey Feltman (acting assistant secretary of state) and Daniel Shapiro (a senior White House official). They may visit Syria today for "preliminary conversations". To learn what these new envoys will face, we are joined by Richard Murphy, former U.S. ambassador to Syria and former assistant secretary of state for the Near East.

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Rim shot: Free throws are still hard

Professional athletes in just about every sport imaginable are sprinting to new records: passing more accurately, throwing faster, jumping higher, swimming further. But there's one thing in sports that just hasn't changed: the free throw. Basketball players are simply no better at hitting that shot from the line than they ever were. John Branch from our partner The New York Times has been looking into why.

For more, read John Branch's article, For Free Throws, 50 Years of Practice Is No Help, in today's New York Times.

Maybe the NBA can take pointers from Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf. Check out his stats!

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How low will the market go?

Let's talk about your bottom. When do you think the market can go no lower? Is that when you bail out of the Dow and stick your money under the mattress? There's no sure way to predict the bottom of the market, of course, but history does give some hints. Ben Steverman, a reporter with BusinessWeek.com's investing channel, takes a look at bear markets of the past and what they say about the current market meltdown.

Tell us your version of "the bottom" here or call us at 1-877-8-MY-TAKE.

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There are no residents here: Cleveland as the center of the housing crisis

The effects of the housing collapse are being felt acutely, daily, powerfully in Cleveland, Ohio. For a time, it led the nation in foreclosures, and now it’s a city that lives with one out every 13 homes vacant. Alex Kotlowitz is a contributor to the New York Times magazine and author of the book There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America. He has a story in this weekend’s magazine titled “All Boarded Up,” describing how the next stage of the national foreclosure crisis has already come to Cleveland.

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Your food may be organic, but that doesn't mean it's safe

Over the past few years a rash of food-related illnesses caused by everything from tomatoes to spinach to peanut butter has sparked nationwide concern over food safety. Conventional wisdom has always said you can assure your food is safe by buying organic. But New York Times reporter Kim Severson did some digging and she found that organic certification has nothing to do with food safety.

For more, read Kim Severson's and Andrew Walker's article, It’s Organic, but Does That Mean It’s Safer?, in today's New York Times.

"Just be careful and if all else fails, have a cheeseburger."
— New York Times reporter Kim Severson on food safety and the meaning of the organic label

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A crowded race to fill Rahm Emanuel's seat in Congress

When Barack Obama selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, he left an opening in the U.S. Congress. Voters in Illinois just voted in the primary to choose the Democratic candidate for the seat and there were 23 candidates. While it looks like Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley won, for some local insight on the crowded race we turn to Tony Arnold, a reporter for Chicago Public Radio.

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Court may issue arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir

Later today the International Criminal Court will announce whether it is issuing an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the western province of Darfur. The warrant is issued, it will be the first time the ICC has sought the arrest of a sitting head of state. While some may think this is a good first step towards justice in Darfur, neighboring nations are urging the court not to act over fears it will worsen tensions in the region. For more we turn to Karen Allen, the BBC's East Africa Correspondent, who is just back from Khartoum, Sudan.

UPDATE: The BBC's Martin Plaut brings us the verdict.

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U.S. guns go south, Mexico's drug war comes north

This this week, we’ve been taking a look at Mexico’s drug war and the ripple effect being felt throughout the Southwest United States. Perhaps nowhere has this been felt more keenly than in Arizona where drug-related kidnappings have soared over the past year. Adding to the turmoil is the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexican gangs. As jury selection continues in the trial of a Phoenix gun-dealer who allegedly sold hundreds of weapons to Mexican cartel members, the debate rages about how to keep American guns out of Mexico. We are joined by someone who is in the front-line of trying to make that happen, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

Here is Terry Goddard on CNN discussing gun smuggling:

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The verdict is in for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

Just this morning, the International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued a warrant for the arrest of the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. This is the first warrant ever issued against a sitting head of state and nations neighboring Sudan are nervous about the repercussions. The ICC's warrant could bring al Bashir to trial for his government's actions in Darfur, including seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The court did not find enough evidence to bring an indictment on genocide. For more we turn to the BBC's Africa editor Martin Plaut.

For more on the trial of Omar al-Bashir, listen to our earlier interview with the BBC's Karen Allen.

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