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The Salt
3:30 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'

Backers of the new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of fourteen different crops, including broccoli, carrots and kale on Thursday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 5:07 am

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They're releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that's intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners, and plant breeders to share those seeds freely.

It's inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use, but cannot legally be converted into anyone's proprietary product.

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Shots - Health News
3:29 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Polio Hits Equatorial Guinea, Threatens Central Africa

A child receives a polio vaccine Sunday in Kano, Nigeria. The country serves as the primary reservoir of the virus in Africa. But the current outbreak in Equatorial Guinea came by way of Chad, rather than Nigeria.
Sunday Alamba AP

Health officials are worried.

After being free of polio for nearly 15 years, Equatorial Guinea has reported two cases of the disease.

The children paralyzed are in two distant parts of the country. So the virus may have spread widely across the small nation.

The outbreak is dangerous, in part, because Equatorial Guinea has the worst polio vaccination rate in the world: 39 percent. Even Somalia, teetering on brink of anarchy, vaccinates 47 percent of its children.

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Parallels
3:28 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Meet The Sisters Saving Spanish Horses From Slaughter

Virginia Solera Garcia helps runs the CYD Santa Maria shelter with her sister, Concordia Márquez, adopting horses that might otherwise end up in the food supply.
Jorge Guerrero AFP/Getty Images

It's been four years since Spain's construction-fueled economy collapsed, leaving 57 percent of young Spaniards out of work. Noisy protesters occupy Madrid's streets every weekend, demanding jobs and an end to punishing austerity.

But there is another, voiceless victim of the country's economic crash: Spanish horses.

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Business
3:27 am
Thu April 17, 2014

When Divorce Leads To A Happily Ever After For A Small Business

Rhonda Sanderson and her ex-husband, John Amato III, shown here in 2010, helped make a business thrive after they divorced.
Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderson

Married couples in America co-own 3.7 million small businesses, according to the Census Bureau, and the arrangement can be fruitful when both marriage and business are going well. But what happens when it doesn't? Most of the time, when the love dies, the business relationship ends, too.

But that's not always the case.

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The Salt
3:25 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Sichuan Pepper's Buzz May Reveal Secrets Of The Nervous System

Szechuan peppercorns are a popular in Chinese dishes like ma po tofu to dan dan noodles.
iStockphoto

The Sichuan peppercorn is known to give some Chinese dishes a pleasant tingling feeling.

What's not so pleasant is that pins-and-needles feeling we get when our foot falls asleep — or when patients who suffer from paresthesia experience constant tingling in their limbs.

Diana Bautista, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, wondered: Could these sensations be connected?

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Around the Nation
1:56 am
Thu April 17, 2014

John Edwards Resumes Career As Trial Attorney

John Edwards leaves a federal courthouse during his trial on charges of campaign corruption in 2012.
Chuck Burton AP

Former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has returned to a North Carolina courtroom to help represent a 4-year-old Virginia boy in a medical malpractice case.

Edwards is one of three attorneys representing the parents and guardians of a boy with brain damage and physical injuries they say occurred in December 2009.

At that time, the boy was an infant in the care of Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C., and an emergency room doctor.

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Shots - Health News
7:01 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Free Drug Samples Prompt Skin Doctors To Prescribe Costlier Meds

What you're prescribed may depend on what samples your doctor gets from drug companies.
Steve Cole iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 9:17 pm

Every "free" sample comes with a price.

Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited from taking samples, a study reports Wednesday.

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World
6:16 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Israel's Ultra-Orthodox Put Faith In Unorthodox Dating Service

Unlike many young women in her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Yael Mizrachi drives and has two university degrees. She's also having a difficult time finding a spouse.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 8:20 pm

Yael Mizrachi, a 33-year-old Israeli woman, has been to many matchmakers.

"Too many," she says, rolling her wide dark eyes and tossing her shoulder-length hair.

Matchmakers are the traditional way to find a mate in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to which Mizrachi belongs. But she is not entirely traditional.

"I identify myself as a modern ultra-Orthodox," Mizrachi says.

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Africa
6:16 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Rescuers Deliver Most, But Not All, Nigerian Schoolgirls To Safety

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 8:20 pm

According to the Nigerian military, all but eight of the girls kidnapped from a Nigerian boarding school have been rescued. As many as 100 girls had been abducted by militants earlier in the week.

It's All Politics
5:49 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Bloomberg Seeks To Alter Gun Debate With $50 Million, And Moms

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that he plans to spend $50 million this year on field operations to support candidates in favor of gun safety laws.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 6:54 pm

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg's plan to invest $50 million in what he describes as a mom-driven grass-roots effort to support pro-gun-safety candidates grabbed headlines Wednesday, and energized gun control activists.

The commitment, the former New York City mayor says, aims to beat back the profound political influence of the National Rifle Association in 15 targeted states — to "make them afraid of us," he told NBC's Today show.

"This is what the American public wants," Bloomberg said, referring to his group's intended focus on gun-purchase background checks.

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