1:55pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Middle East

In Iran's Election, Not All Candidates Are Welcome

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 5:10 pm

Women sit at a bus stop under election posters in Qom, about 75 miles south of Iran's capital, Tehran, on Tuesday. Iran's parliamentary elections on Friday are expected to be a contest between various conservative factions. Many candidates seeking change have been barred from running.
Raheb Homavandi Reiters/Landov

Iran holds parliamentary elections on Friday, the first since the disputed, and many believe fraudulent, presidential election in 2009.

But unlike that presidential poll, candidates seeking to take on the country's conservative rulers will not be taking part Friday; they are mostly under house arrest or have been in prison for years now.

The focus will be on which conservatives end up on top and how many votes are cast.

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1:03pm

Thu March 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Ariz. Sheriff Arpaio Will Release Findings On Obama's Birth Certificate

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2011.
Ross D. Franklin AP

You might have thought that with the feds knocking on his door over what they say are numerous violations of civil rights, Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio would be busy planning his defense.

Instead, the controversial sheriff is taking the fight to them. Arpaio announced that he was ready to release the findings of his investigation into the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate.

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12:35pm

Thu March 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Russia, China Join Call For Syria To Let U.N. Human Rights Official Visit

In what Israel's Haaretz.com is referring to as a "rare move" by longtime supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, Russia and China today joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in calling on Syria to let U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos see what's happening inside that nation.

Syria so far has not allowed Amos to visit.

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12:30pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Europe

As Election Nears, Russians Express Frustrations

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 5:10 pm

Thousands of Russians form a 10-mile human chain around a Moscow ring road on Monday during an opposition protest against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He is expected to win the March 4 presidential elections but is facing growing opposition.
UPI/Landov

Cars decorated with white ribbons and carnations drove around Moscow's Garden Ring Road in a wet snow this past Sunday, honking cheerfully to the thousands of demonstrators on the sidewalk who formed a human chain around the city.

Elena Korobova was a link in that chain.

"I want to get rid of Putin, because I don't like his policy, I don't like what he's doing for Russia," she says of Vladimir Putin, Russia's current prime minister.

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12:17pm

Thu March 1, 2012
The Salt

States Crack Down On Animal Welfare Activists And Their Undercover Videos

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 2:00 pm

Some states are stiffening the punishment for activists who want to use undercover videos to expose conditions inside farms.

Just this week, the Iowa legislature passed a bill that would make it a crime to use false pretenses to gain access to a livestock operation to engage in activities not authorized by the owner.

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12:04pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Majorities In Senate And Public Support Birth Control Coverage

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 5:10 pm

Suitable for health insurance coverage?
iStockphoto.com

The Senate has turned back an attempt to kill President Obama's new rules requiring most health insurance plans to provide contraceptives without additional cost.

The 51-48 vote against an amendment to an unrelated highway bill (Yes, that's just how the Senate works) was mostly along party lines.

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11:51am

Thu March 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Venezuela's Chávez Says He's 'Fine' After Surgery

A huge photograph of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is displayed on the facade of state-owned oil company PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela) in Caracas on Wednesday. The text reads, "Move forward, commander."
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

After undergoing surgery for a lesion on his pelvis, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez made his first public comments on Thursday.

"I am fine, my recovery is accelerating," he said via phone to Venezuelan state TV, according the AP. "A greeting, a hug to you all!"

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11:20am

Thu March 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Senate Says No To Challenge Of Obama's Birth Control Policy

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 11:21 am

By a 51-48 vote, the Senate just set aside an effort to reverse the Obama administration's policy requiring most employers to provide health insurance plans that cover the cost of women's contraception methods.

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11:19am

Thu March 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Syrian Activist: 'It's Snowing And We're Shaking Here'

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 11:22 am

According to activists inside and outside Syria, the government's 27-day siege against the opposition stronghold of Baba Amr has now succeeded. Initial reports suggest that forces are entering this neighborhood in the city of Homs, but details are sketchy at best because most of the reporters and citizen journalists covering the story have either fled or died.

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10:57am

Thu March 1, 2012
Television

It's High Concept, But Will It Keep You 'Awake'?

In the new NBC drama Awake, Jason Issacs plays Michael Britten, a man who survives a car accident along with one of his loved ones — but which one?
Michael Desmond NBC

The premise of NBC's new detective series, Awake, is about as high concept as it gets. Jason Isaacs, one of the leads of Showtime's Brotherhood, stars as Michael Britten, who survives a horrible car crash intact. Well, his body is intact — but his mind, or at least his subconscious, is split.

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