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The Two-Way
2:49 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Germany's Merkel Pledges To Protect Religious Circumcision

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, right, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, gestures next to Rabbi Avichai Appel, left, a board member of the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany, during a news conference in Berlin, Germany on Thursday.
Gero Breloer AP

In Germany, the past few weeks have been marked by an intense debate over religious liberties.

Today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel jumped into the fray saying her administration would work to protect religious circumcision.

"It is absolutely clear to the federal government that we want Jewish, we want Muslim religious life in Germany. Circumcisions carried out in a responsible way must not be subject to prosecution in this country," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

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Poverty In America: The Struggle To Get Ahead
2:02 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Struggling Families Lift Themselves Out Of Poverty

Support group members Pamela Travis (from left), Dominique Martin, Yovanda Dixon, Shanna Chaney and Ramona Shewl hold a meeting as part of the Family Independence Initiative. The Oakland nonprofit encourages low-income families to form small groups to help each other get ahead.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:24 pm

It's been almost 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared a "War on Poverty." But today, the poverty rate in the U.S. is the highest it's been in 17 years, affecting some 46 million people.

The economy is partly to blame, but even in good times, millions of Americans are poor.

That's been a longtime concern for Maurice Lim Miller. He ran social service programs in the San Francisco Bay Area for 20 years. Then one day, the painful truth hit.

"The very first kids I had trained back in the early '80s, I saw their kids now showing up in my programs," he says.

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World
1:45 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Al-Qaida: Now Vying For Hearts, Minds And Land

Militiamen from the Ansar Dine Islamic group, an al-Qaida affiliate, ride on a vehicle in northeastern Mali in June. Mali is one of the places where al-Qaida-linked groups are trying to take over territory and win over local residents to their cause.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:33 pm

Al-Qaida has been subtly testing a new strategy. In the past couple of years, the group's affiliates have been trying their hand at governing — actually taking over territory and then trying to win over citizens who live there. It happened with various degrees of success in Somalia and Yemen, and recently in the northern deserts of Mali.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Poll Finds Most Americans Believe The World Is Warming

In this Aug. 2, 2011 file photo, the bottom of the pond at the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area is nearly dried up in Amarillo, Texas. A devastating drought across Texas turned rivers into sand, creeks into mud, springs into mere trickles and lakes into large puddles.
Michael Norris AP

A Washington Post-Stanford University poll released today finds that most Americans believe the world is warming.

Here's how the Post wraps up the findings:

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Federal Mine Agency Considering Tougher Response On Black Lung

Coal miner Lee Hipshire in 1976, shortly after emerging from a mine in Logan County, W.Va., at the end of his shift. A few years later, Lee took early retirement because of pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease. He died at 57.
Courtesy of Earl Dotter

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 7:54 am

NPR and the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) have learned that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the Labor Department are putting together a team of agency experts and lawyers to specifically consider how to bolster coal mine dust enforcement given the statutory and regulatory weaknesses detailed by NPR and CPI this week in stories about the resurgence of black lung.

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