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Parallels
5:50 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Escape From An Eritrean Prison

Eritrea's human rights record has been widely criticized under President Isaias Afwerki, shown here speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, 2011.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 8:56 am

Eritrea's human rights record has long faced international criticism. Located in the Horn of Africa, the country is home to five million people, but so closed to the outside world that individual stories tend to come almost exclusively from those who have fled.

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Afghanistan
5:41 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Afghans With Disabilities Fight For The Right To Rights

A technician shapes a cast mold for a prosthetic limb at the Red Cross orthopedic clinic in Kabul. The clinic produces about 2,000 prosthetic limbs each year.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 6:44 pm

Climbing the rickety metal staircase is precarious enough if you aren't on crutches, but it's simply dangerous if you are. At the top is the office of Janbazan-e-Mayhan, one of many social councils for disabled Afghans. Men missing arms, legs or hands sit around the small room.

Afghanistan isn't an easy place for anyone to make a living. But for those with disabilities, it's a downright hostile environment. Tens of thousands have been maimed and disabled during decades of conflict. Jobs are scarce, and there's almost nothing that's handicapped-accessible.

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Politics
5:41 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Nonconservative Groups Say IRS Scrutinized Them, Too

Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller (right) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are sworn before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 6:46 pm

The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.

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Business
12:51 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Tesla Rides High, But Faces Formidable Foe: Car Dealers

The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year, is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit in January. Tesla's attempts to sell its cars without going through dealerships is meeting resistance.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Tesla Motors, the American maker of luxury electric cars, has been riding a wave of good publicity.

Its Model S sedan (base priced at $62,400, after federal tax credits) was just named Motor Trend Car of the Year. Reviewers at Consumer Reports gave the lithium-ion battery powered vehicle a rave.

And the company, headed by billionaire innovator Elon Musk, 41, posted a profit for the first time in its 10-year history — powered in part by zero-emission environmental credits.

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It's All Politics
8:08 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Why The IRS Scandal Is Built To Last

Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller (right) and J. Russell George, a Treasury inspector general, take the oath before testifying on before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 8:41 pm

Of all the controversies swirling around the Obama White House, the Internal Revenue Service scandal seems likeliest to have the longest shelf life.

While the Benghazi affair has long been in the news, it's never really taken off as an issue beyond the Republican base.

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The Two-Way
8:07 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Toronto Mayor Blames Newspaper For Cocaine Video

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in a photograph taken last September.
Kiichiro Sato Associated Press

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 8:54 pm

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford responded on Friday to a video that purports to show him smoking crack cocaine, calling it "ridiculous."

According to The Toronto Star, the cellphone video, seen by two of the newspaper's reporters, is being "shopped around Toronto by a group of Somali men involved in the drug trade." The Star writes that the video:

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:07 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

David Foster Wallace Tells Us About Freedom

YouTube

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 11:24 am

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Movie Reviews
6:14 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

New 'Trek' Goes 'Into Darkness,' But Not Much Deeper

Zachary Quinto as Spock, with Chris Pine as Kirk, in Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Zade Rosenthal Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 7:47 pm

The opening sequence of J.J. Abram's new entry in the Star Trek universe has all the ingredients of the classic franchise.

There's Kirk and his crew bellowing on the bridge, everyone worrying about the prime directive and our favorite Vulcan trapped in a volcano.

OK, I'm in. I may not be a fanboy anymore, but I sure was in my youth, and having these guys in their youths again is just as cool at the outset as it was last time.

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Three-Minute Fiction
6:01 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Plum Baby

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 2:56 pm

There isn't enough time in this world to grow your own tree. That tree is a plum baby still, never mind it's tall as the house those men are taking from us. It grew up with me. I say this to Mama Lee as she rests her hand on my shoulder like another shoulder. She nods and nods some more. She's been nodding all day like she's got two weights, one in her chin and the other in back of her skull that can't lie at rest.

We're standing in the yard facing the house in the dewy grass. The house is as old as Mama Lee's mama who died before I was born.

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Books
6:01 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Author Elliott Holt Says: 'Go West, Young Woman'

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 2:52 pm

In Elliott Holt's beautifully subtle debut novel You Are One of Them, the protagonist, an American in her 20s, moves to Moscow shortly after the Cold War. After a few months, she returns to the U.S. a changed woman.

Holt, who is 39, also lived in Moscow where she worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency, as well as in London and New York. Currently, she resides in Washington, D.C., and writes full time.

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