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National Security
10:23 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Around The Globe, Women Already Serve In Combat Units

A female Israeli soldier runs during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility near Zeelim, Israel, on June 19, 2008.
Ed Ou AP

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 11:55 am

Israel, Germany and Canada are among the countries that have already marched down the path the U.S. will soon follow in allowing women a role in front-line combat units.

And most experts say the integration of women into such roles elsewhere has gone smoothly, despite concerns as to whether they would be up to the physical demands and about the question of fraternization between male and female troops.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Obama To Name New Chief Of Staff, New Counterterrorism Adviser

New White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (left), at Friday's announcement. Behind the president: outgoing Chief of Staff Jacob "Jack" Lew, who has been nominated to be Treasury secretary.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 12:05 pm

Saying he is choosing "one of my closest friends and one of my closest advisers" for the job, President Obama on Friday said that longtime aide Denis McDonough will be his next chief of staff.

During a midday event at the White House that was remarkable for the expansive comments the president made about his friend's character, his dedication and the respect he gets from those who work in the administration, Obama said McDonough has "the kind of heart that I want in the White House."

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Nerd Culture And The Return Of Regrettable TV

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We were all struck last week by Noel Murray's A.V. Club piece "The changing face of 'nerds' (and autism) in popular culture," so we spent this week's first segment talking about the separate but related matters it raises of how popular culture deals with nerds and how it deals with autism, not to mention how it deals with the messy and imprecise crossover between the two.

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Whoa Canada! New Currency Has 'Wrong' Maple Leaf?

That's not the right leaf, botanists say.
Bank of Canada

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 12:05 pm

A hubbub's been building up north for the past week or so about the maple leaf on Canada's new $20 bills.

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The Two-Way
9:19 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Sales Of New Homes Fell In December, But Were Up Sharply In 2012

A "sold" sign outside a home under construction last fall in Peoria, Ill.
Daniel Acker Landov

Though there was a 7.3 percent drop in sales of new homes in December from November, sales were up a healthy 8.8 percent from December 2011, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

Homes sold at a annual rate of 369,000 last month.

Over the whole year, the agencies estimate, there were 367,000 new homes sold — up 19.9 percent from the 306,000 sold in 2011.

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