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12:16pm

Fri December 13, 2013
The Two-Way

A Winter Storm Brings Misery, Rare Snow To Mideast

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 9:32 am

Palestinians build a snowman in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.
Issam Rimawi APA /Landov

An early winter storm in the Mideast has blown down tents in Syrian refugee camps and flooded parts of the Gaza Strip. It has also given Jerusalem its heaviest snowfall in 50 years, and Cairo its first snow in decades.

The storm dubbed Alexa was "pushing temperatures below zero in mountainous areas and dumping snow and heavy rains. The snow has heaped another layer of misery on the already grim existence of many of the ... Syrians who have fled the civil war raging in their homeland," according to The Associated Press.

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11:58am

Fri December 13, 2013
Code Switch

Screening Room: Who Might Be The Next Black Actress On 'SNL'?

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:22 pm

Kerry Washington (with Taran Killam) recently appeared on SNL to spoof the show's lack of a black female cast member.
Dana Edelson AP

11:32am

Fri December 13, 2013
The Two-Way

Steubenville Officials Plead Not Guilty In Rape Case

Four adults, including the city's schools superintendent, pleaded not guilty on Friday to several charges stemming from the aftermath of the notorious rape 2012 rape of a teenage girl by high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

Steubenville's WTOV-TV reports that:

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11:07am

Fri December 13, 2013
Shots - Health News

A Nasty Fever Called Chikungunya Hits Close To Home

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:46 pm

The chikunguyna virus was discovered in 1955 by two scientists in Tanzania.
EMDataBank using UCSF Chimera

Well, look what showed up on our doorstep.

The Western Hemisphere has an unwelcome visitor: a painful tropical illness called chikungunya fever.

And it doesn't look like the hard-to-say illness is leaving anytime soon. (You can hear how to pronounce it here.)

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10:34am

Fri December 13, 2013
Movie Reviews

A 'Hustle' With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair)

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:46 pm

A '70s con-artist couple (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) are forced to team up with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper, right) in American Hustle, inspired by a real-life sting targeting corrupt politicians.
Francois Duhamel Columbia Pictures

David O. Russell hovers at the top of my list of favorite directors. He captures the messy collision of self-interests that for him defines America. In American Hustle, he whips up a black comedy based on Abscam, the late-'70s FBI sting that centered on a bogus sheik and led to the bribery convictions of sundry U.S. politicians. But he doesn't tell the real Abscam story; he adapts it to fit his theme, which is that most of us are busy reinventing ourselves and conning one another.

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