Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 12:34 pm
Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.
It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.
There's a mystery in West Africa that's puzzled scientists for years. Strange circles of bare soil appear in grassland; they're commonly called "fairy circles." These naturally occurring shapes last for decades, until the grass eventually takes over and the circles fade.
Now German scientists think they have an explanation — a horde of insects seems to be bioengineering thousands of miles of desert.
While many people enjoy sweet treats — like these chocolate bunnies — the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.
Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors — even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.
Chief Almir of Brazil's Surui tribe attends a press conference with Google representatives in Rio de Janeiro last year. Chief Almir has brought technology to his previously isolated people, who now use smartphones to send photos of illegal logging in the Amazon.
Credit Vanderlei Almeida / AFP/Getty Images
Chief Almir still knows how to handle a bow and arrow, the traditional weapon of choice of the Surui people.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 3:30 pm
President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 6:47 pm
During a Holy Thursday ritual, Pope Francis continued to break the traditions at the Vatican.
Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 young people at a youth prison. Among them were two women and two Muslims. The act was a break with tradition. As The Guardian reports, all modern popes have partaken in the ritual by washing the feet of fellow priests at either St Peter's or the Basilica of St John in Lateran.
A police car is posted outside the Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia, on Jan. 20, 2011. Dr. Kermit Gosnell, accused of murder, performed abortions in the clinic.
Credit Matt Rourke / AP
An undated photo of Gosnell released by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office. Gosnell, who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women at the Women's Medical Society, was charged with murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies.
A Philadelphia doctor who performed abortions is on trial for murder. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is accused in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies who the prosecutor says were born alive. District Attorney R. Seth Williams laid out the case in disturbing detail in a grand jury report last year.
When authorities raided Gosnell's clinic in 2010 they found squalid conditions: blood on the floor, the stench of urine and a flea-infested cat wandering through the facility.