7:57am

Mon August 1, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Opposition Echoes Cry For Liberty Or Death

In a photo provided to AFP by a third party, Syrians demonstrate against the government after Friday prayers in Hama on July 29. The Syrian government has banned most foreign media from entering the country, making it difficult to independently confirm events.
- AFP/Getty Images

The holy month of Ramadan begins Monday in many parts of the Muslim world — 30 days of fasting from dawn to dusk, when large crowds gather for an additional nighttime prayer.

Ramadan could also be a decisive time for the protest movement in Syria. The government has stepped up mass arrests as activists vow to shift from weekly rallies to nightly ones outside mosques that have become centers of protest.

"I am not going to stop," said Mohammed Ali, a 24-year-old architect, and one of many activists who say they will be on the streets every night during Ramadan.

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7:03am

Mon August 1, 2011
The Two-Way

China Curbs Negative Coverage Of Rail Crash

Family members lighting and leaving sticks of incense as they mourn victims who died in the July 23 high-speed train crash at the accident scene in Shuangyu, near Wenzhou.
AFP/Getty Images

After allowing unusually open criticism, on Friday, Chinese authorities ordered that the country's media outlets only report positive stories or information about last month's high-speed rail crash.

The New York Times reports:

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7:00am

Mon August 1, 2011
Opinion

The Nation: A Blase At Best Venice Biennale

Vistors look at artwork in the Denmark pavilion of the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale contemporary arts festival, in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 1, 2011. The festival officially opened on Saturday June 4th and runs until Nov. 27, 2011.
Luigi Costantini AP

Barry Schwabsky is the art critic of The Nation.

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6:10am

Mon August 1, 2011
Opinion

Foreign Policy: Sharks Swimming With The Fishes?

Damian Diaz, from left, James Sparks and Justin Lyons pose with an 8-foot bull shark caught Sunday, July 3, 2011 on Bolivar Peninsula beach. The 300-pound shark caught by Diaz and his family was released back into the Gulf after the group snapped a few photos to commemorate the catch.
Courtesy Damian Diaz AP

Juliet Eilperin is the national environmental reporter for the Washington Post and the author of Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks.

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5:43am

Mon August 1, 2011
Opinion

Weekly Standard: It's Obama's Economy

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks from White House briefing room, Sunday, July 31, 2011 in Washington, about a deal being reached to raise the debt limit.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer for The Weekly Standard.

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5:43am

Mon August 1, 2011
Opinion

New Republic: 'Debt Ceiling' Doesn't Mean Anything

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gives a thumbs up as he walks to the Senate floor to announce that a deal has been reached on the debt ceiling on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sunday, July 31, 2011.
Harry Hamburg AP

Walter Shapiro is a special correspondent for The New Republic.

Twenty-six years ago — as part of the price for raising the federal debt ceiling to a shocking $2 trillion — Congress, in a wave of fiscal self-flagellation, approved the Gramm-Rudman bill. If a spendthrift Congress failed to meet prescribed deficit targets, then Gramm-Rudman would slice the budget with the across-the-board subtlety of Sweeney Todd.

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2:59am

Mon August 1, 2011
Books News & Features

Brattleboro: Vermont's Hotbed Of Fictional Crime

Archer Mayor exposes the seedy underbelly of Brattleboro, Vt., in his mystery novels. But it's a challenge to bring out the dark side; Brattleboro, and Vermont in general, the author says, are "inordinately pleasant" places.
Ken Gallager

Brattleboro, Vt., is a bucolic town — pricked with picturesque church steeples — and home to a vibrant arts community. So it's an unlikely setting for gruesome murder and gritty crime, but that's just what goes on in Archer Mayor's Brattleboro-based Joe Gunther detective series.

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2:59am

Mon August 1, 2011
Middle East

Protests In Israel Target High Housing Costs

A tent camp has been set up on the promenade that lines Rothschild Boulevard, one of Tel Aviv's most expensive residential streets.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Domestic protests have dominated the headlines in Israel in recent weeks, as strikes over the high cost of living have spread across the country. But while the local media have termed it Israel's own Arab Spring, the protesters say they are far from calling for revolution.

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2:59am

Mon August 1, 2011
Arts & Life

Life-Like Mannequins Inspire Real-Life Shoppers

Originally published on Mon August 1, 2011 10:41 pm

These sculpted clay heads reflect the variety of realistic and abstract designs in today's mannequins.
Grace Hood for NPR

A mannequin maker in Colorado is helping retailers boost clothing sales by creating more life-like models. These are custom-made mannequins that look like the real people who shop in stores — or the way shoppers imagine themselves.

In a Disney Store in Southern California, an employee helps a young customer wave a purple wand at a talking mirror. It's part of the store's redesign, which includes playful child-size mannequins that encourage shoppers to interact with the merchandise. The mannequins appear to curtsy and jump after balloons.

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2:45am

Mon August 1, 2011
Politics

Path Ahead For Debt Legislation Remains Uncertain

After weeks of mounting anxiety and collapsed deals, Congressional leaders and President Obama reached an agreement Sunday night to end the debt ceiling crisis. Those leaders will attempt to sell that deal to fellow lawmakers Monday, and if all goes well, a bill increasing the debt ceiling by nearly a trillion dollars could await the president's signature Tuesday.

That's the day the Treasury Department had said the nation's first-ever default could occur if Congress failed to act.

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