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1:59pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Technology

Driving And Phoning: What's New In 2012

Even though more than 30 states have banned or restricted cellphone use, it hasn't been easy to convince drivers to stop.
iStockphoto.com

States have long sought to restrict cellphone use by drivers because of safety concerns, and as the new year begins, several states are toughening their laws.

It turns out it's a hard habit to break; and for government officials, it's not easy to stay ahead of tech advances.

'Cognitive Distraction'

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1:35pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Economy

Brazil Sets Trade Records, Due To Chinese Demand

Brazil had record trade figures in 2011, logging $256 billion in exports and maintaining a $29.7 billion surplus on the back of high commodity prices and strong Chinese demand, officials said Monday.

Exports to China hit $44.3 billion, an increase of more than 43 percent over 2010. In 2009 China surpassed the U.S. as Brazil's biggest trading partner.

"It was an exceptional year for Brazilian foreign trade," said Alessandro Teixeira, deputy trade minister, who said China represented 17 percent of Brazil's exports.

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1:01pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Double-Blind Violin Test: Can You Pick The Strad?

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 7:53 pm

In a double-blind test by professional violinists, most couldn't determine — by sound alone — which violin was an original Stradivarius and which was a modern instrument. Above, a 1729 Stradivari known as the "Solomon, Ex-Lambert."
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

In the world of violins, the names Stradivari and Guarneri are sacred. For three centuries, violin-makers and scientists have studied the instruments made by these Italian craftsmen. So far no one has figured out what makes their sound different. But a new study now suggests maybe they aren't so different after all.

OK, here's a test. Clip one is a musical phrase from Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. Clip two is the same phrase. The same musician plays both. But one is on a Stradivarius violin, the other on a violin made in 1980. See if you can tell the difference.

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1:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Religion

Disaffected Episcopalians Offered A New Home

The Vatican announced Sunday an arrangement to allow disaffected Episcopalian congregations in the United States to join the Roman Catholic church. The arrangement will allow an exemption to priestly celibacy for former Episcopal priests who are married.

1:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Around the Nation

Police Make Arrest In Suspected Car Arsons

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 12:27 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Today, police in Los Angeles arrested a man in connection with a string of more than 50 arson fires that have left that city on edge. Most of the fires were set in parked cars, and some spread to carports, garages and apartments. Sam Quinones is following the story for the Los Angeles Times and Sam, what else can you tell us about the man who's under arrest?

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