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Global Health
8:34 am
Tue December 18, 2012

States Dreading Fiscal Cliff Outcome — But Indecision May Be Worse

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says uncertainty about a federal budget deal in Washington played a big part in his recent announcement of cuts to his state's budget by $500 million.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 9:35 am

It's not the cutting, it's the uncertainty.

That's the lament these days from governors and mayors awaiting the outcome of federal budget negotiations.

They know they're likely to take a hit; they just don't know how bad it's going to be.

"How do you budget for the unknown?" wonders Ed Long, the county executive in Fairfax County, Va. "Our worst fear is that by [the federal government] not acting, the economy is going to get worse going forward."

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Nancy Lanza, Gunman's Mother: From 'Charmed Upbringing' To First Victim

Nancy J. Lanza, mother of suspected mass shooter Adam Lanza, was one of the 26 victims of the mass shooting on Friday.
Handout Courtesy of family of Nancy Lanza via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:34 am

Before he forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday and began a rampage that would leave 20 children and six adults dead, police say, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother at their home in Newtown, Conn.

Who was Nancy Lanza, 52?

A picture is emerging.

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Europe
7:59 am
Tue December 18, 2012

In France, Free Birth Control For Girls At Age 15

An employee tidies boxes of medicines displayed in a pharmacy in the city of Caen in western France last month. Beginning in 2013, girls between the ages of 15 and 18 will be able to get birth control free of charge, and without parental notification.
Charly Triballeau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:16 pm

Beginning next year, young women in France between the ages of 15 and 18 will have access to birth control free of charge, and without parental notification. The French government says the new measure is intended to reduce pregnancies in this age group that result from a mixture of ignorance, taboo and lack of access to contraception.

One place where information is available on birth control, abortion and sexual abuse is a family planning clinic in a gritty neighborhood in the east of Paris.

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Shots - Health News
7:50 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Seniors Looking To Quit Smoking Get More Help From Medicare

Medicare is making it easier for beneficiaries to stamp out cigarettes for good.
larding Flickr

Everyone knows that quitting smoking is one of the surest ways to reduce the risk of dying.

But it has taken a long time for some Medicare beneficiaries to get the same kind of help with quitting that's routinely available to people with private health insurance.

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Tue December 18, 2012

For Two Cubans In Guantanamo, Daily Commute Between Two Worlds Ends

Luis La Rosa, left, and Harry Henry on one of their last days at work on the U.S. Naval Station Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Suzette Laboy AP

We've had to focus on news about the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., since Friday, which means we missed some interesting stories over the past few days. NPR intern Rachel Brody shares one of them.

This is a story about a daily commute that spanned regimes, not just miles.

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