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Middle East
1:40 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

In Syria's Biggest City, A Deadly Stalemate

A rebel fighter raises his weapon after firing a missile Sunday toward Syrian government troops in the northern city of Aleppo. Syria's largest city has been the scene of heavy fighting for the past three months. Both sides control part of the city, and the fight has been a stalemate recently.
Narciso Contreras AP

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 5:16 pm

Before the Syrian uprising, Aleppo was many things: Syria's largest city, its economic hub and cultural capital, one of the oldest, continuously occupied cities in the world.

Now, Aleppo has a more ominous distinction: a city that's seen some of the worst destruction, not only in Syria, but of any battleground in many years.

It's been more than three months since rebels in Syria launched an offensive to take Aleppo. In the early days of the offensive, the rebels were able to take about half the city.

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Author Interviews
12:11 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

An 'Oddly Normal' Outcome For A Singular Child

Courtesy of Gotham

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 9:59 am

John Schwartz and Jeanne Mixon first suspected that their son, Joe, was gay when he was 3 years old — and they wanted to be as supportive and helpful as they could.

"As parents you love kids," Schwartz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "As parents, you want your kid to be happy."

Schwartz and Mixon drew on the experiences they had raising their other two children and by asking their gay friends about the best way to talk to Joe about his sexuality.

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Book Reviews
12:11 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Caring For Mom, Dreaming Of 'Elsewhere'

Richard Russo was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Empire Falls. His other novels include Mohawk and The Risk Pool.
Elena Seibert Courtesy of Knopf

Something must have been in the tap water in Gloversville, N.Y., during the 1950s when Richard Russo was growing up there — something, that is, besides the formaldehyde, chlorine, lime, lead, sulfuric acid and other toxic byproducts that the town's tanneries leaked out daily.

But one day, a droplet of mead must have fallen into the local reservoir and Russo gulped it down, because, boy, does he have the poet's gift. In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.

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It's All Politics
12:09 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

What Else Could $6 Billion Buy?

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The Italian-built Lamborghini Aventador costs nearly $400,000. The money spent on election 2012 — for TV ads and other things — could theoretically get you more than 15,000 of these V12 cars. But that's a lot more than have been built.
Adek Berry AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 12:39 pm

The cost of the 2012 election will top a record $6 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. If you find it difficult to visualize that figure, here are a few other ways to think about what $6 billion could buy:

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Middle East
11:32 am
Mon November 5, 2012

U.S. Presses Fractured Syrian Opposition To Unite

A Syrian rebel fighter takes aim at government forces from an apartment in the northern city of Aleppo on Saturday. While the fighting rages, the Syrian opposition is holding talks in Qatar in an attempt to create a new, more unified front. The U.S. announced last week that it favors an overhaul of the opposition leadership.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 12:27 pm

Could a united Syrian opposition be the game changer that finally topples President Bashar Assad, after almost 20 months of revolt and more than 30,000 dead?

"You need a game changer, either military or political, and hope it will break the stalemate," says Amr Azm, a Syrian-born professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio.

The Obama administration appears to embrace this view, and last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the surprise announcement that the U.S. backed a plan to overhaul the Syrian opposition.

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