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Dog lovers in China and elsewhere can sleep easier tonight, after officials in Jiangmen withdrew a proposed ban on dogs in the city. The near-total ban, which would have resulted in thousands of dogs being either killed or transported to rural areas, was prompted by fears of rabies in the city of 3.8 million.

There are myriad reasons why it's tough to follow a healthful diet in this day and age, and the formidable obesity epidemic in this country is a testament to the fact that too many of us simply can't do it.

An unlikely story has emerged from the world of the NFL, which until recently exported only tales of internecine warfare among millionaires. But first: If you're a football fan — but love to hate the Pittsburgh Steelers — you may want to just click away now. Because what happened recently may diminish your ability to despise the Steel Curtain.

The day before Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton left to become the Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator, he stopped by the team complex for some final farewells.

Spiders and snakes don't bother me much. But scorpions? Get them away!

If you haven't spent time in the Southwest, you might be surprised to learn how common the creatures are there. And Arizona bark scorpions, in particular, can really do some damage, especially to kids.

When these scorpions sting, they inject a potent neurotoxin, which can be life-threatening for young children and infants. Severe reactions to the stings are seen in more than 200 children each year in Arizona.

Imagine trying this in a tight parking spot in the city:

Stock markets plummeted Thursday amid growing worries about the U.S. economy and Europe's mounting debt problems. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 500 points, or 4 percent, and other indexes saw similar drops.

The U.S. economy barely grew in the first half of the year. And economists aren't expecting good news about jobs from the Labor Department on Friday.

These indicators and more are raising questions about whether the United States is headed for a double-dip recession

No Growth 'Surge' In Sight

Congress has reached a bipartisan compromise to end the two-week partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has idled 74,000 federal employees and construction workers and cost the government about $30 million a day in uncollected airline ticket taxes, the Senate Democratic leader said Thursday.

The deal would allow the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA's operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that eliminates $16.5 million in air service subsidies to 13 rural communities. A vote on the bill is expected Friday.

The sight of Hosni Mubarak bedridden and caged in a Cairo courtroom as his trial opened this week was perhaps an unbelievable moment for Egyptians who lived for decades under the former president and his feared secret police.

For others around the world, the images of Mubarak, his sons and other co-defendants held behind interlocking steel mesh have been shocking.

Defendant's cages like the one that housed the 83-year-old former leader may not be common outside Egypt, but they're still in use in parts of the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says there is bipartisan compromise to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has left 74,000 transportation and construction workers idled," writes the AP.

The AP adds that Reid did not specify details in his statement, but other officials say the Senate could approve a House bill as soon as Friday.

This story is still developing. We'll update as we hear more.

Update at 3:50 p.m. ET: Reid's Statement:

Here is Reid's full statement:

Gripped by fear of a new recession, the stock market suffered its worst day Thursday since the financial crisis in the fall of 2008. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 500 points, its ninth-steepest decline.

The sell-off wiped out the Dow's gains for 2011. It put the Dow and broader stock indexes into what investors call a correction — down 10 percent from their highs in the spring.

Financial analysts said the decline was building for some time.

Part 6 of a six-part series

The economic upheaval of the past several years has had a big impact on the nation's politics — from the president down to the precinct level.

In Florida's Miami-Dade County, it's changed the whole tone of local government.

Carlos Gimenez has been a fixture here for many years — as a member of the Board of County Commissioners, and before that as city manager and fire chief in the City of Miami.

But now he suddenly finds himself in a new job.

Earlier this week, the online gossip site Gawker reported that Newt Gingrich — a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination — may have paid to get most of the 1.3 million followers of his Twitter account.

Gingrich's campaign has denied the accusation. But on Twitter, numbers are essential — the more you have the better.

Ticks may be most notorious for spreading Lyme disease, but the tiny arachnids pass around plenty of other nasty diseases. Now they've got a new sickening hitchhiker to boast about — a just-discovered species of the ehrlichia bacterium that's making people ill in the Upper Midwest.

Republicans Seek Uber-Volunteers To Woo Voters

Aug 4, 2011

In Iowa, the Ames straw poll is just over a week away, which means the Republican presidential candidates are spending as much time there as they can.

But when they're off wooing voters in other states, it's up to their staffs to generate buzz in their absence.

So attracting the best talent could make a difference in turnout next week. But it's not just who they hire — it's also who they recruit as volunteers.

The Uber-Volunteer

Is Budweiser puttin' on the Ritz? The self-crowned King of Beers will soon be sold in a newly designed can — one whose graphics are dominated by a bow tie. And the can's new look was created by a London-based design firm.

The Oklahoma woman who sparked renewed interest in the 1971 D.B. Cooper skyjacking continues to provide new details about the uncle she identifies as the famous hijacker.

Marla Cooper also revealed plans to write and publish a book for release in November in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the skyjacking.

We're a bit late to this story, but it's too good not to pass along: A Swedish man was arrested late last month, after he tried to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen.

The AP reported, yesterday:

Richard Handl said he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his flat in southern Sweden when the police showed up.

Japan is firing three top nuclear energy officials, nearly five months after the country suffered the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl accident of 1986. And Banri Kaieda, the industry minister in charge of energy policy, said that he will resign as soon as he replaces the officials.

"I'm planning to breathe fresh air into the ministry with a large-scale reshuffle," Kaieda said at a news conference. "I'll have new people rebuild the ministry."

Antidepressants have become some of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, yet most of them aren't prescribed by psychiatrists.

And what's more, almost three-quarters of the prescriptions are written without a specific diagnosis, according to a new study, raising the question of whether antidepressants are being prescribed too often.

Fifty years after it was brought back from extinction, a Southern flower has taken another step toward survival, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to take it off its Threatened and Endangered Species list.

The Tennessee purple coneflower is only the fifth plant ever to be removed from the list owing to a recovery. The move, announced Wednesday, will become official on Sept. 2.

The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had served longer than any other ruler of Egypt in modern times, began Wednesday in Cairo. He is charged with ordering the killings of hundreds of protesters, and could receive the death penalty if convicted.

Host Michel Martin speaks with young Egyptian activist Wessam el-Deweny about seeing the once mighty Mubarak wheeled into the courtroom in a cage.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Update at 4:09 p.m. ET. Dow Plunges 513 Points:

At closing, the Dow finished 513 points lower. The AP reports today was the worst day for markets since the financial crisis:

Major stock indexes fell more than 4 percent. The Dow is closing with a loss of 513 points, or 4.3 percent, to 11,384. It was the worst day for the Dow since October 22, 2008.

The S&P 500 is down 60, or 4.8 percent, to 1,200. The Nasdaq is down 137, or 5.1 percent, to 2,556.

Update at 2:57 p.m. ET. University Lifts Alert:

Virginia Tech has lifted an alert that had the campus on lockdown for hours, after police received reports of a gunman. In an update on its website, the university said police searched the large campus and had "not received nor discovered additional information about a person possibly carrying a weapon beyond that reported this morning."

Our Original Post:

There are two main issues dividing Republicans and Democrats, and the House and Senate, from reaching agreement on reauthorizing funding for the Federal Aviation Administration: a policy on forming unions; and subsidized flights at smaller regional airports.

In an interview with The New York Times, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, said his father's government was aligning itself with radical Islamists among the rebels.

The Times reports:

A land crisis is gripping India. The country's growing prosperity has created a rapidly expanding middle class that is demanding modern housing and has the money to pay for it.

But building millions of new houses and apartments isn't easy, especially in a country where land is hard to come by.

A land battle on the outskirts of New Delhi illustrates the point.

The property, in an area known as Greater Noida, is undergoing the transition from cropland to towering apartment blocks. Right now, though, it's a visual and legal mess.

When it comes to food recalls, Cargill's decision to pull 36 million pounds of ground turkey from the market is a big one — a really big one.

The food giant's taking the action for turkey produced at a plant in Springdale, Ark., because the poultry may be contaminated with a strain of salmonella resistant to multiple antibiotics.

Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration

David Schenker is the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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