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Middle East
5:10 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

As Rebels Fight Rebels, Grim Reports From A Syrian City

The flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, flutters on the dome of an Armenian Catholic Church in the northern rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Sept. 28, 2013. At first, Syrian rebels and civilians welcomed the experienced Islamist fighters, and the groups fought together to take over the city from Syrian troops. Now, many Syrians fear and resent ISIS.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:29 pm

Reports from the Syrian city of Raqqa are dire. In the north-central provincial capital, "the atmosphere has gone from bad to worse," says one activist with a rare link to the Internet. He reports the city is "completely paralyzed," the hospital is abandoned, and there are bodies in the central square. There is no power or water for a city of more than half a million people. Even the critical bread ovens are shut.

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It's All Politics
4:47 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Identify As Independents

Voters wait to cast ballots at a school in New York City on Nov. 6.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:38 pm

A record-high percentage of Americans identified as political independents last year, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

The survey, based on more than 18,000 interviews conducted throughout the year, found that 42 percent identified as independent, the highest figure since the polling firm began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.

In 2013, 31 percent identified as Democrats, while 25 percent identified as Republican.

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Shots - Health News
4:37 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

So Are 2 Drinks A Day Really Too Many?

This looks like way more than one too many.
Chris Gramly iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:33 pm

A lot of us are drinking too much, and on Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called us on it.

More than eight drinks a week for women and 15 drinks a week for men can get you into trouble, the CDC warned.

But that doesn't seem to jibe with other studies that found that drinking alcohol makes for better heart health, several Shots commenters noted. Shana Cuddy wrote:

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The Two-Way
4:35 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Same-Sex Marriages No Longer Recognized, Utah Tells Agencies

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:25 pm

Utah is instructing state officials to put services and paperwork for same-sex couples on hold, reflecting a recent U.S. Supreme Court order that halted gay marriages in the state. Utah is appealing a district court's ruling last month that its ban on same-sex marriage is not constitutional. The state was granted a stay as it pursues the matter.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Germany's Merkel To Visit U.S. Amid Anger Over NSA Spying

President Obama walks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sept. 6, 2013. Relations between the two allies are strained after documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, suggested the agency had spied on Merkel and other world leaders.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:09 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel accepted an invitation Wednesday from President Obama to visit the U.S., just months after relations between the two allies hit a low following revelations the U.S. was spying on Merkel and other world leaders.

Obama made the invitation during a conversation Wednesday with the German chancellor. Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, said the visit would occur in the next few months.

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