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Parallels
11:20 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Do You Know What The U.S. Government Is Up To In Syria?

Syrian youths line up for food distribution in the Maiber al-Salam refugee camp in northern Syria, near the border with Turkey. The U.S. government has provided more than $1.5 billion in aid to Syrians since the uprising began in 2011.
Dimitar Dilkoff AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:47 am

Mark Ward is the U.S. State Department's senior adviser on assistance to Syria, and when he heard the Syrian border town of Azaz was overrun by an offshoot of al-Qaida in September, he knew it was time to get creative again.

"You always have to have a plan B in this kind of work," he says.

Ward is based in Turkey. His job is to oversee a growing and unusual U.S. humanitarian assistance program in rebel-held areas in seven provinces across northern Syria.

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The Two-Way
10:57 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Awww-some VIDEO: Little White Lion Cub Tries To Roar

Seven days old and roaring — or raring — to go. A white lion cub born last week at the Belgrade Zoo in Serbia.
Darko Vojinovic AP

If you liked the video from earlier this week of two white lion cubs at South Korea's Everland zoo, your animal-loving heart may just melt when you see another white lion cub sort-of roaring at the Belgrade Zoo in Serbia.

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The Two-Way
9:37 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Siri, Who Are You? She Won't Say, But Her ID's Been Blown

Voice actor Susan Bennett, talking to herself (or, rather, Siri) for CNN.
CNN.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:43 am

We tried Friday morning to get Siri to confirm CNN's report that a real woman named Susan Bennett is the "classic" American voice of Apple's virtual assistant.

But all Siri would do is tell us, repeatedly, that "this is about you, not me." As for whether she does have a "real" voice, Siri would only say that "I guess I don't have one."

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Fri October 4, 2013

A Grass-Roots Rally To Protect South Carolina's Massive 'Angel Oak'

Visitors have flocked to the Angel Oak tree just outside Charleston, S.C., for generations. A local group has until late November to raise funds to buy a parcel of land that they say is needed to protect the live oak from development.
Randall Hill Reuters/Landov

On South Carolina's steamy Johns Island is a fern-draped, centuries-old live oak that has withstood hurricanes, the creation of the United States and every government shutdown to date.

But conservationists worry that the tree known as the Angel Oak could fall victim to encroaching development. They've got two months to come up with enough money to buy the land where it has stood for more than 400 years.

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It's All Politics
8:38 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Friday Morning Political Mix

Anti-Obama demonstrators in Indonesia will have to hold their protests without him. He cancelled his Asian trip due to the U.S. government shutdown. (Their signs accused him of murdering Muslims.)
BAY ISMOYO AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:16 am

Happy Friday, fellow political junkies. Of course, it's hard to be happy if you're one of the more than two million federal workers either furloughed or working without pay, or one of the millions of other Americans whose lives are disrupted by official Washington's dysfunction. It's Day Four of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition. And an end to the disagreement still doesn't seem in the offing.

On that grim note, here are some items of political interest worth mulling over this morning.

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