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In the land of legislative freshmen, sophomores can be kings.

That's a dynamic that will play out around much of the country after the fall elections. Come January, about half the nation's roughly 7,400 legislators will be totally new on the job or have only two years' experience, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What Issues Really Matter To Latinos?

Jun 27, 2012

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From The Associated Press:

"The U.N.'s deputy envoy for Syria, Jean-Marie Guehenno, [has] told the U.N. Human Rights Council that the violence in Syria has 'reached or even surpassed' levels seen before the April 12 ceasefire agreement and that a six-point peace plan forged by his boss, U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, 'is clearly not being implemented.' "

Deb Waldin was in agony when she arrived at the emergency room of Fairview Southdale, a nonprofit hospital in suburban Minneapolis. On a scale of 1 to 10, she says her pain was at 12.

She turned out to have kidney stones. But before she got the diagnosis, while she was still lying on a gurney waiting to see a doctor, she was approached by a debt collector from a company called Accretive Health.

"Pending home sales bounced back in May, matching the highest level in the past two years, and are well above year-ago levels," the National Association of Realtors reports. The association says that:

Stockton, Calif., is on the verge of becoming the largest city in the nation to declare bankruptcy after its city council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve a spending plan that's essentially "a day-to-day survival budget," as the Los Angeles Times puts it.

There was a 1.1 percent increase in new orders for so-called durable goods in May from April, the Census Bureau says. That's more than economists had forecast, Bloomberg News reports. According to Reuters, economists thought Census would say orders went up about 0.4 percent.

Something that was "unimaginable a couple of decades ago" happened today in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when Queen Elizabeth II shook the hand of former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast Desk.

As Philip adds:

"McGuinness used to be a senior member of the IRA, the group that killed the queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1979. ... The handshake signals times have greatly changed since the end of the conflict, which claimed more than 3,500 lives, though some tensions remain."

Nora Ephron brought us two of the most indelible scenes in contemporary cinema — and they're startlingly different.

There's the infamous "Silkwood shower," from the 1983 movie, with Meryl Streep as a terrified worker at a nuclear power plant, being frantically scrubbed after exposure to radiation.

Then there's the scene in which Meg Ryan drives home a point to Billy Crystal at Katz's Deli, in 1989's When Harry Met Sally. You know — the one that ends with "I'll have what she's having."

Two high-profile, veteran lawmakers — one from the left side of the aisle and the other from the right — overcame primary challengers Tuesday. One had a much easier time than the other.

"A firestorm of epic proportions" continues to threaten Colorado Springs, Colo., as more than 1,000 firefighters battle flames that by midday had forced more than 26,000 people to flee their homes.

It was local Fire Chief Rich Brown who called the inferno epic Tuesday night. Today, Lt. Jeff Kramer of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said it's an event "that is certainly unprecedented in this city," The Denver Post reports.

As Allison Aubrey and Dan Charles reported today on Morning Edition, meat has more of an impact on the environment than any other food we eat. That's because livestock require so much more food, water, land, and energy than plants to raise and transport. (Listen to the audio above for their conversation with Morning Edition's Linda Wertheimer.)

Take a look here at what goes into just one quarter-pound of hamburger meat.

In Chicago, a new policy on marijuana possession would mean adults who are caught with a small amount of the illegal drug would receive a fine instead of being arrested.

It's mostly about money and how best to use police resources.

Under current Illinois law, anyone found with less than about 1 ounce of marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor. If found guilty, they face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

The collapse of the housing market has led to plenty of finger-pointing in Washington. Two easy targets are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

These government-backed mortgage giants had to be rescued by taxpayers and now owe the government $188 billion. Still, Fannie and Freddie, which currently make the vast majority of home loans possible, are crucial to supporting the housing market right now.

Framed in my library is a sketch that LeRoy Neiman dashed off of me on the back of a menu, when he was watching me speak several years ago. LeRoy, who died the other day, was somewhat better known for another sketch, the "nymphette" that has appeared in Playboy since 1955 — but, of course, he's ever famous for simply being our most celebrated sports artist.

As Arizona officials prepare to apply the one provision of the state's immigration law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, some local authorities doubt they can properly enforce it.

"We will do our best to enforce the law. But we are in uncharted territory on this issue," Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said in a statement released by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit organization of police chiefs. The group says the law "will seriously undermine local law enforcement."

Two big pieces of news in Mexico's presidential race today:

-- A new poll finds that the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto has maintained a big lead over his rivals Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Josefina Vázquez Mota. The election is this Sunday and a few polls before this one showed Obrador had narrowed the gap.

The college football champion will be decided by a playoff beginning after the 2014 season.

The AP reports:

"Come 2014, the BCS is dead. A committee of university presidents on Tuesday approved the BCS commissioners' plan for a four-team playoff to start in the 2014 season.

An America's Cup sailing event is being held to Newport, R.I., for the first time in 29 years. Sailors began arriving in Newport last week for the final leg of the America's Cup World Series regatta, which has been held at stops all across the world to gin up excitement for the official America's Cup next year in San Francisco.

Relationships are never easy.

If the partners in love happen to be living in a nursing home, there are even more challenges. And if they're showing signs of dementia, then things get really tricky.

Although no law forbids intimate relationships between people with dementia in nursing homes, staff and family members often discourage residents from expressing their sexuality, says a recent report in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

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