Friday, November 21, 2014         

New York Times

President Barack Obama called Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, to broach a particularly delicate subject. It was during last year's government shutdown and standoff with Republicans, but Obama's frustration focused on one of their own.

The black standard of the Islamic State has been popping up all over Pakistan. From urban slums to Taliban strongholds, the militant group's logo and name have appeared in graffiti, posters and pamphlets. Last month, a cluster of militant commanders declared their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State.

Amid an outcry over his abusive techniques, which some say verge on rape promotion, and an online petition with more than 150,000 signatures, the British government Wednesday barred Julien Blanc from entering the country.

Perhaps only in France could a video game provoke an earnest philosophical debate over the decadence of the monarchy, the moral costs of democracy, the rise of the far right and the meaning of the state.

Far from the flashing cameras and microphones in Vienna, where Secretary of State John Kerry is joining Iranian and U.S. diplomats in a final push to reach a compromise on Tehran's nuclear program, a different sort of political drama unfolded in the Iranian capital this week: Hard-liners got together to criticize the objects of their "worries," as they put it, the moderates advocating a deal.

The three men gathered in a Los Angeles warehouse, bringing a 12-gauge shotgun, a .38 revolver, zip ties for handcuffs and a duffel bag to carry the 20 to 25 kilograms of cocaine, worth more than $500,000 wholesale, they expected to steal.

From his desk in Lower Manhattan, a banker at Goldman Sachs thumbed through confidential documents — courtesy of a source inside the U.S. government.

Two months after the United States began bombing militants attacking Kobani in northern Syria, the fate of the obscure border town has become the defining battle of the broader contest with the Islamic State — to solidify, or roll back, its borders and ambitions.

As the Columbia University student tells it, the encounter was harmless fun: A female freshman invited him into her suite bathroom, got a condom, took off her clothes and had sex with him.

In North Carolina, early voting was cut by seven days. In Kansas, 22,000 people were stopped from registering to vote because they lacked proof of citizenship.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who came to prominence as an imposing figure in a track suit, shouting indignantly at the powerful, stood quietly on a stage last month at the Four Seasons restaurant, his now slender frame wrapped in a finely tailored suit, as men in power lined up to exclaim their admiration for him.

Americans For Prosperity — the group founded by the billionaire Koch brothers — has met quietly with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill in recent weeks, cautioning them against fighting the president's promised executive order on immigration with a strategy that could lead to a government shutdown.

The young man sat cross-legged atop a cushioned divan on an ornately decorated stage, surrounded by other Jain monks draped in white cloth. His lip occasionally twitched, his hands lay limp in his lap, and for the most part his eyes were closed.

As Americans shop in the health insurance marketplace for a second year, President Barack Obama is depending more than ever on the insurance companies that five years ago he accused of padding profits and canceling coverage for the sick.

A plan here to ban the sale of tobacco has ignited a call to arms. The outrage is aimed at a proposal by the local Board of Health that could make Westminster the first town in the country where no one could buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

Several dozen people gathered in a dim church basement here Thursday night to share plans for what to do if a grand jury chooses not to indict the white police officer who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, three months ago.

Subway and bus fares will rise again in March. The only questions are by how much and for which riders.

The national debate over the use of the term "illegal immigrant," which has become anathema to people who support relaxed immigration rules, has fixed on an unlikely lightning rod: the liberal-minded, pro-immigrant owner of a Mexican restaurant chain.

Six college applications once seemed like a lot. Submitting eight was a mark of great ambition. For a growing number of increasingly anxious high school seniors, figures like that now sound like just a starting point.

Moments before the San Francisco premiere of "Valley Uprising," a documentary about the evolution of rock climbing in Yosemite National Park, Gary Erickson, the Clif Bar founder, was asked to stand and be acknowledged.

Matt Haag, a professional video game player, makes close to a million dollars a year sitting in a soft chair smashing buttons. It is a fantastically sweet gig, and he will do about anything to keep it.

After hearing testimony for nearly three months in the death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old, unarmed African-American who was shot by Officer Darren Wilson on a Ferguson, Mo., street on Aug. 9, a St. Louis County grand jury is nearing a decision on whether to bring criminal charges.

The Democrats' widespread losses last week have revived a debate inside the party about its fundamental identity, a long-running feud between center and left that has taken on new urgency in the aftermath of a disastrous election and in a time of deeply felt economic anxiety.

Taras Demlan was out for a quiet drink with friends in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, a beguiling jewel of Hapsburg architectural splendor, and his companions persuaded him to try the specialty of the house.

Taras Demlan was out for a quiet drink with friends in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, a beguiling jewel of Hapsburg architectural splendor, and his companions persuaded him to try the specialty of the house.

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