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Humans
11:01 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

In African Cave, An Early Human Paint Shop

This abalone shell was found with ocher and a grinding stone. The iron oxide was used as a pigment to paint bodies and walls, as well as to thicken glue.

Science/AAAS

Apparently one of the earliest human instincts was to paint things, including bodies and cave walls. That's the conclusion from scientists who have discovered something remarkable in a South African cave — a tool kit for making paint. It looks to be the oldest evidence of paint-making.

Over in southern Africa 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was pretty new on the scene. A favorite hangout was a cave named Blombos near the Southern ocean.

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Business
11:01 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Charlotte Sees Beyond Bank Of America's Troubles

Bank of America's headquarters towers over the city center in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte has long been one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, but now nearly one in 10 residents is out of work.

Davis Turner Getty

Charlotte, N.C., is perhaps best known as the home of Bank of America, the country's largest financial institution. So now, with Bank of America struggling to revive its stock price, cutting tens of thousands of jobs and widely criticized for charging customers a $5 monthly fee to use their debit cards, what's the mood in Charlotte?

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Europe
11:01 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Apathy Reigns In Russian Election Season

Vladimir Putin will be president, says 30-year-old Yelena.

The lifelong Muscovite is chatting to a friend in Alexander Gardens next to the Kremlin in Moscow. Yelena, who like many Russians won't give her last name when discussing politics, says she's not even sure she will vote.

"Everything's been decided," she says in Russian. "It will be the same no matter who we vote for."

It's election season in Russia, with votes due for parliament in December and president next March. Everyone knows who will win, however, and voters are not energized by the campaign.

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Politics
11:01 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Trade Deals May Alienate Some Obama Supporters

This steel plant in Weirton, W.Va., was idled in 2009. The United Steelworkers union worries that a trade deal signed this week could result in more jobs lost.

Rick Gershon Getty Images

President Obama had a rare bipartisan economic success this week when Congress passed three trade deals.

Obama is going to Detroit on Friday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to take a victory lap. But some important parts of Obama's base are not fans of these deals — with South Korea, Panama and Colombia — which could have political consequences for the president.

Friday's event is at a General Motors plant. The auto industry and its workers are big fans of the free-trade deal with South Korea, so they're sure to give the world leaders a warm welcome.

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Middle East
11:01 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Syrians, Not The Regime, Feel The Sting Of Sanctions

Syrians walk in the Hamidiyah market, decorated with portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Syrian flags, in Damascus, Syria, Oct. 5, 2011. The European Union has intensified economic sanctions against Syria, but the crackdown against anti-regime protesters is unlikely to stop, Syrians say.

Bassem Tellawi AP

Every Syrian is feeling the economic pain of a seven month uprising and western sanctions to end a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

But shopkeepers tell a different story along a street of open-air shops in the Midan neighborhood in central Damascus. A government escort accompanies an NPR reporter for interviews about the sensitive subject of tightening economic sanctions against Syria.

Hassan Shagharouri runs a sweets shop. When asked if prices are rising, he responds that the prices are the same and that everything is perfect.

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