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For posts before June 2012, please follow these links to our archives.

Leprosy Reprograms Body's Cells

Gisela Telis Science NOW
A new study in mice suggests that Leprosy employs a bit of biological trickery to do its damage: It reprograms certain nerve cells to become like stem cells and uses them to infiltrate the body's muscle and nervous systems.

The Arab Democratic Uprisings Two Years Later

Bill Fletcher, Jr. Black Commentator
The Arab democratic uprisings were world-historic, yet their outcome remains uncertain. It is premature to conclude that the rise of the Islamists is necessarily a permanent feature of the politics of these countries. There are, however, certain points to note as we reflect on the results of these uprisings and the road forward.

How to Cut Megabanks Down to Size

Gretchen Morgenson New York Times
Huge banks must be restructured and their access to the safety net scaled back, Mr. Fisher said, because neither regulators nor market participants have proved effective in monitoring risks at these institutions.

French Unions Back Revisions of Labor Law

Liz Alderman The New York Times
PARIS — French labor unions and business leaders struck a deal to overhaul labor laws. The changes include more flexibility for employers to reduce hours to prevent lay offs in times of "economic distress." Employers will pay a higher tax for using temporary labor. In exchange for flexibility, unions secured improvements to unemployment benefits and health insurance, as well as seats on the board of large companies.

Palestinian Citizens Wearily Eye Israeli Elections

Jonathan Cook Electronic Intifada
Polls suggest that on 22 January, Israel's Jewish majority will elect the most right-wing Knesset in Israel's history, returning prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to power in a coalition packed with ultra-nationalists. For Israel's Palestinian citizens, comprising nearly a fifth of the total population, the dilemma has been how to respond to this all- but- inevitable outcome.

Mali, France, and Chickens....As in: come home to roost

Conn Hallinan Foreign Policy in Focus
Why are the French once again firing into a continent? First, France has major investments in Niger and Mali. At bottom, this is about Francs (or Euros, as it may be). Some 75 percent of France's energy needs come from nuclear power, and a cheap source is its old colonial empire in the region (that besides Mali and Niger included Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Chad, Algeria, and the Central African Republic).

What Obama’s Gun Plan Means For Mental Health Care

Seth Freed Wessler ColorLines
The consequences for the mentally ill of the gun control push are not yet fully clear, as the full content of the president’s executive actions have yet to be released. And advocates will watch closely as congressional deliberations unfold over the vast parts of gun control that the president can’t do alone. But for now, it appears things are moving forward with some distance between proactive plans to improve mental health care and those to prevent mass murder.

Introducing Portside 2.0

The new Portside: better communication, a more usable web site, hyperlinked text, photos, brighter pages, better typography and formatting, integration with Facebook, Twitter and Google+.