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Stories for January 1, 2013

Cliff Avoided: Congress Staves Off Tax Hikes

Jan. 1
Associated Press
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Past its own New Year's deadline, a weary Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation to avoid a national "fiscal cliff" of middle class tax increases and spending cuts late Tuesday night in the culmination of a struggle that strained America's divided government to the limit.

The Slow Carving Of The Crazy Horse Monument

Jan. 1
Charles Michael Ray / NPR
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South Dakota is famously home to Mount Rushmore, but it's also been making room for a second colossal mountain carving that, when finished, will dwarf the four presidents.

Bill To Avert Fiscal Cliff Heads To House

Jan. 1
Associated Press
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Legislation to negate a fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and sweeping spending cuts to the Pentagon and other government agencies is headed to the GOP-dominated House after bipartisan, middle-of-the-night approval in the Senate capped a New Year's Eve drama unlike any other in the annals of Congress.

Drinks, Diets And Meat: Hits Of 2012, Predictions For 2013

Jan. 1
April Fulton / NPR
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As the new year begins, we here at The Salt are looking back at the food topics that got you talking in 2012, and pondering which conversations will continue in 2013. (And, like many of you, we're also firmly swearing off the holiday cookies.) So, instead, feast your eyes on this roundup of our top stories from the past 12 months:

2012: The Cinema Junkie Awards

Jan. 1
By Beth Accomando
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Looking back on 2012 I find some glorious high points but overall a rather bland year.

Formalizing A Border Crossing At Boquillas

Jan. 1
Lorne Matalon
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Informal border crossings, like the one between Big Bend National Park in Texas and Boquillas, Mexico, were closed after 9/11. But a port of entry at Boquillas may open again.

Ball In Boehner's Court After Senate Approves Fiscal Cliff Deal

Jan. 1
Scott Neuman / NPR
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The Senate spent the first few hours of the New Year ironing out the final details of a plan to roll back a package of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that technically went into effect at midnight.

Coming Home -- And Out -- In The South

Jan. 1
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Many years ago, a young Chad Griffin left his hometown of Arkadelphia, Ark., to pursue a career in politics. Today, he's the newest head of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) -- a powerful gay rights group based in Washington, D.C.

New Year Brings Minimum Wage Hikes In 10 States

Jan. 1
Catherine Welch / NPR
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On Tuesday, the minimum wage in 10 states will increase by anywhere from a dime to 35 cents.

Rift With China Clouds Solar Industry's Future

Jan. 1
Lauren Sommer / NPR
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It's been a banner year for solar energy. The United States is on track to install a record number of solar power systems -- thanks in large part to low-cost solar panels from China. That's been challenging for American manufacturers, and federal officials have put trade tariffs on Chinese panels.