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Film Review

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There are times in director Kelly Reichardt’s very bad movie—she’s something of a specialist in low-energy inconsequence -- when we become, despite our better judgment, fascinated by its utter lack of spectacle, by the way it insists on testing our patience. It’s the traditional function of western movies—especially those of the beleaguered wagon train subgenre—to turn what is essentially a painful schlep into epic adventure.

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At least 40 people were killed and scores more injured Saturday when a truck bomb detonated near the entrance of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan -- a destination for Westerners and other visitors to the Pakistani capital city -- as heads of state dined at the prime minister's house nearby.

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Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica dissolved his country's parliament Saturday and said he would request new elections for May 11. The action followed a conflict between Kostunica and pro-Western President Boris Tadic on how Kosovo's independence affects Serbia's quest for membership in the European Union.

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Does playing with Barbie dolls encourage young girls to adopt Barbie's (Western, secular, shopping-obsessed) values? An enterprising Indonesian woman concerned about that possibility took the basic Barbie formula and added some elements she believes will make the "Salma" doll a healthy alternative for Muslim girls.

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Western European teens have fewer pregnancies, and lower levels of STDs, than their American counterparts. Why? Because teens in Europe have easy access to contraceptives, confidential healthcare and comprehensive sex education. Teen sex is seen as a healthy thing. (Compare that to America's puritanical, ineffective abstinence programs.)

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