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Mexico has seen a dramatic reduction in poverty with a program that pays poor mothers to keep their families healthy and keep their children in school. Will it end what's called "the culture of poverty?" Would it work in the US? Also the winter weather turns worse on travelers, and Israel and the Palestinians are on the brink of a new escalation, but Christian visitors are getting a break in Bethlehem.

Banner image: New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (L) speaks 24 April, 2007 in Toluca, Mexico with Beatriz Zavala, Mexican minister of Social Development during a visit to know about the governmental program 'Opportunities' aiming to deliver economic support low income people. Photo: Mario Vazquez/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Winter Weather Turns on Travelers 5 MIN, 45 SEC

The Christmas spirit and other forms of good cheer are under serious challenge in many parts of this country. That's because of bad weather, which has caused travel problems for a week and a half with today likely the worst of all. Ben Mutzabaugh keeps track of it all for USA Today.

Ben Mutzabaugh, USA Today (@TodayInTheSky)

Main Topic Will the 'Nanny State' Be Replaced by the 'Daddy State?' 34 MIN, 38 SEC

Welfare reform was designed to put poor people to work, but it has not ended what's called "the culture of poverty," handed down through generations. In rural Mexico, mothers from five million of the poorest families are getting cash grants from the government, but only if their kids stay in school, if parents and children get regular medical checkups and if the mothers attend workshops to learn what it takes to stay healthy.  The poverty rate has dropped so much that the Oportunidades program is being adopted in 30 other countries. There's even a pilot project in New York City. There's much debate over the causes of poverty, but if this form of tough love helps end it, who cares?

Tina Rosenberg, freelance journalist
Santiago Levy, former official, Mexico's Ministry of Finance and Public Credit
Susan Parker, Associate Professor of Economics, Center for Research and Teaching in Economics
Jim Riccio, Director of Low-Wage Workers and Communities Policy, MDRC

Reporter's Notebook Despite New Violence in Gaza, Bethlehem Is Crowded with Tourists 10 MIN, 20 SEC

After six months of relative calm, Hamas unleashed new attacks from Gaza into Israel last Friday, and with both sides in the midst of their own domestic struggles, they're exchanging threats. In a protest against the Israeli blockade, the head of Gaza's 300-member Roman Catholic community canceled Midnight Mass this Christmas Eve. But in the city where Christ was born, it's a different story. Joshua Mitnick is based in Tel Aviv for the Christian Science Monitor.

Joshua Mitnick, Correspondent, Christian Science Monitor


Warren Olney

Sonya Geis
Karen Radziner

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