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Talking Points

Is Mexico planning to change its name?

The official name of the U.S.'s southern neighbor is the United Mexican States. Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose six-year term comes to an end next week, has sent a proposal to the country's Congress to change that to Mexico. The name Mexico comes from the Nahuatl indigenous term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire of the 15th and 16th centuries that once included the nation's present-day capital. But why make a change now? "Mexico doesn't need a name that emulates another country," said Calderon, "and that none of us use on a daily basis."

What is the bone of contention at the ongoing European Union Summit?

The 27 EU leaders at the summit are fighting about money. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, has proposed the bloc to boost its spending ceiling to 1 trillion euros ($1.28 trillion) for 2014 through 2020. Most of the money, which amounts to about 1 percent of the EU's gross domestic product, would go to programs to help farming and spur growth in the bloc's less-developed countries. The proposal, however, is controversial because it comes at a time when many member countries are making painful spending cuts. The budget must be agreed to by all members, so there is already talk of scheduling a second meeting to give negotiators time to reach a consensus.

Could a cancer drug help those with autism?

Scientists have discovered that genetic abnormalities in proteins that help to connect neurons produce autismlike symptoms in mice. The findings support the theory that those with autism have too many brain connections, making it impossible for the cells to communicate. The scientists, led by Nahum Sonenberg, of McGill University in Montreal, were studying how proteins are made to look for clues to cancer. When they gave mice a cancer drug, it eased their symptoms. The discovery, reported in the journal Nature, is a start -- though the specific drug used on the mice is too toxic for people to use.