National Security
3:49 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Training For An Uncertain Military Future In The Calif. Desert

Soldiers assigned to the 120th Combined Arms Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, participate in desert training at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., in 2009.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 4:28 pm

In the middle of the Mojave Desert, between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, there is a place that looks just like Afghanistan.

There are villages with houses, shops, a mosque and a marketplace. But it is all a facade. The area is actually a U.S. Army installation, the Fort Irwin National Training Center. If you want to see how a decade of fighting has profoundly changed the way the U.S. prepares its soldiers for war, this is where you come.

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Local Viewpoints
3:25 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Group Files Suit To Protect Prairie Dog

Credit Gunnison’s prairie dog---fws.gov

  WildEarth Guardians filed suit this week challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) refusal to protect the Gunnison’s prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service denied the species protection despite a documented 95 percent decline since the early 1900s and numerous serious ongoing threats.

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Regional
3:19 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

States Want Federal Lands

Officials from nine Western states say it's time for them to take control of federal lands within their borders.

The lawmakers and county commissioners met at Utah's Capitol on Friday to discuss their joint goal of taking oil-, timber- and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.

The summit wasn't publicized until midday, when notice went out about a late-afternoon news conference.

The meeting's result wasn't clear, but Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder told reporters federal land management is hamstrung by bad policies, politicized science and federal budget cuts.

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Regional
3:17 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

State Not Finished With Cheating Scandal

Texas education officials want to repeal state certifications of 11 administrators linked to an El Paso classroom cheating scandal.

It marks the first time the state has tried holding individual employees accountable for rampant cheating in the El Paso district from 2007 to 2010. School officials were accused of holding students back or coercing them into dropping out to improve standardized test scores.

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Regional
3:15 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

After Perry Veto, Effort Continues To Ban Texting While Driving In Texas

Credit Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

Efforts to implement a statewide texting while driving ban in Texas are likely to resurface next year no matter who replaces Gov. Rick Perry.

Texas is one of only seven states without a law prohibiting all drivers from texting while driving. Many major cities have ordinances on the books but attempts to pass a statewide ban in the Legislature have failed.

A safety nonprofit has designated April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Perry vetoed a texting bill in 2011. The two candidates vying to replace Perry have taken opposite views on the issue.

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Regional
3:14 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Schools Concerned About New Law

Some New Mexico officials are concerned schools could be left vulnerable in the wake of a new law requiring they stockpile medicine to treat students who experience severe allergic reactions or asthma attacks.

Some school districts are hesitant to follow the new law because they can be sued if something goes wrong.

Gov. Susana Martinez signed Senate Bill 75 into law last month, saying it would save children's lives.

The law, which takes effect July 1, permits school nurses to administer the medication even to students who don't have a prescription.

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World
3:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Despite Easter 'Truce,' Standoff In Ukraine Appears Steadfast

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 4:28 pm

In the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the opposing camps seem increasingly entrenched, despite a diplomatic effort to ease tensions. Pro-Russian forces refuse to leave occupied buildings and public squares in the east. It's an uneasy Easter weekend and neither side is willing to budge.

World
3:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Russia's Military: Threatening Enough To Avoid Using Force?

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 4:28 pm

Russia is in the middle of a planned upgrade and expansion of its military forces, but global affairs professor Mark Galeotti tells NPR's Arun Rath that Russia's military has its limits.

Asia
3:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

The Players In The Battle For India's Soul

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 4:28 pm

The numbers from India's election are staggering: 814 million potential voters, nine stages of voting over six weeks. They are the biggest in the world. Correspondent Julie McCarthy talks with NPR's Arun Rath about the candidates vying for power.

Author Interviews
3:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Writing The Wicked Ways Of The 'Worst. Person. Ever.'

Courtesy of Penguin

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 8:19 pm

Douglas Coupland's latest book, Worst. Person. Ever., is a profane, shocking novel that centers around an awful guy named Raymond Gunt.

"Imagine there's this really bitter English guy who has Tourettes and swore all the time, except he doesn't have Tourettes, he just swears a lot. Like, a lot — to the point where it almost becomes like performance art," Coupland tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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