NPR News

Sports
4:23 am
Sun April 1, 2012

Finally, The Payoff In Women's NCAA Basketball

Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins goes up during the second round of NCAA women's tournament basketball in a game against California.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

The NCAA Division 1 women's tournament gets criticized for not having enough true March Madness moments, when the Davids rise up and beat the Goliaths in nerve-jangling upsets. Such is the power structure in the women's game, with largely untouchable elite teams.

The payoff comes when all those elite teams gather, as they have in Denver, in such a show of force and talent that a fan tends not to miss the little guys.

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Around the Nation
8:06 pm
Sat March 31, 2012

Vermont Town Struggles To Keep Bookmobiles Alive

The broken-down Cobleigh Public Library bookmobile sits idle at a storage facility in Lyndonville, Vt. Supporters are raising money to put it back on the road.
Herb Swanson

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 8:33 pm

Across America, libraries used to reach out to readers by sending bookmobiles into school parking lots, street corners and rural byways. Now, those rolling reading rooms are becoming scarce — too costly and outmoded, some say.

One town in northern New England just lost its bookmobile. The Cobleigh Public Library in Lyndonville, Vt., had managed to keep its van rolling until about a month ago, when it died.

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The Impact of War
7:17 pm
Sat March 31, 2012

Home Front: Soldiers Become Civilians Again

Briefings are part of the demobilization process that the 182nd Infantry Regiment must go through at Camp Atterbury in Columbus, Ind.
Tom Dreisbach NPR

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 8:33 pm

We first met the soldiers of the 182nd Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard about a week ago, on an airport tarmac. They had just landed in the United States after wrapping up a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:50 pm
Sat March 31, 2012

Babies Take Longer To Come Out Than They Did In Grandma's Day

Fifty years ago, the typical first-time mother in the U.S. took about four hours to give birth. These days, women labor about 6 1/2 hours.
Carsten/Three Lions Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 4:51 pm

The typical first-time mother takes 6 1/2 hours to give birth these days. Her counterpart 50 years ago labored for barely four hours.

That's the striking conclusion of a new federal study that compared nearly 140,000 births from two time periods.

One big implication: Today's obstetricians may be rushing to do cesarean sections too soon because they're using an out-of-date yardstick for how long a "normal" labor should take.

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Judging The Health Care Law
3:16 pm
Sat March 31, 2012

The Individual Mandate's Growth In Unpopularity

Protesters chant and hold a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in front of Supreme Court in Washington as the court concluded three days of hearing arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 5:08 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week over key aspects of President Obama's health care law, including the expansion of Medicaid and whether the court even had the right to hear the case. But the core of the challenge mounted against the Affordable Care Act hinges upon its individual mandate, which requires almost every American to have or buy health insurance.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Sat March 31, 2012

In 1993, Republicans Proposed A Mandate First

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 3:43 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Before the break, we mentioned the individual mandate in health care. Now, not so long ago, most Democrats hated the idea, and most of its support came from Republicans. And it started with President Bill Clinton's attempt to reform the health care system back in 1993. He came to Capitol Hill to address Congress.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: This health care system of ours is badly broken, and it is time to fix it.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Sat March 31, 2012

Tribe Sues To Keep Reservation Free Of Booze

The sale or possession of liquor is strictly forbidden by the tribal government of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. But there is a tiny town just over the border in Nebraska that does sell alcohol, in massive quantities, and mostly to tribal residents.

And now a longstanding battle over beer sales has spilled into federal court.

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Sports
6:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Final Four Teams Known For Strength, Rivalries

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: Tonight, the party begins on Bourbon Street. Hey, wait. Do parties on Bourbon Street ever end? Anyway, the NCAA men's basketball tournament is down to its Final Four teams. They're four famous basketball programs and the women's Final Four starts tomorrow night in Denver with another quartet of traditional powerhouses.

NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman Tom joins us. Tom, thanks for being with us.

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Law
6:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Supreme Court Review: Justices Take On Health Care

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 9:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Big event of the week in Washington, D.C. was the three-day argument at the U.S. Supreme Court over the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. The justices asked questions aimed at forming their minds to decide whether the Affordable Care Act properly regulates commerce or overreaches the Constitution.

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Middle East
6:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Children Swept Up Into Syria's Violence

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 9:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

The popular revolt in Syria against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been grinding on for over a year now. The United Nations says Assad's forces have killed more than 9,000 people during that time. The Syrian government in turn blames what it calls foreign-backed terrorists for the deaths of 3,000 soldiers and police. Now, the plight of Syria's children has captured attention.

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Presidential Race
6:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Advantage In Hand, Romney Campaigns In Wis.

After months of upsets and indecisive results, there were signs this week that the battle for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination may be entering its final stages. Mitt Romney has a huge lead in delegates, and some big endorsements are rolling in. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Don Gonyea in Wisconsin, which has a primary Tuesday.

Asia
6:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

What Does N. Korea, 'The Impossible State,' Want?

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 9:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

North Korea is the most secretive country in the world. Its pursuit of nuclear weapons is a cause of great concern all over the world, and just this week, the country tested two short-range missiles soon after President Obama left the region after attending a nuclear summit. United States has suspended food aid to that regime in response to North Korea's planned long-range missile test later this year.

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Europe
6:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Far-Right European Movements Unite

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 9:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

They call the Danish port city of Aarhus the City of Smiles, but not many smiling today. Police are patrolling the streets to stop violence from erupting, as far-right anti-Muslim groups from around Europe gather for a demonstration. Observers say it's the first time these hard-line groups have gotten together like this. NPR's Philip Reeves is on the streets of Aarhus, Denmark. Phil, thanks for being with us.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: You're welcome.

SIMON: What are you seeing right now?

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Europe
6:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Socialist Campaigns Against Sarkozy, 'Big Finance'

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

French voters go to the polls three weeks from today to cast ballots in the first round of their presidential election. Current president Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting for his life in a close race against a man who has never held national office, and is virtually unknown outside of France. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this profile of socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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Sports
6:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Win Or Lose, Ky. Gets Spot In NCAA Championship

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 5:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has got a real dilemma. Does he root for the Wildcats of the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville Cardinals in tonight's Final Four basketball game?

Governor Beshear joins us now from his office in Frankfort, Kentucky. Governor, thanks for being with us.

GOVERNOR STEVE BESHEAR: You're welcome, Scott.

SIMON: And let me please give you the chance to alienate half the voters in your state by telling us where you stand on this game.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

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Politics
2:30 am
Sat March 31, 2012

'Obamacare' Sounds Different When Supporters Say It

Supporters of the health care law have recently embraced the term "Obamacare," a word they once recoiled from.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 1:21 pm

Until recently, "Obamacare" was a word mostly used by opponents of President Obama's health care law. Now, supporters of the law are attempting to claim it as their own.

During the three days of health care hearings, protesters outside of the Supreme Court in favor of the law returned to one chant more than any other: "We love Obamacare."

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Middle East
6:20 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

To Keep Protesters Away, Egypt's Police Put Up Walls

After clashes between protesters and security forces, Cairo's police erected walls to keep demonstrators away from the Interior Ministry. Street artists then painted this wall across Sheik Rihan Street.
Mohammed Hossam AFP/Getty Images

Egypt's revolution has brought with it unrest, including clashes in Cairo in the areas around the Interior Ministry, a hated symbol of the former regime.

After five days of skirmishes in early February, Cairo's police chiefs ordered the construction of a series of 10-foot walls, seven of them in all, to block off access to the ministry.

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Middle East
5:07 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Israel, West Bank Settlers Brace For Showdown

Israel's Supreme Court has ruled the West Bank Jewish settlement outpost of Migron must be destroyed by August 2012.
Sebastian Scheiner AP

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 8:33 pm

Just two months ago, Aviela Deitch was proud to show off what residents had built on the hilltop outpost of Migron, just a few miles away from the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank.

At that time, the Israeli Supreme Court had already ruled that Migron was sitting on private Palestinian property and had ordered Migron settlers to evacuate.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:49 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Scientific Journals Plan To Publish Contentious Bird Flu Research

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 4:12 pm

A government advisory committee has reconsidered its advice to keep certain details of bird flu experiments secret.

Revised versions of manuscripts that describe two recent studies can be openly published, the committee now says. The decision could help end a contentious debate that has raged within the scientific community for months.

In response, the editors of two journals immediately said they planned to publish the research soon.

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Is That A Crushed Bug In Your Frothy Starbucks Drink?

The tiny white insects that feed on cactus turn into red cochineal when crushed. Starbucks uses the dye in some of its products.
Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

Call it the tempest in the Frappuccino. Some Starbucks patrons have been distressed to learn that the chain's Strawberry and Creme Frappuccino owes its pink coloring to crushed insects.

The coloring in question, cochineal, is made from a tiny white insect, Dactylopius coccus. When crushed, its body exudes a brilliant red color. Cochineal has been used as a coloring for foods and makeup for centuries.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Current TV Fires Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann hosted a commentary show on Current TV.
Current TV

Less than a year after he was hired, Current TV said it was ending its contract with lead anchor Keith Olbermann. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who had an ill-fated run on CNN, will replace him.

Current announced the move in an open letter to its viewers from Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, Current's founders.

The letter reads in part:

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Asia
2:50 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Myanmar Hurriedly Prepares For An Election

A man holds a portrait of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a rally for a candidate of her National League for Democracy party on Friday. The country is holding elections for some parliamentary seats on Sunday.
Christophe Archambault AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 3:33 pm

In Myanmar's capital, Yangon, there's an unremarkable old building that's drawing people from around the world.

It's the headquarters of the National League for Democracy, the political opposition party headed by pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. This weekend, she is running for elective office for the first time, and the humble house has become the focus of even greater attention.

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Latin America
2:28 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Venezuelans Tune In For Scoops On Chavez's Health

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears at an event in Caracas, Venezuela, on Thursday, after returning from radiation therapy in Cuba.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 3:08 pm

For nearly a year, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been treated for cancer, but little is known about his health beyond the information he himself provides.

That has led to speculation about his health swirling in the president's oil-rich country, particularly over whether he can withstand a grueling campaign as he seeks a third presidential term.

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Middle East
2:19 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Diplomats Gather, But Syrian Truce Remains Elusive

Syrian opposition groups gathered in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, as the factions attempt to form a more unified front. This Sunday, the opposition factions, including the main Syrian National Council, will be joined by diplomats in a meeting of the "Friends of Syria."
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 3:40 pm

U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan says the Syrian government should be the first to enact a cease-fire, but there was no sign of that on Friday. More violence erupted in several Syrian cities as diplomats prepared for Sunday's meeting of the "Friends of Syria" in Istanbul, Turkey.

The gathering comes at a time of growing disaffection with diplomatic efforts and an increase in attacks by Syrian opposition fighters.

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The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Defending Kentucky's Coach Calipari: Not A Tough Assignment

Kentucky coach John Calipari has been criticized as being more of a recruiter than a coach. But that doesn't mean his approach to the game is easy.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 1:04 pm

The critique of University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari is that he does what it takes to get his players, and they do what they want from there. Sure, this thinking goes, he's yelling at them from the sidelines whenever one — specifically Terrence Jones — puts up a 3-point shot from a step behind the arc. But he's not much of a coach.

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The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Ivy Leagues Post Record Low Admission Rates

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:06 pm

Some Ivy League schools are posting some of the lowest admission rates on record, this year. Harvard for example only accepted 2,032 of the 34,302 students who applied. That's a 5.9 percent acceptance rate, which is a record low for the school.

The New York Times reports:

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

One Of Britain's Most Tenacious Pugilists Returns To Parliament

British politician George Galloway celebrated today after winning the Bradford West by-election in northern England.
Andrew Yates AFP/Getty Images

Those in Britain who complain that their politicians tend to be mealy-mouthed mediocrities who spend their lives battling over the middle ground are being compelled to think again.

One of the country's most fiesty political brawlers, George Galloway, has once again sprung back into the political ring by unexpectedly securing a return to parliament, long after most pundits had written him off.

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Opinion
12:46 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Lone Star State Of Mind: Could Texas Go It Alone?

Lone Star Nation: Today, the Texas capitol flies both the American and Texas flags, but after independence the Lone Star flag would fly on its own.
Steve Dunwell Getty Images

It's a popular idea in Texas that the Lone Star State — once an independent republic — could break away and go it alone. A few years ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted that if Washington didn't stop meddling in his state, independence might be an option. In his brief run for the White House, he insisted that nearly anything the feds do, the states — and Texas in particular — could do better.

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Tombstone Of Adolf Hitler's Parents Removed From Austrian Cemetery

The tombstone that marked the grave of Adolf Hitler's parents has been removed from an Austrian cemetery.

The BBC reports the decision was made to keep right-wing extremists from using the graves as a pilgrimage site. The AFP reports:

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It's All Politics
11:38 am
Fri March 30, 2012

RNC's 'Doctored' And Panned SCOTUS Ad Gets Noticed Which Was Goal

RNC wed ad screenshot

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:39 pm

The Republican National Committee's anti-"Obamacare" ad which edited audio of this week's Supreme Court oral arguments to accentuate the pause taken by the Obama administration's lawyer as he began his defense of the law, continued to get significant attention Friday, much of it negative, two days after it first went up on YouTube.

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