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Around the Nation
3:22 pm
Sat April 7, 2012

Is Death Row Still Death Row If Repeal Passes?

Religious leaders stop to pray as they march to the state Capitol for a rally to support repealing the death penalty, in Hartford, Conn., on Tuesday. The state Senate passed a bill abolishing capital punishment Thursday.
Jessica Hill AP

Following a vote this week in the state Senate, it's all but certain that Connecticut will become the next state to abolish the death penalty. But residents are divided over what a repeal will mean for those currently on death row.

State Sen. Edward Meyer stressed that the bill — which makes life in prison without parole the maximum sentence — was not retroactive.

"It doesn't affect the 11 inmates that are on death row right now," he said.

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Environment
2:12 pm
Sat April 7, 2012

Sunny Days Are Here Again — But Is That Good?

A couple enjoy a sunny afternoon against the backdrop of the Midtown skyline from Piedmont Park in Atlanta in late March.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 5:41 pm

Across the country, more than 7,700 daily temperature records were broken last month, on the heels of the fourth warmest winter on record.

While it might be time to lie on a blanket in the park, climate scientists are worried. They say all these sunny days are actually an extreme weather event, one with local and global implications.

In Iowa, March was so hot — a record-breaking 84 degrees — that some crops there, like oats, are now running way ahead of schedule.

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Sat April 7, 2012

Ploompf!! Pillow Fights Erupt Across The Globe

A pillow fight in London's Trafalgar Square in London, April 7, 2012.
Olivia Harris Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:53 am

If it's not already marked on your calendar, here's your warning: Today is International Pillow Fight Day. Cities around the world are taking the holiday seriously — as serious as a pillow fight can be, anyway.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Chinese Teen Sells Kidney For iPad And iPhone

A report that a 17-year-old sold a kidney to buy an iPhone and an iPad has citizens worried about consumerism among China's youth.
Vincent Thian AP

An iPhone and iPad were worth more to a Chinese teenager than his kidney, according to a report Friday from China's Xinhua news agency. Now five people in southern China face charges of illegal organ trading.

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Politics
6:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Obama Makes A Pitch To Working Women

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A weaker than expected jobs report is a setback for President Obama as the election nears. The president says that while private employers have added some four million jobs over the last two years, economic security remains elusive. The president spoke yesterday at a White House conference on women in the economy, and as NPR's Scott Horsley reports, voters who are women may be the key to the president's political future.

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House & Senate Races
6:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Congressional Races, Strategies Take Shape

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The race for the Republican presidential nomination has hit a lull. The next group of primaries isn't for more than two weeks, so it might be a good time to look around at another campaign for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. After all, they control the federal budget. Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute devotes his attention to Congress year round, and he joins us from their studios. Thanks very much for being with us, Norm.

NORMAN ORNSTEIN: Oh, my pleasure.

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World
6:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

U.S. Marines In Australia: What's The Message?

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

This week, U.S. Marines landed in northern Australia. Just a couple hundred Marines, but they are the first wave of a deployment that will eventually increase to 2,500.

The Chinese military has expressed disapproval. Last fall, an official with the Chinese Defense Ministry said the U.S. military build-up in the region reflected a Cold War mentality.

We're joined now from Canberra, by the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich.

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Economy
6:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Unemployment Fell, But More Ended Job Hunt

Just when it seemed to be gaining steam, the U.S. job market pretty much stalled in March. Employers added a net 120,000 jobs during the month, defying the higher expectations of a lot of economists. And though the unemployment rate fell, it did so for the wrong reasons.

Over the past few months, the economy has been adding jobs at a good, if not spectacular, pace, and all the signs suggested that trend had continued through March. As it happened, jobs increased at a rate that barely keeps up with population growth.

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Middle East
5:20 am
Sat April 7, 2012

U.N. Team Arrives In Syria Amid Heightened Violence

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Sports
5:20 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Pregame Speech Reignites NFL Bounty Scandal

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

The bounty scandal of the National Football League got even worse this week. A documentary filmmaker released audio of New Orleans Saint's former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams giving a locker room speech to his players before a game against the San Francisco 49ers and commanding them to inflict specific disabling injuries on their opponents, including running back Frank Gore.

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It's All Politics
4:35 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Partisan Fight For Female Vote Uses Monthly Jobs Report As Weapon

Job seekers in Boston in February, 2012.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 5:18 pm

With the possibility that women voters might prove decisive in November's presidential election, each major party is obviously looking for opportunities to argue why its policies are better for women and the opposition's worse. The latest came Friday with the release of the March jobless figures.

The report was a surprise on the downside because the economy added far fewer jobs for the month — 121,000 — than economists had forecast even as the jobless rate declined a tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent.

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The Two-Way
4:31 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Bill Gates: Making Teacher Evaluations Public 'Not Conducive To Openness'

Bill Gates addresses an energy innovation summit in Maryland in February. The Microsoft chairman told NPR in an interview for Weekend Edition that teachers should be evaluated, but that the reviews should not be made public.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Bill Gates is of course better known as the co-founder of Microsoft. But his foundation, The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, which contributes to NPR, is known for pouring millions into education reform.

Gates made a splash back in February when he came out against making Teacher Data Reports — or evaluations — public in New York City. Los Angeles Public Schools released similar data.

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Media
4:19 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

News Corp. Coverage: A Climate Change Case Study

News Limited is the Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire.
Tim Winborne Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 5:27 pm

Part 4 of four

Some weeks ago, I paid a visit to an eggshell-blue house in Newtown, a neighborhood on the west side of Sydney, to Wendy Bacon and her husband, Chris Nash.

As we sat on the porch of their book-lined home, they pointed with pride to the Australasian trees and blooms defining their interior courtyard.

And then Bacon delved into her own harvest: the results of a case study about how the country's newspapers handled a pressing and contentious issue.

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Election 2012
3:46 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

In General Election Ads, It's Game On Over Gas Prices

In a campaign video, the Mitt Romney campaign accuses President Obama of "spending millions to sling mud — or oil — at Mitt Romney."
MittRomney.com

The Republican presidential primaries may not officially be over, but political ads on both sides have moved on to the general election.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:21 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

FDA's Stance On Online Pharmacies May Go Too Far, Study Says

Each year, millions of Americans don't fill their prescriptions because they can't afford to.
Maya Kovacheva Photography iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 6:51 am

The Food and Drug Administration has warned people about the many dangers of buying medications from foreign pharmacies over the Internet. While some sites might offer high-quality medicines, there are plenty that sell bogus and potentially dangerous products.

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Current TV Answer Keith Olbermann's Lawsuit With One Of Its Own

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

Current TV has filed a countersuit against its former lead anchor Keith Olbermann. As we reported, Current fired Olbermann last week. Olbermann, who also abruptly left MSNBC, went on the offensive, bad-mouthing his former employeer on Letterman and eventually filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination yesterday.

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The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Grandmother In High-Profile Shaken Baby Case Has Sentence Commuted

Shirley Ree Smith, whose prison sentence was commuted by California Gov. Jerry Brown, began creating greeting cards for her grandchildren while she was incarcerated. While she was out of custody after a series of legal appeals, until today, she still faced the possibility of returning to prison.
Courtney Perry for NPR

A California grandmother convicted of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death will not return to jail, because Gov. Jerry Brown has commuted her sentence.

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Law
2:49 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Faith In Seattle Police 'Shaken' By DOJ Investigation

Protesters demonstrate at City Hall in Seattle on Feb. 16, 2011, after the announcement that police officer Ian Birk would not face charges for the fatal shooting of John T. Williams.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 4:23 pm

Police departments have come under increased scrutiny from the Obama administration as the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division steps up investigations of corruption, bias and excessive force.

Some of the targeted law enforcement agencies have had ethical clouds hanging over them for years — the New Orleans Police Department being the prime example — but others, like the Seattle Police Department, aren't exactly usual suspects.

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It's All Politics
2:37 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

When It Comes To Delegates, Santorum May Have A Math Problem

Rick Santorum speaks in Mars, Pa., on Tuesday, after Mitt Romney swept primaries in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. In his speech, Santorum declared that it's "halftime" in the race for delegates and the GOP nomination.
David Maxwell EPA/Landov

In presidential nominating contests, the delegate count really matters — right up until the moment where it doesn't.

Unfortunately for Rick Santorum, that moment seems ever more imminent in this spring's Republican presidential race.

Mitt Romney's overwhelming wins this week in three states (including Wisconsin, where Santorum not too long ago had been leading in the polls) seem to have reconfirmed the sense that he has cleared all the major hurdles, and the rest is mere formality.

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Strange News
2:16 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Small Town's Police Blotter Is A Riot

Unalaska's Sgt. Jennifer Schockley has earned fans worldwide for her local police blotter.
Alexandra Gutierrez KUCB

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 10:16 am

In one Alaskan fishing village, crime is a laughing matter. It's not the crimes that have residents chuckling so much as how they're written about. The Unalaska crime report is full of eagle aggression and intimate encounters gone awry in the Aleutian Islands.

When Sgt. Jennifer Shockley heads out on patrol each day, she's got the police blotter on her mind. Her goal is to paint a detailed picture of the town's often ridiculous crimes.

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

With Some Profanities Edited, 'Bully' Receives PG-13 Rating

Alex, one of the kids who struggles with bullies in Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully.
Lee Hirsch The Weinstein Company

The Motion Picture Association of America and The Weinstein Co. have finally come to an agreement: After editing some profanities, the MPAA walked back its R-rating and Bully, a documentary about school bullying, will be released on April 13 with a PG-13 rating.

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Europe
1:20 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Homelessness Becomes A Crime In Hungary

Two homeless men lie on mattresses in central Budapest in 2010. Hundreds of people live on the streets in the Hungarian capital; many refuse to stay in night shelters for fear of having their goods stolen.
Karoly Arvai Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 8:25 pm

Hungary's new anti-vagrancy laws — the toughest in Europe — now mean that homeless people sleeping on the street can face police fines or even the possibility of jail time.

Advocacy and human-rights groups are alarmed by the new efforts to crack down on and effectively criminalize homelessness, where the ranks of the needy have increased during the country's dire financial crisis.

Debt, joblessness and poverty are on the rise. The country's bonds have been downgraded to "junk" status, and the nation's currency, the forint, has dropped sharply against the euro.

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The Salt
12:44 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Guerrilla Grafters Bring Forbidden Fruit Back To City Trees

Guerrilla grafter Tara Hui grafts a fruiting pear branch onto an ornamental fruit tree in the San Francisco Bay Area. She doesn't want the location known because the grafting is illegal.
Lonny Shavelson for NPR

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 5:00 am

Spring means cherry, pear and apple blossoms. But in many metropolitan areas, urban foresters ensure those flowering fruit trees don't bear fruit to keep fallen fruit from being trampled into slippery sidewalk jelly.

But a group of fruit fans in the San Francisco Bay Area is secretly grafting fruit-bearing tree limbs onto those fruitless trees.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:19 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Spotting Dyslexia May Be Possible Even Before Kids Learn To Read

How to test reading ability in children who can't read has been a problem for researchers.
f_ iStockphoto.com

For people with dyslexia, problems recognizing words can make life difficult. Children usually aren't diagnosed until elementary school, when it becomes clear they're struggling with reading. But scientists say it could be possible to diagnose and help kids much earlier by identifying problems with visual attention — long before they learn to read.

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The Two-Way
11:02 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Reports: F-18 Fighter Jet Crashes In Virginia Beach

The burning fuselage of an F/A-18 Hornet lies smoldering after crashing into a residential building in Virginia Beach, Va. on Friday.
AP

A Navy fighter jet crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon. Television images showed thick, black smoke billowing near a row of apartment buildings.

Update at 8:24 a.m. ET April 7. No Fatalities, Officials Confirm

Fire officials say they have accounted for everyone who lived at an apartment complex in Virginia where a Navy fighter jet crashed on Friday.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Fri April 6, 2012

VIDEO: Rapping Federal Worker Adds To Evidence Of Waste And Excess

From the GSA employee's rap video.
House Oversight & Reform Committee

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Poll: Opinion On Trayvon Martin Case Divided Along Racial Lines

Shirley Jackson (right), a teacher in Miami Dade school system, joins hundreds of other people in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood during a rally on Wednesday in Miami, Florida.
Angel Valentin Getty Images

Opinion about the Trayvon Martin shooting is sharply divided by race, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds.

The divide is clear, when pollsters asked if George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot and killed the black, unarmed teenager, was guilty of a crime.

A little more than half of the African Americans polled said he was "definitely guilty," while only 15 percent of non-blacks shared the same opinion.

The poll also found:

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Economy
10:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

March Jobs Report Offers Mixed Messages

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 9:44 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Governing
10:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Deal Might Be The Key To Save Detroit

The city's leaders agreed to a compromise with state officials this week, that may save Detroit from bankruptcy. But Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley tells host Michel Martin that a lot more work needs to be done to save the struggling city. They're also joined by NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.

'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
9:48 am
Fri April 6, 2012

It's All Politics, April 5, 2012

Steven Senne ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mitt Romney's sweep in Tuesday's primaries essentially signals the beginning of the general election campaign. And President Obama joins the fray, attacking Romney by name in a speech to news editors; the former Massachusetts governor returns the favor a day later. Paul Ryan draws attention from the president as well as those speculating on the GOP ticket. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin have the latest in this week's political roundup.

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