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


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.



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.

Children Swept Up Into Syria's Violence

Mar 31, 2012



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.

Advantage In Hand, Romney Campaigns In Wis.

Mar 31, 2012

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.



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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

Current TV Fires Keith Olbermann

Mar 30, 2012

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ivy Leagues Post Record Low Admission Rates

Mar 30, 2012

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:

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.

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.

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:

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.

Take Your Dog To The Office And Stress Less

Mar 30, 2012

Any dog owner will tell you that they're a lot less stressed out when they're with their dog. Even at work. And now science agrees.

People who took their dogs to work in an office in Greensboro, N.C., had lower stress levels through the work day, as reported on self-reported test.

The employees who hadn't brought their dogs to work said their stress levels increased through the work day. So did the non-pet owners. But the dog owners said they stayed mellow as the day went on.

How Your Grill Brush Could Make You Sick

Mar 30, 2012

There's nothing like the scent of charred meat wafting over your neighbor's fence to get you in the mood for summer.

MasterCard and Visa have warned banks that a third party processor has experienced a data breach. In statement, both card associations acknowledged the breach and MasterCard said that law enforcement is involved and "is currently the subject of an ongoing forensic review by an independent data security organization."

Think of Jennifer, or as we like to call her, "Jen." Jen of the dazzling smile, Jen of the gorgeous chin, Jen with her hair down, Jen tousled, Jen as Rachel, Jen with Brad; Jen without Brad, Jen with Vince, Jen at the Oscars, and, of course, Jen as a neuron in the medial part of the temporal lobe.

Maybe you missed that last Jen.

A few years ago, a UCLA neurosurgeon named Itzhak Fried, while operating on patients who suffer from debilitating epileptic seizures, discovered what he now calls the "Jennifer Aniston Neuron."

With $540 million (wait — it just went up to $640 million!) on the line, it's not surprising that Alabama resident Lance Larka is willing to drive across the state line for a chance to win the record Mega Millions jackpot.

In the sign of the bigger cultural struggle in a post-Mubarak Egypt, a court has ordered the government to ban pornographic Internet sites.

One of the big questions facing Egypt now that Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule has ended is what kind of role religion will play in the new government. Some of the Islamists who control parliament have expressed that they would like the country ruled by sharia.

Guest host Jacki Lyden continues the conversation about the passage of Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan in the House of Representatives. Lyden speaks with NPR Washington Editor S.V. Date about what the vote means and whether the plan's passage may signal long budget battles ahead.

Co-Author Defends GOP Budget Plan

Mar 30, 2012

Republican Congressman Todd Young helped draft Rep. Paul Ryan's 2013 budget that passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday. Congressman Young speaks with guest host Jacki Lyden about the budget plan and Democrats' opposition to it, including calls that the plan would hurt programs like food stamps and Medicaid.

The FBI's top cyber cop retires today after nearly a quarter century in federal law enforcement.

Shawn Henry started looking into computer issues in the run up to Y2K (the arrival of the year 2000). He says that experience left him hungry to learn more about the way electronics were changing the way we live — and the way criminals operate.The movement of so much sensitive information online poses an "existential threat," according to Henry.

In Wisconsin, "state elections officials ordered a set of historic recall elections Friday, making [Republican] Scott Walker the third governor in the nation to face a recall and Rebecca Kleefisch [R] the first lieutenant governor to face one," Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel reports.