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A secret agreement came to light this week between the Israel and the Central Asian nation of Azerbaijan: The Azeri government has granted Israelis access to eight air bases, located just a couple hundred miles north of Israel's foe Iran.

Allowing Israeli fighter jets and bombers to land and refuel so close to Iran raises questions: Could this mean Israel and Iran are one step closer to war? Or are Azerbaijan and Israel just looking to strengthen their relationship?

Coalition Moves To Fund Rebels In Syria

Apr 1, 2012

An international coalition supporting the Syrian opposition announced new aid today, including a multimillion dollar fund for opposition fighters. The support for the opposition comes just as Damascus rejected a call to withdraw its troops and begin a cease-fire. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.

Mali Rebellion Fighting On Two Fronts

Apr 1, 2012

There's a separatist rebellion raging in the desert north of Mali, and the junta leaders, who seized power last week, have the double task of grappling with the insurgency while fending off global condemnation of their coup. From the capital, Bamako, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports this includes the threat of crippling sanctions by Mali's West African neighbors.

Race, Politics And The Trayvon Martin Case

Apr 1, 2012

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Joining me now is Corey Dade. He's a national correspondent for NPR digital news. He's been writing a lot about the Trayvon Martin case, and he's also interviewed Trayvon's parents. Also with us is legal scholar and attorney Michelle Alexander who recently published a book called "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." Corey, welcome to the program.

COREY DADE, BYLINE: Thank you, Guy.

RAZ: And, Michelle Alexander, welcome to the program.

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: Thanks for having me.

Supporters of the main opposition party in Myanmar, also known as Burma, filled the streets of the capital, celebrating Sunday a projected victory in closely watched parliamentary by-elections, as the party announced that its leader, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won a seat in the country's parliament for the first time.

Happy April Fools' Day!

Rest easy, that headline was just a joke. You still have 140 characters to compose a tweet. Believe it or not: The productivity of the newsroom took a hit to come up with that fake headline. A whole host of people across NPR contributed a bunch of ideas. These were our 20 runners-up:

-- NPR Blogger Wins Mega-Millions Jackpot

-- Ford: All New Cars Will Have Air Bags For Cats and Dogs

-- Citing Safety Risks, 30 States Outlaw 'Driveway Moments'

-- More Teens 'Going Amish,' Shunning Technology

In Argentina, Capt. Pedro Giachino has long been remembered as a hero. He was the first to die in his country's failed invasion of the Falkland Islands, which took place 30 years ago on Monday.

Recently, though, human rights groups discovered that the iconic figure of sacrifice in the war with Britain had been a henchman in Argentina's brutal military dictatorship.

Carlos Diaz, a leading human rights activist in the city of Mar del Plata, walks gingerly into the city council, a dimly lighted chamber that is a sort of microcosm of Argentina's once-violent past.

The national championship game in men's college basketball is set. The Jayhawks beat Ohio State in a close one and Kentucky got past Louisville.

At the nine-minutes-to-go mark in games one through four of Kentucky's romp through the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats have had leads of 13, 11, 18 and 30 points. So it was significant that the Louisville Cardinals actually found themselves tied with Kentucky at that nine-minute juncture.

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.

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.

Home Front: Soldiers Become Civilians Again

Mar 31, 2012

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

Advantage In Hand, Romney Campaigns In Wis.

Mar 31, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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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?

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS THEME MUSIC)

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Children Swept Up Into Syria's Violence

Mar 31, 2012

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

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.

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