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Afghanistan
11:13 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Dreams Of A Mining Future On Hold In Afghanistan

Afghan miners in a makeshift emerald mine in the Panjshir Valley in 2010. Reports suggest that Afghanistan is sitting on significant deposits of oil, gas, copper, iron, gold and coal, as well as a range of precious gems like emeralds and rubies. Currently these minerals are largely untapped and are still being mapped.
Majid Saeedi Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 5:27 pm

Afghanistan faces the daunting prospect of a drastic reduction in foreign aid, which currently makes up about 90 percent of the country's revenue. Some have seen an economic life raft in geological surveys that indicate huge deposits of copper, iron, uranium and lithium in various parts of the country. But multinational mining firms have been slow to invest in Afghanistan — not least because of questions about stability after American troops draw down.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Thu March 29, 2012

West Virginia Mine Superintendent Pleads Guilty To Fraud

"The former superintendent of a southern West Virginia mine where an explosion killed 29 workers in April 2010 pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal fraud charge," The Associated Press reports. "Gary May of Bloomingrose, the highest-ranking Massey Energy official charged in connection with the blast, faces up to five years in prison when sentenced Aug. 9."

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Judging The Health Care Law
9:11 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Justices Ask: Can Health Law Stand If Mandate Falls?

Linda Dorr (left) and Keli Carender chant along with other demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
John Rose NPR

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Today On The Campaign Trail: George H.W. Bush To Endorse Romney

Mitt Romney (left) and former President George H.W. Bush in 2007.
Ben Sklar Getty Images
  • Wade Goodwyn reporting

In case you're keeping track of high-profile endorsements in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination:

Wednesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney picked up the support of Florida Sen. Mark Rubio. This afternoon in Houston, as NPR's Wade Goodwyn tells our Newscast Desk, former President George H.W. Bush will endorse Romney. Bush's wife Barbara and son Jeb (a former Florida governor) have already said Romney's their candidate.

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Jobless Claims Dipped Again Last Week

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 8:43 am

There were 359,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, down 5,000 from the week before and a pace that continues to be the lowest since April 2008, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Maryland's Batman Looks Like A Real Hero

The Caped Crusader, about to get into his Batmobile.
Facebook.com

After the news broke that police in Montgomery County, Md., last week stopped Batman for not having the correct plates on his Batmobile, many naturally wanted to know more about the man behind that mask.

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Animals
7:37 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Owner Optimistic Stolen Parrot Will Be Returned

The owner of an African grey parrot says he believes the thieves will soon return the bird that was taken recently in England. It seems Chico loves to squawk a song by Queen. The parrot's owner says the thieves will soon tire of hearing "We are the Champions."

Around the Nation
7:30 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Original Picasso Discovered At Ohio Thrift Store

An Ohio man was strolling through a thrift store when he saw a framed poster with Picasso scribbled on it. He bought it for $14.14. The Columbus Dispatch reports an auction house confirmed it was an original design carved by Picasso making the poster worth $6,000.

The Two-Way
7:25 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Trayvon Martin Death: Police Video Shows No Signs Of Zimmerman's Injuries

George Zimmerman, in the red jacket, as he was led through a police station in Sanford, Fla., after the Feb. 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
ABC News

A police video of George Zimmerman in the hours after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 does not show any obvious evidence of the injuries Zimmerman reportedly received during what he says was an altercation that ended with him firing his handgun in self defense.

ABC News obtained the footage and aired it Wednesday evening. As it reports:

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It's All Politics
7:14 am
Thu March 29, 2012

How Collapse Of Health-Care Law Could Help Democrats

Amy Brighton from Medina, Ohio, who opposes the new health care law, rallies in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 10:12 am

We probably won't know until June what the Supreme Court justices will decide regarding the health overhaul law known as Obamacare. The questions this week from the conservative majority seemed skeptical of the "individual mandate" at the center of the law, yet dubious of the law's survival without it.

(A line of questioning may not be a perfect guide to a justice's thinking, but right now it appears to be the way to bet.)

So let's say it's June and the high court has laid low the whole law. That's terrible news for President Obama and the Democrats, right?

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Politics
6:34 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Latina Gov. A Rising Star, Just Not To Some Hispanics

Susana Martinez was sworn in as the country's first Latina governor in Santa Fe, N.M., on Jan. 1, 2011.
William Faulkner AP

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 10:25 am

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is the ultimate immigrant success story: Two generations after her Mexican grandparents arrived in the U.S., she became the nation's first Latina governor.

And with an overall approval rating of 66 percent of New Mexicans after more than a year in office, she is arguably the most popular Republican governor in the country.

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Post Mortem: Death Investigation In America
5:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

New Evidence In High-Profile Shaken Baby Case

Shirley Ree Smith sits in the living room of her daughter's upstairs duplex in Alexandria, Minn. Smith is waiting to hear if California Gov. Jerry Brown will grant her clemency. "They say things happen for a reason. I'm not sure if I'll ever figure out a reason for all of this," she says.
Courtney Perry for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:31 pm

A senior pathologist in the Los Angeles County coroner's office has sharply questioned the forensic evidence used to convict a 51-year-old woman of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death, identifying a host of flaws in the case.

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Blogger: U.S. Shouldn't Trust Egypt's Government

Originally published on Sun April 1, 2012 9:06 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The revolution in Egypt is still a work in progress, but one thing that has not changed is the partnership between the U.S. and Egypt's powerful military. In fact, just last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced she would let $1.3 billion in aid flow to Egypt's military, as usual, this year. Clinton said the country has made significant progress toward democracy.

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Supreme Court Justices To Decide Health Care Law's Fate

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 6:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

In the third and last day that the U.S. Supreme Court considered the Obama health care law, it turned its attention from the abstract legal issues to the very practical – what if it did overturn a key part of the law. In sessions in the morning and afternoon, the justices took on two separate questions related to the federal health care overhaul.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

The Lobbyist Behind Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law

The murder of Trayvon Martin has shone a spotlight on Florida's law that authorizes the use of deadly force in self-defense. The law has been widely cited as the reason why shooter George Zimmerman has not been arrested. Marion Hammer is one of the most powerful lobbyists in Florida, and has helped to make the law a reality in the state.

Business
4:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 7:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is hit the showers.

Nike is suing rival Reebok over the right to sell brand new Tim Tebow jerseys. The tussle over Tebow - who rose to fame last year for his fourth quarter comebacks - comes after his recent trade to the New York Jets.

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Politics
4:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Wis. Board To Set Date Of Governor's Recall Election

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 6:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene, good morning.

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Business
4:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

EU Deal Expected To Lower Mobile Roaming Fees

European officials have agreed to overhaul mobile roaming fees. That would allow consumers to pay less for calls, texts and mobile web services when traveling abroad. Consumer advocates are urging the EU to go further, and eliminate roaming fees altogether.

Business
3:54 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Former MF Global Exec Takes 5th At Hearing

Former MF Global Holdings Ltd. Chairman and CEO Jon Corzine testified on Capitol Hill in December. On Wednesday, a former executive at the company refused to answer lawmakers' questions about events in the run-up to the firm's collapse.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 11:28 am

A former executive at the center of the meltdown of brokerage firm MF Global appeared before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers. Members of the House Financial Services Committee were hoping assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien would explain the actions of the firm's CEO, ex-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

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It's All Politics
3:46 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Romney's Support For Ryan Budget Has Democrats Crying Foul

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks in San Diego on Monday. Democrats have criticized his support for GOP Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan.
Steven Senne AP

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on what's known as the Ryan budget, the spending plan from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that among other things changes the structure of Medicare and rewrites the tax code. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has endorsed the plan, but some are saying his rhetoric on the campaign trail may not match up with at least one reality of the Ryan budget.

Romney said he supported the Ryan budget the day it was unveiled.

"I applaud it," he said. "It's an excellent piece of work, and very much needed."

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Middle East
3:34 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Egyptian Activists Push To End Military Trials

Samira Ibrahim, an Egyptian woman who brought the case against an army doctor accused of conducting forced "virginity checks" on female protesters last year, breaks into tears outside a military court in Cairo on March 11 after hearing that the doctor was acquitted.
Gianluigi Guercia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 9:06 am

For Samira Ibrahim, and many other Egyptians, the struggle to remake their country didn't end with the ouster last year of Hosni Mubarak.

Ibrahim, a 25-year-old from southern Egypt, was arrested by the military during a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square in March of last year, a month after Mubarak was overthrown.

While in custody, Ibrahim said, she and six other young women were subjected to a so-called "virginity check" — a forced penetration to check for hymen blood. Amnesty International has called the procedure a form of torture.

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Business
3:13 am
Thu March 29, 2012

National Trend 'Mobs' Local Businesses With Cash

Lander's clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y., prepares for a "cash mob" to descend last week.
Daniel Robison WBFO

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 6:36 am

You may have heard of "flash mobs," where a mass of people invade a public space to make a scene. Now the idea has been turned on its head by "cash mobs," where large crowds of consumers show up at small businesses to spend money. But it's not just about propping up the local economy.

It's 5 o'clock on a Friday, and mostly quiet in the Lander's Men's Store, a mom-and-pop clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y. But shop owner Ann Powers is anticipating a mob.

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Around the Nation
3:11 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Can A Small Town Survive Without Its Bank?

Terry Tatro and Irene Clarke stand in front of the People's United Bank branch on Main Street in Alburgh, Vt. The two feared that the bank's closing would leave a gaping hole in their community.
Sarah Harris VPR

Alburgh, Vt., is a town with unusual geography: It's on a peninsula that borders Quebec and is surrounded by Lake Champlain. Even though the town is small and isolated, its residents have always had somewhere to do their banking.

But in January, the People's United Bank branch on Main Street announced it was closing its doors. When Irene Clarke heard the news, she decided to do something about it.

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Judging The Health Care Law
12:13 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Justices Ask: Can Health Law Stand If Mandate Fails?

Linda Dorr (left) and Keli Carender chant along with other demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

The historic legal arguments on the Obama health care overhaul came to a close at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, with key justices suggesting the court may be prepared to strike down not just the individual mandate but the whole law.

The major arguments of the day were premised on a supposition. Suppose, asked the court, we do strike down the individual mandate — what other parts of the law, if any, should be allowed to stand?

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Music
9:48 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Earl Scruggs, Bluegrass Legend, Dies

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And finally, this hour, we remember Earl Scruggs, the master of the five-string banjo, who has died at age 88. As a young man, he created his own style of fingerpicking on the banjo that would come to bear his name: Scruggs style. He got his start with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in the 1940s and then teamed up with Lester Flatt as Flatt and Scruggs. And he influenced countless players over his many decades of music, among them, fellow banjo player Tony Trischka, who joins me now.

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