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In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his position on Ukraine. In a news conference, Putin denied that Russian troops are in Crimea but reserved the right to use force in Ukraine.

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NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman joins us now to talk about the Pentagon's view on cuts to military benefits. And Tom, we just heard from Quil that retirees feel the military is essentially breaking faith with those who served. But what do Pentagon leaders say to that?

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Well, Audie, I spoke with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey earlier this week and I asked him about these pension cuts and here's what he had to say.

The Senate is still struggling to find a way to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits for those out of work for 26 weeks or more. Majority leader Harry Reid agreed to bring up five Democratic and five Republican amendments in hopes to winning enough Republicans over to get to the 60 votes needed for passage.

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Embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was back in the spotlight today. The annual State of the State speech came at an awkward moment for Christie. The Republican governor had not spoken publicly since apologizing last week for politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. Christie acknowledged the unfolding scandal at the start of his speech.

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Recently we've heard of some big changes at several news organizations involving some of their most prominent journalists. At the Washington Post, the founder of the popular policy site Wonkblog, Ezra Klein, is weighing a departure. And the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are both scrambling to set up dedicated news teams to replace journalists who have left in pursuit of more money and independence. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us from our studios in New York.

The court also removed Judge Shira Scheindlin from the case, saying she violated the appearance of impartiality, among other reasons.

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Twitter is revealing more details about its planned initial public offering. Late this afternoon, the company announced its intention to raise a billion dollars by selling stock, and revealed detailed information about its finances for the first time. We're joined now by NPR's Steve Henn to discuss this peek behind the Twitter curtain. Hey there, Steve.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Hey.

More than 330,000 people filed new claims for unemployment insurance benefits last week. That sounds like a big number — and is a slight increase over the previous week — but it's being taken as some very good news. For a month, now, fewer new people are asking for unemployment insurance than at any time since November, 2007. That's before the Great Recession.

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In New York City today, a victory for the Securities and Exchange Commission: A federal jury held former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre liable on six of the seven counts against him. The SEC had accused Tourre of intentionally misleading investors about a mortgage-backed security just as the housing sector was beginning to collapse. The investment created huge losses.

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Turning now to escalator news, specifically Wyoming escalator news.

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There is a reported paucity of moving staircases in the Cowboy State, and that shortcoming has been posited as an argument for Wyoming to have fewer than its allotted pair of senators.

CORNISH: The argument goes like this: Why should a state with only two escalators get two senators?

BLOCK: Well, for some insight, we turn to the self-proclaimed escalator editor of the Casper, Wyoming Star-Tribune.

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The U.S. continues its cat and mouse game with the man who confessed to leaking NSA secrets, Edward Snowden. After spending the last few weeks in Hong Kong, Snowden caught a plane to Moscow this weekend, and he's believed to still be in Russia. But his exact whereabouts are uncertain. The U.S. has urged Russia not to let Snowden leave.

This week, All Things Considered host Audie Cornish traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to cover the 50th anniversary of the tumultuous civil rights protests that happened there. It's all part of NPR's series commemorating the monumental summer of 1963.

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And I'm Audie Cornish. All this week, I'm in Birmingham, Alabama, where the city is in the midst of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the tumultuous and influential civil rights protests that occurred here. One place that might not come to mind when you think about this period is the golf course.

As the Civil Rights Movement was unfolding across the US in 1963, the entire nation had its eyes on climactic events taking place in Southern cities like Birmingham, Ala., and Jackson, Miss. But there's a stark difference between how the national press covered the events in Birmingham and how Birmingham's papers covered their own city.

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Today we learned of some news from the Associated Press in which the AP is at the center of the story. The newswire service reports that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of editors and reporters' phone records from last year as part of a government investigation. Late today, the Justice Department issued a statement saying it strives to strike a balance between the need for information in criminal cases and the rights of individuals and news organizations.

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Lillian Cahn, co-founder of Coach Leatherwear Co., died March 4 at the age of 89. Cahn was the force behind today's high-end leather handbags.

Back in the 1960s, she and her husband, Miles Cahn, were running a leather goods business in Manhattan. They produced men's wallets and billfolds but wanted to expand.

"My wife had a great sense of style, and she made the suggestions that we men maybe were a little thoughtless about," Miles Cahn says with a laugh. "Among her many suggestions was: 'Why don't we make pocketbooks?' I like to tell people I scoffed at the suggestion."

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Joining us now to talk about what comes next is NPR's Tom Gjelten. He's covered Latin America for us.

And, Tom, Hugo Chavez, such a dominating figure in Venezuela. What happens now in the immediate aftermath of his death?

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Every spring, you hear that almost anyone can win March Madness. Well, this year, it's true. There's no obvious favorite in this month's NCAA men's basketball tournament, at least a dozen contenders from schools big and small. And conference championships began today. So who knows which contender will fall on its face and which dark horse no one considered will emerge in the next two weeks?

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Now to a developing story about a major Supreme Court case. NPR has previously reported that the Obama administration would file a Friend of The Court Brief, urging The Court to strike down a ban on same-sex marriage in California. Well, today is the deadline to file that brief but it has not yet been filed.

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In covering this debate, much has been made of income tax rates and where exactly they should be raised. But one fact has gotten far less notice. Starting today, payroll taxes are going up two percentage points for nearly all American workers. NPR's John Ydstie joins us to talk about it. And John, this means lower take-home pay for a lot of workers starting very soon.

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