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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Embattled D.C. School District Has A New Vibe

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Your Letters: Racial Terms And Baseball Legends

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF LETTERS THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: A particular phrase we used in last week's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting prompted many listener comments. In our profile of Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney directing Florida's investigation into the circumstances surrounding Martin's death, we described George Zimmerman the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin in February as a white Latino.

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NPR Story
8:00 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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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

On A Mission: What The U.N. Faces In Syria

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So, what's the situation facing the United Nations team on the ground in Syria this weekend? For more on the kinds of challenges that Norwegian Major General Robert Mood and his staff will face, we're joined by Peter Harling. Mr. Harling is Middle East project director with the International Crisis Group. He's in and out of Syria frequently, and he joins us by Skype from Cairo. Mr. Harling, thanks for being with us.

PETER HARLING: Thank you.

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Politics
8:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Obama Makes A Pitch To Working Women

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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
8:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Congressional Races, Strategies Take Shape

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

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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
8:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

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

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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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Religion
8:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

The 'Heart Of Spiritual Life': Joy, Not Happiness

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tomorrow, Christians all over the world will observe Easter Sunday with joy. But what is joy? Not just happiness, laughs, or satisfaction, but joy? We turn to Father James Martin. He's a Jesuit priest, a contributing editor to America Magazine, and the author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life." He joins us from our studios in New York.

Jim, thanks for being with us.

FATHER JAMES MARTIN: My pleasure.

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Middle East
7:20 am
Sat April 7, 2012

U.N. Team Arrives In Syria Amid Heightened Violence

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Sports
7:20 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Pregame Speech Reignites NFL Bounty Scandal

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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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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
1:59 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Company Ties Shoes And Ethics Together

Gideon Shoes co-founder Matt Noffs with youth from The Street University, the nonprofit youth center that launched the fair trade company.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

You don't go through corporate communications to meet the executive steering committee at Gideon Shoes.

Instead, you walk through a basketball court with graffiti-covered walls and into a sound studio. There, Gideon employees are warming up their talking points: rap lyrics.

"There's no excuses in this life, so I'm fighting on. ... The flame inside my heart is more like a firestorm," they rap.

The team is made up of Suhkdeep Bhogal from India, Thane Poloai from Samoa and Allan from New Zealand, who doesn't want to give his last name.

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It's All Politics
6:35 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 7:18 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
6:31 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
6:19 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 7:27 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
5:46 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
5:21 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

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
5:04 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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Music Interviews
4:59 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Rascal Flatts: 'Rekindling The Fire' Of Its Country Roots

Rascal Flatts is one of the most popular country groups of the last decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Rascal Flatts is one of the most successful country crossover acts of the past decade. The award-winning trio has released eight studio records in 10 years and sold more than 21 million albums.

So why did the group recently consider breaking up?

"We had reached a crossroads to where we needed to dig deep to see if we, in fact, had the fire and hunger that we did when we first started out — to keep trying to forge ahead and be better than we'd been and push ourselves to be creatively energized again," bass player Jay DeMarcus says.

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The Two-Way
4:52 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
4:49 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 6:23 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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Movie Reviews
4:42 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

To Be Or Not To Be (The Pope) Is The Question

IFC Films

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 7:01 pm

When the College of Cardinals gathers in the Vatican to choose a new church leader — formally the Bishop of Rome — it announces its selection with the Latin phrase "Habemus papam" ("We have a pope").

But suppose that, when a cardinal steps out onto a balcony in St. Peter's Square to utter those fateful words, the gentle soul in white sitting behind him, out of sight of the crowd, develops stage fright.

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It's All Politics
4:37 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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Music Interviews
4:23 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Gotye: 'Less Of A Musician, More Of A Tinkerer'

Australian pop singer Wouter "Wally" De Backer is better known as Gotye.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 10:47 am

The Australian artist Gotye has been big in his home country for several years, but this winter, one particular song started an avalanche. "Somebody That I Used to Know," from the album Making Mirrors, has been a massive hit everywhere it's landed: the U.K., Germany, South Africa, Israel and now here in the U.S. It even inspired a YouTube cover that's become a runaway hit all its own.

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Strange News
4:16 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 12:16 pm

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 Salt
4:12 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Indian Engineers Build A Stronger Society With School Lunch Program

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a nonprofit based in Bangalore, partners with the government to make close to 1.3 million nutritious meals a day for schoolchildren throughout India.
Ryan Lobo for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:54 am

At a government-run public middle school in Bangalore, the blackboard's cracking, the textbooks are tattered and most of the students are barefoot.

But with all those challenges, the biggest obstacle that teachers face in keeping kids in school is hunger. Many students show up at school having had nothing to eat for breakfast.

On mornings one student comes to school hungry, the thought of school makes her break down, she says.

"When I had to get on the bus, I would start crying," says K. Suchitra, 13.

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The Two-Way
3:24 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
3:20 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 10:25 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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Remembrances
3:00 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Doctor Blazed Trails For Women In Medicine

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

Dr. Leila Denmark led an exceptional life. She fought hard to become a doctor when women were largely shut out of the profession and helped research and test the whooping cough vaccine. She then opened her own practice and spent the next 71 years caring for child patients and their parents. Dr. Denmark died this week at the age of 114. That's right, 114.

Charles Edwards of member station WABE in Atlanta has this remembrance.

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The Salt
2:44 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 7:00 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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Book Reviews
2:03 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

100 Years Later, The Titanic Lives On In Letters

The ill-fated Titanic rests at Harland and Wolff's shipyard, Belfast, in February 1912.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

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

When I hear the word "Titanic," I picture a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio, waiting at the bottom of a gilded staircase while the voice of Celine Dion swells in my mind. It's all Edwardian glitz and glamour, decadence and passionate love, the kind best enjoyed in a dark theater with plenty of popcorn. And then I quickly remember that the ship sinks, and that Titanic is more than just an epic film from my youth. On April 15, a century will have passed since the ship plummeted into the icy Atlantic, and it is the tragedy we should remember, not just the mythology surrounding it.

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