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It's All Politics
3:23 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Skim Milk, States' Rights And Political Clout: The High Court And DOMA

This artist rendering shows Roberta Kaplan, attorney for plaintiff Edith Windsor, addressing the Supreme Court during arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday.
Dana Verkouteren AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:17 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between "one man and one woman as husband and wife."

It was the court's second and final day of hearing appeals involving same-sex marriage laws. And it served up some memorable observations from the high court denizens.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg characterized same-sex unions under DOMA, which limits federal spousal benefits to heterosexual couples, as the equivalent of "skim milk" marriages.

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Energy
3:22 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Is The Sky The Limit For Wind Power?

Wind turbines at the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm in Whitewater, Calif., in 2012.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 8:55 pm

Wind power is growing faster than ever — almost half of the new sources of electricity added to the U.S. power grid last year were wind farms.

But is the sky the limit? Several scientists now say it's actually possible to have so many turbines that they start to lose power. They steal each other's wind.

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Europe
3:21 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Long After Its Fall, Berlin Wall Is Focus Of New Protests

American actor David Hasselhoff speaks to protesters next to a remnant of the Berlin Wall last week. Thousands of people turned out to oppose a plan to knock down one of the few remaining sections of the wall. A small part was removed Wednesday.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 8:55 pm

Protected by scores of German police officers, workers removed sections of a key remnant of the Berlin Wall before dawn Wednesday despite earlier protests demanding the concrete artifact of the Cold War be preserved.

The removal came as a shock to residents, just as it did on Aug. 13, 1961, when communists first built the barrier that divided Berlin during the Cold War.

Tour guide Rolf Strobel, 52, was among the scores of people who came to gape at the holes in what had been the longest remaining stretch of the wall — about eight-tenths of a mile.

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NPR Story
3:20 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

With Cyprus On The Ropes, Which Country Will Become The Next Tax Shelter?

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 8:55 pm

Robert Siegel talks to Joseph Cotterill, writer for the Financial Times, about what may happen if the European Union's bailout plan for Cyprus succeeds and which country may be poised to take on the role as the next Cayman Islands of Eastern Europe.

The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

High Court Rules U.S. Government Can Be Sued Over Actions Of Prison Guards

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 4:51 pm

When can the federal government be sued when a law enforcement officer intentionally injures or harms someone? Apparently, any time the officer is acting within the scope of his or her employment.

That was the answer Justice Clarence Thomas gave when he wrote today's opinion for a unanimous court in Millbrook v. United States.

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Planet Money
2:14 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

What If You Couldn't Take Your Money To Another State?

What if this wasn't worth $1?
ceoln Flickr

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 8:48 am

One day, the legislature in the state where you live passes a new law: Until further notice, you're not allowed to take your money to another state.

There are exceptions. You can take a few thousand dollars with you if you go on a trip. You can do some out-of-state shopping on your credit card, but not too much. Beyond that, all your money — your checking account, your savings account, the cash you buried in your backyard — has to stay in your state. You're free to leave the state, as long as you don't take your money with you.

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The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

British Government Rebuked Again; Court Rules It Cannot Deport Muslim Cleric

Muslim Cleric Abu Qatada arrives home after being released from prison in London, England.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

The British government has suffered another loss in its attempt to deport Muslim cleric Abu Qatada back to Jordan.

While Qatada has never been charged with anything in the United Kingdom, he is accused of being a spiritual inspiration for some of the those involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

The BBC reports that today a Special Immigration Appeals Commission decided the government of Prime Minister David Cameron could not send him back to Jordan, where in 1999, he was convicted on terror charges in absentia.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
1:50 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Transcript And Audio: Supreme Court Arguments On Defense Of Marriage Act

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 3:25 pm

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal benefits for and recognition of same-sex marriages.

Audio of the arguments is available above, and a transcript, as prepared by the court, follows.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will hear argument this morning in Case 12-307, United States v. Windsor, and we will begin with the jurisdictional discussion. Ms. Jackson?

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

As Red Cross Arrives In Guantanamo, Hunger Strike Grows

Clouds cover the sky over Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Pool Getty Images

The number of detainees on hunger strike at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has grown and Red Cross has moved up a visit to the prison to assess the situation.

The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg, who covers Guantanamo for the paper permanently, reports the government now says 31 out of 166 captives "meet the minimum criteria to be considered hunger strikers."

Rosenberg adds:

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Book Reviews
1:09 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The Apathy In 'A Thousand Pardons' Is Hard To Forgive

iStockPhoto

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:32 pm

Jonathan Dee likes to write about rich, good-looking people falling apart — and who among the 99 percent of us can't enjoy that plot? In The Privileges, the dad of the family was a Wall Street trader, tempted by existential boredom into larceny; in A Thousand Pardons, the dad of the family is a partner in a New York law firm, tempted by existential boredom into a disastrous workplace affair.

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Television
1:09 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Chris Hayes: From 'Up' In The Morning To 'All In' At Night

Anchor Chris Hayes will host a new MSNBC weeknight show beginning April 1.
Virginia Sherwood MSNBC

On Monday evening on MSNBC, All In with Chris Hayes will premiere, making the 34-year-old the youngest prime-time anchor on any of the major cable news channels. For the past 18 months, he has hosted an early morning weekend show — Up with Chris Hayes — on MSNBC, but he's already a familiar face to MSNBC evening viewers: He has frequently filled in for Rachel Maddow and has been a popular guest on her show.

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The Salt
1:06 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Why Illinois Is Roaring Mad About Lion Meat

An Arizona restaurant sold lion meat burgers in 2010 in an attempt to drum up business during the World Cup soccer tournament held in South Africa.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 10:44 am

When we heard a few weeks ago that Illinois was considering banning lion meat, our first thought was, who's eating lion meat? And why Illinois?

Turns out, lion meat has been gaining traction among adventurous foodies who argue that the meat can be an ethical alternative to factory-farmed animals — if the meat comes from American-raised circus and zoo animals that were sent to the slaughterhouse in their old age.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Arizona Gunman Acted Erratically Days Before Shooting, Documents Reveal

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 2:07 pm

Jared Loughner, the gunman responsible for the 2011 rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others, acted erratically in the days leading to the shooting but was quiet and otherwise polite with officers after his arrest, according to newly released documents.

Details from the investigation were made clear Wednesday after the Pima County Sheriff's Department released 2,700 pages of documents requested through the Freedom of Information Act.

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World
12:48 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The Fear That Drives Russia's Support For Syria's Assad

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:11 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Repeated American attempts to work with Russia on Syria have foundered on a fundamental difference. Vladimir Putin insists on a deal that includes Bashar al-Assad as part of Syria's future. So the civil war grinds on and the situation of civilians there grows ever more dire. So why? Arms exports? Access to the port of Tartus? Standing up for old allies?

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Politics
12:48 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The Politics Of Guns And The Influence Of Advertising

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 10:50 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Another Democrat steps away from the Senate, the price of previous presidents, and the present president calls out Congress on immigration. It's Wednesday and time for a...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Political courage...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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Law
12:48 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Italian Law, Extradition And Amanda Knox

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:02 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
12:41 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Catalog Of Gene Markers For Some Cancers Doubles In Size

A microscopic image of prostate cancer. Researchers have found new genetic markers that flag a person's susceptibility to the disease, as well as breast and ovarian cancer.
Otis Brawley National Cancer Institute

The largest gene-probing study ever done has fished out dozens of new genetic markers that flag a person's susceptibility to breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.

The 74 newly discovered genetic variants double the previously known number for these malignancies, all of which are driven by sex hormones.

Underscoring the sheer magnitude of the findings, they're contained in 15 scientific papers published simultaneously by five different journals. The Nature group of journals has collected them all here.

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Europe
12:32 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

In Crackdown, Some Russian Groups Labeled As 'Foreign Agents'

The chief of Amnesty International Russia, Sergei Nikitin, at his Moscow office on March 25, after Russian prosecutors and tax police carried out a search. The group is one of many that have been searched under a new law that critics say is being used to stifle dissent.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 8:55 pm

Russian investigators have descended on the offices of nongovernmental organizations across the country, demanding to inspect financial records and other documents.

This follows the recent passage of a law designed to impose tighter controls over these NGOs, especially those that receive funding from abroad. Critics say it's part of a broader crackdown on dissent since Vladimir Putin regained the presidency last year.

The offices of the human rights group Memorial are still abuzz after a team of government inspectors paid an unannounced visit

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The Two-Way
12:04 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Myanmar's Top General Promises Continued Role For Military

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (right) speaks with Maj. Gen. Zaw Win, deputy minister for border affairs, during a ceremony Wednesday marking Myanmar's 68th Armed Forces Day.
AFP/Getty Images

Myanmar's top military commander says the armed forces, which ruled the country (also known as Burma) for nearly five decades, will continue to play a "leading role" as it transitions to democracy.

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Around the Nation
11:19 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Respectful Gay Marriage Debate An 'Enormous Step'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Around the Nation
11:19 am
Wed March 27, 2013

How Should We Be Talking About Sex?

The high school rape case in Steubenville, Ohio raised uncomfortable questions about how young people learn about their sexual rights and responsibilities. Host Michel Martin talks about the real sex education teens should be getting, with author Laura Sessions Stepp, attorney B.J. Bernstein, and youth mentor Malik Washington.

The Two-Way
11:18 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Votes May Be There To Strike Down DOMA, But There's A Big 'If'

Demonstrators gathered again outside the Supreme Court Wednesday as the time approached for another case to be heard about issues related to same-sex marriage.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:52 pm

  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: If the court strikes down DOMA, what would be the grounds?
  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: An interesting exchange about the 'power' of DOMA opponents.
  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: On what happens if the court declines to decide.

(We most recently updated the top of this post at 1:45 p.m. ET.)

There seem to be four solid votes on the Supreme Court — and possibly a fifth — to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, NPR's Nina Totenberg told us after Wednesday's oral arguments before the nine justices.

But there's a big "if."

As in: There's possibly a 5-vote majority to strike down the law if the court first decides it should even issue an opinion.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Wed March 27, 2013

How To Hit A Big Dunk: Griner Tweets A Prediction As Women's Sweet 16 Is Set

Baylor's Brittney Griner (42) dunks as Florida State's Leonore Rodriguez (10) and Alexa Deluzio (3) look on; Baylor defeated Florida State 85-47 on Tuesday in Waco, Texas.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 6:50 pm

There's nothing like encouragement to help you succeed. Or maybe you can just create it for yourself. Baylor's Brittney Griner had both Tuesday night as her top-seeded team blew past Florida State 85-47. She had a double double: 33 points and 22 rebounds, as Encourager-In-Chief and former President George W. Bush looked on with former first lady Laura Bush in Waco, Texas. But that wasn't all.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed March 27, 2013

NPR Wins Peabody Award For Coverage Of Conflict In Syria

In this image taken July 16, 2012, and provided by Edlib News Network, a Syrian girl holds a poster that reads, "Greetings from Kfarnebel's children to the Free Syrian Army soldiers in Damascus," during a demonstration in Kfarnebel, Syria. The image was part of an "inside rebel-held Syria" series of stories by NPR's Kelly McEvers.
AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:07 pm

Praising their "detailed reportage, often from dangerous locations," the judges of the 72nd Annual Peabody Awards have singled out NPR's Kelly McEvers and Deborah Amos for their coverage of the conflict in Syria.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Raids In Russia On Foreign NGOs Spark International Concern

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:44 pm

The Moscow offices of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and several other NGOs have been searched in recent weeks by Russian prosecutors and tax inspectors, prompting concern over what is being viewed by some as a "concerted action" against the groups.

Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch was quoted Wednesday by The Associated Press as saying that officials from the prosecutor general's office and tax police were conducting an "unannounced audit" and demanding documents.

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World Cafe
10:36 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Ben Sollee On World Cafe

Ben Sollee.
Courtesy of the artist
  • Listen To The Session

There's not much about Ben Sollee's career that could be described as conventional. The singer-songwriter's primary instrument is the cello, and his work ranges from traditional classical music to Asian folk tunes. Even his preferred method of transportation on tour deviates from the norm; he's been known to travel from one show to the next on a bicycle with his cello strapped to the back.

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Shots - Health News
10:14 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Allergy Drops Under The Tongue May Be Fine Alternative To Shots

Otolaryngologist Sandra Lin uses under-the-tongue drops to treat patients with allergies at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
Courtesy of Keith Weller/Johns Hopkins Medicine

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 12:31 pm

Allergy shots have long been one of the best available treatments for hay fever, other allergies, and asthma, but they're a pain. In Europe, people have a more pleasant alternative: drops put under the tongue.

That treatment, called sublingual immunotherapy, hasn't been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but more and more patients in the U.S. are asking for it.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Wed March 27, 2013

North Korea Cuts Hotline, Warns Of 'Simmering Nuclear War'

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 12:27 pm

North Korea cut a hotline with South Korea on on Wednesday and told the United Nations that conditions were ripe for a "simmering nuclear war" on the peninsula.

"Upon authorization of the Foreign Ministry, the DPRK [North Korea] openly informs the U.N. Security Council that the Korean Peninsula now has the conditions for a simmering nuclear war," a statement read. "This is because of [provocative] moves by the U.S. and South Korean puppets."

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Did Team USA 'Win' Its 0-0 Match With Mexico?

Javier Aquino (No. 11) of Mexico fights for the ball with DaMarcus Beasley of the U.S. during their team's match Tuesday in Mexico City. The game ended in a 0-0 tie.
Miguel Tovar Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:16 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Carrie Kahn reports on the U.S.-Mexico match

Soccer fans, lend us your expertise.

The 0-0 tie Tuesday night at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City is being hailed this morning as basically a victory for Team USA over its archrival, Mexico's national team.

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Wed March 27, 2013

VIDEO: Bus Driver Keeps His Head As Light Pole Smashes Through Windshield

Bus driver Mao Zhihao saw that blue light pole just in time. It came smashing through the windshield, but he was able to get out of the way.
youtube.com/skynews

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 10:38 am

(Note: Don't click on the videos we're writing about here unless you're prepared to be scared.)

Mao Zhihao is lucky to be alive, and his passengers are lucky he reacted quickly.

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