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Asia
2:27 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Myanmar's Election Seen As A Test Of Reforms

Myanmar opposition figure Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to supporters on Saturday. Voting in parliamentary elections this Sunday is considered a test of the political reforms that Myanmar's rulers have introduced over the past year.
Khin Maung Win AP

Myanmar has an election this Sunday where only a small fraction of the parliamentary seats are at stakes — and yet the ballot is commanding international attention.

The closely watched election is seen as a test of whether the country's rulers are sincere about reforms they have been introducing over the past year.

If the vote is seen as free and fair, it could prompt Western governments to begin lifting sanctions imposed during the half-century of military rule in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

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Movie Interviews
2:19 am
Fri March 30, 2012

James Cameron: Diving Deep, Dredging Up Titanic

The Deepsea Challenger submersible begins its first test dive off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
Mark Thiessen AP

Titanic is back. The 1997 blockbuster featuring star-crossed lovers Jack and Rose is being released in 3-D. Starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic was the highest-grossing movie in history — until Avatar.

Both films were directed by James Cameron, who has just returned from a landmark expedition to the deepest point in the ocean: a spot in the far western Pacific called the Challenger Deep.

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StoryCorps
9:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

As A Life's End Draws Near, A Father And Son Talk

"For me, dying — it's very enlightening and certainly rewarding," David Plant (left) tells Frank Lilley. "Look at the opportunity to talk, for example. It's just incredible."
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 6:49 am

In 2010, David Plant was diagnosed with skin cancer. The cancer has since metastasized to other parts of his body, and David is now contemplating the end of his life. So, just before his 81st birthday, he sat down with his stepson to talk about their life together.

As Frank Lilley explains, "David is my stepfather, but I certainly consider him my father."

The two spoke in in New London, N.H. And Frank began with a question.

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Technology
5:39 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Group Finds 'Significant Issues' At Foxconn Factories

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 7:09 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The Fair Labor Association, a labor rights group, has released its audit of Apple's largest supplier in China, Foxconn. The group found what it calls significant issues with working conditions at three factories there, including more than 50 violations of the FLA's code of conduct and Chinese labor law.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:33 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Thinking The Unthinkable: What If The Whole Affordable Care Act Goes Down?

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 7:09 pm

After this week's oral arguments at the Supreme Court, lawmakers and health policy experts are starting to ponder what had — until recently — been unthinkable to many: What if the court strikes down the entire Affordable Care Act?

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The Two-Way
4:52 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

In Saturday's Final Four, Expect A Kentucky Showdown And Lots Of Emotion

Senior guard Darius Miller of Kentucky shoots during the Wildcats' win over Baylor in the South Regional final. Kentucky, the NCAA Tournament's No. 1 seed, faces rival Louisville in the Final Four Saturday.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 5:53 am

College basketball's Final Four men's teams will play in New Orleans Saturday, to decide which two squads will play in Monday night's NCAA championship game. The first match-up pits the University of Louisville against tournament favorite — and archrival — the University of Kentucky. In the second game, Ohio State University will face the University of Kansas.

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Trayvon Martin Death: A Father Who Lost A Chance To Make Good

Tracy Martin, father of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 4:12 pm

We don't have all of the facts from the night of Feb. 26 when Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer. But in remembering his son, Tracy Martin has touched on how the Florida teen saved his father from a house fire when the boy was 9 years old. On Wednesday, I asked Martin to tell me what happened that day.

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The Salt
4:12 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Studies Show Why Insecticides Are Bad News For Bees

One class of insecticides makes an entire corn plant poisonous to many insects that feed on it, including bees.
iStockphoto.com

The search for the killer of America's bees is a little bit like an Agatha Christie novel.

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The Two-Way
3:58 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Massey Mine Boss Pleads Guilty As Feds Target Execs

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 6:34 pm

Thursday's guilty plea and plea agreement from the former superintendent of the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia is a key step in the effort to seek criminal charges further up the corporate ladder at Massey Energy, according to court documents and the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of West Virginia.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:38 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Deconstructing Some Of The What-Ifs From The Supreme Court

When Kaiser Health News asked for questions during the Supreme Court arguments this week, one that didn't seem to get addressed in court was this:

What happens to people who have already benefited from the law? This would include seniors who got rebates in the Medicare prescription drug "doughnut hole," for example. Would they have to give the money back to ... the manufacturers? The government?

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The Two-Way
3:37 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Auditor Finds 'Serious Issues' At Apple Supplire Foxconn

A Foxconn International Holdings Ltd, complex is pictured on November 2010 in Shenzhen, China.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

A review completed by the Fair Labor Association found "significant issues with working conditions at three factories in China operated by Apple's major supplier Foxconn."

Apple joined the Fair Labor Association after various reports detailed poor working conditions at the supplier factories. Those reports spawned protests against Apple and Apple responded by saying the FLA would audit the Chinese factories.

In its press release the FLA said the big issues revolved around overtime. The FLA reports:

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The Two-Way
2:42 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

House Passes 2013 Budget That Includes Private Option For Medicare

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) says his budget offers "real solutions."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Voting along party lines, the House of Representatives passed a 2013 budget that was crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin.

Politico reports:

"The 228-191 vote gives the embattled GOP leadership what it most wanted: a show of party unity behind a bold election-year vision that includes new private options for Medicare and a simplified tax code.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Amid National Strike, Hundreds Of Thousands Protest In Spain

People attend a demonstration in Madrid on Thursday during a national strike.
Dani Pozo AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands across Spain took to the streets to protest the latest austerity measures proposed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The protests were the culmination of a 24-hour general strike that affected air travel and public transportation.

The AP reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
2:19 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

How Your Brain Is Like Manhattan

This image shows the grid structure of the major pathways of the brain. It was created using a scanner that's part of the Human Connectome Project, a five-year effort which is studying and mapping the human brain.
MGH-UCLA Human Connectome Project

It turns out your brain is organized even if you're not.

At least that's the conclusion of a study in Science that looked at the network of fibers that carry signals from one part of the brain to another.

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It's All Politics
2:12 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

For Romney, Rationale Behind Rubio Endorsement May Be Bigger Prize

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks at the Hispanic Leadership Network in Miami on Jan. 27.
Alan Diaz AP

Mitt Romney's endorsements this week by two important Republicans — a former president and perhaps a not-too-distant-future presidential running mate — are not unexpected.

But the reasons former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio give for backing the front-runner are a little less standard political fare.

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Author Interviews
2:08 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

'Escape From Camp 14': Inside North Korea's Gulag

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 7:09 pm

Until his early 20s, the only life Shin Dong-hyuk had ever known was one of constant beatings, near starvation and snitching on others to survive. Born into one of the worst of North Korea's system of prison camps, Shin was doomed to a life of hard labor and an early death. Notions of love and family were meaningless: He saw his mother as a competitor for food.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Congress Passes Transportation Bill To Avoid Shutdown

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It wasn't just the budget that lawmakers clashed over today. The House and Senate each passed short-term transportation bills. And that sets up yet another showdown over spending, as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: If Congress hadn't passed the short-term transportation bills, beginning this weekend, the government wouldn't have been able to spend money on transportation programs or collect fuel taxes. Disaster averted, right?

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Law
2:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Neighborhood Watch Under Fire After Teen's Death

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 7:09 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

We begin this hour by exploring two questions that arise from the killing of Trayvon Martin. He's the 17-year-old shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month in Sanford, Florida. In a few minutes, we'll hear from two parents whose children were killed, and how they coped with the sudden media spotlight.

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Asia
1:51 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Headed For The Butcher, Chinese Dogs Are Rescued

A volunteer feeds one of the dogs rescued from slaughter last December in a stand-off between animal rights activists and dog-meat sellers in central China. Such rescues have been taking place with some regularity in China.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 7:06 pm

To say that people in China eat dogs is something of a stereotype.

Sure, some still do, but these days, more and more Chinese are buying dogs as pets and treating them like beloved family members.

In the last year, that growing affection has taken a radical turn. Activists have begun stopping trucks along the highway carrying dogs to slaughter and then negotiating their release.

A Last-Minute Rescue

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It's All Politics
1:38 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Democrats Embrace 'ObamaCare' To Defang It

Supporters of the health care law have recently embraced the term "Obamacare," a word they once recoiled from.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 5:50 pm

A funny thing happened on the way to the Supreme Court and during the three days the court heard oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act. Democrats embraced the "Obamacare" name the law's foes had used as an epithet for two years to deride the law.

In the political equivalent of what happens in battle when the enemy's captured artillery piece is turned around and the opponent's own shells are fired back at them, Democrats decided to take ownership of a word they once seemed to avoid at all costs.

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The Salt
1:10 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

What Is Community Supported Agriculture? The Answer Keeps Changing

A member of the community supported agriculture program at Congregation Shearith Israel picks from boxes of squash and cucumbers in Atlanta. Some purists say CSAs are drifting away from their roots.
John Amis AP

Community supported agriculture sounds so simple. Support a local farm, get to know your farmer, enjoy weekly deliveries of fresh produce, and rest easy knowing that you've voted for the local economy with your food dollars.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:04 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Autism Rates Jump Again, As Diagnosis Improves

Some children with autism have trouble speaking, and use images to help communicate.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 8:28 pm

The number of children diagnosed with autism jumped 23 percent between 2006 and 2008, according to the latest federal estimate.

Now, 1 in 88 children has been diagnosed with autism, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rapid rise prompted calls to declare the developmental disorder an epidemic. "This is a national emergency in need of a national plan," Mark Roithmayr, president of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, said at a CDC media briefing Thursday.

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Author Interviews
1:03 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

'Triggered': Anxiety And The Doubting Disorder

In Triggered, Fletcher Wortmann describes his struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as the "doubting disorder."
Thomas Dunne Books

From a young age, Fletcher Wortmann spent countless hours absorbed by his obsessions. In third grade, he became consumed with the idea that every nonwater substance on the planet would soon freeze. He spent hours laying plans for how he and his family would survive. Over and over, he replayed an imagined apocalypse.

Though he wouldn't be diagnosed until many years later, in retrospect Wortmann realizes the episode marked his "first full-blown bout" with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

After Controversy, Toulouse Gunman Buried In France

A sign on the ground marks the place for municipal workers to dig in Cornebarrieu cemetery, a Toulouse suburb in southwestern France.
Eric Cabanis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 1, 2012 8:33 am

At first, his family wanted the body of Mohamed Merah sent back to Algeria. Then after the country refused Merah's body, French authorities settled on burying him in Toulouse, where he was suspected of killing seven before he was shot and killed after a two-day siege of his apartment.

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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Three Key Moments As Trayvon Martin's Story Went Viral

Part of the awareness raising effort: the Justice for Trayvon Martin page on Facebook.
Facebook.com

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 1:10 pm

What moved Trayvon Martin's Feb. 26 death from a local story to a national tale that has sparked a discussion about racial profiling and race relations?

Social media played a critical role. And there were key moments along the way.

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The Fresh Air Interview
12:06 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Earl Scruggs: The 2003 Fresh Air Interview

Earl Scruggs onstage in 2007.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Banjo player Earl Scruggs, who helped shape the sound of American bluegrass music, died Wednesday. He was 88 years old.

Scruggs' name is almost synonymous with the banjo — and for good reason. He helped pioneer bluegrass music with his three-finger style of banjo picking, a technique now known as "Scruggs style."

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All Tech Considered
12:02 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Using An App To Report Injured Wildlife

A rescued bobcat waits to be fed at a wild animal sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 12:04 pm

If you find an injured bird in your back yard, do you know who to call? The Boulder, Colo., group Animal Watch has developed a free iPhone and iPad application and a website called AnimalHelpNow designed to assist with such an emergency. The app and site only work for locations in Colorado, but its developers hope to expand the program nationally.

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Health Care
12:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

As Arguments Wrap, Future of Health Law Is Unclear

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 8:42 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. All this week, the U.S. SUPREME COURT commanded the nation's attention through three days of oral arguments on what may well be its most important case in decades.

The court's ruling could affect the lives of millions, redefine the role and limits of the federal government, and change the character of the 2012 election. We don't expect to know how the justices will rule until late June, but that doesn't stop journalists and legal experts from reading between the lines.

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Opinion
12:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Op-Ed: Hate The Bus? It's Time To Reconsider

In a piece for Salon.com, Will Doig argues that it's time for Americans to reconsider the bus.
iStockphoto.com

Everyone loves to hate riding the bus — passengers complain about cleanliness, overcrowding, timeliness and inefficiency. In a piece for Salon.com, writer Will Doig argues that disliking the bus is "practically an American pastime," but buses are key to improving mass transit. Doig thinks that rather than spending money on expensive new systems like light rail or streetcars, cities should focus on making buses better.

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Sports
12:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

What's The Extreme Sports Rivalry In Your Life?

The Louisville Cardinals will face the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four of the 2012 men's NCAA tournament. The long-time rivalry between these two Kentucky teams is just one example of conflicting team loyalties that can divide families, friends and neighbors for generations.

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