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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Buffett's Billion Dollars Are Safe As Upsets Bust Brackets

George Washington University players were dejected Friday as they went down in defeat to Memphis. The team's loss also wiped out any chance for someone to win $1 billion from Quicken Loans and Warren Buffett.
Chuck Liddy MCT/Landov

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 4:59 am

Mercer University's stunning upset of Duke on Friday in the NCAA Division I men's basketball championship ruined most fans' brackets — the guesses they make before the 64 teams face each other about which team's going to win every game.

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Parallels
11:14 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Russia-U.S. Tensions Could Stall Syrian Chemical Weapons Removal

The Russian ship Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great), seen here docked in the Cypriot port of Limassol in February, is part of the team involved in escorting shipments of Syria's chemical weapons material for destruction.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 8:18 am

As U.S.-Russian relations sour, some observers fear the plan to eliminate Syria's chemical arsenal might stall.

This past week, the removal of chemicals from Syria reached the halfway mark. Without pressure from both superpowers, however, some believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will begin to drag his feet.

"I think what you're likely to see is that the Assad regime will comply just enough, at a slower pace, as it consolidates its hold over the country militarily," says Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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Around the Nation
11:14 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Commuters Ditch Cars For Public Transit In Record Numbers

On a typical weekday, riders make a total of about 300,000 trips on the Chicago Metra commuter line.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 10:38 am

During the morning rush at Chicago's Union Station, commuter trains pull in, the doors open and a crush of people, newspapers and coffee cups in hand, pour off like a flood.

Financial analyst Nader Kouklan says he makes the trip from the suburbs to Chicago's downtown every day.

"It's easier and just a faster way to get to work, rather than having to deal with the traffic of the morning commute," Kouklan says.

Law student Amalia Romano rides Chicago's Metra line, too.

"I take it because I don't want to pay $16 to park every day," Romano explains.

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The Two-Way
11:14 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Cops Can't Have Sex With Prostitutes, Hawaiian Lawmakers Say

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, with Diamond Head in the background. State lawmakers are vowing to get rid of a provision in Hawaiian law that allows law enforcement officers to have sex with prostitutes if doing so is within the scope of their duties.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 9:36 am

Headlines across the nation and around the Web — such as the one we posted on Friday that read "In Hawaii, Sex With A Prostitute May Be Legal For Undercover Cops" — have led to promises of quick action:

-- "Hawaii lawmakers to end prostitution exemption," says Honolulu's KITV.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Sat March 22, 2014

American Libraries Learn To Read Teenagers

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 2:12 pm

Way, way back in the 20th century, American teenagers turned to the local public library as a great good place to hang out. It was a hotspot for meeting up, and sharing thoughts with, other like-minded people – in books and in the flesh. It was a wormhole in the universe that gave us tunnels into the past and into the future. It was a quiet spot in an ever-noisier world.

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The Two-Way
11:12 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Major Ukrainian Air Base In Crimea Handed Over To Russia

A Russian military officer, left, talks to Ukrainian Col. Yuli Mamchur before the Russian takeover of an air base near the Crimean town of Belbek on Saturday.
Vasily Fedosenko Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 1:07 pm

Russia's grip on Crimea was further solidified Saturday when its forces took complete control of a Ukrainian Air Force base in the town of Belbek, NPR's Gregory Warner and Reuters report.

The landing field and other key sections of the air base had been taken over by Russian forces previously. The section handed over today was where Ukrainian soldiers and their families lived, Gregory reports.

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All Tech Considered
11:12 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Tech Week: Robots, Turkish Twitter And A Frustrated Zuckerberg

A BigDog robot at Boston Dynamics in 2010.
Suzanne Kreiter Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 10:45 am

Happy weekend! If you've missed our tech coverage and the larger conversation at the intersection of technology and culture this week, here's your look back. ICYMI is what we reported on NPR, The Big Conversation includes news from all sorts of places, and Curiosities are important or fun links we think you should check out.

What was on your radar? What should we look out for next week? Tell us in the comment section below. We do read them, you know.

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Science
11:11 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Why The Exxon Valdez Spill Was A Eureka Moment For Science

An oiled murre passes the darkened shoreline near Prince William Sound, Alaska, less than a month after the March 1989 spill.
Erik Hill Anchorage Daily News/MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 8:36 am

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the pristine water. At the time, it was the single biggest spill in U.S. history. In a series of stories, NPR is examining the lasting social and economic impacts of the disaster, as well as the policy, regulation and scientific research that came out of it.

Twenty-five years of research following the Exxon Valdez disaster has led to some startling conclusions about the persistent effects of spilled oil.

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The New And The Next
11:11 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Sarah Connor's Legacy An Inspiration For Single Moms

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, Linda Hamilton, 1991. TriStar Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection
http://www.ozy.com/flashback/sarah-connor-single-mother-of-the-future/30167.article

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 5:47 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Watson tells host Arun Rath how 30 years ago, The Terminator introduced us to Sarah Connor, who during the history of the franchise broke new ground in Hollywood's depiction of single moms. They also discuss Erik Moore, who's one of the few African Americans in the world of venture capital, and he's tired of talking about it.

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It's All Politics
4:27 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Health Law's 4th Birthday Divides Democrats, Unites GOP On Message

As the Affordable Care Act's fourth anniversary approached, Democrats were less unified in their message than Republicans.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:49 pm

With the fourth anniversary of President Obama's signing of the Affordable Care Act this weekend, if you were a Democrat boasting about the health law, you were more than likely a party official or lawmaker with a seat so safe you could publicly celebrate the occasion.

Like Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat who in 2012 beat her Republican opponent by nearly 30 points, scheduling an enrollment event at a Chicago community college Saturday and inviting the news media.

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The Two-Way
4:25 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Defense Of 'Whitey' Bulger Has Cost Taxpayers More Than $3 Million

A courtroom sketch of James "Whitey" Bulger (left) and defense attorney J.W. Carney, Jr.
Margaret Small AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:06 pm

The defense of notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger has cost American tax payers a little more than $3 million.

The Boston Globe reports that public defenders made their billing public in a court filing on Friday.

The Globe reports:

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Shots - Health News
3:29 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan

America's Health Insurance Plans President and CEO Karen Ignagni says she would loosen regulations on which insurance plans comply with the Affordable Care Act by adding a "lower tier" option that could entice healthier people.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:26 pm

Rather than letting people keep their old health plans that don't comply with the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the head of the group that represents the nation's health insurance companies is floating an alternative: weakening the requirements.

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Parallels
2:45 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Can Europe Wean Itself Off Russian Gas?

The Russian gas giant Gazprom's Adler thermal power plant in Sochi, Russia. Europe gets about one-third of its natural gas from Russia.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 3:22 pm

Many European nations were searching for ways to cut back their reliance on Russian energy long before the crisis in Ukraine flared last month.

In 2006 and 2009, for example, the EU was rattled by the ease with which Moscow cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and other parts of Europe after disputes over cost and supply. The two-week standoff in 2009 left millions in Eastern Europe without heat in the middle of winter.

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Code Switch
2:44 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Black Preschoolers Far More Likely To Be Suspended

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, right, and Attorney General Eric Holder, appeared at a Washington, D.C., elementary school and said schools need to reduce "unnecessary and unfair school discipline practices and other barriers to equity and opportunity at all levels of education."
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:30 pm

Here's what the education data show: kids who are suspended or expelled from school are more likely to drop out, and those dropouts are more likely to end up with criminal records. In many places, school discipline pushes kids directly into the juvenile justice system. Take just one example: a school fight can end in an arrest for assault.

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The Two-Way
2:43 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Former White House Official: Putin Wants 'New Russian Empire'

On Friday in Moscow Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a bill making Crimea and the city of Sevastopol part of Russia.
Sergei Chirikov/Pool EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:10 pm

The United States and Europe need to stand together against Moscow in the wake of its incursion in Crimea, keeping the door open for Ukraine and other countries to join NATO, former U.S. officials tell NPR.

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