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5:21pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Africa

For The Two Sudans, The Threat Of War Looms

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Sudanese troops stand next to a burnt-out military vehicle in the oil center of Heglig after clashes with South Sudanese forces Wednesday. Recent fighting has raised fears of a renewed war.
AFP/Getty Images

Less than a year after they formally split, Sudan and South Sudan appear to be in danger of going to war.

Fighting spilled over the disputed border this week, scuttling a planned summit intended to resolve issues lingering from South Sudan's independence last July.

International diplomats are trying to get that summit back on track and deal with a humanitarian crisis that is looming in the region.

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5:11pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Law

Trayvon's Father: We Don't Want 'An Eye For An Eye'

Tracy Martin says of his son, "We're not saying that Trayvon was perfect. But what we are saying is, he was our child. He was a good kid. And he didn't deserve death."
Doriane Raiman NPR

The death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., has sparked headlines around the country, along with many discussions about race, the law, and the media.

Martin was killed as he returned from a trip to a convenience store. The man who shot him, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested; he says he acted in self-defense.

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5:10pm

Wed March 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Supreme Court Limits Damage Payments To Whistle-Blowers

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Under Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling, whistle-blowers like Linda Tripp (seen here in 1998) have few options in suing the government for damages.
Mark Wilson Reuters/Landov

The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.

Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)

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5:06pm

Wed March 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Oral Arguments Outside The Supreme Court, As Well ...

Robert Yochem, 45, of Baltimore
John Rose NPR

What happens when impassioned demonstrators come this close to each other?

Opponents and defenders of the new national health care law found out this week, sometimes facing off outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices inside heard three days of oral arguments on the law's constitutionality.

NPR discussed the experience with demonstrators from both sides of the debate, who traveled from other states or nearby cities to bring their voices to the steps of the high court.

Carolyn Weller, secretary:

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5:06pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Salt

Battling 'Red Tide,' Scientists Map Toxic Algae To Prevent Shellfish Poisoning

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

An oyster shucker on Samish Island, Wash. on Puget Sound. The state is frequently forced to close beaches to oyster gatherers because of the risks of harmful algae blooms.
Ted S. Warren AP

Public health officials have their hands full keeping your clam chowder and raw oysters safe. That's due, in part, to red tides.

Red tides happen nearly every year as coastal waters warm, killing fish and poisoning shellfish along U.S. coasts. They're not actually tides; they're huge blooms of naturally occurring toxic algae.

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4:55pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Despite Losses, Bank Of America CEO Receives Huge Raise

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.
Chuck Burton AP

Despite the fact that Bank of America lost 58 percent of its value in 2011, its CEO received a compensation package worth $7.5 million. That's a six fold increase from the year before. The AP reports that under Brian Moynihan, Bank of America also lost its title as the No. 1 bank by assets to JPMorgan Chase.

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4:50pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Crisis In The Housing Market

Spring Brings Some Green Shoots In Housing Market

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

A recently sold home in Palo Alto, Calif. Home inventory is declining nationwide, and real estate agents say they are seeing more interest among would-be buyers.
Paul Sakuma AP

Housing prices are still declining, but many analysts see some signs for optimism in the housing market. The mild spring has brought buyers out earlier than usual, and real estate agents are busy.

Doug Azarian is one of them. One of his clients recently signed a deal on a $1.5 million house in Cape Cod, Mass. — a contemporary waterfront property with three bedrooms.

"The buyers came in, and they loved it from the minute they walked in the door," Azarian says.

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4:48pm

Wed March 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Rep. Bobby Rush's Hoodie Moment Recalls His Own Family Tragedy

Rep. Bobby Rush who, like Trayvon Martin's parents, lost a son to gun violence.
Anonymous AP

Rep. Bobby Rush made news Wednesday when he raised a hoodie during a House floor speech on the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

The Chicago Democrat was told by Rep. Gregg Harper, the Mississippi Republican presiding over the chamber that he was in violation of the House's rules as Harper repeatedly banged his gavel to get Rush to signal that Rush had gone too far.

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4:15pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Prosecutor Says A Desire To Win Led To Misconduct In Sen. Steven's Case

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:26 pm

Special federal prosecutor Henry F. Schuelke testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

A special prosecutor who spent two years exploring Justice Department misconduct in the botched case against late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said "contest living" — the desire to win a big case — explained the failure to follow the rules in one of the biggest political corruption prosecutions in decades.

"[Lawyers] do not want to have to undermine our case if it can possibly be avoided," investigator Hank Schuelke told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. "That motive to win the case was the principal operative motive."

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4:02pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Report: Student Loans For K-12 Are On The Rise

Anyone who watched Nursery University — a documentary about the trials and tribulations of getting your toddler in the "right" pre-school — won't be surprised by this story.

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3:54pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Judging The Health Care Law

TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO: Supreme Court: The Health Care Law And Medicaid Expansion

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 5:17 pm

  • Listen to Wednesday Afternoon's Supreme Court arguments

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the last of three days of oral arguments on the fate of President Obama's health care law. A transcript of Wednesday afternoon's arguments, as prepared by the court, follows.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will continue argument this afternoon in case 11-400 Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Clement. ORAL ARGUMENT OF PAUL D. CLEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER MR. CLEMENT: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

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3:40pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Latin America

Pope Wraps Up Cuba Visit With Mass, Castro Meeting

Pope Benedict meets with Fidel Castro in Havana on Wednesday as he wraps up his three-day visit to Cuba. A large crowd turned out for the Mass, though the pope did not meet with dissidents.
Osservatore Romano AP

In the last public event of his three-day visit to the island, Pope Benedict XVI called on Cuba, and the world, to change and choose a path of "love, reconciliation and brotherhood."

After the Mass, the pontiff met with Fidel Castro for a half-hour before departing for Rome, wrapping up a weeklong trip to Mexico and Cuba.

The pope did not meet with Cuban dissidents during his trip, however, drawing criticism from Castro opponents in Cuba and abroad.

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3:08pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Supreme Court Cheat Sheet Day 3: Scalia Unplugged

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:43 pm

Activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the court hears a third day of arguments on President Obama's health care law.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

On the final morning of its three-day health care law extravaganza, the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the question of whether parts of the 2010 federal statute can survive if the justices strike down its central tenet: the individual insurance requirement.

In other words, if the nine justices find the insurance mandate unconstitutional when they rule by June, would that mean that the entire law also fails the constitutionality test?

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3:02pm

Wed March 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Sign Of The (Wisconsin) Times: Gov. Scott Walker For President

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's future is a bigger deal to many in his state than Tuesday's presidential primary.
Don Gonyea NPR

There's a Republican presidential primary next Tuesday in Wisconsin. But as the accompanying photo taken by NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea in Delafield, Wisc. suggests, a lot of Wisconsinites have other political matters on their minds.

As Don writes in an e-mail:

"Note that the recall coming up on June is the big political story here. Not Tuesdays presidential primary."

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3:00pm

Wed March 28, 2012
NPR Story

For Health Care, Will One Part's End Be The End-All?

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 9:11 am

Linda Dorr (left) and Keli Carender chant along with other demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
John Rose NPR

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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3:00pm

Wed March 28, 2012
NPR Story

Medicaid Expansion Hangs On Justices' Scale

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to another provision in the health care law that's being challenged: the Medicaid expansion. Those arguments took place this afternoon. And NPR's Julie Rovner is here in the studio to talk about them. Julie, the key question before the court was whether the law goes too far. It requires states to expand their Medicaid programs. So why don't we back up and start with the basics, how Medicaid works and how the law changes that?

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3:00pm

Wed March 28, 2012
NPR Story

In Defense Of Broccoli

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now to something that's come up multiple times this week at the Supreme Court. And unlike the health care debate, it doesn't have a single attorney on its side. I'm talking about broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Everybody has to buy food, therefore everybody's in the market, therefore you can make people buy broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Health insurance is not purchased for its own sake like a car or broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Well, now that's...

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2:58pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Medicaid Expansion Caps Supreme Court Arguments

Supporters of the health care law rally in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, the final day of arguments over its constitutionality.
Charles Dharapak AP

The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.

The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.

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2:52pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Mental Health

Staff Sgt. Bales Case Shows Stigma, Paradox Of PTSD

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

The U.S. military is trying to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. But many veterans say they're still under pressure to deny they have problems. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in December 2009.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.

But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.

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2:52pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Wrapping Up Oral Arguments, Justices Disagree On Medicaid Expansion

The AP says there was strong disagreement between liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices on the question of whether the expansion of Medicaid in the health care law passed in 2010 is constitutional. At issue is whether the federal government can demand that states expand their Medicaid program.

The court's liberal wing, reports the AP, made it clear they were OK with expansion of the program for low-income Americans.

The AP reports:

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2:44pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

'He's Gone And We're Searching For Answers,' Says Trayvon Martin's Father

Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father, at a forum held Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

"I haven't even started grieving and I don't think I'll start grieving until I get justice for him."

That's Tracy Martin, father of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, moments ago in an interview with Tell Me More host Michel Martin (no relation).

During a conversation due for broadcast on Thursday's edition of Tell Me More, Tracy Martin also said:

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2:18pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Salt

Why 'Pink Slime' Isn't That Different From Other Meat

As we reported earlier this week, the company that makes the lean finely textured beef that earned the notorious moniker "pink slime" is closing three out of its four plants.

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2:15pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Human Rights Group Says Cuba Arrests, Harasses Activists During Papal Visit

Amnesty International says the Cuban government has increased its harassment of opposition activists.

According to the human rights organization, the government has detained more 150 opponents and in other situations has surrounded some of the activists' homes to prevent them from "denouncing abuses during Pope Benedict's tour."

Amnesty adds that some human rights organizations and prominent activists have had their phones cut off.

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2:06pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Books

'Hitler': The Last Effects Of An Infamous Figure

A.N. Wilson's book Hitler encapsulates the German dictator's life in just 190 pages.
Basic Books

In the new biography Hitler, A.N. Wilson describes the Nazi dictator as the "Demon King of history" — who instigated the Holocaust and forced the world into a second world war — but also as an ordinary, even boring man.

"We like to distance ourselves from anything to do with him because he was an essentially evil character," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "But actually, many of the ideas that he had and expressed were very ordinary ideas, and they were ideas that more or less everybody had at that time."

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1:32pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Arab Ministers Call Syria To Enact U.N.-Backed Peace Plan

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 1:37 pm

The peace plan backed by the United Nations got the support of Arab foreign ministers today.

The leaders, who were in Baghdad for an Arab League summit, endorsed the plan which calls for a cease fire, the release of political prisoners and dialogue with the opposition. The ministers said Syria should enact the plan.

Reuters reports:

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1:23pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Judging The Health Care Law

TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO: Supreme Court: The Health Care Law And Severability

  • Listen to Wednesday Morning's arguments

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the last of three days of oral arguments on the fate of President Obama's health care law. A transcript of Wednesday morning's arguments, as prepared by the court, follows.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will continue argument this morning in Case Number 11-393, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and case 11-400, Florida v. The Department of HHS.

Mr. Clement. ORAL ARGUMENT OF PAUL D. CLEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS MR. CLEMENT: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

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1:10pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Father Of Trayvon Martin: 'I Won't Rest' Until Son's Killer Is Prosecuted

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 6:39 pm

Tracy Martin (left) and Sybrina Fulton appear at a forum held by Democratic members of Congress in Washington on Tuesday. Lawmakers discussed the death of the couple's son, Trayvon Martin, and racial profiling.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin have been in Washington, D.C., the past two days, meeting with Democratic lawmakers and pleading for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch volunteer who shot their son.

I talked today with the boy's father, Tracy Martin, 45, about the whirlwind of attention the case has drawn, the latest claims made about his son's role in the Feb. 26 incident in Sanford and his hopes for an arrest.

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1:00pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Politics

When Is It Time To End A Political Run?

Though he insists he's not suspending his run, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich announced he's cutting his staff and shifting his campaign strategy. NPR's Ken Rudin and veteran campaign manager Chip Saltsman discuss the decisions candidates face when a win seems unlikely.

1:00pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Around the Nation

Pilots And The Cockpit: What We Don't Understand

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 2:27 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A scary incident, yesterday, on JetBlue Flight 191 when passengers saw a disturbed pilot locked out of the cockpit shouting about a bomb onboard and forcibly restrained by aircrew and passengers.

(SOUNDBITE OF NBC NEWS BROADCAST)

CLAYTON OSBOURNE: I'm so distraught. We've got Israel. We've got Iraq. We've got Israel. We've got Iraq. We're going to get doomed.

DAVID GONZALEZ: He kept pointing at me and said, you know, you need to pray. As soon as he pointed at me, I grabbed his arm, and I put him in a choke hold.

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1:00pm

Wed March 28, 2012
Business

Employment Background Checks: How Far Is Too Far?

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. For years, employers have used credit checks and criminal histories to vet potential hires. With the growth of social media, hiring managers now turn to websites like Facebook, and some employers go so far as to ask applicants to turn over their passwords.

Facebook warns against this procedure. Two United States senators asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether these employers are violating federal law.

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