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The Two-Way
5:48 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Pope Blesses Faithful At Vatican For First Time Since Resignation Announcement

Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges a cheering crowd of faithful and pilgrims during the Angelus prayer from the window of his apartments at the Vatican on Sunday.
Domenico Stinellis AP

Pope Benedict XVI blessed tens of thousands of cheering faithful Sunday for the first time since he announced his resignation last week.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reported on the event for our Newscast unit. Here's what she said:

"Under hazy skies, St. Peter's Square was packed with pilgrims, tourists and curiosity seekers.

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Around the Nation
2:21 am
Sun February 17, 2013

'Time And Casualties': Gen. Dempsey On Cost Of Sequester

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies before a Senate panel in Washington last Tuesday on the looming cuts to the defense budget.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 9:28 am

It's been about a year and a half since Gen. Martin Dempsey left his job as chief of staff of the Army and became President Obama's top military adviser as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey is now responsible for reshaping the U.S. military after 10 years of war, which means scaling the forces down. At the same time, he's fighting to stave off across-the-board cuts to the defense budget — the so called sequester — that could happen in a couple weeks if Congress fails to reach some kind of budget deal.

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Afghanistan
2:20 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Searching For Ibrahim

Ibrahim Gumus was 16 when he ran away from his home in Turkey to join al-Qaida. This is the photo his father — who traveled to Afghanistan to try and find him — carries in his wallet.
Courtesy of Farhettin Gumus

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 3:23 am

Over the years, al-Qaida has recruited young men in the Arab world, Africa and Central Asia, including Afghanistan. The group has also had some success in luring followers from Turkey.

Last month, Fahrettin Gumus, a retired security guard from Turkey's northwestern province of Bursa, went to Afghanistan in search of his son, who he had last heard from three years earlier.

The small-framed 57-year old says he often worried about his son Ibrahim, but he never through he'd go through with his plan to join al-Qaida.

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U.S.
2:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Rethinking The U.S. Presidency: 3 Alternative Realities

President Woodrow Wilson meets with his first Cabinet, circa 1912. Should Cabinets have a more central role in a president's decision making?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Did you pay attention to the State of the Union Address? Were you struck by the countless complexities President Obama has to deal with? The economy. The national budget and deficit. Health care. Tax reform. Education. Jobs. Energy. Climate change. The national infrastructure. Immigration. Gun violence and on and on and on.

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The Two-Way
2:09 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Winning The Battle Remotely: New Medal Awards Evolving Warfare

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announces a new medal that recognizes combat contributions made far from the battlefield.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 3:13 am

  • NPR's Tom Bowman On Importance Of Medals
  • Predator Pilots Engage in Remote Control Combat

To get the newest military medal, you don't have to have been on the front lines. In fact, you could work very, very far from any combat.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced by outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday, would recognize drone operators and those engaged in cyberattacks who haven't put themselves in harm's way.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:33 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Jonas Kaufmann On Wagner: 'It's Like A Drug Sometimes'

Tenor Jonas Kaufmann.
Petra Stadler courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 3:00 pm

This year is the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth. The man widely called the greatest living Wagnerian tenor is marking the occasion in style — and asking listeners who may have turned away from the German composer to give his music another chance.

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Religion
2:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

From The Inner City: Leading A New Generation Of Muslim Americans

Nashashibi runs the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago.
Terrence Antonio James MCT /Landov

This summer on the South Side of Chicago, thousands are expected to gather for an outdoor festival sponsored by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, or IMAN.

The festival, Takin' It to the Streets, attracts well-known musicians, like hip-hop artist Mos Def in 2010 and Chicago native Lupe Fiasco. The goal of the festival's organizers is to promote cooperation between the city's residents, regardless of their backgrounds.

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Business
2:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

High-Speed Rail Buzz Overpowers Daily Chug Of Freight Trains

A Union Pacific freight train passes over a grade crossing in Elmhurst, Ill.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 4:12 pm

From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.

In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for it.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.

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NPR Story
1:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Week In News: Reaction To The State Of The Union

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 2:03 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Coming up, a weekly conversation with James Fallows and a new kind of leader for the Muslim movement in America. We'll also check out some Twitter poetry and hear our first Three-Minute Fiction entry for this round. And now...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(APPLAUSE)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote.

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NPR Story
1:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

First Read: Three-Minute Fiction

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 5:23 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

More than 4,000 stories. That's how many of you submitted your original fiction to us from this latest round of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. Now, we're going to start poring through those stories that did come in with the help from graduate students at more than a dozen schools.

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Poetry
1:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Pentametron Reveals Unintended Poetry of Twitter Users

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 2:03 pm

That hesitation right before a kiss

I don't remember ever learning this

I've never had a valentine before

I'm not a little baby anymore

It's poetry — rhyming couplets written in perfect iambic pentameter, those ten-syllable lines of alternating emphasis made famous by authors of sonnets and blank verse. But unlike your average metered rhyme, these lines were written by Twitter ... with some help from a program called Pentametron.

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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Florida's Great Python Challenge Is Over; Not Many Are Caught

Bill Booth stretches out a dead Burmese python caught during Florida's "Python Challenge" on Jan. 19.
Wilfredo Lee AP

After all the hoopla and news of people buying tools to catch Burmese pythons invading Florida, the state's monthlong hunt for them is over. Hunters caught 68 pythons. That's right, 68, according to The Associated Press, even though 1,600 people signed up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to search for them.

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Movie Interviews
9:23 am
Sat February 16, 2013

'Argo': What Really Happened In Tehran? A CIA Agent Remembers

Ben Affleck played CIA agent Tony Mendez in Argo. The real Mendez says the movie is mostly spot on, even if the rescue at the end wasn't quite what the film depicts.
Claire Folger

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:43 pm

The movie Argo, up for seven Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, is based on the true story of the CIA rescue of Americans in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Missing from most of the coverage of this movie? The actual guy who ran the mission, played by Ben Affleck in the movie.

Movie aficionados — and historians — know that the movie sticks pretty close to what really happened during the Iranian Revolution. In 1980, a CIA agent named Tony Mendez sneaked into Iran and spirited away six American diplomats who were hiding with Canadians.

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It's All Politics
8:59 am
Sat February 16, 2013

College Republicans Offer GOP Advice For Winning Over Their Generation

Ohio State College Republicans await Mitt Romney's son, Craig, who canvassed with them in Columbus last October.
Courtesy College Republicans at The Ohio State University

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Huge Bomb Kills Dozens In Pakistani Market

Rescue teams attend the bodies of victims who died in a marketplace bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, on Saturday.
Banaras Khan AFP/Getty

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 3:26 am

The top of this post was updated on Feb. 17 at 6:04 a.m.

At least 81 people are dead and another 180 are wounded after an explosive device went off in a crowded marketplace in Quetta, Pakistan. Photos from the scene show heavy smoke rising over buildings.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Nuclear Waste Seeping From Container In Hazardous Wash. State Facility

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., in 2010.
Shannon Dininny AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:24 am

They thought they'd managed this problem a few years ago. But Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee got a disturbing call Friday from Energy Secretary Steven Chu: Nuclear waste is leaking out of a tank in one of the most contaminated nuclear waste sites in the U.S.

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Around the Nation
7:05 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. Charged With Illegally Spending Campaign Funds

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now to another remarkable fall from grace. Just three months after he resigned from Congress, Jesse Jackson, Jr. is preparing to plead guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge. Prosecutors say the Illinois Democrat used $750,000 in campaign funds to buy a Rolex watch, mink coats, sports memorabilia. His wife Sandy will plead guilty to a tax change for failing to report that money to the IRS.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has the story.

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Fresh Air Weekend
6:03 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Detroit, Anat Cohen And Richard Thompson

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:15 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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The Two-Way
5:57 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Coroner Says Dorner Died From Single Gunshot To Head

At a news conference Friday, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon revealed new details about the final showdown with ex-cop Christopher Dorner that left one deputy dead and another seriously wounded.

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Politics
4:05 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Hometown Visit, Obama Advocates 'Common Sense' Approach To Guns

President Obama speaks about strengthening the middle class and the nation's struggle with gun violence at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago on Friday.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:05 am

"It's good to be home," President Obama said to a crowd, including uniformed high school students, at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy on Friday.

The school is in the same neighborhood where the Obamas raised their children, but the topic of the president's visit was raising Chicago's children — and the nation's. The president returned to his hometown to address the scourge of gun violence that's plaguing the city and many other parts of the country.

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