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The Two-Way
7:41 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Only Syrians Can Tell President When To Go, Assad Says

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 9:38 am

Syrian President Bashar Assad, in apparent response to Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks last week in support of opposition forces in Syria, says only the Syrian people can tell him to step down.

"Only Syrian people can tell the president stay or leave, come or go. No one else," he said in an interview to Britain's Sunday Times.

It was a rare TV interview for the Syrian president, whose regime has battled rebels as well as calls to step down for nearly two years.

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Middle East
5:49 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Amid Egypt's Divisive Climate, Kerry Urges Economic Action

Secretary of State John Kerry (center, right) meets with members of Egyptian political parties in Cairo on Saturday.
Khaled ElFiqi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 11:27 am

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walked into a chaotic situation in Egypt, the first Arab country he's visited in his new role. The country is in economic and political turmoil, and he is trying Sunday to encourage Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to open up the political process and carry out much-needed reforms. After their meeting, he announced the U.S. would release $190 million in aid to Egypt.

Kerry has also been hearing complaints from opposition figures, who have vowed to boycott upcoming elections.

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Africa
5:49 am
Sun March 3, 2013

In Kenya, Political Puppets Give Voice To Satire

In this screengrab, three puppets debate one another on The XYZ Show's presidential debate, which aired in February.
The XYZ Show YouTube

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 3:22 pm

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Author Interviews
5:21 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

For Ireland's First Female President, 'Everybody Matters'

Mary Robinson was Ireland's first female president. A former United Nations High Commissioner and activist lawyer, she has advocated for human rights around the world.
Jurgen Frank Jurgen Frank

For seven years, Mary Robinson served as the first female president of Ireland. Yet, she also has a long record of service as a human rights advocate.

After leaving office in 1997, she was appointed as the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations. She now runs The Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice. This week, she has a new book out called Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice.

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NPR Story
4:46 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

Recovering Amidst A Gender Gap

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 5:21 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee.

Coming up, diplomacy in the Middle East. We'll talk about John Kerry's first trip abroad as secretary of State. And later, the movie that David Duchovny could watch a million times.

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NPR Story
4:46 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

Sequester Without The Politics

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 5:21 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee.

Coming up, why women are still struggling for equality in the workplace, the latest submissions from our Three-Minute Fiction contest and an interview with a mysterious band, Rhye. But first...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YESTERDAYS")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Who's afraid of the big bad sequester?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: The sequester...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Obama sequestration...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: Sequestration.

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NPR Story
4:46 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction: 'Call Me?' And 'Leave Me In London'

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 3:21 am

NPR's Bob Mondello and Tamara Keith read excerpts from Round 10 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. Saturday's excerpts are from the stories "Call Me?" by Anna Geletka of Greenville, N.C., and "Leave Me In London," by Taylor Sykes of West Lafayette, Ind. Read the full stories below and see other submissions and past winners on our Three-Minute Fiction page.

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The Two-Way
4:44 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

Al-Qaida Leader Reportedly Killed In Mali

In this image from video, Mokhtar Belmokhtar claims responsibility for a deadly attack on a BP gas facility in Algeria. The Chadian military reported its forces had killed him in a raid in Mali on Saturday.
Uncredited SITE Intel Group/AP

A senior commander for al-Qaida's wing in North Africa has been killed, Chad's military reported on Chadian state television Saturday. NPR could not independently verify the report.

The military said troops attacked an Islamist rebel base in the mountains of northern Mali, killing several militants, including Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

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Games + Leisure
2:26 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

'Tomb Raider' Makes The Case For Old-Fashioned Console Gaming

The Tomb Raider video game franchise started in 1996. The latest version of the game starring Lara Croft (a character played by Angelina Jolie in film adaptations) is being released Tuesday.
Courtesy of Square Enix

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 3:28 pm

When Sony recently announced details on the upcoming release of the PlayStation 4, it prompted a new round of hand-wringing about the future of console gaming.

Sales of games on the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 have dropped precipitously in recent years as mobile gaming — on smartphones and tablets — has become more popular. Advance word is that the PS4 will integrate certain mobile and social media functions, and some are speculating whether this is the end for standalone, full-featured console systems.

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Music Interviews
1:50 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

Rhye: Men Of Mystery Find A Feminine Sound

Rhye is the duo of Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal. Their debut album is called Woman.
Dan Monick Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 9:39 am

Last year, an unknown band called Rhye started posting exquisitely produced videos online. The clips were sexy — erotic even — and the music matched the images. The identities of the band members were a mystery, intentionally shielded from view.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

Florida Sinkhole So Dangerous Rescuers Can't Search For Missing Man

After a sinkhole swallowed a man in his bedroom in Seffner, Fla., an engineer tethered with a safety line walks in front of a home on Saturday.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 6:56 pm

Update at 6:53 p.m. ET Rescuers End Search:

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill says efforts to find Jeffrey Bush, who disappeared in a sinkhole, have been discontinued. He says that the conditions at Bush's home have become too dangerous for rescue workers.

"At this point it's really not possible to recover the body," Merrill said at a news conference on Saturday.

He says workers will begin efforts to demolish the home on Sunday.

Our Original Post Continues:

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Whitey Bulger,' 'Salt Sugar Fat' And Historical Language

An early mug shot shows James "Whitey" Bulger in 1953.
Boston Police

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 12:40 pm

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
8:56 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Caught For Fins, Sharks Die At Unsustainable Rate, Study Finds

Fresh shark fins dry on the deck of an apprehended fishing boat in a declared shark and manta ray sanctuary located in the eastern region of Indonesia.
Conservation International /Getty Images

An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year, "largely due to their inherent vulnerability, and an increasing demand, particularly for their fins, in the Asian market," a new report finds.

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Commentary
8:11 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Pianist Van Cliburn, Warmed Russian Hearts During Cold War

Van Cliburn accepts flowers from the audience in the Moscow Conservatory in April 1958, after a performance during the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, which he won.
Courtesy Van Cliburn Foundation AP

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 6:35 pm

Van Cliburn thawed out the Cold War.

He went to Moscow in 1958 for the first International Tchaikovsky Competition. When he sat down to play, Russians saw a tall, 23-year-old Texan, rail thin and tousle-haired, with great, gangly fingers that grew evocative and eloquent when he played the music of the true Russian masters — Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Borodin.

Cliburn died Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas. He was 78.

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It's All Politics
6:47 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Does President Obama Know When To Say When?

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama appeared on The View last fall in New York.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 2:02 pm

Doesn't the president get enough attention?

The president is always the star of the show. When just about any major event occurs — whether it's a downturn in the unemployment rate, a natural disaster or some crisis overseas — much of the news media ask how it's going to play out for the president, the central actor in our national drama.

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Searching For Stability, Tunisia Stumbles

Tunisia's Prime Minister-designate, Ali Larayedh, speaks during a Feb. 26 press conference. His priorities will include forming a stable government and overseeing the writing of a new constitution.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 12:15 pm

Tunisia took the lead in the Arab Spring back in 2011. Its revolution was swift and largely peaceful. Within months, an assembly was elected to write a new constitution.

As other Arab countries grew more violent and chaotic, Tunisia seemed to be showing the way for an orderly transition away from authoritarian rule.

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NPR Story
6:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Let The Cuts Begin: Sequestration Deadline Passes

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 11:04 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Sequestration is official. President Obama signed an executive order on spending late last night as required by law. He sent the order to Congress and that triggered budget cuts known as sequestration. Earlier in the day, the president met with congressional leaders and when they left without a deal, he took questions at the White House.

NPR's Ari Shapiro was there.

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NPR Story
6:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Dealing With 'Root Causes' To Tackle Incarceration Rates

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 11:04 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Jeffrey Beard has watched America's prisons grow larger and larger every year adding prisoner after prisoner. He began working in the Pennsylvania Corrections system in the early 1970s when there were about 8,000 prisoners. He was secretary of corrections by the time he left in 2010 and by that time Pennsylvania had more than 50,000 people in its prisons.

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NPR Story
6:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

'It Can't Go On Forever': Michigan Steps In To Help Detroit

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 11:04 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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U.S.
6:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Can Detroit Be Saved?

Michigan is taking over Detroit's finances and will appoint an emergency manager to deal with the city's massive debt.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 11:04 am

Detroit is broke. On Friday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the state will take over the city's finances.

"It is time to say, we need to start moving upward with the city of Detroit," he said.

But the question on many people's minds is whether state intervention will be enough — and whether the more ominous and painful scenario of municipal bankruptcy can be avoided.

Adding Up The Debt

Just how far gone is Detroit? Eric Lupher, director of local affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, sums it up like this:

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