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12:03 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Russia Aims To Implement The Tightest Security In Olympic History

Police officers with dogs walk along a street in Sochi, Russia, on Jan. 6. The presence of security personnel has ramped up recently ahead of the Winter Olympics.
Kyodo /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:55 am

With less than a month to go before the Winter Games, Russian officials are putting the finishing touches on what they say will be the tightest Olympic security in history.

After a spate of deadly terrorist attacks in the region, the authorities are deploying high-tech surveillance equipment and tens of thousands of troops in Sochi, the host city on the Black Sea.

Sochi is unique among the cities hosting the Winter Games because it has the mild climate of a seaside resort, but it's less than an hour away from the snow-capped mountains of the North Caucasus.

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The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays
12:03 am
Wed January 15, 2014

A Woman Comes To Terms With Her Family's Slave-Owning Past

"I have this day granted bargained and sold and by these present do grant bargain and sell unto the said Edward Clegg a Certain Mulatto Girl named Harriet aged about eight years. Slave for life, and sound in body and mind, and the title to said Girl I do hereby warrant and will forever defend."
Courtesy of Todd Perry

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 12:38 pm

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often, NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.

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Law
12:02 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Supreme Court Considers Legality Of Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones

Eleanor McCullen, lead plaintiff in the case before the Supreme Court, outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston.
Nick Fountain NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:28 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case testing the constitutionality of buffer zones at abortion clinics.

Fourteen years ago, the court upheld Colorado's 8-foot "floating" buffer zones around individuals to protect patients and staff entering and exiting these clinics. Since then, buffer zones have prevented demonstrators from closely approaching patients and staff without permission.

But the issue is back before a different and more conservative Supreme Court.

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It's All Politics
4:11 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

IRS Gets Spending Bill Smackdown From Congress

John Koskinen, President Obama's choice to head the Internal Revenue Service, testifies Dec. 10 on Capitol Hill before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on his nomination.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The IRS is getting a special $200,000 earmark in the 2014 spending bill now moving through Congress.

But it's not because the agency is suddenly in the good graces of lawmakers.

The new funds are earmarked for "intensive training" in the Exempt Organizations division – the office that pulled the IRS into its worst scandal in years. Last spring, Exempt Organizations chief Lois Lerner apologized for the division's targeting of tea party and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exemptions as 501c4 social welfare organizations.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Oklahoma Ban On Gay Marriage

Saying Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage is "arbitrary" and "irrational," a federal judge ruled the ban violated the constitution and it should be struck down.

U.S. Senior District Judge Terence Kern, however, put a hold on his ruling, pending an appeal. This means gay marriages will not begin immediately in the state.

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It's All Politics
3:48 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

5 Takeaways From The Omnibus Spending Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks Tuesday on Capitol Hill, where a massive spending bill, aimed at funding the government through October and putting to rest the bitter budget battles of last year, is getting generally positive bipartisan reviews.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:13 pm

Regular order. That phrase refers to Congress conducting business in a methodical way, like it used to back before "dysfunctional" came to seem an official and permanent part of Congress' name.

When the House and Senate appropriations committee chairs announced late Monday evening that they had agreed on how to allocate the $1.012 trillion in federal spending, it was yet another step on the path to regular order that Congress forced itself to return to after years of regular disorder, best symbolized by last year's partial government shutdown.

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Shots - Health News
3:15 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Why The Youth Gap On Obamacare Exchanges Could Be A Yawner

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 9:23 am

The dust is settling a bit after the administration released details Monday about who signed up for health insurance on the exchanges during the chaotic three months after they launched Oct. 1.

Just about everybody was watching to see how many young people piled in. Younger people are generally healthier, and their premiums tend to balance out insurers' outlays for older, sicker people.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Gen. Dempsey Disputes Gates' Characterization Of Obama

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, in November of 2013.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:58 pm

The nation's top military officer, Gen. Martin Dempsey, is disputing former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' contention that President Obama is suspicious of senior military leaders.

In an interview with NPR on Tuesday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he's never picked up on those feelings from the White House.

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It's All Politics
2:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Christie Concedes 'Mistakes Were Made' In Bridge Scandal

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address Tuesday in Trenton, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, engulfed in scandal over the politically motivated closing of bridge access lanes and questions about how he spent federal Hurricane Sandy aid, pledged Tuesday to "cooperate with all appropriate inquiries."

In his annual State of the State speech from the State Capitol in Trenton, the two-term Republican governor made quick work of the George Washington Bridge controversy, which hopelessly snarled traffic in the city of Fort Lee for days. The circumstances surrounding the episode have clouded the prospects of a potential presidential bid in 2016.

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The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Charleston Mayor: Company Behind Chemical Leak Run By 'Renegades'

Charleston mayor Danny Jones.
Craig Cunningham AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:08 pm

The mayor of Charleston, W.Va., says the company behind the chemical spill that essentially shut down his city for days was run by "a small of group of renegades," who in his opinion knew there were problems with the tanks that leaked dangerous chemicals into the city's water supply.

"I'm not even sure they cared what happened to the public," Danny Jones told Melissa Block on Tuesday's edition of All Things Considered.

Jones said he knows some of the people in charge of Freedom Industries and he considers them "to be a little edgy."

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Politics
2:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Hopes Dim For Long-Term Extension To Jobless Benefits

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 3:33 pm

The Senate is still struggling to find a way to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits for those out of work for 26 weeks or more. Majority leader Harry Reid agreed to bring up five Democratic and five Republican amendments in hopes to winning enough Republicans over to get to the 60 votes needed for passage.

Around the Nation
2:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

In California, Alarm Grows Over Shrinking Water Levels

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 3:33 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Last week, we were shivering in depths of the polar vortex. Now another sign that Mother Nature is in charge. This time it's California, where right now it should be rainy season. Instead, there's growing alarm over a persistent lack of rain. The state is suffering its third consecutive dry year.

And as NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, there are calls for the governor to officially declare a drought.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOOTSTEPS)

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Africa
2:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

On Third Anniversary, Tunisians May Get A Constitution

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 3:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Arab Spring that brought those changes to Egypt began in Tunisia, exactly three years ago today. Tunisians overthrew their dictator, prompting a wave of uprisings across the region. But three years on, lawmakers are still struggling to ratify a new constitution and lay the foundations of their country's future. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in Tunis and sent this report.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Politics
2:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Christie Delivers Statewide Address Under Increased Scrutiny

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 3:33 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was back in the spotlight today. The annual State of the State speech came at an awkward moment for Christie. The Republican governor had not spoken publicly since apologizing last week for politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. Christie acknowledged the unfolding scandal at the start of his speech.

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Health Care
2:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

The Young And Restless May Cause Drama For ACA

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 3:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

After a slow start, the Affordable Care Act is now attracting customers at a healthier pace. The government said yesterday that 2.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the state and federal exchanges. But there's a serious red flag. A disproportionate number of new enrollees are middle aged or older.

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli on what that means for the program and for insurers.

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