Europe
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Putin Heavily Favored As Russians Pick A President

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a campaign speech during a rally of his supporters in Moscow, Feb. 23. Putin is mounting a vigorous campaign in the face of growing opposition but is expected to win Sunday's presidential elections.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:12 am

When Russians go to the polls Sunday, they will have several choices for president. But none is a serious threat to Vladimir Putin, who has been the most powerful figure in Russia for the past 12 years.

Boris Makarenko, a longtime observer of Russian politics, says the candidates arrayed against Putin are all more or less part of what Kremlin leaders call "the systemic opposition."

In other words, he says, they are "the tolerable opposition ... which can never even hope of replacing them in the Kremlin."

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Governing
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Shrinking Community Grants Put Cities In A Crunch

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 4:24 am

Budget cuts approved by Congress in the past two years are trickling down to local communities, and officials there are not happy. They say that reductions in community development block grants will hurt the nation's most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Two years ago, the federal government gave out about $4 billion in such grants to low- and moderate-income communities. This year, the figure is $3 billion — a 25 percent cut. And as that pie has shrunk, those whose slices have shrunk even more are hungry for answers.

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Governing
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Government Backs Up On Rearview Car Cameras

A camera is used instead of a rearview mirror on the Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 10.
Mike Cassese Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 4:47 pm

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Underground Cold War Relics As Doomsday Castles?

Larry Hall shows off the old vents and 9-foot-thick walls of a missile silo he's developing into condominiums.
Frank Morris

One clear threat once menaced civilization: nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The Cold War is over, but decades later, some of the fortifications built to fight that war still dot the American landscape.

Four years ago, Larry Hall bought a nuclear missile silo out on the open rolling land north of Salina, Kan. Hall paid $300,000 and spent much more to clean out all the scrap metal and stagnant water.

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Judge Who Emailed Racist Obama Joke Calls For Investigation On Himself

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 4:32 pm

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull says he will apologize to President Obama and ask for a panel of judges to investigate his conduct after a Montana newspaper reported he had sent a racially inflammatory message using his courthouse email account last month.

The Great Falls Tribune reported the judge had forwarded the following message to six of his friends February 20:

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NPR Ombudsman
4:14 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

The Treadmill of Stigma, Language and Mental Illnesses

A military aide holds up the Congressional Medal of Honor. The 2005 Stolen Valor Act makes false claims about receiving military medals punishable by up to one year in prison.
Jim Watson/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 11:45 am

Veteran reporter Nina Totenberg hit a nerve for some Morning Edition listeners last week when she asked a lawyer whether or not his client, Xavier Alvarez, was a "nutcase."

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All Songs Considered Blog
4:14 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Marc Maron Learns How To Be A 'Sensitive Man' With Nick Lowe

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 2:00 pm

When you've been making catchy pop songs as long as Nick Lowe has it's okay to look to classic sounds for inspiration. Lowe's new song, "Sensitive Man," finds the sexagenarian rocker digging deep into the essence of '50s Sun Records-era rock. The song could feel right at home on a jukebox next to a tune by The Crickets or Jerry Lee Lewis. The backing vocals, Tijuana Brass horns and jangly guitar sounds look to the past but aren't stodgy nor simply nostalgic.

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News
4:07 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Nation's Toughest Immigration Law Stays Put For Now

A line of people wait outside the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments over tough new laws targeting illegal immigration in Alabama and Georgia on Thursday.
John Amis AP

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 2:38 pm

Portions of Alabama's strict immigration law will remain in force until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on its predecessor, the Arizona statue that ignited a national firestorm in the debate over illegal immigration.

A panel of three judges from an Atlanta federal appeals court decided Thursday to put off action on lawsuits against measures in Alabama and Georgia. Oral arguments are set for April 25 before the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of Arizona's enforcement policy.

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Europe
4:03 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Will The New AK-47 Be As Popular As The Original?

A Colombian police officer stands guard next to seized Chinese-made AK-47 replicas on Nov. 18, 2009. The guns have become so ubiquitous around the world that Russia's planned redesign may not do much to booster sales.
Luis Robayo Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:59 am

The Kalashnikov assault rifle, or AK-47, is one of the most dangerous and widely used weapons in the world. For more than 60 years, nations, rebels, gangsters and child soldiers have wielded the gun.

And now, Russian officials say it's outdated. As part of a $700 billion army modernization program, the country has announced a redesign of the rifle.

New York Times foreign correspondent C.J. Chivers — author of The Gun, a book about the Kalashnikov — tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the updates are mostly cosmetic.

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The Salt
3:35 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Seattle's First Urban Food Forest Will Be Open To Foragers

Designers of a food forest in Seattle want to make blueberry picking a neighborly activity.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 5:41 pm

If you're a regular reader of The Salt, you've probably noticed our interest in foraging. From San Francisco to Maryland, we've met wild food experts, nature guides and chefs passionate about picking foods growing in their backyards.

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