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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Sun March 2, 2014

Is It Too Late For Ukraine To Take Back Crimea?

A Russian naval landing vessel enters one of the bays of Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sunday.
Andrew Lubimov AP

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 3:27 pm

This post was updated at 1:20 p.m. ET.

Russian forces appear to be digging in after seizing key assets in the Ukrainian republic of Crimea, and despite tough talk from Kiev's new leaders, the former Soviet satellite's under-manned and under-equipped military is no match for Moscow's battle-tested troops, experts say.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Sun March 2, 2014

Kerry Will Travel To Kiev Amid Escalating Crisis

Ukrainian military personnel stand guard in the Crimean port city of Feodosia on Sunday. Ukraine is mobilizing for war, calling up reserve troops.
Thomas Peter Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 8:12 pm

This post was updated at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who has described Moscow's military intervention in the Crimea an "incredible act of aggression," will travel to Ukraine's capital on Tuesday to meet with the country's embattled government.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement late Sunday that Kerry "will meet with senior representatives of Ukraine's new government, leaders of the Rada [Ukraine's parliament], and members of the civil society."

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Shots - Health News
7:33 am
Sun March 2, 2014

FDA To Increase Access To Generic Morning-After Pills

Women's health groups campaigned hard to make a generic — and often cheaper — emergency contraceptive pill more widely available.
Elise Amendola AP

The Food and Drug Administration has decided to allow generic versions of the most popular form of emergency contraceptive pills to be sold over the counter, without age restrictions, after all.

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Digital Life
7:20 am
Sun March 2, 2014

E-Sports Reach Pro-Athletic Status, Fandom — And Money

As more money flows into the competitions, E-sports gamers are gaining legitimacy as professional athletes with honed skills.
Chung Sung-Jun Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 11:30 am

Online competitive gaming is increasingly mirroring the world of professional sports. E-sports are attracting hard-working teams that compete for millions of dollars in prize money.

Generally, gamers wage battles with one another using rapid clicks of a computer mouse. "A lot of it comes down to reflexes, but a lot of [it] is strategy," says David Gorman, a sportscaster for the popular e-sport, Dota 2. "It's very much like chess, except it's in real time. Almost like speed chess."

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Around the Nation
7:20 am
Sun March 2, 2014

Throw Me Something (Again), Mister: Mardi Gras Beads Revived

Beads are essential to celebrating Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, but what happens to the tokens when the revelry ends?
Sean Garnder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 11:30 am

In Louisiana, Mardi Gras comes each year with dozens of parades filled with marching bands, colorful floats and parade-goers who scream, "Throw me something, Mister!"

That "something" the crowd wants are beads. The goal of any Mardi Gras parade is to catch as many as possible. After the revelry, people often have so many beads around their necks they can barely turn their heads.

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Politics
6:01 am
Sun March 2, 2014

In Drafting A Presidential Budget, Cost May Outweigh Benefit

Presidents have been submitting budgets since the 1920s, but now that lawmakers have the Congressional Budget Office, is the exercise worth it?
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 11:30 am

On Tuesday, President Obama will unveil his budget proposal for the coming year. But for all the sound and fury surrounding the president's spending plan, it's likely to have very little significance. Congress routinely ignores the president's budget. And lawmakers have already settled on overall spending levels for the coming year.

That's led some to ask whether it's time to bring the curtain down on this annual exercise in political theater.

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Business
5:26 am
Sun March 2, 2014

Marching Into Spring, Realtors' Hopes Rise

Economists say strong home sales this spring could drive job creation, as well as boost personal wealth and consumer confidence.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 12:07 pm

For real estate agents, March Madness has begun.

The rush is on to throw out clutter, paint walls and clean carpets. Historic data show the peak time for selling homes is April through July, and that means this is the month for spring cleaning.

"Freshen up the landscape and add that mulch now," Dallas Realtor Jeff Duffey recommended in a phone interview. "Get your over-sized furniture out of the small bedroom and put more lamps in that dark room."

The economy has a lot riding on how well people obey Duffey's marching orders.

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The 86th Annual Academy Awards
7:08 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

The Human Moments We Miss, Backstage At The Oscars

Every year, Entertainment Weekly writer Anthony Breznick covers the Oscars from behind the scenes.
Christopher Polk Getty Images

Picture this: You're standing on a stage. You're the center of attention in an auditorium filled with over 3,000 people. Roughly 40 million more are watching you on TV.

No, this isn't a nightmare — it's the Academy Awards. Every year, the standout members of the film industry are presented with Hollywood's highest honor: an Oscar.

But what happens after you've won the coveted gold statue? What does it feel like to walk away from the flashbulbs and fans, and step into the quiet darkness behind the curtains?

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Around the Nation
6:54 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Courts Take A Kinder Look At Victims Of Child Sex Trafficking

An ad on a bus shelter in New Mexico is part of an ongoing effort to educate law enforcement and the public about human trafficking. The Justice Department estimates that each year at least 200,000 children are trafficked for sex in the U.S.
AP

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 7:08 pm

We've all seen them: the public service announcements about sex trafficking in America. They're plastered on buses and billboards; images of young women exploited for their bodies, with hotlines to call for help.

The numbers are staggering. The Justice Department estimates that each year at least 200,000 children are trafficked for sex in the U.S., and it is said to generate upward of $32 billion a year.

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Around the Nation
5:12 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Oregon Braces For Latest Round Of Food Stamp Cuts

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 7:08 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

In fact, most of those 15 or so states that use the Heat and Eat loophole have Democratic governors. Along with New York and Connecticut are the likes of California, Massachusetts and Oregon. More than 20 percent of Oregonians are on food stamps. That's one of the highest rates in the country. These new cuts would affect over 140,000 people there. On average, they'd lose about $58 a month.

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Around the Nation
5:12 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Some States Find Ways To Restore Cut Food Stamp Funding

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 7:08 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Last month, President Obama made a special trip to Michigan to sign the farm bill, finally passed after two years of disagreement in Congress. One important clause said to take effect this month is a major cut to food stamps. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cuts would affect about 850,000 households, saving about $8.5 billion over the next 10 years. That cut was achieved by closing what some see as a loophole regarding who qualifies for the program.

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Europe
5:12 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

U.N. Attempting To Find Diplomatic Solutions In Ukraine

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 7:08 pm

The standoff in Crimea is increasing in intensity and has become a focal point of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Host Arun Rath talks to NPR's Michele Kelemen about the diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff in the region.

The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Knife Gang Attacks China Rail Station, Killing Dozens

Picture taken by mobile phone on Saturday shows luggage scattered inside the Kunming Railway Station in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province.
Lin Yiguang Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 11:02 pm

This post was updated at 9:20 p.m. ET.

A gang of 10 knife-wielding men killed at least 29 people and wounded 130 others at a train station in southern China in what the government is describing as a "violent terror attack," Xinhua News Agency reports.

Four of the assailants were also killed by police, reports the Associated Press. One suspect was arrested.

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Creation Museum: Bill Nye Debate Sparked Funding 'Miracle'

TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham on Feb. 4 at the Petersburg, Ky, museum.
Dylan Lovan AP

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 2:12 pm

Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum who last month debated TV personality Bill Nye "The Science Guy" pitting his Biblical literalism against Darwinian evolution, says the highly publicized showdown has been like manna from heaven for a foundering $73 million Noah's Ark theme park.

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:55 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: The Cosmos, Harold Ramis, And Protecting Your Data Online

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a new TV series called Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. It's an update of the influential 1980 PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Journey, hosted by Carl Sagan.
Patrick Eccelsine Fox

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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