World
10:53 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Israelis Face Off Over Orthodox Military Exemption

Israeli soldiers get ready to launch the Skylark drone during a drill in January. Israelis are required to serve in the military, and an exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jews has created a fierce debate.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 11, 2012 9:04 am

In Israel, a country where citizens serve a mandatory military service of two to three years, the exemption of some is a topic of heated debate. That debate is even fiercer now that Israel's Supreme Court has struck down a law that excused ultra-Orthodox Jews from serving in the military.

The decision highlights growing tensions between the religious and secular elements of Israeli society. As the ultra-Orthodox population continues to grow, many are asking what part they will play in the Jewish state.

'They Need To Contribute, Too'

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Asia
7:58 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Vote In Small Chinese Village Holds Big Meaning

Residents of Wukan in China's southern Guangdong province fill in forms before voting in village elections on Saturday.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

In southern China, a village that rebelled against corrupt Communist officials has elected the main protest leaders as its new village committee leaders. Reformers are hoping this could be a template for defusing unrest through grassroots democracy, but others say the experience of the rebellious village is unique.

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The Two-Way
6:16 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Limbaugh Apologizes For Insulting Law Student

Sandra Fluke, a third-year law student at Georgetown University, waits to testify before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Feb. 23.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 7:24 pm

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh apologized today to a Georgetown University law student he called a "slut" and a "prostitute" this week. His comments about Sandra Fluke, who testified on Capitol Hill that insurers should provide no-cost contraception, outraged women's groups and others, including the president, who called her on Friday.

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Laura Ziegler began her career at KCUR as a reporter more than 20 years ago. She became the news director in the mid 1980's and  in 1988,  went to National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. as a producer for Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon.

In 1993, she came back to Kansas City as the Midwest correspondent for National Public Radio. Among the stories she covered - the floods of 1993, the ongoing farm crisis and rural affairs, and presidential campaigns.

Author Interviews
4:55 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

'Enchantments' Of Rasputin's Lion-Taming Daughter

Rischgitz Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 5:09 pm

The famed mystic Rasputin — notorious for his otherworldly powers and his sexual escapades — may not have seemed like a traditional family man, but in fact, he had a wife and three children.

His eldest daughter, Maria, is at the center of Kathryn Harrison's new novel, Enchantments, a dark fairytale mash-up of history and magical realism set during the last days of Imperial Russia.

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Around the Nation
4:25 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

After Scandal, New Rules For Juveniles In Pa. Courts

Former Judge Mark Ciavarella leaves the federal courthouse in Scranton, Pa., in 2009. Ciavarella was convicted last year of racketeering and conspiracy for taking nearly a million dollars from the developer of two for-profit prisons.
David Kidwell AP

More than 2,000 young people in Pennsylvania are trying to put one of the nation's worst juvenile justice scandals behind them. It's been a year since a former judge was convicted in the so-called "kids for cash" scandal.

New rules intended to protect the rights of children took effect this week, but questions about Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system remain.

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Around the Nation
4:24 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Settlement Only The First Step In BP's Legal Woes

A cross with the words "Promises Made"-- referring to statements from BP and government officials — stands in front of a pile of crosses symbolizing things that were impacted by the spill, in a front yard in Grand Isle, La.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 5:09 pm

Oil giant BP has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits stemming from its well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal was announced late Friday and prompted a federal judge in New Orleans to postpone a Monday trial, but the proposed settlement solves only one piece of BP's legal exposure from the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

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Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Animal Disease Center's New Home Proves Difficult

The animal disease center that the Homeland Security department has maintained since Sept. 11 has fallen into disrepair. A proposed new location in Kansas has been riddled with neighborhood concerns, safety threats and escalating costs. Laura Ziegler of Harvest Public Media reports.

The Two-Way
2:47 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Mormon Leaders Warn Followers To Stop Controversial Baptisms

The sun sets behind the Mormon Temple, the centerpiece of Temple Square, in Salt Lake City.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

Originally published on Sun March 4, 2012 1:00 pm

Mormons around the world are getting this warning Sunday: Stop posthumous baptisms of "unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims."

"Our preeminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors," says a letter to be read in every Mormon congregation. "Those whose names are submitted for proxy [baptisms] should be related to the submitter."

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Middle East
8:01 am
Sat March 3, 2012

Red Cross Restricted As Killing Continues In Syria

The Syrian government continued shelling the city Homs overnight. The latest United Nations report estimates 7,500 people have been killed since unrest began nearly a year ago. The government has also continued to refuse entry to the International Committee of the Red Cross. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

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