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Parallels
3:28 am
Fri March 14, 2014

In Egypt, A New Courtroom Drama Every Day

Australian journalist Peter Greste (center) of Al Jazeera and his colleagues stand inside the defendants' cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo's Tora prison on Mar. 5.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 11:27 am

Not one but two ousted presidents are on trial. In cages. As are a group of journalists from the Al Jazeera satellite channel. Then there are the countless activists facing charges that are widely seen as politically motivated.

If you like courtroom dramas, Egypt is the place to be these days. And while there's no shortage of high-profile trials, analysts say one thing hasn't changed in the three tumultuous years since the overthrow of the autocratic Hosni Mubarak: There's still no guarantee of a fair trial for the accused.

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Parallels
3:27 am
Fri March 14, 2014

'Waiting For Godot' Strikes A Chord In Tehran

Just as characters in the play "Waiting for Godot" wait for someone named Godot, some believe that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is Iran's only politician who can end the country's waiting when it comes to resolving a nuclear deal.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 11:27 am

At the National Theater in downtown Tehran, "Waiting for Godot" seems to have captured the mood of a country.

The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett dramatized endless waiting in vain for someone named Godot. The play, translated into Farsi, got a standing ovation on the night I attended. The characters, in classic white suits, black top hats and black shoes, took endless bows as the audience whistled and clapped.

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Around the Nation
3:25 am
Fri March 14, 2014

A Boom In Oil Is A Boon For U.S. Shipbuilding Industry

A welder at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.
Jonathan Blakley NPR

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:58 pm

Scott Clapham peers down into a cavernous dry dock at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. He points to massive pieces of steel, some covered with a light dusting of snow. When assembled, they will form a 115,000-ton oil tanker.

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The Two-Way
9:31 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Obama Orders Review Of Deportation Practices

President Obama in the East Room of the White House, on Thursday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

During a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, President Obama said he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security to review deportation procedures and see if they can be made more humane.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
8:35 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Colo. Court Rules Some Marijuana Convictions Can Be Overturned

A Colorado judge ruled on Thursday that some people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana could have their convictions overturned.

The ruling has to do with the state's legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012.

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The Salt
7:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows

States are taking an out provided by Congress to avoid cutting food stamp benefits to families, many of whom already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif.
Antonio Mena Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 1:41 pm

When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.

You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option — a move that could erase the promised savings.

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Around the Nation
6:43 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

A Terrible Winter Wreaks Havoc On Roads, Pipes And City Budgets

Potholes on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, one of which is about half-a-car-length long and at least a foot deep. The city of Chicago says it has filled an estimated 240,000 potholes this winter, 100,000 more than last winter, at a cost of more than $2.8 million.
David Schaper NPR

Bitter cold has returned to parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast, following another heavy snowstorm that left 1 to 2 feet of snow from Ohio to New England.

And when all this snow finally melts, it'll expose the physical toll of this brutal winter: potholes, broken water mains, collapsed catch basins and other infrastructure problems.

"This winter's crazy, crazy busy," says John Polishak, a foreman for the Chicago Department of Water Management. "Everybody's been working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. It's exhausting."

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The Two-Way
6:24 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Takes White House To Task Over Privacy

Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference as part of the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.
David Ramos Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 6:34 pm

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg published an open letter on Thursday in which he takes the White House to task over "the behavior of the U.S. government."

While he does not say so explicitly, Zuckerberg is clearly referring to the reports of widespread surveillance undertaken by the National Security Agency.

Zuckerberg, 29, who has built the world's most successful social network, writes that the Internet works because companies like Facebook strive to make it secure. He adds:

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The Two-Way
5:53 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Rare Diamond Points To Mass Quantities Of Water In Earth's Mantle

Impurities found in a pea-sized diamond that came from the (very) deep have bolstered evidence for a vast "wet zone" in the Earth's mantle, scientists publishing in the latest issue of Nature say.

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Environment
5:47 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Oil Industry Gets An Earful As It Eyes Florida's Everglades

Drilling companies have new interest in southern Florida's Big Cypress preserve. The prospect of large-scale operations and possibly fracking worries environmentalists and residents.
Sue Cocking MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 6:35 pm

As oil production goes, Florida isn't much of a player. The state produced less than 2 million barrels last year, which is how much oil Texas pumps from its wells each day.

That's about to change as the revolution in oil drilling technology comes to Florida.

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