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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

'The Fact Is These Are Russian Forces,' Says Ukraine's Ambassador To U.S.

Troops under Russian command scream orders to turn back before firing warning shots at the Belbek airbase in Crimea. The troops were reacting to a large group of unarmed Ukrainian troops who approached them.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:17 pm

Despite what Russia's President Vladimir Putin might say, the country's approach to Ukraine is a "gross violation of international law," says Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., Olexander Motsyk.

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Parallels
2:47 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Ukraine: From Breadbasket To Basket Case

Ukrainians line up to get money from a bank machine in the western city of Lviv on Feb. 20. The country's political crisis has also created economic turmoil. The international community is expected to pump billions of dollars into Ukraine's struggling economy.
Yuriy Dyachyshyn AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine was known as the breadbasket of the Soviet Union for its fertile fields of wheat. Now it's just a basket case. The outgoing finance minister said the country needed $35 billion to stave off bankruptcy over the next couple years.

Some analysts say that figure may be on the high side. Still, such admissions usually send potential donors dashing for the exits. Yet one thing Ukraine has in abundance these days, in addition to political turmoil, is a long line of financial suitors.

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All Tech Considered
2:46 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

By The Time Your Car Goes Driverless, You Won't Know The Difference

Mercedes' S500 Intelligent Drive is one traditional carmaker's approach to driverless cars.
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 9:23 am

If you've heard about autonomous vehicles — cars that drive themselves — you probably associate them with Google, which is working on fully autonomous vehicles that will drive us to and fro while we're safely texting on our Android phones.

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Author Interviews
2:46 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Literary Biographer Justin Kaplan

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. We're going to remember Justin Kaplan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer who also edited the 16th edition of "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," published in 1992 and the 17th edition, published in 2002. Justin Kaplan died Sunday at the age 88. His first book, a 1966 biography of Mark Twain, won a National Book Award, as well as a Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote biographies of Walt Whitman and Lincoln Steffens.

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Author Interviews
2:46 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Kevin Young On Blues, Poetry And 'Laughing To Keep From Crying'

Kevin Young's 2012 essay collection The Grey Album: On The Blackness Of Blackness was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Melanie Dunea CPi

In Kevin Young's new collection, Book Of Hours, poems about the death of his father appear alongside poems about the birth of his son.

He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that, in a way, those events were the anchors of his life.

"It was a way of just writing about what had happened and also the way that the cycle of life informed my life, from death to birth to ... a kind of rebirth that I felt afterward."

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The Two-Way
2:33 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

After 5-Decade Career, NPR's Carl Kasell Will Retire

Doby Photography NPR

After a five-decade career in broadcasting, Carl Kasell announced his retirement on Tuesday.

Carl will record his final broadcast for Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! this spring. He will, however, remain "scorekeeper emeritus" for the show. Before becoming the official scorekeeper for the NPR news quiz show in 1998, Carl anchored the newscast for Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

'12 Years A Slave' Leads To Correction Of 161-Year-Old Story

In Twelve Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Jaap Buitendijk Fox Searchlight Pictures

Here's something of another victory for new media over old media.

The New York Times on Tuesday corrected a 161-year-old report about the enslavement of Solomon Northup, after a Twitter user pointed out that the story had twice misspelled Northup's name — including in the headline.

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Shots - Health News
1:03 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Health Law Provides No Guarantees Of Access To Birthing Centers

Nurse midwife Danielle Kraessig seen meeting with Yakini Branch at the PCC South Family Health Center in Berwyn, Ill., in early 2013. While the federal law requires insurers to cover maternity services, birthing centers and midwifery services aren't always included.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:48 pm

Insurance coverage for maternity care is required in most individual and small group plans under the federal health law, extending such coverage to plans where it used to be rare. But for women who prefer services provided by midwives and birthing centers, there are no coverage guarantees, despite the law's provisions that prohibit insurers from discriminating against licensed medical providers.

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama's $3.9 Trillion Budget Would Produce $564 Billion Deficit

Copies of President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2015, after they were delivered to the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 1:53 pm

As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.

The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama And Kerry Criticize Russia's Actions In Ukraine

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to religious leaders at the Shrine of the Fallen, a tribute to anti-government protesters, on Tuesday in Kiev, Ukraine.
Sergei Supinsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Russia's explanation for its military response to the crisis in Ukraine doesn't match real events, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Speaking at news conferences held within moments of each other on different continents, they urged Russia to de-escalate the situation.

After unveiling his 2015 budget blueprint in Washington, D.C., the president was asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin's approach to the situation in Ukraine.

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Food
12:02 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Calas, The Forgotten Fat Tuesday Treat

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 2:16 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally, today is Mardi Gras, the last day of celebration before the solemn season of Lent, which starts tomorrow in the Western or Catholic calendar. Of course, we must speak of food because the day brings parties and treats of all kinds, especially in New Orleans where they do it up big. And when you think about Mardi Gras treats, I bet you think of beignets - those addicting little puffs of fried dough finished in powdered sugar.

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Parenting
12:02 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Should Kindergarteners Stop Finger Painting And Start Learning French?

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 2:16 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Technology
12:02 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Can Playing Minecraft Teach Kids To Code?

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 2:16 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we'd like to talk about a popular form of entertainment - video games. And you may fall into one of two camps here - love them or at least you understand why people can spend hours playing them, or hate them and you associate them with mindless violence, sexism and or just a waste of time. Well, if you're in the hate or don't-understand-them category, you might not be familiar with Minecraft. But it's one of the most popular games out there right now. It has more than 100 million registered users.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMERCIAL)

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Nepal Cracks Down On Messy Everest Climbers

A Nepalese Sherpa collecting garbage, left by climbers, at an altitude of 26,250 feet during a special Everest clean-up expedition.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 12:08 pm

As Everest climbing season gets started this week, Nepal is enforcing a rule for scaling the world's tallest mountain that might sound like it came from your mother: Pick up after yourself.

While it's technically not a new rule, it has rarely if ever been enforced.

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Code Switch
11:24 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Where Did All The Female Rappers Go?

Nicki Minaj's commercial success over the last decade has stood as an exception to the unwritten rule that women rappers no longer have a place among elite artists.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 4:40 pm

This piece comes to us from Erik Nielson, an assistant professor at the University of Richmond. He teaches classes on hip-hop culture and African American literature.

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