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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Snow leopards are an endangered species native to Asia. They're also one of the official mascots of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. So when Russian scientists found one of the rare cats earlier this month, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took the time to visit him over the weekend. The World Wildlife Fund has said the leopard should be released into the wild, which it was, right after Putin and the cameras took their leave.

You simply cannot appreciate the brilliance of Angry Birds unless you play the game. So go get your iPhone or borrow one from a friend. You can download the first game for free.

The physics-based game is wildly addictive. You could waste a good deal of time catapulting those angry birds through the air, trying to get the arc just right so you smash the pigs' castle.

By the way, the birds are angry because the pigs have stolen their eggs, in case that's not immediately apparent.

There are many spoilers ahead in this piece, and by spoilers, we mean this: If you want to be surprised by the final few episodes of Big Love, you should not read or listen to this piece until you finish the season.

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SIMON: Warren Christopher was a famously meticulous man. When he stepped down as President Clintons secretary of State, the president referred to him as the only man ever to eat M&Ms on Air Force One with a fork.

Warren Christopher died last night at the age 85, at home in Los Angeles. He was the son of a North Dakota bank clerk who became a blue chip, L.A. lawyer in splendid suits, and a famously self-effacing diplomat.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

To baseball now. Jimmy Breslin, the great New York columnist, has written a new Penguin Lives biography of Branch Rickey, the great general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the man who invented the minor league system, coined bromides like: Luck is the residue of design, and made American - not just sports history - by signing Jackie Robinson and integrating the game of baseball.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Egyptians vote today in the first election since ousting Hosni Mubarak from power last month. At stake: nine amendments to the constitution that the former ruler helped create. Supporters say the referendum is the first step toward a real democracy in Egypt. But opponents argue the measures leave too much power in the hands of Egypt's future presidents and they want the constitution scrapped.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports voter turnout is unusually high in some districts.

(Soundbite of people speaking foreign language)

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast has torn the social fabric of many communities wrought havoc on the normal cycles of life and death. In the northern city of Kesennuma, where at least 300 people were killed by the tsunami, communities are struggling to maintain dignity and respect as they send off the deceased.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

In Libya, forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi are continuing their attacks on rebel-held towns less than a day after Gadhafi's government declared a cease-fire. In Paris today, Secretary of State Clinton is meeting with key allies to plan possible military action in Libya. The U.S., France, Great Britain and others are set to give final approval for a no-fly zone over Libya but the details of how this military operation might work are unclear.

The social networking site Twitter turns five today. The service now boasts 200 million users, who send more than 100 million tweets each day. Twitter co-founder Isaac "Biz" Stone joined NPR's Scott Simon to answer questions about the popular social media site — including the one we've all been dying to know: Why 140 characters?

"I have a good answer for that," says Stone. "From the very beginning we built Twitter to work over SMS, or simple mobile text messaging. The limit internationally for text messages is 160 characters."

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR news. I'm Scott Simon.

Time for sports. It's March and, as usual, upset Madness in the early rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Underdogs: Virginia Commonwealth, Morehead State and Richmond might be sizing their feet for glass slippers to wear to the big dance, after beating some heavily-favored teams this week.

NPR's Mike Pesca joins us in our studio. Good to be with you personally, right across from each other.

MIKE PESCA: Good to be with you.

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Ohio Valley ReSource

Alexandra Kanik - Ohio Valley ReSource

How Asian Politics Could Affect U.S. Coal

Apr 12, 2017
Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

With Australia coping with the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and China turning back imports of coal from North Korea this week as apparent punishment for missile tests, U.S. coal exporters are hoping for a boost.

But analysts aren’t predicting a coal comeback. 


Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Farmers in the Ohio Valley are waiting to see how President Trump’s choice to lead the Agriculture Department might affect their fortunes. Concerns over trade have held up a confirmation vote for nominee Sonny Perdue, and trade is also on the minds of regional growers.

 

Farmers here have been big winners under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while farm country voted overwhelmingly for Trump, his talk about scrapping NAFTA has farmers like Jed Clark nervous.
  

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