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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."

Transcript

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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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Teenagers have become as devoted to cell phones as they can be to gum snapping or Lady Gaga. They text, talk and leap at the bleeble of any possible message from a friend, a parent - or Miley Cyrus. So we were intrigued to learn about a high school senior named Michelle Hackman, who won second place in a national science competition. She conducted a study to see what happens when a teenager is deprived of his or her phone.

She joins us on a phone from John L. Miller Great Neck North High School on Long Island.

Picture this: You wake up bleary-eyed on New Year's Day. Last night was wild, and you're not feeling so hot.

It's the first day of 2100, and here's how your morning might unfold: You stumble into the bathroom to wash your face and brush your teeth. Tiny microchips in your toothbrush and your toilet instantly analyze your health. You wrap a few wires around your head and mentally cue up soothing music and fried eggs for breakfast. When you're ready, you issue another mental command to your magnetic car, and it leaves the garage and cruises up to your front door.

Soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan routinely carry between 60 and 100 pounds of gear including body armor, weapons and batteries.

The heavy loads shouldered over months of duty contribute to the chronic pain suffered by soldiers like Spc. Joseph Chroniger, who deployed to Iraq in 2007.

Twenty-five years old, he has debilitating pain from a form of degenerative arthritis and bone spurs. "I mean my neck hurts every day. Every day," he says. "You can't concentrate on anything but that because it hurts that bad."

At 22 years old, Adele was inspired by the works of Etta James, Jeff Buckley and Jill Scott when she decided to enroll in the BRIT school. By the time of graduation she had perfected her sound and emerged as a soulful songbird and MySpace sensation in 2007 and 2008.

Sam Beam, better known by his stage name Iron and Wine, released his first album, The Creek Drank The Cradle, on the Sub Pop label back in 2002. He wrote, performed, recorded and produced every track by himself at a studio in his home.

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WEKU's weekly public affairs program discussing topics and concerns of Central and Southeastern Ky. Call 800-621-8890. Email: wekueasternstandard@gmail.com Tweet @wekuest

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Mary Meehan/Ohio Valley ReSource

 

Dressed in crisp blue scrubs, Certified Nurse Midwife JoAnne Burris walks briskly, the click of her sensible clogs a counterpoint to smooth jazz in the hall.

The University of Kentucky Midwife Clinic, with its large, color prints of newborns on earth-tone walls, still has that new furniture smell. But word-of-mouth already has the waiting room full.  


Roxy Todd

 

"I’d love to be able to stay here,” said 32-year-old West Virginian Mark Combs. “The people are great. But it’s just dying. If you want to succeed you’ve gotta leave.”

Mark is an actor and an Iraqi war veteran. He thinks there has to be a better life, or at least better economic opportunities, elsewhere. He decided to head west for Los Angeles.  


U.S. Department of Energy

Paducah, Kentucky, is home to USEC, a Department of Energy uranium enrichment facility that operated for 50 years until being decommissioned in 2013.

Just across the Ohio River lies the Honeywell corporation’s Metropolis Works, the nation’s only uranium conversion plant.


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