U.S. and other NATO troops are spending less time fighting the Taliban and more time making local Afghan governments self-sufficient. It’s a slow process.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t track how many free gun locks it gives out or whether they’re even effective. Rather, the devices are viewed as a stalling technique in the event a veteran picks up a gun in a moment of crisis.

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Early March is when Yosemite National Park officials would normally be gearing up for the busy tourist season. Instead, they’re figuring out how to cut $1.5 million from their budget because of the recent sequestration that forced across-the-board cuts. The National Park Service must now cut $134 million from sites around the country.

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Marijuana proponents in Washington state have talked of a “gold rush” as the state transitions to a legal, licensed marijuana industry. But uncertainty about state rules and potential federal intervention have made pursuing opportunities in the industry a high-risk business proposition.

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Federal health officials warned that a dangerous group of superbugs has become increasingly common in hospitals throughout the past decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the bacteria are resistant to virtually all antibiotics, including the ones doctors use as a last-ditch option.

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More than 2 feet of snow hit the high plains this week, snarling travel and all but shutting down some cities. Despite those hassles, for farmers and ranchers, the snow brings some urgently needed moisture to their drought-stricken fields and pastures.

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Gambling kept Rose out of baseball’s Hall of Fame, and years later, the fallout continues. Topps baseball cards has quietly removed his name from back of cards that note major achievements. But is it time to re-evaluate Rose’s singular status as a Major League Baseball pariah?

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A new poll explores how crucial everyday decisions are made in American households about food and exercise. Many parents say that their families don’t always have time to eat the healthiest meal or exercise.

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This Music Is Bananas (Really)

On February 21, 2013 By

Actually, it’s all kinds of fruits and vegetables. A circuit board called the MaKey MaKey is allowing musicians to play music on produce, to awesome effect. Watch the video.

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Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Beth Orton, Shane MacGowan, Courtney Love, Dr. John, Iggy Pop, Johnny Depp and more form a bleak-music Murderer’s Row on this 140-minute collection of pirate-themed music.

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U.S. Army Spc. Tyler Jeffries lost both legs in a roadside bombing last October in Afghanistan, and he has been learning to walk on prosthetic legs. But Jeffries was determined to meet his buddies when they returned from duty in January.

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A surprising number of TV weather presenters are vocal deniers of climate change, while others fear audience backlash if they talk about such a polarizing topic. But one meteorologist in South Carolina is waging a climate education campaign, and says it’s going over well.

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Friday’s major meteor strike is the third such incident to hit Russia in just over a century. Coincidence?

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North Korea’s latest nuclear weapons test is much more powerful than the previous two, according to estimates made by instruments that measure seismic waves from the blast. But it’s hard to verify North Korea’s claim that the test was of a miniaturized nuclear weapon.

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Airing tonight on KRCC. Look for more of what President Obama exhibited three weeks ago at his inaugural address: a challenge to Congressional Republicans, and a focus on the economy, immigration, gun control and climate change.

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Citing his age (85) and diminished strength, the pontiff plans to step down effective Feb. 28. It’s likely that a conclave to elect a new pope will be held by mid-March. A pope hasn’t stepped down this way since 1415.

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The Australian singer and writer assembles a string of slow-burning ballads that seethe and surprise, punctuated by Warren Ellis’ gorgeous strings and bits of Cave’s own grabby, pervy innuendo.

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In a world of increased virtual connections, are we missing something? Weekend Edition Sunday is exploring a few of the places where technology can actually drive us apart and make real intimacy tough: in our romantic relationships, with our kids, even in the workplace.

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From Pennsylvania and New Jersey north through New York State and into New England, blizzard and storm warnings are up. By the time the storm is over on Saturday, some places may have 3 feet of new snow.

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Jerri Marr supervises the Pike-San Isabel National Forests and Comanche National Grassland, and became a fixture at press conferences during the Waldo Canyon Fire. The United States Forest Service profiles her on its home page.

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The decision has been long anticipated. The Postal Service continues to lose billions of dollars a year and is looking for ways to cut costs. Eliminating Saturday delivery of first-class mail (but not packages) might save it about $2 billion annually.

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Making a candy dispenser head that looks just like you is pretty cool in its own right. But some people are taking 3-D printers much further, using the new technology to spit out actual food, like chocolate — and maybe one day, raw meat.

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Our latest weekly mix includes songs from some of the year’s most anticipated new albums, including the long-awaited My Bloody Valentine record, and an epic electronic jam from The Knife. We’ve also got new music from Four Tet, Cloud Cult, Malian kora player Ballake Sissoko and more!

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News

AP
April 19, 2014 | NPR · The military’s training center at Fort Irwin in California is complete with mock Middle Eastern villages. But as the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan winds down, how will this facility change?
 

AP
April 19, 2014 | NPR · General Motors delayed a safety recall of more than 330,000 cars, newly released federal documents show. The Saturn Ions were found to have defective power steering systems.
 

AFP/Getty Images
April 19, 2014 | NPR · Search teams are digging through ice and snow on Mount Everest in hopes of finding Sherpa guides who are still missing. Survivors say the avalanche was like being trapped in a cloud.
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy of Penguin
April 19, 2014 | NPR · Raymond Gunt is profane, rude, heartless and truly the Worst. Person. Ever. Author Douglas Coupland says he’s not exactly sure how the character, with no redeeming qualities, came into his mind.
 

Ricardo Solis
April 19, 2014 | NPR · The pink on a flamingo? Stripes on a zebra? Spots on a giraffe? All explained. Simply. Elegantly. Oddly.
 

Courtesy of Riverhead Books
April 19, 2014 | NPR · Lisa Robinson knows how to talk — and how to make others, especially musicians, want to talk. The veteran rock journalist speaks with NPR’s Wade Goodwyn about her four decades behind the scenes.
 

Music

April 19, 2014 | NPR · Canadian jazz saxophonist Christine Jensen has begun using a full “jazz orchestra” of up to 18 players, opening new horizons for her. NPR’s Arun Rath speaks with Jensen about her new album, Habitat.
 

Various for NPR
April 19, 2014 | NPR · The songs, videos and musical moments that stopped the All Songs host in his tracks. This week: A cat video, a live double rainbow and all the soles you can shake a camera at.
 

NPR
April 19, 2014 | NPR · A young Pakistani musician treats the guitar as a percussion instrument — with surprisingly shimmering results. He also performs a piano piece he wrote at just 16.
 

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