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News Archive - March 22, 2013

Maryland House Passes Gas Tax Increase

The Maryland House of Delegates voted 78-56 to raise taxes on gasoline in the state.

Saturday Mail Delivery: Safe For Now?

There's disagreement in Washington, D.C., this week on whether the USPS has the freedom to end Saturday mail delivery in August, as planned. The passage of a bill funding the federal government through September re-ignited the debate.

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Displays At Library of Congress

The library will be displaying what's known as the John Hay copy of the famous Civil War speech.

Are Younger Catholics Abandoning Fish On Fridays?

Seafood consumption typically increases during Lent in the U.S. The jump is traditionally attributed to Catholics observing the church's Lenten ban on eating meat on Fridays. But data suggest younger Americans aren't keeping up the fish tradition.

Doubts Raised About Cutting Medicare Pay In High-Spending Areas

An influential panel panned an idea to pay hospitals and doctors less under Medicare if they happen to be in regions that are heavy users of medical services. The approach has been popular with some in Congress.

FAA Announces Tower Closures Coming In April

The FAA has trimmed the number of towers it plans to close as it shrinks its budget in response to sequestration. Officials spared 40 airport towers it had previously planned to shutter.

Chinua Achebe And The Bravery Of Lions

The world-famous Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has died. Annalisa Quinn reflects on the legacy of Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart.

Talk Globally, Go Locally: Cellphones Vs. Clean Toilets

Six billion people around the world now own cellphones, while only 4.5 billion people have a safe place to use the bathroom, the United Nations said Thursday. Improving sanitation could help prevent thousands of kids from dying each day of waterborne diseases.

Metro Weekend Track Work Suspended For Cherry Blossom Season

The repairs that usually encumber the Metro system over the weekend have been suspended for the time being, as the cherry blossoms bring an influx of tourists from out of town.

Analysis: Prince George's Schools, U.S. House Tackles Redskins, And Washington Post Changes

The Prince George's County executive is looking to take over the county schools, the U.S. House gets into the debate over the Washington Redskins name, and the Washington Post announced plans to start charging for online content. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney spoke with Morning Editi...

Some Toddler Foods Come With A Megadose Of Salt

Packaged toddler foods have surprisingly high amounts of sodium, with some packing almost half of a child's daily limit, according to a new survey. Too much salt early on could be setting children up for a lifetime of high blood pressure.

Bloomberg: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum Talked About A 2012 'Unity Ticket'

Bloomberg reports a Santorum strategist wanted Gingrich to announce a joint ticket during a debate. Had that happened, the 2012 race for the presidency could've looked different.

Analysis: Congress Approves Spending Bill To Avert Government Shutdown

Political commentator David Hawkings talks about how the stopgap spending measure will affect federal agencies.

HBO: Programming Could Be Sold Directly Through Internet Providers

The television network's CEO, Richard Plepler, says the company is mulling over a move that could end-run the cable companies.

'Severing Love From Diapers': The Other Case Against Gay Marriage

Detractors say extending recognition to same-sex couples will weaken a bedrock institution meant to protect women and children. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments regarding gay marriage next week.

An Early Look At The National Zoo's Elephant Community Center

The new Elephant Trails exhibit at the National Zoo doesn't open until Saturday, but WAMU's Armando Trull got a sneak peak of the home of the District's three

Legalized Marijuana Forcing Old Dogs To Learn New Tricks

Law enforcement agencies in Washington state are having to make lots of adjustments as the state implements a ballot initiative that legalized the use of marijuana. One surprise change has been the need to re-train dogs used for sniffing out illegal drugs.

Beta Israel: Snapshots Of The Ethiopian Jewish Community

Photographer Ilan Ossendryver admits he didn't know much about Ethiopian Jews before receiving an assignment to cover their migration to Israel.

Israel Apologizes To Turkey Over 2010 Flotilla Raid

At one point, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the incident a "cause for war." Nine people died in 2010, when Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla that was trying to break an Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, March 22

It's a confusing, crazy, beautiful world out there, and this weekend you can explore one artist's joys and fears associated with fatherhood or check out a performance about two teenagers' twisted attempt at pulling off the perfect crime.

Three Dead In Shooting At Quantico Marine Base

Three staff members at the Officer Candidate School at Marine Base Quantico in Virginia are dead in what authorities are calling a murder-suicide.

Scientists Use Antacid To Help Measure The Rate Of Reef Growth

There's some evidence that carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere has slowed the development of coral reefs. So researchers are adding antacid to the water in a tiny part of the Great Barrier Reef, to see whether the corals will grow faster if their water supply is less acidic.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Says He Will Step Down

Genachowski's resignation will leave the commission evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. President Obama has not announced a replacement.

How A Sleep Disorder Might Point To A Forgotten Future

Acting out dreams in your sleep may put you at risk for developing dementia later in life, researchers say. The behavior appears to portend Lewy body dementia, the second-most common form of dementia among older people.

Man Arrested On US Airways Flight After Impersonating Pilot

A passenger from France who failed to get an upgrade later showed up in the plane's cockpit jump seat.

Moscow First Stop For New Chinese Leader

Xi Jinping follows in his predecessor's footsteps by making a visit with his Russian counterpart the top priority.

Harvard Stuns New Mexico, And 4 Other Need-To-Knows From The NCAA Tournament

The first day of the tournament made history, bringing euphoria to some and devastating defeat to others. Davidson suffered a cruel defeat, leading for 39 minutes, having a stunning upset in sight only to lose it in the last chaotic minute.

Chinua Achebe, Nigerian Author Of 'Things Fall Apart,' Dies

His seminal work played a critical role in establishing post-colonial African literature. Achebe also taught Africana Studies at Brown University.

Cyprus Gets Cold Shoulder From Russia On Bailout Aid

The Mediterranean island nation was hoping for new terms on an existing loan and a new line of credit from Moscow to help it stave off default.

Book News: Newly Found Oscar Wilde Letter: 'Sacrifice For Your Art'

Also: The book Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop wins an award for the oddest title of the year; Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail speaks to NPR; the end of the pronoun "whom."

Obama Closes Trip To Israel, West Bank With Memorial Visits

At the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, Obama said it was humanity's obligation to act against racism and anti-semitism.

Three Marines Killed In Shooting At Base In Virginia

Officials at Marine Base Quantico said an active-duty Marine shot and killed two, before turning the gun on himself.