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The Politics Hour - Feb. 14, 2014

Doug Duncan, former executive of Montgomery County, Md., joins Kojo and Tom Sherwood to chat about why he wants his old job back.


Former New Orleans Mayor Found Guilty Of Corruption

A federal jury in New Orleans has convicted former Mayor Ray Nagin on a series of bribery and corruption charges. The Democrat led the city when Hurricane Katrina struck and oversaw the early years of rebuilding. It was during that time the government said he took tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and goods in exchange for steering city business to businessmen.

Face Of Katrina Recovery Found Guilty Of Corruption Charges

Wednesday in New Orleans, a federal jury convicted former Mayor Ray Nagin on 20 of 21 corruption counts. The two-term mayor was in office when Hurricane Katrina struck and was the public face of the city during the city's rebuilding. Federal prosecutors say that it was during this time he took bribes to steer rebuilding contracts to businessmen.

Behind Besieged Walls, UN Peacekeeper Sees War's Toll On Syrians

In the war-torn Syrian city of Homs, a tenuous cease-fire is set to expire on Wednesday. Fighting has centered on a district within Homs known as the Old City, a rebel-held area under siege by government forces for more than a year. For more on the cease-fire and evacuation, Melissa Block talks with Matt Hollingworth, the Syria director for the United Nations World Programme.

Love And Romance: Is One Race More Attractive Than Another?

Interracial marriage in America has risen sharply in recent decades. Are people still bringing old myths to their dating experiences? Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR science correspondent Shankar Vendantam, and writers Naima Ramos-Chapman and Noah Cho.

Syrian Peace Talks In Geneva Proceed Slowly

The Syrian peace talks are back in session in Geneva. U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi led the first joint session of this round on Tuesday. But there are no signs of progress, as the government and opposition delegates continue to bicker over the agenda for the talks.

Mass. Suit Aims To Clarify Religious Groups' Latitude In Hiring

When it comes to hiring pastors and teachers, religious organizations like churches or schools are exempt from most employment discrimination laws. But a lawsuit in Massachusetts wants to clarify how much leeway they have. For example, can they discriminate against people in same-sex marriages for non-religious jobs like gym teacher or cafeteria worker?

Law Enforcement Straddles Atlantic To Round Up Alleged Mobsters

The FBI and Italian police made two dozen arrests on Tuesday in connection with an alleged drug trafficking ring. The ring involved mobsters in Brooklyn and members of the 'Ndrangheta, a powerful crime syndicate based in Calabria, Italy.

Iran's President Marks Revolution With Call For Negotiations

In a major address, Hassan Rouhani mocked U.S. military threats. But he also used the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution to say that negotiations with the U.S. and others offers the best path for Iran.

George Washington Carver, The Black History Monthiest Of Them All

Ask folks about George Washington Carver, and they'll probably mutter something about peanuts. But Carver's real legacy is hard to grasp. Race contributed to his fame and hindered his scientific research.