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Are U.S. Troops In Australia A Hedge Against China?

The U.S. has sent Marines to Australia as part of a military pivot that will place greater emphasis on Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Some Australians are wondering how this might affect their relations with China.
NPR

Obama, Romney Wade Into Wis. Recall Fervor

Wisconsin's Republican governor, Scott Walker, will face Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett next month in a recall election. President Obama has expressed support for Barrett, just as his Republican rival Mitt Romney is supporting Walker, who is a hero to many conservatives. But both President Obama and Romney face a choice over how deeply involved they should be in the recall election. Neither man wants the contest to become a referendum on their candidacies.
NPR

Fla. Students Crash After State Raises Bar On Test

The Florida Board of Education has voted to temporarily lower the passing grade for its state writing test after a dramatic drop in scores on this year's exam. The state had made the test more difficult and raised the passing grade in an attempt to upgrade standards. But education officials were stunned when preliminary results showed the passing rate for 4th graders this year had plummeted from 80 percent to less than 30 percent.
NPR

Experts Stumped By Chicago's Soaring Homicide Rate

The homicide rate in Chicago has soared more than 50 percent in the first few months of 2012 over the same time period last year. The number of non-fatal shootings is up sharply, too. Why? Some say it could be just a statistical blip or due to rising temperatures, as Chicago had an extremely mild winter this year with record-setting warmth in March, the bloodiest month. But others say there is a deeply entrenched culture of violence in some city neighborhoods and within the prolific Chicago street gangs. They worry 2012 could be one of the most violent years in the city since the 1990s.
NPR

UniverSoul Circus Co-Host: 'Soul Is Not A Color'

In the beginning, all of the talent was black, but the UniverSoul Circus evolved into an eclectic mix of acts from around the world. Now, the circus is pushing to diversify its audience, with a show called "Us."

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