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.
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."
The House Wednesday passed a Republican version of a bill to renew the Violence Against Women Act. This is expected to set up a battle with the Democratic-controlled Senate, which has already passed a broader measure that's supported by the White House.
The defense in the John Edwards trial rested on Wednesday. Attorneys for the former presidential candidate and vice presidential nominee did not call Edwards, his daughter or Rielle Hunter, the woman he had an affair with and who bore his child. Edwards is accused of skirting federal campaign finance laws by accepting secret payments to cover up the affair and further his political ambitions. North Carolina Public Radio's Jeff Tiberii speaks with Melissa Block from Greensboro, N.C.
Many residents of Dish, Texas, blame the fracking operations that surround their tiny town for a host of health problems — from nosebleeds to cancer. The former mayor was so scared, he left town. But scientists who've studied Dish say there's not enough evidence to link natural gas operations to any illness.
Wisconsin Democrats hope to unseat Republican Governor Scott Walker in a recall election. In the Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Zimmerman, a lifelong Democrat, says he is "appalled." The recall, he writes, "epitomizes the petty, loser-take-all vindictiveness of contemporary American politics."
The push for civil unions recently failed in Colorado, and Governor John Hickenlooper has some ideas about why. Also, former Nevada Governor Bob List talks about the influence of Ron Paul on the Republican Party. And NPR's Political Junkie columnist Ken Rudin rounds up the news.
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