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Latin America
2:40 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Pope Meets Fidel Castro, Wraps Up Visit To Cuba

Pope Benedict meets with Fidel Castro in Havana on Wednesday as he wraps up his three-day visit to Cuba. A large crowd turned out for the Mass, though the pope did not meet with dissidents.
Osservatore Romano AP

In the last public event of his three-day visit to the island, Pope Benedict XVI called on Cuba, and the world, to change and choose a path of "love, reconciliation and brotherhood."

After the Mass, the pontiff met with Fidel Castro for a half-hour before departing for Rome, wrapping up a weeklong trip to Mexico and Cuba.

The pope did not meet with Cuban dissidents during his trip, however, drawing criticism from Castro opponents in Cuba and abroad.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:08 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Supreme Court Cheat Sheet Day 3: Scalia Unplugged

Activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the court hears a third day of arguments on President Obama's health care law.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 3:43 pm

On the final morning of its three-day health care law extravaganza, the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the question of whether parts of the 2010 federal statute can survive if the justices strike down its central tenet: the individual insurance requirement.

In other words, if the nine justices find the insurance mandate unconstitutional when they rule by June, would that mean that the entire law also fails the constitutionality test?

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It's All Politics
2:02 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Sign Of The (Wisconsin) Times: Gov. Scott Walker For President

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's future is a bigger deal to many in his state than Tuesday's presidential primary.
Don Gonyea NPR

There's a Republican presidential primary next Tuesday in Wisconsin. But as the accompanying photo taken by NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea in Delafield, Wisc. suggests, a lot of Wisconsinites have other political matters on their minds.

As Don writes in an e-mail:

"Note that the recall coming up on June is the big political story here. Not Tuesdays presidential primary."

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

How Oil Taxes Will Make A Mark On Political Campaigning

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

In the Senate today, a familiar debate: Whether to end billions of dollars in tax breaks for the country's five biggest oil companies. Last year, Democrats failed to repeal those tax breaks and they fully expect to fail again. Still, senators from both parties have been eager to engage in the issue.

As NPR's David Welna reports, each side expects a payoff in November.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:58 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Caps Supreme Court Arguments

Supporters of the health care law rally in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, the final day of arguments over its constitutionality.
Charles Dharapak AP

The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.

The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.

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Mental Health
1:52 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Staff Sgt. Bales Case Shows Stigma, Paradox Of PTSD

The U.S. military is trying to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. But many veterans say they're still under pressure to deny they have problems. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in December 2009.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 1:14 pm

The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.

But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Wrapping Up Oral Arguments, Justices Disagree On Medicaid Expansion

The AP says there was strong disagreement between liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices on the question of whether the expansion of Medicaid in the health care law passed in 2010 is constitutional. At issue is whether the federal government can demand that states expand their Medicaid program.

The court's liberal wing, reports the AP, made it clear they were OK with expansion of the program for low-income Americans.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
1:44 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

'He's Gone And We're Searching For Answers,' Says Trayvon Martin's Father

Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father, at a forum held Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

"I haven't even started grieving and I don't think I'll start grieving until I get justice for him."

That's Tracy Martin, father of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, moments ago in an interview with Tell Me More host Michel Martin (no relation).

During a conversation due for broadcast on Thursday's edition of Tell Me More, Tracy Martin also said:

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The Salt
1:18 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Why 'Pink Slime' Isn't That Different From Other Meat

As we reported earlier this week, the company that makes the lean finely textured beef that earned the notorious moniker "pink slime" is closing three out of its four plants.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Human Rights Group Says Cuba Arrests, Harasses Activists During Papal Visit

Amnesty International says the Cuban government has increased its harassment of opposition activists.

According to the human rights organization, the government has detained more 150 opponents and in other situations has surrounded some of the activists' homes to prevent them from "denouncing abuses during Pope Benedict's tour."

Amnesty adds that some human rights organizations and prominent activists have had their phones cut off.

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