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Site administrators were sent scrambling this week when researchers disclosed the potentially catastrophic Heartbleed bug, a coding error that left much of the Internet vulnerable to data theft since March 2012. Here's our look back at Heartbleed coverage — and more.


So Long, XP Support: Even though Microsoft has rolled out newer versions of its Windows operating system since XP first came out 12 years ago, an estimated quarter of PCs are still running the outdated OS. But it's really time to upgrade now. As warned, Microsoft stopped support for the software this week.

Tech Bubble 2.0?: Are we in a bubble? It's the most common cocktail party topic you'll hear among tech observers these days, because 1999 wasn't that long ago. As Steve Henn reports, in the first quarter of this year, Google and Facebook, alone, announced deals worth more than $24 billion to acquire companies that have almost no revenue. New York Magazine offers a comprehensive list of who thinks it's a bubble, who doesn't, and why each side is so certain.

The Big Conversation

Bleeding Data, 64KB At A Time: The possibly devastating Heartbleed bug is patched now, and major sites have secured their encryption of the data you transfer with them, but who knows what went down while OpenSSL, the system that protected your online transactions was vulnerable? It's really hard for any particular user or website to know whether a bad actor has used the vulnerability against them. We recommend practicing good Internet hygiene, no matter what cybersecurity threat is in the news.

The bug, or coding error, was introduced into open-source software. That opened up some questions about the merits of building code out in the open, without many financial or human resources. The Washington Post dived into it.

And the National Security Agency denied a report that it knew about the vulnerability before the public did.


Washington Post: Tweeting This Story Could Lead To Your Divorce

Blame Twitter for your break-up? Researchers at the University of Missouri show a link between heavy Twitter use and more tension in real-life relationships.

The Verge: Facebook's latest government report reveals which countries censor its News Feed

For the first time, the social network released data on how often countries have restricted or removed content from Facebook "on the grounds that it violates local law."

Slate: How to Save Yourself From Infuriating Reply-All Email Chains

The next time you feel your inbox buried by an avalanche of reply-all messages, use this trick.

Washington Post: Serious Reading Takes A Hit From Online Scanning And Skimming

There is a reason you feel like you can't concentrate as well when you open a good old-fashioned book.


In Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk, activists who want to align the country more with Russia seized a regional administration building in the center of town last weekend. NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro went inside the building Friday and reports on what it was like:

Overnight, reports said pro-Russian protesters here in Donetsk had reinforced the barricade surrounding the 11-story government building that the demonstrators have occupied since Sunday. This morning, I made the 10-minute walk through wintry weather with my translator and security adviser, to see what the new construction looked like.

The scene had changed completely in just a few days. On Tuesday, the weather was warm and people paraded outside the building with their children. There were balloon arches. The operation looked like a Disneyland version of an armed occupation, except the Molotov cocktails and lead pipes were real.

Today, several new layers of barricades had been erected. There were two solid borders made up of tires and razor wire surrounding the building. At the only gap, a masked man checked identification of everyone who walked through. We explained that we're American reporters, hoping to interview one of the protest organizers. After scrutinizing our press cards, he handed us off to another man in fatigues, who whisked us inside.

We passed at least three checkpoints, pulling out identification at every stop. Our bags were searched. Inside, the building was a beehive of organized activity. Lights were on, even though the government says it has disconnected electricity to the building. Streams of young men ran up and down flights of stairs, carrying palettes of supplies. In a corner, a large pile of canned and jarred foods suggested that the demonstrators are planning to be here for a while.

At a table, women sliced cheese, sausages and pickled tomatoes for sandwiches. Some brewed hot tea, which they distributed to the men outside. Other women stood at a first aid station behind a table of pills and other medical supplies. Behind them, signs listed a phone number to reach a building supervisor.

The entire operation seemed far more coordinated and hierarchical than just a few days ago. On Tuesday, people were drinking in public. Today, there was no alcohol to be seen.

The walls were lined with posters and handmade signs in Russian. One read, "If you pillage, I will break your hand." Another had a dollar sign followed by, "Go away!" "Ukrainian media are lying sluts," read a third.

I tried to pull out my iPhone to take a picture. "No photos," our escort said in polite but firm English.

We walked briskly down a hall, and reached a man in fatigues sitting behind a desk. Our escort explained in Russian that we are American reporters seeking an interview. "Nyet, nyet," the man behind the desk said crisply.

We left as quickly as we arrived, our bags searched one more time at the final perimeter.

Once we had left the building but were still inside the barricade, we crossed paths with an American reporter we'd met earlier. He was eating a chocolate truffle. "They just held me in a room for an hour," the journalist said. "They gave me this on the way out."

April is National Poetry Month, and Code Switch is celebrating by writing about great poets of color and their poems that address issues of race, culture and ethnicity. We began the series with an invitation to our readers to help us build a collaborative poem. Today, we take a look at the intersection of boxing, race and verse. Enjoy, and share your favorite poetry recommendations in the comments.


South Texas is in the midst of a massive oil boom. In just a few years, it's totally transformed once-sleepy communities along a crescent swoosh known as the Eagle Ford Shale formation and has brought unexpected prosperity — along with a host of new concerns.

Among the towns drastically changed by the drilling is Cotulla. It's southwest of San Antonio, about 70 miles up from the Mexico border. The area is called brush country — flat, dry ranchland, scrubby with mesquite and parched by drought.

Before the boom, jobs were few and poverty was high. Then, in 2008, oil company Petrohawk drilled the first discovery well two miles deep into shale. It was successful and led to a drilling frenzy.

Now after just six years, more than 8,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled with permits for another 5,000. They're pumping more than 1 million barrels of oil a day, making it the No. 2 oil-producing region in the U.S.

Now train cars roll in to the Gardendale rail yard bearing miles of pipe and vast quantities of the chemicals and sand used in hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

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An Australian plane detected yet another possible signal from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet in the southern Indian Ocean on Thursday, as searchers said they were feeling more confident that the aircraft's flight-data recorder would ultimately be found.

Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search off Australia's west coast, says an Australian air force P-3 Orion, which has been dropping sonar buoys in the search area, picked up a possible signal that may have come from a man-made source.

"I'm now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft," he said.

"Hopefully with lots of transmissions we'll have a tight, small area and hopefully in a matter of days we will be able to find something on the bottom that might confirm that this is the last resting place of MH370," Houston said.

Reuters says:

"The signal, which could be from the plane's black box recorders, brings to five the number of 'pings' detected in recent days within the search area in the Indian Ocean.

"The first four signals were detected by a U.S. Navy 'Towed Pinger Locator' (TPL) aboard Australia's Ocean Shield vessel, while the latest was reported by an aircraft picking up transmissions from a listening device buoy laid near the ship on Wednesday."

Ask Me Another

Hannibal Buress On Moving To New York With '$200 And Dreams'

Today is the final day of the massive Carnival in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Samba is that festival's native sound, but the music can be heard in Brazil for the entire year. Tom Moon went to Rio before Carnival to witness samba rehearsals. He spoke with NPR's Melissa Block on All Things Considered. Listen to that conversation at the audio link on this page.

Back in 2007, Kevin Drew (of Toronto's baroque-pop collective Broken Social Scene) gazed longingly at a woman and pronounced her too beautiful for the carnal escapades swirling inside his brain. That song, "Tbtf," was among the wondrous creations on his solo debut Spirit If — a worship-dream set in a sleek, gliding tempo, and sung in a mood of melancholy wistfulness.

Now Drew returns with the exceedingly direct "Good Sex," which looks at vanishing romantic ideals in the age of the Tinder hookup. "Good sex should never make you feel hollow," he sings, skipping up to a giddy post-coital falsetto for the last syllable. "Good sex should never make you feel clean."

Is this progress? Going from a nuanced, image-rich reverie like "Tbtf" to a repeating series of blunt observations on the art of sex?

In Drew's case, yes. We often measure artistic growth by focusing on the big strides, but the evolution that defines Drew's second solo album, Darlings, is most apparent in the fine print — and, notably, in what he's trimmed away to make hyper-streamlined, tightly edited songs. The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who helped guide Broken Social Scene through several gorgeous, lushly orchestrated albums is thinking differently about the scale of his songs, pruning back whatever is unnecessary. "Good Sex" works in part because it aims to express a simple idea, and uses few words juxtaposed against BSS-like widescreen music to do it. At the song's start, Drew's declarations seem oddly prescriptive and blunt, the mantras of a free-weekly sex columnist. But as the accompaniment gathers steam and eventually arrives at a full anthemic thrum, the tone changes, and a more personal refrain — "I'm still breathing with you, baby" — takes over. Just like that, what began as a cheap device sprouts dimension, registering as intimate, romance-novel heroic and just a touch sarcastic all at once.

This kind of distillation is an art, and Darlings suggests that Drew is becoming a master of it. Many of the songs spring from stray ideas and single moments; rather than seize and analyze the component parts of some fleeting rush, Drew just follows its path, then figures out what sorts of sounds best convey its essence. Some songs, like "It's Cool," amount to a series of vibey Lou Reed-ish whispers; others, like "You Gotta Feel It," use the propulsion of a basic four-on-the-floor bass drum to power a brave search for what matters in life. Where other songwriters obsess over the details of story, Drew zooms in on a moment and chases the full sensory experience of it — to hear perhaps the most crystalline of these freeze-frame moments, check out "First in Line."

Then there's "You in Your Were," an unsettling reverie punctuated by vaguely math-rock guitar arpeggios. It's a look at the power of lingering memories, and what it means to hang on, perhaps obsessively, to a memory — a topic that has doomed many songs to the high-concept dungeon. Drew avoids this fate through inventive, continuously unfolding guitar and synth textures. The song is one long rousing crescendo; its surging rhythm, which recalls Neon Bible-era Arcade Fire, gathers momentum like a plane on the runway. Everything is hurtling forward, except for those words Drew is singing about looking back, and the contrast is just strange enough to sound like genius.

There's a lot of that disarming stuff on Darlings. Though he's thinking in simpler, more earthbound terms as a lyricist, Drew can't help but write music that sprawls in satisfying, sometimes bone-rattling ways. He's on the hunt for atmospheres that allow for the expression of profound intimacy and massive sonic grandeur all at once, and when he finds one, it's a glimpse of a rare and beautiful euphoria.

Customers chat, read the paper and order sandwiches and espresso drinks at the counter of August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington, Vt., but there's something different here. Where there used to be the familiar glow of laptop screens and the clicking of keyboards, now the devices are banned.

All Tech Considered

How To Wean Yourself From Your Smartphone, At Least Temporarily


In a conflict that pits animal welfare against religious rights, Denmark has ordered that all food animals must be stunned before being killed. The move effectively bans the ritual slaughter methods prescribed in both Muslim and Jewish tradition.

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Ke$ha says that to start the day she'll brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey. Nicki Minaj likes to "have a drink, have a clink" of Bud Light. And the party-rockin' hip-hop duo LMFAO like Ciroc, and they love Patron. "Shots, shots, shots, shots everybody!"

All that name-checking of alcohol brands encourages teens to drink, researchers say. Adolescents who liked songs like these were three times as likely to drink, and were twice as likely to binge than their peers who didn't like those songs.

In the eastern city of Donetsk, protesters hung a huge banner declaring a government office building to be the "People's Republic of Donetsk."

These pro-Moscow activists want to pull away from Europe and align Ukraine more with Russia. The protests in Donetsk and elsewhere in eastern Ukraine are the focus of the ongoing crisis in the country and it has international repercussions that reach well beyond the country's borders.

Yet life in the rest of Donetsk is going on completely as normal.

The occupied government building in the center of town is surrounded by razor wire and sandbags. It feels like the kind of place where nothing will happen unless, suddenly, something dramatic does.

Young men wearing face masks spend all day walking back and forth, carrying metal pipes. Molotov cocktails sit unused behind stacks of tires. It's calm, but the activists seem pretty tightly wound up.

A skinny young guy with a wispy moustache and a black stocking cap demands to see our papers. He says his name is Vadim, and he wants eastern Ukraine to join Russia.

Asked if he expects an attack, he responds, "We've been informed that it will happen."

He says this information has come from "higher up the chain of command," adding, that if attacked, "we will defend ourselves to the end."

When asked about the weapons he and his fellow activists have, he describes that as "private information."

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One month ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. An international search effort has spent weeks combing the Indian Ocean for signs of the missing Boeing 777. Here's a summary of where we are with the hunt for the jetliner.

What do we know?

Flight 370 took off at 12:40 a.m. local time on March 8 – that's midday March 7 on the U.S. East Coast — with 239 passengers and crew on board. The first hour of the flight appears routine, according to a transcript released by Malaysia Airlines. But shortly after 1:19 a.m., the plane disappeared from the screens of air traffic controllers. The transponder, which gave controllers its location, stopped signaling.

Military radar showed the plane turning west, off its route, and flying over the Strait of Malacca. From there, satellite signals indicate it turned south. The signals were a simple "handshake" and didn't give the plane's position, but the company that owns the satellites, Inmarsat, used the data to trace a rough route. The last signal arrived at 8:11 a.m., nearly 7 1/2 hours after it took off. "The flight probably ended when they ran out of fuel," says Bill Waldock, a professor of safety science at Embry Riddle University.

Who's been searching for the plane?

More than a dozen planes and 14 ships are scouring the ocean hundreds of miles off the coast of Australia, where the plane is believed to have gone down. The Australians are coordinating the search team, which includes China, Japan, the United Kingdom, the U.S., New Zealand, Malaysia and South Korea.

Weeks of aerial searching have failed to turn up any definitive debris from the Flight 370, but over the weekend, a Chinese and an Australian ship both claimed to have heard underwater signals that could have come from the plane's two black boxes.

What have they heard?

Each black box contains an underwater pinger that puts out a simple, one-second pulse. It's not audible to the human ear, but sensitive hydrophones can pick it up. The Chinese ship Haixun 01, claimed to hear something to the south of the current search zone. The Australian vessel Ocean Shield heard something 372 miles north of the Haixun 01's location.

The signals are too far apart to be from the same source, and experts believe the signal picked up by the Australian ship is more likely to be genuine. That ship was equipped with a sophisticated towed pinger locator developed by the U.S. Navy. It also heard the signal for more than two hours.

But it has failed to detect the pingers since Sunday. It's unclear why. One problem may be ocean conditions. Another is that the battery-powered pingers may have died. They are designed to last only 30 days, though it's possible they could continue for another week.

What happens if searchers can't find the signal again?

If that happens, authorities will face the difficult decision of whether to proceed with searching the area anyway. The ocean there is nearly three miles deep, so the team will have to use unmanned vehicles. And because the sea floor there is far below the depth at which light can penetrate, the searchers will crisscross with side-scan sonar to try and find the plane. If they locate possible wreckage, they will move in with cameras to see if they can identify it.

But the search could be protracted. In 2009, an Air France plane disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. After the initial search for the pingers failed (both had been damaged in the crash), it took teams two years to find the plane.

The search can't go on forever, Waldock notes. Money, crew fatigue and worsening winter weather in the Southern Hemisphere could all cause it to be suspended.

If they never find the black boxes or the plane, what happens?

"Whether or not even a single piece of this aircraft is recovered, there will be an investigation," says Todd Curtis, a former Boeing safety engineer who now runs a website called AirSafe.com. But the findings are likely to be largely inconclusive without more clues from the plane itself.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

The shortlist for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, the world's most prestigious literary award for women, is out. Worth 30,000 (about $50,000), the prize "celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women's writing from throughout the world." Three of the year's most discussed books — Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri — made the cut. Three less widely read novels, all debuts, rounded out the list: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Undertaking by Audrey Magee and A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride. In a statement, the head of the judges, Helen Fraser, said, "We feel you could give any one of these books to a friend with the absolute confidence that they would be gripped and absorbed and that maybe their view of the world would be changed once they had read it." The winner is expected to be announced June 4.

In The New Republic, Evan Hughes profiles the gaunt, grumpy Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of the six-volume autobiographical series My Struggle – which in Norwegian is "Min Kamp," a title deliberately reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf. Hugely successful in Norway and much of the rest of Europe, the books by Knausgaard are controversial because of their unvarnished and painfully detailed accounts of his family life. Hughes describes Knausgaard's guilt for exposing his family to the public eye: "It is too late to shield himself. For all the success of My Struggle, Knausgaard speaks of its impact with more regret than pride. Sitting in his rustic studio across the yard from his modest house, he looked down and said, 'It fills me with sadness every time I talk about it.' "

It turns out that one of Harvard's most well-known examples of anthropodermic bibliopegy — that is, the practice of binding books with human skin — is actually bound in animal skin. The book's grim inscription reads: "The bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King Mbesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it. Requiescat in pace." But researchers have identified the proteins in the binding as something much more mundane: sheepskin.

T.C. Boyle has a two-book deal with HarperCollins imprint Ecco after three decades with Viking Penguin. The first book, The Harder They Come, is described as "exploring the interlocking relationships of three damaged people — an aging ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, his psychologically unstable son, and the son's paranoiac, much older lover." It's set to be published in March 2015. Ecco hasn't yet released any details about the second novel.

Walter Isaacson, the best-selling biographer of Steve Jobs, is coming out with a book in October about the Internet age. (Fittingly, the title, The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, kind of sounds like it comes from this online buzzword generator.)


The Senate voted 59-38 Monday to resurrect federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, and a small band of Republican supporters swiftly appealed to a reluctant Speaker John Boehner to permit election-year action in the House as well.

Steps are needed "to restore unemployment benefits to struggling Americans," seven House Republicans wrote Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia. They released their letter as the Senate was bestowing its widely expected approval on the legislation.

Despite the appeal, the bill's prospects are cloudy at best, given widespread opposition among conservative lawmakers and outside groups and Boehner's unwillingness to allow it to the floor without changes that Republicans say would enhance job creation.

The Senate vote itself, seven months before congressional elections, capped a bruising three-month struggle. Fifty-one Democrats, two independents and six Republicans voted for approval.

The bill was the first major piece of legislation that Democrats sent to the floor of the Senate when Congress convened early in the year, the linchpin of a broader campaign-season agenda meant to showcase concern for men and women who are doing poorly in an era of economic disparity between rich and poor.

In the months since, the Democrats have alternately pummeled Republicans for holding up passage and made concessions in an effort to gain support from enough GOP lawmakers to overcome a filibuster. Chief among those concessions was an agreement to pay the $9.6 billion cost of the five-month bill by making offsetting spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.

The White House-backed measure would retroactively restore benefits that were cut off in late December, and maintain them through the end of May. Officials say as many as 2.3 million jobless workers have been denied assistance since the law expired late last year. If renewed, the aid would total about $256 weekly, and in most cases go to men and women who have been off the job for longer than six months.

Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., the bill's leading supporters, said they were willing to consider changes in hopes of securing passage in a highly reluctant House.

Heller also said he was seeking a meeting with Boehner to discuss the measure.

At the White House, President Barack Obama said in a statement: "I urge House Republicans to stop blocking a bipartisan compromise...Let's remove this needless drag on our economy and focus on expanding opportunity for all Americans."

In their letter to Boehner, seven House Republicans wrote that since the program expired, "many more people have lost benefits each week, bringing the number of long-term unemployed Americans without government assistance to greater than two million."

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, noted that the speaker had said months ago "we are willing to look at extending emergency unemployment insurance as long as it includes provisions to help create more private sector jobs — but last week, Senate Democratic leaders ruled out adding any jobs measures at all."

That was an apparent reference to a refusal by Senate Democrats to permit a vote on a Republican proposal that would have allowed construction of the proposed Keystone oil pipeline from Canada and made numerous changes in the nation's health care law. GOP lawmakers say all of the proposals would help create jobs.

In remarks on the Senate floor before the vote, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., directly criticized Democratic leader Harry Reid for refusing to allow votes on GOP-drafted proposals to amend the measure. He called that a "black mark" in the Senate's history.

Some Democrats assailed Boehner rather than seek to meet with him. Said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.: "The House needs to extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans right now, without attaching extraneous issues that are merely an attempt to score political points."

Whatever the bill's fate in the House, Senate Democrats have taken steps to follow their action with a test vote on a bill to strengthen "equal pay for equal work" laws. That measure includes a provision giving women the right to seek punitive damages in lawsuits in which they allege pay discrimination, a change that Republicans call a gift to trial lawyers who contribute extensively to Democratic campaigns.

Next up in the Democratic attempt to gain ground during the election year will be a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. It is currently $7.25 an hour.

Underscoring the political backdrop, a little-noticed provision in the jobless-benefits legislation is specifically designed to benefit the long-term unemployed in North Carolina, where Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan faces a stiff challenge for a new term. It would make residents eligible for long-term benefits if the state negotiates an agreement with the Department of Labor. North Carolina residents are currently ineligible because state benefits were reduced below a federal standard.

In an additional indication of the challenge confronting the broader legislation, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies sent a letter to lawmakers citing "significant concerns about the implementation of the legislation" after a Senate compromise emerged last month. The organization represents state agencies that would be responsible for administering the law.

Citing the letter, Boehner pronounced the Senate bill "unworkable," and a blog posting by his aides quoted the Ohio Republican as saying there was "no evidence that the bill being rammed through the Senate by (Majority) Leader (Harry) Reid" would help create more private sector jobs.

The drive to renew the lapsed program comes as joblessness nationally is slowly receding, yet long-term unemployment is at or above pre-recession levels in much of the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it accounts for an estimated one-third or more of all jobless individuals.

In a study last summer, the Urban Institute reported that "relative to currently employed workers, the long-term unemployed tend to be less educated and are more likely to be nonwhite, unmarried, disabled, impoverished and to have worked previously in the construction industry and construction occupations."

A family with two small children who set sail on a round-the-world trip in their 36-foot boat were rescued 1,000 miles off Mexico's Pacific Coast after the one-year-old daughter fell seriously ill.

Eric Kaufman, a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, and his wife Charlotte, three-year-old Cora and Lyra, the youngest, set sail from Mexico in March, bound for the Marquesas, a Pacific island chain. They were following a route used by hundreds of small-boat sailors each year that is nicknamed the "coconut milk run" for its generally benign conditions.

But some 900 miles off the Mexican coast, Lyra developed a fever and a rash that wasn't responding to medications. The sailboat, Rebel Heart, also experienced a loss of steering and a power failure. That's when the family activated an emergency radio beacon known as an EPIRB, triggering an air-sea rescue.

A statement from the U.S. Navy on Sunday said:

"Sailors from Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) assisted in the rescue of a family with a sick infant via the ship's small boat as part of a joint U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and California Air National Guard rescue effort. The Kaufman family and four Air National Guard pararescuemen were safely moved from the sailboat to Vandegrift, and the ship is now transiting to San Diego."

After a minute of silence at noon, Monday's remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide began with testimony from a survivor.

The screaming started soon after.

In the crowd of 30,000 gathered in Amahoro stadium in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, first this person then that began to wail and thrash. Men in yellow vests took them — physically sometimes — to a special room of mattresses in the stadium basement.

In general, Rwandan culture discourages such outward displays of grief. But not during this time of year, when traumatic flashbacks are common.

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After a lengthy clash over competing military sexual assault reform bills, Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are teaming up to push for increased funding to investigate and combat sexual assault on college campuses.

On Friday, the two senators sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee calling for funding to increase staffing dedicated to enforcing the Clery Act — which requires colleges to report crime on and near campus — and Title IX.

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Pro-Russian separatists who seized a provincial building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have reportedly declared an independent "people's republic" in a move that echoes last month's events leading to the secession of Crimea.

You can see video of the scuffle between police and protesters that led up to the storming of the building here.

After the takeover of the building one Russian-speaker appeared at a podium, proclaiming "the creation of the sovereign state of the People's Republic of Donetsk," according to Al-Jazeera. The Associated Press reports that afterward "a barricade of car tires and razor wire" was erected outside the building to keep police from retaking it.

Ukrainian police responded by closing all roads leading into the city.

"Unknown people who are in the building have broken into the building's arsenal and have seized weapons," police said in a statement on Monday.

The BBC reports:

"The rebels have called for a referendum on secession from Ukraine by 11 May.

"Ukrainian security officials are being sent to the eastern cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv after pro-Russia groups occupied government buildings.

"Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov called the unrest an attempt by Russia to 'dismember' Ukraine.

"In an address on national TV, he said it was 'the second wave' of a Russian operation to destabilise Ukraine, overthrow the government and disrupt planned elections."

There's news today about the 2016 presidential campaign that has nothing to do with the growing list of would-be candidates with White House aspirations.

It's about the big nominating conventions the Democrats and Republicans hold every four years. Legislation the president signed Thursday afternoon means those huge political extravaganzas will no longer receive millions of dollars in taxpayer support. It's not the only change that's likely for conventions.

Let's start with a little time travel:

"I'm Walter Cronkite, and this is our anchor desk for our CBS News Westinghouse coverage of this 1956 Democratic Convention. This is the dramatic high point of the convention ..."

Back then and for years afterward, there was around-the-clock coverage of conventions by television networks. Big news could hit at any time, and did.

At the 1964 GOP convention, bitter party divisions were front and center. Then-New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, the man beaten by nominee Barry Goldwater, issued a stern warning: "I warn that the Republican Party should reject extremism from either the left or the right."

At the 1980 convention, former President Gerald Ford shocked everyone when he revealed a possible co-presidency if he joined the ticket with nominee Ronald Reagan.

It was a bombshell story until CBS went to Lesley Stahl on the convention floor.

"Walter, a top lieutenant just came and said it's not Ford ... they're coming all around me to tell me it's not Ford ... they're all yelling 'Bush' all around me. Someone told me it's Bush. They're all yelling "Bush" all around me ... everyone is yelling 'Bush,' " Stahl reported to CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite.

Cronkite was surprised and amused: "Who's writing the script for this one? That's what I want to know," he said.

That moment may have been the last instance of truly unexpected and substantive drama at a nominating convention. And that's exactly the problem.

"Conventions became theatrical productions," says Don Fowler, a member of the Democratic National Committee for four decades and the man who managed the 1988 Democratic National Convention.

These days, news organizations — especially the big commercial broadcast networks — continue to question the worth of devoting prime time space to events with no suspense. Live daytime coverage is long gone except on cable.

Fowler says he got complaints from the networks in 1988.

"We fussed with them for weeks about how much of the convention they were going to cover. They reduced substantially in '88, and they've been trying to do that since then. I think in 2012 both conventions received as little coverage as any conventions previous," he says.

Meanwhile, Republicans are planning another big change in 2016. They will hold their gathering months earlier than usual — perhaps in June, in hopes of quickly wrapping up what could be a no-holds-barred fight for the nomination, and to give the GOP nominee a head start on the general election.

There's even talk about scaling back events to as few as two days.

But Daniel Kreiss, a professor at the University of North Carolina, says these changes in scheduling and coverage don't mean conventions are unimportant.

"I still think conventions become a very significant way that voters can tune in to and see sort of the best arguments from each party for why they should elect a particular candidate," he says.

Still, it's no wonder — in a time of budget battles and questions about the relevance of big party nominating conventions — that spending some $18 million in federal money per convention has now come to an end with the president's signature. The money will instead be used to finance research on childhood diseases.

As winter loosens its grip, employers are taking on more help.

Hotels, bars and restaurants added 33,000 workers, while retailers tacked on 21,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists say those increases suggest employers are growing more confident that Americans will be spending more this year.

"Consumers still have the wherewithal to make discretionary purchases and were just waiting for the snow to be plowed and the temperatures to rise to resume spending," IHS Global Insight chief U.S. economist Doug Handler wrote in his analysis.

The Labor Department report showed that all together, employers added 192,000 jobs in March.

That hiring boost encouraged people to resume their job hunts, pushing up the labor force participation rate to 63.2 percent, from 63 percent the previous month. With more people filling out job applications, there was no improvement in the unemployment rate. It held steady at 6.7 percent.

Still, that was a big improvement over last year's 7.6 percent.

This year's pace of hiring is "consistent with a moderately growing economy at present and a faster-growing economy later this year," Handler said.

The sense that the economy is thawing out after "a long, harsh winter" was echoed by Matthew Shay, who heads the National Retail Federation, a trade group for store owners. "Merchants are eager to move forward with their spring hiring and operational plans," he said in a statement.

The positive momentum also showed up in the construction sector, where employers added 19,000 jobs. Over the past year, construction employment has risen by 151,000.

That hiring helped March mark a milestone: private-sector employment returned to the pre-recession level of 2007.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Declassified documents show that the CIA used copies of Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak's epic novel spanning 20th century Russian history, as a tool to try to provoke dissent in the Soviet Union. The book was banned in the USSR. The CIA recognized the novel's "great propaganda value," according to a 1958 memo, and had the novel printed and disseminated. The agency called the book "a passive but piercing exposition of the effect of the Soviet system on the life of a sensitive intelligent citizen." The memo notes that the book is valuable "not only for its intrinsic message and thought-provoking nature, but also for the circumstances of its publication: we have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is not even available in his own country in his own language for his own people to read." Careful not to show the "hand of the United States government," the CIA had two Russian-language editions printed and passed them to Soviet citizens abroad. The documents describing the program were requested by Peter Finn and Petra Couve as a part of their research for The Zhivago Affair, a book coming out in June about the CIA's use of Doctor Zhivago.

Girl with a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier will write a novel inspired by Shakespeare's Othello as a part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. So far, authors including Margaret Atwood, Howard Jacobson and Jeanette Winterson have signed on to write for the series, which will launch in 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. In a press release, Chevalier wrote, "Othello is essentially about being an outsider and the price you pay for that difference. Most of the protagonists in my novels are outsiders, geographically or mentally, so writing Othello's story was an irresistible opportunity."

The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

Peter Matthiessen, the novelist, naturalist and co-founder of the Paris Review, died on Saturday, days before the publication of his final book. In Paradise, out Tuesday, tells the story of Polish-American Clements Olin, who returns to Poland to visit a former Nazi concentration camp. For Weekend Edition, Tom Vitale visited Matthiessen at his home on Long Island, N.Y., shortly before he died. Matthiessen told him, "Man has been a murderer forever, somebody says in the book. The number of people killed in the past century, human beings killing each other, is just phenomenal. How has civilization — so-called — come this far and people are still designing tools to kill each other with no other purpose than killing? Why are we doing it? Why are we doing it?"

Another final work, the poetry collection And Short the Season, comes after Maxine Kumin's death in February. The poems range from pastoral – bittersweet evocations of spring – to sociopolitical, about the time when she was "terrified of writing domestic poems, / poems pungent with motherhood," and "women poets were dismissed as immature,/ their poems pink with the glisten of female organs." In "Whereof the Gift Is Small," she writes:

"Wet feet, wet cuffs,

little flecks of buttercup on my sneaker toes,

bluets, violets crowding out the tufts

of rich new grass the horses nose

and nibble like sleepwalkers held fast—

brittle beauty—might this be the last?"

It's not an exaggeration to say most of America's financial sector is run by men. In the securities and investment banking industries, men hold more than 80 percent of executive positions. And women hold only 17 percent of the board seats on Fortune 500 companies.

Sallie Krawcheck bucked the odds.

As former president of global wealth and investment management for Bank of America, she oversaw more than $2 trillion in assets. But corporate turnovers and personnel changes got her unceremoniously pushed out.

Wall Street lost one of its few women at the top when Krawcheck left, but she's not the only one. During the economic downturn, women lost finance jobs in greater numbers than men. And before that, women had been leaving the financial sector for several years.

Krawcheck is now on a mission to bring those numbers up. Last year, she took charge of 85 Broads, a women's network that's grown to include more than 30,000 members.

As part of Morning Edition's look at The Changing Lives of Women, Krawcheck tells David Greene about her new venture and urges women to negotiate more aggressively.

It's not an exaggeration to say most of America's financial sector is run by men. In the securities and investment banking industries, men hold more than 80 percent of executive positions. And women hold only 17 percent of the board seats on Fortune 500 companies.

Sallie Krawcheck bucked the odds.

As former president of global wealth and investment management for Bank of America, she oversaw more than $2 trillion in assets. But corporate turnovers and personnel changes got her unceremoniously pushed out.

Wall Street lost one of its few women at the top when Krawcheck left, but she's not the only one. During the economic downturn, women lost finance jobs in greater numbers than men. And before that, women had been leaving the financial sector for several years.

Krawcheck is now on a mission to bring those numbers up. Last year, she took charge of 85 Broads, a women's network that's grown to include more than 30,000 members.

As part of Morning Edition's look at The Changing Lives of Women, Krawcheck tells David Greene about her new venture and urges women to negotiate more aggressively.


It's been 25 years since the Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Alaska, spilling millions of gallons of oil into Prince William Sound.

The impact on wildlife was devastating. Cleanup crews poured into the nearby port town, also called Valdez, where an animal rescue center was set up.

"The chaos is incredibly difficult to describe or even imagine," says LJ Evans, a local resident who volunteered to help. "Somebody came back with the first bird — the reporters were so frantic, somebody got in a fight trying to take a picture of this poor little oiled bird."

"We were working 14-, 16-, 18-hour days there for the first month and a half," Suzanne Bishop, another rescue worker, tells LJ on a visit to StoryCorps in Fairbanks, Alaska. "We ran countless times a day from one room to the other with dog kennels stacked up high all the way down the hallway of otters."

"I had nightmares for years, because they screamed," LJ says. "I'd never heard a sound like that."

"I remember going home every night and sobbing, because it was not only terribly sad, it was very hard work," Suzanne adds.

"Then one joyous day, in this whole long stressful experience, we took all these birds that had been washed, and lined up all these kennels on the beach — 30 of them, 40 of them — each one with half a dozen birds," LJ recalls. "We opened all those crates, and they swarmed out into the water and made such an incredible noise. They either paddled or they flew, but they got the hell out of there.

"There was so much stress, so much tension for so many months," she adds. "At least for that moment, that little while, you could feel good about something that we had done."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jud Esty-Kendall.

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