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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Egypt, under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, was one of America's closest intelligence partners in the Middle East. And U.S. officials are watching this month's presidential election in Egypt very carefully.

A one-time leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is emerging as a leading candidate. He's considered a moderate Islamist who appeals to secular as well as religious Egyptians.

But, as we hear from reporter Merrit Kennedy in Cairo, the candidate is walking a fine line trying to stay true to his agenda.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For more on the Yemen bomb plot and what it tells us about U.S. intelligence operations, we're joined by Philip Mudd, former deputy at the CIA's Counterterrorism Center. He's now a senior research fellow with the New America Foundation here in Washington. He joins us in studio.

Thanks for coming in.

PHILIP MUDD: Thank you for having me.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Terrorists are still targeting the U.S. homeland. We were reminded of that with news this past week that al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen plotted to blow up a plane headed to the United States.

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

Amos travels extensively across the Middle East covering a range of stories including the rise of well-educated Syria youth who are unqualified for jobs in a market-drive economy, a series focusing on the emerging power of Turkey and the plight of Iraqi refugees.

President Bashar Assad's regime has launched a new and sweeping arrest campaign of opposition activists and intellectuals in the past few weeks, according to Western analysts and diplomats.

The growing tally of arrests has gone largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the daily violence that threatens to jeopardize the U.N. peace plan. But in combination, both are undermining the already faint hopes of peace.

Archaeologists working in one of the most impenetrable rain forests in Guatemala have stumbled on a remarkable discovery: a room full of wall paintings and numerical calculations.

The buried room apparently was a workshop used by scribes or astronomers working for a Mayan king. The paintings depict the king and members of his court. The numbers mark important periods in the Mayan calendar.

After spending much of the year on the rise, gas prices are now falling. The average price for a gallon of regular gas nationwide is $3.73, according to AAA. That's a drop of nearly 20 cents in one month, and industry analysts expect the price to keep falling.

You can get in a lot trouble trying to predict commodity prices, though. Phil Flynn, a market analyst at futures brokerage PFGBEST in Chicago, says there is one thing you can predict.

David Schaper is a NPR National Desk reporter based in Chicago.

In this role, he covers news in Chicago and around the Midwest. Additionally he reports on a broad range of important social, cultural, political, and business issues in the region.

The range of Schaper's reporting has included profiles of service members killed in Iraq, and members of a reserve unit returning home to Wisconsin. He produced reports on the important political issues in key Midwest battleground states, education issues related to "No Child Left Behind," the bankruptcy of United Airlines as well as other aviation and transportation issues, and the devastation left by tornadoes, storms, blizzards, and floods in the Midwest.

Three years ago, President Obama was rolling out an ambitious vision for high-speed rail in America. "Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 mph," the president said at the time.

Today, there are a few Amtrak trains going that fast, but for the most part, the president's plans for high-speed trains have slowed considerably.

President Obama's support for same-sex marriage has been a hot topic this week. After he announced his position during an ABC News interview Wednesday, it's been difficult for pundits, the media and the public to focus on much else, especially since the news came on the heels of North Carolina's approval of a ban on same-sex marriage.

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