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Afghan Women Say No To The Dress

Mar 19, 2017

It's a story with a happy ending about a demonstration that didn't happen — after activist Afghan women beat back the Ministry of Education decision that schoolgirls must exchange their current already modest uniforms for styles that are more restrictive and concealing.

On March 14, the Afghan ministry unveiled the new designs. Schools in the country were closed at the time (the school year in Afghanistan goes from March through January and set to reopen on the 20th or 21st. The ministry said the change would be effective when classes resumed.

This past November was a wake-up call for the Democratic Party. Many Democratic women, in particular, are feeling a strong need to answer that call.

Less than a quarter of elected positions are filled by women in the U.S. There are many reasons for that, but Democratic activist Diane Fink says women are often discouraged somewhere along the way. She runs Emerge Maryland, a group that helps Democratic women run for office.

Designing skateboards is just one of Luke Franco's gigs. He has just enough time before his next shift to chat at a café in downtown Providence, R.I.

"I work at the YMCA Monday through Friday with kindergartners through fifth graders. It's split shift; seven to nine, two to six daily," he says. "With the rest of my day, I also work at a local pizza place. And in addition to that, I also own and operate a small skateboard company."

But none of his jobs offers health insurance. I ask him if he worries about that.

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The Wisconsin Badgers ousted the top-seeded Wildcats in a surprising upset in the second round of the men's tournament. The eighth-seeded Wisconsin closed the game at 65-62, thanks to momentum brought by Nigel Hayes in the closing seconds.

Hayes' layup lifted the Badgers from a tie before Vitto Brown's free throw sealed the win for good.

Wisconsin gained the edge when Villanova called a timeout with 11 seconds remaining.

At this weekend's gathering of the Group of 20, the world's 20 largest economies, the group took a step back from its typically overt pro-free trade agenda, in the wake of pushback from the United States.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen represented the U.S. in two days of meetings with their counterparts from the world's 20 largest economies in Baden-Baden, Germany.

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This weekend we're coming to you from the Texas Standard studio at KUT in Austin, Texas. We're here for South by Southwest. And if you haven't heard of South by Southwest, let me try to describe it. First, there is music everywhere.

Updated at 4:40 p.m.

A man was shot and killed by soldiers at Orly Airport outside Paris this morning after he attacked a soldier and stole her rifle.

Paris prosecutor François Molins said that the attacker held a pistol to the soldier's head and used her as a shield, the Associated Press reports. The attacker yelled that he wanted to die for Allah and said that "whatever happens, there will be deaths."

In Chinese, the back story to a movie or news item is called huaxu, or flower catkins. In other words, fluff.

That's the headline describing a video clip of me on Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, and the country's main microblogging platform, with more than 500 million registered users.

The clip shows me asking a question at a government press conference on March 6. Less than a day after its posting, the clip had been viewed 5 million times.

Think of the Mississippi Delta. Maybe you imagine cotton fields, sharecroppers and blues music.

It's been all that. But for more than a century, the Delta has also been a magnet for immigrants. I was intrigued to learn about one immigrant group in particular: the Delta Chinese.

To find out more, I travelled to Greenville, Miss., a small city along the Mississippi River. I meet Raymond Wong in Greenville's Chinese cemetery, right across a quiet road from an African-American cemetery. Wong's family has long been part of a thriving — but separate — Chinese community.

Remember Google Glass?

They're the headsets that look like regular glasses but have a small computer on the side to speak to and access the Internet. If that's not ringing a bell, it could be because Google Glass fizzled out and was discontinued in the consumer market.

But now, it's getting a second life in the manufacturing industry.

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Ah, time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

The St. Patrick's parade is over and the Irish (and honorary Irish) have gone home to sleep off their annual bout of intemperance, but the multi-generational marchers of the Italian-American St. Joseph Society in New Orleans are only just dusting off their tuxedos and straightening their bow ties. Once the shamrocks and shenanigans have vanished from the narrow streets of the French Quarter, and the keg of green beer is empty, another parade — in honor of an entirely different saint — is beginning to gear up.

Got an idea for a new world order? Swedish billionaire Laszlo Szombatfalvy will pay you at least a million for it.

A competition from the Global Challenges Foundation, founded in 2012 by the Szombatfalvy, is calling for solutions to the world's most pressing problems, like conflict, climate change and extreme poverty.

Paris' Orly airport has been evacuated after security forces shot and killed a man who seized the weapon of a soldier on guard.

All flights are being redirected from the airport, and reporter Jake Cigainero in Paris tells NPR's Newscast that police "have completely evacuated the airport and suspended all traffic."

No one else was injured, according to the French interior ministry.

The BBC's Hugh Scofield says the incident happened around 8:30 a.m. local time. He continues:

National K-12 and higher ed news came fast and furious this week. Here are our highlights to help you keep on top.

The president's "skinny budget" has cuts for education

The biggest story of our week happened early Thursday morning when President Trump released his budget outline, historically known as a "skinny budget" because it has few details.

The U.S. Department of Education came in for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut.

If the election results of 2016 were really about rejecting the political establishment, then Congress didn't get the memo. After all, 97 percent of incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives seeking re-election won even as national polls show overwhelming disapproval of Congress.

­Last September, a tiny, itchy welt appeared just above my left hip. I thought I had an insect bite. I was visiting New York City at the time, and I worried it might be a sign of bed bugs.

But after I flew home, the welt began to swell. Soon it was as big as a blueberry. But rather than being blue, the lump turned scarlet. Because I am the type of person who can't leave well enough alone, I tried to pop it. That just made the lump angry. It began to ache.

Historians in Nashville have been on the hunt for a prominent man named Fred Douglas. But they are happy to report that no one by the name has been found. Because they had a pretty good hunch that a park bought in the 1930s was named after the famed abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass. The name just wasn't spelled correctly.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is asking for design proposals and prototypes of President Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

There's high drama in Florida over a prosecutor's decision not to seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a police officer.

And the Florida governor's decision to assign a different state attorney to the case is reigniting Florida's death penalty debate yet again, after the law spent a contentious year in court.

It wasn't the common ground that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was looking for. When President Trump was asked at their joint press conference Friday about the White House claims that President Obama had enlisted British intelligence in spying on him, Trump looked toward Merkel and quipped, "At least we have something in common, perhaps."

Trump was referring to reports that the National Security Agency had tapped the German leader's phone during the Obama administration. Merkel wasn't laughing.

The annual South by Southwest conference is in full swing in Austin, Texas, where thousands of musicians go in hopes of making the right connections for their big break. The number of bands from Latin America and from Latino communities has increased so much that organizers have created a mini-conference within the larger festival. It's called SXAmericas and Felix Contreras — the host of Alt-Latino, NPR Music's weekly podcast about Latino arts and culture — spoke with NPR's Audie Cornish about a trend he's spotted there.

The Trump administration is appealing a federal judge's decision to temporarily block the president's second travel ban from going into effect — setting up another legal showdown in an appeals court.

The first version of the ban, temporarily suspending the U.S. refugee program and barring entry into the U.S. from residents of seven majority-Muslim countries, was quickly blocked by a federal judge in Washington state. The Justice Department appealed that temporary restraining order, but a panel of judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of the ban.

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