Flip through the channels this weekend and you are bound to see some college students dribbling basketballs. It is March after all. And the final lay-ups, jump shots and dunks are taking place before the madness officially begins next week. NCAA conference championships wrap up on Sunday and then comes the selection of teams for their respective NCAA tournaments. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us now as he does most Fridays. Hi, Stefan.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Robert Siegel. In Afghanistan today, a small breakthrough that may help avert a major crisis. U.S. and Afghan officials signed an agreement regarding the largest American-run prison in the country. This is the same prison where last month U.S. soldiers burned several copies of the Quran, setting off riots and reprisal attacks on Americans. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports from Kabul.
In Afghanistan, the killings are called "green on blue" — that's when an Afghan soldier or police officer turns his gun on a NATO ally.
There was a wave of such violence just last month after U.S. soldiers accidentally burned Korans. Over the next week, six Americans were killed, apparently at the hands of Afghans working with the U.S.
The top U.S. and NATO commanders in Afghanistan think they have some answers to this recurring problem, and it's up to U.S. soldiers like Capt. Joe Fritze to see if they work.
Meet Willow Tufano, age 14: Lady Gaga fan, animal lover, landlord.
In 2005, when Willow was 7, the housing market was booming. Home prices in some Florida neighborhoods nearly doubled from one month to the next. Her family moved into a big house; her mom became a real estate agent.
But as Willow moved from childhood to adolescence, the market turned, and the neighborhood emptied out. "Everyone is getting foreclosed on here," she says.
It's been an unusually warm winter in some parts of the country, with springtime temperatures and very little snow. How is nature responding? Purdue entomologist Tom Turpin and horticulturalist Kristin Schleiter of the New York Botanical Garden discuss how an early spring affects flower buds, beetles and bees.
The New Horizons Mission blasted off toward Pluto in 2006; it's on course to arrive in Pluto's neighborhood in 2015. Mission leader Alan Stern discusses the journey of the spacecraft, and why he thinks Pluto is still a planet. Plus, the mission to get Pluto on a commemorative stamp.
Reporting in the Astrophysical Journal, scientists write of a massive collision between two galaxy clusters. By studying the cosmic remnants of that smashup, they say leftover dark matter isn't behaving as current theory predicts. Astrophysicist Andisheh Mahdavi discusses this dark matter mystery.