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WYSO-FM: Renee Montagne

  • American democracy workers are headed home from Egypt, where they had been under a travel ban.
  • Federal prosecutors Wednesday unveiled the most serious criminal charges yet in the West Virginia explosion that killed 29 workers. The new charges involve officials at former mine owner Massey Energy who were directly responsible for managing Upper Big Branch.
  • Ahead of Senegal's presidential elections this coming weekend, rock-throwing youth have been pouring into the streets of the capital Dakar to protest the president's desire for a third term. They say they will make Senegal ungovernable unless Abdoulaye Wade, 85, steps down.
  • All wars bring innovation — primarily in weapons and medicine. But today's conflicts are also bringing advances in house design, to accommodate wounded veterans. On an Army post in Virginia, two new houses are being hailed as breakthroughs.
  • The U.S. and NATO have pledged to stay in Afghanistan through the end of 2014 and hand off responsibility for security to Afghan troops by then. How to get to that point, though, is not clear. And recent statements by key U.S. officials have only confused things more.
  • The Republican presidential nominating season heads into another phase this week as Colorado and Minnesota voters choose their candidates Tuesday. Over the weekend Mitt Romney scored a huge victory in the Nevada caucuses, besting his closest rival Newt Gingrich by double digits. As the Republicans battle it out, President Obama got some positive news on the economic front last week, and is seeing his polling numbers improve.
  • Nineteen Americans face criminal charges in Egypt over their work for U.S. non-profit organizations. The charges are part of an escalating stand-off between Egyptian officials and the U.S. Washington sends some $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt, and U.S. lawmakers say that's in jeopardy now.
  • Three days of intense pressure persuaded House GOP leaders to give in and go along with a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut and extend unemployment compensation benefits. Congress convenes on Friday in hopes of approving the stopgap measure.
  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in the Afghan capital Kabul to meet with Afghan officials, and try to smooth relations with Pakistan. His trip follows a deadly attack on Pakistani troops by a U.S. drone based in Afghanistan. In response, Pakistan has blocked two routes used to supply U.S. troops.
  • Many Americans could see a bigger bite out of their paychecks unless Congress votes to continue the suspension of the Social Security payroll tax. The tax holiday, enacted to stimulate people to spend money in a bad economy, is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. Senate Democrats plan to try to extend the tax break and pay for it by charging a new tax on the very wealthy.