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GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will spend the next seven months convincing us to send him to the White House. To get there, he'll have to make a strong case to one very important voting bloc: women.

A poll out this week by ABC and the Washington Post shows President Obama with a 19-point lead over Romney with women voters. For Romney to win, he's got to make a significant dent in that margin.

How do you measure who is an effective teacher?

More states are wrestling with that question, now that the Obama administration is encouraging schools to evaluate teachers with a combination of student test scores and classroom observations.

The question of whether teacher evaluations are reliable indicators for teacher effectiveness has long been controversial. But New York City reignited the debate when it rated thousands of teachers with test scores alone — and then released those ratings to the public.

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From NPR News, it's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.

Our cover story today: the GOP's gender gap. We'll get to that in a few moments, but first to the severe weather in much of the Great Plains. The National Weather Service is warning that today's outbreak of tornadoes could be a, quote, "high-end, life-threatening event." Several confirmed tornadoes have already touched down across Kansas and Oklahoma, and more are expected in Nebraska and Iowa.

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It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's simple. If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do.

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RAZ: President Obama from his weekly Saturday video address talking taxes and his proposal for a millionaire's tax, the so-called Buffett Rule. James Fallows of The Atlantic is with me now for more on this story and others we're following. Hello, Jim.

Arrest, Charges Push Trayvon Martin Forward

Apr 14, 2012

NPR's Joel Rose has a round-up of the week's news in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is in jail and the legal case is moving forward.

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Sports: NHL And NBA Playoffs

Apr 14, 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Time now for sports.

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WERTHEIMER: Its spring and its playoffs, the march to the Stanley Cup is under way in hockey. NBA teams are still jostling for spots in their post-season.

Joining us to sort it all out is NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman.

Hey, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hello.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. After a long, turbulent primary season, Mitt Romney is now fully in general election mode. With Rick Santorum out of the race, Romney is trying to clarify the differences between himself and President Obama. He's also trying to nail down his support from the Republican base. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from St. Louis on Romney's speech yesterday, to the annual convention of the National Rifle Association.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

President Obama is in Colombia today, along with 33 leaders, gathered for the Summit of the Americas. During his visit, the president hopes to highlight growing economic ties within the region. On his way to Colombia, Mr. Obama made a swing-state pit-stop in Tampa, Florida.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

Secret Service Agents Recalled From Summit

Apr 14, 2012

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As the Summit of the Americas gets under way today, there is one embarrassing incident which threatens to distract from international efforts to focus on trade and the economy. Twelve U.S. Secret Service agents have already been sent home for alleged misconduct involving prostitutes in Cartagena. The agents have been replaced and the Secret Service says its security plans at the summit has not been compromised.

As Brazil Grows, U.S. Refits Relationship

Apr 14, 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now that President Obama is in Cartagena, he'll begin the conversations about trade and business opportunities in Latin America. But the Summit of the Americas is not the first meeting this week for President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

On Monday, Rousseff visited the White House. And after this weekend's summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will head to that Brazil's capital, Brasilia.

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Spring cleaning usually means clearing out your closet. But, it's more than that in Philadelphia. Spring-Cleanup is a city-wide effort with residents headed out today to tidy up sidewalks, streets and even utility poles. Many of them are covered with so-called bandit signs, advertising cash for junk cars and the like. From member station WHYY in Philadelphia, Elizabeth Fiedler reports on a competition to tear down as many of these illegal signs as possible.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Greek Orthodox Easter In A Time Of Austerity

Apr 14, 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter at midnight tonight. It's traditionally the biggest holiday in Greece. But there is a cloud over the celebration. Reporter Joanna Kakissis sends us this postcard from Athens and the inner-city cathedral of Saint Lucas.

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It's been a rough stretch for Pennsylvania's state Legislature. Within the past two months, four onetime floor leaders have been sentenced, pleaded guilty or found guilty of corruption charges. But a jury verdict isn't stopping one of those legislators from running for re-election.

Former state House Speaker Bill DeWeese is campaigning for another term, though earlier this month, he gave a farewell address on the Pennsylvania House floor.

Isn't rotting food beautiful?

Nobody likes to see good food go bad. But Klaus Pichler's photography series One Third, which portrays food in advanced stages of decay, is a feast for the eyes — even if it turns the stomach.

North Korea's decision to launch a rocket early Friday drew swift and widespread condemnation by the international community. The White House suspended a shipment of 240,000 tons of food aid to North Korea, and the U.N. Security Council, which quickly met, called the launch deplorable and said it violated two council resolutions.

A dozen Secret Service agents tasked with providing security for President Obama at a summit in Colombia have been sent home for alleged misconduct involving prostitution, The Washington Post reports.

To get elected in southwestern Pennsylvania as a Democrat, it helps to be a conservative one. And because of congressional reapportionment, two conservative Democratic incumbents are facing off for a single seat in their party's primary later this month.

Rep. Jason Altmire and Rep. Mark Critz, who are vying for the state's 12th District seat, each oppose abortion rights and favor gun rights. Their race on April 24 may come down to the few issues that do distinguish the two congressmen.

Second in a four-part report

As she approached her sixth month of pregnancy last year, Whitney Watts' cervix had started to shorten. It's a common problem with twins. Watts was concerned, and was taking care not to overexert herself.

But it's probably fair to say her condition was far more frightening for Susan de Gruchy, the woman who had hired Watts to be a surrogate because she and her husband were unable to conceive. Nearly 400 miles away, de Gruchy was obsessed with worry.

Permanent Siesta: 3 Books To Whisk You Away

Apr 13, 2012

One doesn't necessarily associate spring travel with heavy reading. For one, books are bulky luggage, the weighty enemies of economical packers; even an e-reader takes up precious space in one's overflowing duffel. And two, escapist migration to mountaintops or flowery fields or seaside locales for sun worship and meditative communion with nature connotes a markedly book-free environment, an escape from the office or the solemn halls of academe.

Some 70,000 people are attending the National Rifle Association's annual convention in St. Louis this weekend. It's hard to find any who support Barack Obama.

But that doesn't mean gun owners are completely sold on Mitt Romney. He may be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but many NRA members still harbor some doubts.

"I'd really like to see someone more pro-gun, but if he's all we got, he's all we got," said Kenny Hoehgesang, a retired power plant worker from Schnellville, Ind.

In 2009, jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez showed up in Laredo, Texas, with only a suitcase, some sheet music and one aim: to collaborate with Quincy Jones. A Cuban seeking amnesty in the U.S., Rodriguez ended up arrested by Mexican border officials. He says they questioned him for hours and demanded money.

Third in a four-part report

These days it can take a village to create a child. Technology means someone who never thought they'd be able to conceive can use a sperm donor, an egg donor and a surrogate — a woman who bears a child for someone else. But the law has not kept pace with technology, and with so many people involved, a key question remains: Who is a legal parent?

Tough Cuts In Portugal May Be Exacting High Toll

Apr 13, 2012

After a financial bailout earlier this year, fees in Portugal's health system have risen substantially. As a result, nongovernmental organizations say, the poor and elderly in Western Europe's poorest country can no longer afford essential care. Some Portuguese fear that austerity measures are threatening not only their livelihoods, but their lives.

Alfredo Silva, 67, showed up at an anti-austerity protest in Lisbon last month dressed as a skeleton. He says the costume shows the effect of Portugal's $100 billion bailout on retirees like him.

North Korea this week quite literally demonstrated an old truism, with the world as an anxious witness. It turns out that reaching space is, as the saying goes, as tough as rocket science.

The much hyped launch of the Unha-3 rocket, which North Korea said was meant to place a satellite into orbit to celebrate the centenary of the country's "Great Leader" Kim Il Sung, apparently failed Friday shortly after launch. It was the fourth time North Korea had tried and failed to do it, adding to the growing worldwide history of failed rocket launches.

When M. Night Shyamalan's fantasy film The Last Airbender — panned by both critics and fans of the wildly popular TV series on which it was based — flopped majestically at the box office, it looked like the end of a valuable franchise.

But now, with The Legend of Korra, which premieres Saturday on Nickelodeon, the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender have been given a rare chance to rebuild a world that was taken away from them.

Imagine an era when mainstream music wasn't filled with synthesizers. When electronic music wasn't a force propelling everything from pop and hip-hop to music from the underground. There was a time when this world existed. Then Kraftwerk emerged, and the world we knew changed.

Three weeks after a heart transplant, former Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to make his first public appearance on Saturday at the Wyoming Republican Party's annual convention.

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