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And I'm Renee Montagne.
The Supreme Court this morning, upheld a ban on using racial preferences in admissions to the public universities of Michigan. The ban was enacted by referendum as an amendment to the state constitution in 2006 and struck down by a lower court. Today, the justices voted 6-to-2 to say the federal courts could not do that and the ban had to stand.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Aspiring high school mathematicians gathered in New York for March Mathness. Even for kids who don't love sports, the professor leading the event told The Times there are a billion reasons to love brackets this year: Warren Buffett's reward for picking the winners for all 67 NCAA games. The math geeks are hoping linear algebra and complex computer codes will help them beat the odds: 9.2 quintrillion to one. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Let's talk more about changes to the National Security Agency that President Obama is announcing as we speak at the Justice Department. And we're joined in our studio by Tamara Keith and Tom Gjelten. And let's just begin.
Tom, you told us earlier today that technology companies wanted greater transparency. They want the public to know more about what the NSA is doing. What is the president proposing today?
Oscar nominations are in. They were announced this morning in Beverly Hills. And "American Hustle" and "Gravity" are the early front-runners. Each of them got 10 Academy Award nominations, including best picture. "12 Years a Slave" was close behind with nine nominations. For more, we're joined now by Linda Holmes, who writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop culture blog Monkey See. Good morning.
A very cold winter storm is engulfing much of the Northeast, dumping more than 20 inches of snow in some areas and bringing strong winds along with it. Schools are closed in Boston and New York City. Thousands of flights have been canceled. Officials around the region are asking people to stay home and let road crews do their work.
On a Friday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne. And a very cold Friday in the northeast - a winter storm still hammering there this morning. In parts of Massachusetts, over 20 inches of snow have already fallen. In upstate New York there's lots of snow and temperatures are hovering around zero.
Turkey's government is defending itself against a corruption scandal. That scandal has shaken a nation often described as the model for moderate Islamic democracy. The scandal reaches the highest levels of the government, and has sparked a strong backlash by Turkey's ruling party.
We reached NPR's correspondent in Istanbul, Peter Kenyon, to learn more about what's going on.
Looking back as a new year approaches is something of a tradition at the Supreme Court. And yesterday the High Court released an annual report by the Chief Justice offering insights into both the year gone by and the one ahead. This year, Chief Justice John Roberts highlighted a woeful lack of funding for the federal judiciary. For more we turn to NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. Welcome, Carrie.
New York City ushered in the New Year last night with its famous crystal ball, and also the swearing in of a new mayor. Just after midnight, Bill de Blasio was sworn into office in a private ceremony in the yard of his row house in Brooklyn. He's the first Democratic mayor in 20 years. His vision of the city could hardly be more different than that of his predecessor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who presided over what many will remember as a kind of gilded age.