Parts of the northern Syrian province of Idlib are a U.N. World Heritage site, known for its ancient archaeological wonders. Walking along muddy, rocky ground covered in new grass and wild daffodils, we start to see remnants of Roman structures — the columns and doorways of dwellings, temples and churches that date back to the 1st century.
They're known as the Dead Cities, and they trace the transition from ancient pagan Rome to Christian Byzantium. Until recently, they were deserted, frozen in time.
Thousands of Venezuelans have been filling streets this week, listening to music and lining up to see the coffin of their leader, Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday. Leaders from around the world have also come to the capital city, Caracas, for a funeral which formerly takes place today. And in keeping with his often larger-than-life persona, the Venezuelan government plans to embalm Chavez and keep his body on display under glass, in perpetuity. NPR's Juan Forero is in Caracas, following events there. Hi, Juan.
A formerly lost archeological treasure has made its way to the United States for the first time. It comes from Iran and dates back to the days of the ancient Persian Empire. It's called the Cyrus Cylinder. It'll be on tour across the U.S., starting tomorrow, with the Smithsonian Museum here in Washington.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The Cyrus Cylinder isn't too much too look at - made of clay and shaped kind of like a loaf of bread. What's special about it is that it's etched with writing from the time.
It is International Women's Day. To mark that occasion, First Lady Michelle Obama joins of Secretary of State John Kerry to recognize women around the world who have shown exceptional courage, as they put it, in advancing women's rights. The nine honorees include the 23-year-old Indian woman whose brutal gang-rape last December inspired a movement to end violence against women in India.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning on this Friday. Let's talk a little more deeply about the surprisingly strong jobs report that came out today. NPR's Yuki Noguchi is here with the numbers. Hi, Yuki.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning.
INSKEEP: OK. So what does the Labor Department say happened in the labor market in February?
NPR's business news starts with the shuffle on the top for Pandora.
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INSKEEP: Pandora is the popular music streaming service. And the company's CEO announced, yesterday, he's stepping down. Joseph Kennedy's announcement came as a surprise to many people. The company just reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings. But Kennedy says after nine years on the job he needs to get to a recharging station. He speaking metaphorically, of course, but who knows, someday people may actually do that.
And today's last word in business is this: Lego becomes Leg doh!
The Wall Street Journal says the Danish Lego, is interested in licensing "The Simpsons." In the long-running cartoon series a remarkably similar to a company called Blocko makes an appearance in a couple of episodes.
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YEARDLEY SMITH: (as Lisa Simpson) I kind of want to create my own thing. Do you sell any just plain sets?
Now, the Senate Judiciary Committee here in Washington has approved a new gun control bill. It strengthens penalties for those who buy weapons for people who are legally barred from purchasing firearms themselves. This is the first federal gun law to head to the Senate floor since the Newtown massacre. We should say proposed federal gun law. And as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, it's just the beginning of what looks to be a long legislative fight.
John Brennan is the new director of Central Intelligence Agency. He was sworn in this morning. The Senate confirmed him yesterday with a 63 to 34 vote, but as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, it did not come easy.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: John O. Brennan comes to the job as the nation's top spy with 25 years of experience at the CIA. Most recently he served as the president's top counter-terrorism advisor. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, leads the Senate Intelligence Committee.