Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

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World Views
10:11 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Malaysian Jet Disappearance Reveals Political Games, Lack Of International Cooperation

Sham Hardy Flickr Creative Commons

As of Friday nothing of significance had been spotted by search planes flying deep into the southern Indian Ocean looking for possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

The search is part of an international effort to solve the nearly 2-week-old mystery of what happened to the jet, which disappeared with 239 people aboard.

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Corrections
8:47 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Media Restrictions Continue At Oklahoma Prisons

Credit Jelle Vancoppenolle / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has added new restrictions for members of the media visiting prisons, two weeks after the agency announced a ban on cameras for news media.

The department posted an addendum this week to its media access policies on the agency's website. The new policy requires the department to grant specific authorization in advance for video or audio recording.

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Split Decisions: Ukraine Signs Up With EU, Russia Wraps Up Crimea

As Russian soldiers walked one way in the distance, a departing Ukrainian soldier carried some of his belongings Friday at a military base in Perevalne, Crimea.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 9:57 am

There will be few days that better symbolize the crisis in Ukraine.

On Friday:

As Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was signing an agreement on closer relations with the European Union ...

... Russian President Vladimir Putin was signing the laws his country has put in place to take Crimea from Ukraine and make it part of the Russian Federation.

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Nothing So Far In Search For Debris From Malaysian Jet

Searching from the air and on the sea: The view Friday from a Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion. The Norwegian car transport ship Hoegh St. Petersburg is below. They're part of the search in the southern Indian Ocean for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Justin Benson-Cooper/pool EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 12:05 pm

We have woven some updates into this post.

Two weeks after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the first "credible lead" in the search for the Boeing 777 and the 239 people on board is still just that — a lead, not a discovery.

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NCAA Basketball
6:41 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Bison Beat Sooners In NCAA Tourney

No. 12 North Dakota State defeats the No. 5 University of Oklahoma 80-75 in overtime.
Credit soonersports.com

Lawrence Alexander hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to force overtime and freshman Carlin Dupree scored four points in the final 75 seconds as No. 12 seed North Dakota State knocked off Oklahoma 80-75 Thursday night.

The Bison (26-6) picked up their first NCAA tournament win by rallying in the final minute and then outlasting the No. 5 seed Sooners in overtime. Alexander finished with a career-high 28 points, but it'll be his falling-down, fist-pumping celebration after the tying 3-pointer that will be replayed in Fargo for years.

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part of post-surgery protocol
6:15 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Thunder Star Westbrook Will Sit Out Tonight's Game

Credit Keith Allison / Flickr.com

Oklahoma City All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will sit out tonight's game against the Cavaliers to rest his right knee.

Westbrook had surgery earlier this season, and the team is being careful with one of its star players. Oklahoma City plays Friday night in Toronto, and coach Scott Brooks said part of Westbrook's post-surgery protocol is to occasionally sit out when the team has back-to-back games.

Reggie Jackson will start at point for Westbrook, who averages 21.4 points and 7.2 rebounds. Jackson will make his 32nd start this season.

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Death Toll At 58
4:47 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Five More Deaths Due To Flu

Credit stephendepolo / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Department of Health says there were five more deaths during the past week due to the flu.

The department reported Thursday that the death toll now stands at 58 due to the virus during the flu season that began in late September. Nearly 1,250 others have been hospitalized due to the flu.

The previous record of 46 flu-related deaths in 2009, the year state health officials began tracking the statistic, was broken in February.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:27 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Ethics, Morality And A Ticking Clock For How To Report On The R**skins

The logo of the Change the Mascot campaign.
ChangeTheMascot.org

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 4:41 pm

When Scott Simon, the host of Weekend Edition, referred to the Washington Redskins as "the Washington football club whose team name I refuse to utter," the divided reaction by listeners crystallized a creeping ethical and moral dilemma for NPR and all the mainstream media.

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Oklahoma News
12:52 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Oklahoma Teens Plead Not Guilty In Australian's Death

A screenshot from a memorial Facebook page dedicated to 22-year-old Chris Lane.
Credit R.I.P. Christopher Lane / Facebook

Two Oklahoma teenagers charged in the shooting death of an Australian baseball player in Oklahoma have pleaded not guilty and waived their right to a speedy trial.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Dewayne Jones and 16-year-old Chancey Allen Luna were arraigned Thursday in Stephens County on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of 22-year-old Chris Lane.

Judge Joe Enos set a trial docket date of Aug. 18 for both teens

Prosecutors say Lane, from Melbourne, Australia, was gunned down last summer as he jogged in Duncan, about 80 miles south of OklahomaCity.

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Sr. Dies

July 2007: The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. prepares to protest outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:03 am

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., whose tiny Westboro Baptist Church has protested outside the funerals of fallen soldiers and celebrities to spread its views about homosexuality and abortion, has died, according to news reports. He was 84.

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