Since a small contingent of Marines landed in the northern port town of Darwin last month, the U.S. has shown greater interest in using Australian military facilities as part of a larger effort to refocus its military capabilities in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific.
"We have no better ally or friend in the world than Australia, and we have no area in the world which is as important or dynamic over the next 50 years as the Asia Pacific," says Jeffrey Bleich, the U.S. ambassador to Australia.
President Obama and congressional leaders lunched at the White House Wednesday on sandwiches the leader of the free world purchased during a visit to a Washington, D.C., eatery where he met earlier in the morning with a group of small-business people.
Descriptions of the White House lunch meeting from those on the opposing red and blue teams aware of the details of the discussion made it sound like yet another meeting featuring the nation's top policymakers that you could have accurately described beforehand.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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Those who want to raise standards on student achievement tests have suffered an embarrassing setback in Florida. The state made its writing exam harder and results plummeted. So the state is backtracking. It's now lowering its passing score and admitting something went wrong.
Sarah Gonzalez of member station WLRN has that story.
The Shaolin Warriors, from Shaolin Monastery in central China, put on a demonstration of traditional kung fu fighting techniques, with some crowd-pleasing stunts thrown in. They had never performed with a circus before this year.
Credit Courtesy of UniverSoul Circus
Zanda "Zeke" Charles began as UniverSoul's ringmaster sidekick 18 years ago. Today, he co-hosts the show, and, when not in the ring, he roams the audience signing autographs and giving out hugs.
For almost 20 years, the UniverSoul Circus has been pitching its tent in urban plazas across the country. The circus was founded by a Baltimore native as a showcase for black talent, one that he hoped would inspire black audiences.
In more recent times, the circus has evolved into an eclectic mix of acts from around the world. Now, it's pushing to diversify its audience, with a show called "Us."
Strength, Precision And Crowd-Pleasing Nerve
In the beginning, all of the talent was black. They came from Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S.