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Science FridayScott to appear on Science Friday.

NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott is scheduled to be a guest on the first hour of NPR's Science Friday show for April 10, 2009. Science Friday's description of the segment:

In late March, the Texas State Board of Education held several days of debate over new curriculum requirements scheduled to take effect in 2010. The school board eventually decided to accept evolution as accepted, mainstream science — but the standards were modified to instruct that students examine "all sides of scientific evidence" on a range of topics. Critics of the school board say that phrases such as "all sides" and "examine the strengths and weaknesses" (a phrase rejected by the board after debate) are code words that would allow the teaching of creationism in the science classroom. The large state of Texas is considered a crucial battleground in the fight over teaching evolution, as its purchasing power gives the state's curriculum standards a good deal of influence over the content of textbooks sold around the country. We'll find out how the topic of evolution will be taught under the new standards.

The segment airs and streams between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. (Eastern) on many NPR stations across the country; a list of stations is available on the show's website.

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Skylar Deleon

Skylar DeleonSkylar Deleon gets death sentence in Newport Beach yacht murders.

A Long Beach man was sentenced to death today for lashing Thomas and Jackie Hawks to the anchor of a yacht and throwing them overboard off the coast of Newport Beach in a plot to steal the vessel and plunder the couple’s life savings.

Skylar Deleon showed little reaction as Orange County Superior Court Judge Frank Fasel explained that mitigating factors -- including any abuse Deleon suffered while growing up -- were outweighed by the “horrors” of the 2004 murders of the Hawkses and the earlier 2003 slaying of John Peter Jarvi in a Mexican desert.

Deleon was convicted of all three murders.

“The mental anguish and torment these three people must have anticipated while bound and eventually experiencing their ultimate fates warrants the death penalty instead of life without parole,” Fasel said in his packed courtroom.

A jury has also recommended death for John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a 43-year-old Long Beach gang member convicted of helping Deleon throw the Hawkses off their 55-foot yacht, named the “Well-Deserved.”

Deleon’s ex-wife, Jennifer Deleon, was found guilty by a jury in 2006 of murder and sentenced to life in prison in connection with the yacht murders.

Another man on board the boat when the couple was killed, Alonso Machain, cooperated with the government and awaits trial.

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USS Boxer

USS BoxerOfficials: Navy has amphibious assault ship ready.

The Navy is moving a huge amphibious ship closer to the scene of the pirate hostage standoff off Somalia.

Defense officials say the USS Boxer will be nearby soon. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss sensitive ship movements.

The Boxer is the flag ship for a multination anti-piracy task force. The Boxer resembles a small aircraft carrier. It has a crew of more than 1,000, a mobile hospital, missile launchers and about two dozen helicopters and attack planes.

Two other Navy ships are expected to remain much closer to the pirate-held lifeboat. The USS Bainbridge is in sight of the lifeboat; the USS Halyburton is nearby. The Bainbridge uses drones to keep watch on the lifeboat. The Halyburton has helicopters.

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Murfreesboro Tornado

Murfreesboro Tornado9 hurt as tornado reported near Murfreesboro.

Hospital officials in Rutherford County report 9 people have been injured after numerous eyewitness reports of a tornado.

Dispatchers at the county Emergency Management Agency said their county had been "heavily impacted" and it was in "response phase" after receiving numerous reports of a tornado on the ground at about midday Friday.

Martha Tolbert, spokeswoman for Middle Tennessee Medical Center, says nine people have been taken to the hospital with injuries from the tornado. She did not have any other details about the severity of their injuries.

Retired Middle Tennessee State University professor John High said in a phone interview with The Associated Press that he saw a tornado on the ground and debris flying in the northern part Murfreesboro, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

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