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The NPR Politics Podcast team has its weekly roundup a day early as it looks ahead to the upcoming Republican primary in South Carolina, the Democratic caucuses in Nevada, and all the political attacks that accompany them.

The team also takes a listener question and, as always, they end the show with their personal political obsessions of the week.

On the podcast:

  • Political Editor Domenico Montanaro
  • White House Correspondent Tamara Keith

The showdown between the FBI and Apple could result in huge changes for security and privacy, but one thing it may not do is deliver a big break in the San Bernardino case.

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Here is some of what Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, said about his company's products when I spoke to him last fall.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

It's hard to overstate the tech world's fascination with the legal standoff between the FBI and Apple. Laymen might look at the dispute and shrug; after all, the FBI is just asking Apple to help hack into one phone, and it's not unusual for tech companies to help the police.

In a few days, Apple will formulate its formal response to the federal judge's order seeking the company's help for the FBI to get inside a phone used by Syed Farook, one of the attackers in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings.

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To find out more about how Americans view this tension between privacy and security, we're joined now by Lee Rainie. He's the director of Internet science and technology research at the Pew Research Center. Welcome back.

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When Congress returns from recess next week, it will be the first time since Justice Antonin Scalia's death for Senate Republicans to hash out face-to-face exactly what they're going to do about the newest Supreme Court vacancy. And rumblings from Republican senators dispersed across the country right now suggest next week could be the beginning of a heated family conversation.

The doctor told Sharlene Adams to get a blood pressure cuff, so she set out to buy one.

In the battle for primary votes, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a tight battle.

Donald Trump has feuded with other candidates, reporters and TV networks during his run for president.

Now, the front-runner for the Republican nomination is feuding with Pope Francis.

On Thursday, the pontiff criticized Trump for the proposal at the heart of his campaign: a pledge to keep people from crossing into the United States illegally by building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

"I'd just say that this man is not Christian if he said it in this way," Francis told reporters in a midflight press conference after a trip to Mexico.

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Hillary Clinton's superPAC seemed to be essentially sitting out the primary, saving its war chest to fight Republicans in the general election. Now that's changed.

In the 10 days since Bernie Sanders thumped Clinton in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, the pro-Clinton superPAC Priorities USA Action has spent $1.3 million on her behalf.

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There are signs of a possible thaw in the partisan showdown over choosing the next Supreme Court justice.

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People with strong views of the next Supreme Court appointment include a former justice.

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Obama To Visit Cuba Next Month

Feb 18, 2016

Building on the opening to Cuba he launched 14 months ago, President Obama will visit the island as part of a multi-nation Latin America trip planned for next month.

According to Thursday's formal announcement by the White House, the president and first lady will travel to Cuba on March 21-22. "In Cuba, the President will work to build on the progress we have made toward normalization of relations with Cuba — advancing commercial and people-to-people ties that can improve the well-being of the Cuban people, and expressing our support for human rights," the statement read.

A Los Angeles hospital paid a nearly $17,000 ransom to hackers who breached and disabled its computer network, the hospital said in a statement Wednesday.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid the ransom of 40 bitcoins, which is currently worth $16,664, in order to restore the computer system that was infiltrated on Feb. 5.

The hackers used a malware that locks systems by encrypting files and demanding ransom to obtain the decryption key.

In a battle for the Republican Party's conservative base, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are exchanging heavy blows, with Trump most recently threatening to sue Cruz over a political advertisement.

But in the midst of this fierce contest for the Republican nomination, the party's top official, Reince Priebus, says it's not his role to referee the drama.

A federal magistrate judge ruled Wednesday that the State Department wrongfully seized the passport of a naturalized U.S. citizen in Sanaa, Yemen, leaving him stranded in that war-torn country for over a year with no way of returning to his home in California.

After Donald Trump threatened to sue Ted Cruz for defamation over an ad he's running on Trump's past support for abortion, the Texas senator had one message for the billionaire businessman: Bring it on.

For the oil industry, this is what passes for good news:

Iran said Wednesday that it would be great if other countries would limit their oil production to boost prices.

As for itself, Iran will continue to ramp up oil production.

That may not sound like much reason for celebration, but Iran's expression of support for multi-nation plan to restrain oil output was enough to give the energy market a boost. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.62, or 5.6%, to settle at $30.66 a barrel.

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