On a frigid day at Hatcher Pass, north of Anchorage, Alaska, cross-country skier Holly Brooks glides up to a start line.
This race is just a practice with her Alaska Pacific University teammates. It's a chance for Brooks to test her skills before heading to Europe for the busy World Cup season, and then to Sochi in February for the Winter Olympics. Brooks is now a seasoned member of the U.S. Ski Team, but a little more than four years ago, she was on the sidelines.
Edward Snowden is, of course, facing some serious criminal charges here in the United States for stealing classified documents and leaking details of domestic and international surveillance programs. It's unclear if Snowden will ever return to this country to face charges, but that hasn't stopped a vigorous debate in recent days over whether Snowden should be eligible for clemency.
In other Senate business, the Judiciary Committee today considers President Obama's nominee to lead the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. That nomination could not have come at a more challenging time. Last year, the Supreme Court overturned a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Now, government lawyers are trying to find another way to protect minorities at the ballot box. But NPR's Carrie Johnson reports the president's nominee could get bogged down in something else - battles over his record.
Lindsey Vonn's decision to sit out next month's Olympic Games because of a knee injury is surely a personal and professional disappointment for the Alpine skiing star. But Olympic athletes with Vonn's star power also mean big advertising dollars — and not competing in Sochi may create winners and losers among the skier's sponsors.