Robert Siegel

It's still more than 15 months until the Iowa caucuses, and no one in the crowded field of Republicans with presidential ambitions has announced. But things are already happening in Iowa, especially for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Paul has reached out to Iowans who never considered voting for his father, Ron Paul, who made a respectable third-place showing there in 2012.

He's still popular with his father's old supporters. Many of them are in the so-called liberty faction of the Iowa GOP.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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When we're searching for the right word to say, or we don't know what to say or how to say something, this happens.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Um - uh...

The U.S. has begun airlifting humanitarian aid and conducting limited airstrikes in the attempt to protect Iraq's refugee populations of religious minorities. NPR's Tom Bowman talks with Robert Siegel about the possible policy options for the U.S. in Iraq.

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Robin Williams has died at the age of 63. Williams is remembered for his roles in TV and film — including a radio DJ in Good Morning Vietnam, an inspiring teacher in Dead Poet's Society and his Oscar-winning turn as a therapist in Good Will Hunting. Entertainment reporter Steve Zeitchik discusses Williams' legacy.

Many listeners and readers felt a concise explanation of "a 20 percent chance of rain" was missing from this story about weather forecasts and probability, so we followed up with two meteorologists.

From meterologist Eli Jacks, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service:

How well do we understand and act on probabilities that something will happen? A 30 percent chance of this or an 80 percent chance of that?

As it turns out, making decisions based on the odds can be an extremely difficult thing to do, even for people who study the science of how we make decisions.

The first Dutch investigators have reached the crash site of the Malaysian airliner shot down in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, fighting broke out in the outskirts of Donetsk between separatists and armed groups supporting the government in Kiev.

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According to a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Defense Force has been instructed to begin a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. The move comes 10 days after violence renewed between Hamas and Israel.

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A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying nearly 300 people has crashed in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. In the immediate aftermath, it is not clear whether the plane was shot down, but Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is calling for a swift investigation.

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