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Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer with contenders for oddest book title of the year.

Six books are shortlisted for the British Diagram Prize including histories, "How Tea Cozies Changed the World. Also, how-to books, "Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop" and "How to Sharpen Pencils." The competition coordinator says you can't judge a book by its cover. But I think people do. The winner will be announced on March 22nd.

You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.



Iran now says compromise on its nuclear program may be possible. Of course, that comes with a number of ifs. Tehran says that's if international negotiators continue to take what it calls a more realistic approach. The big question, Western officials say, is whether Iran is willing to curb its nuclear activities. That is the message, after a two-day meeting between Iran and six world powers. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from Almaty, Kazakhstan where the talks just concluded.



The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has released hundreds of immigration detainees ahead of Friday's sequester deadline. The decision was made to help bring down the agency's budget, in light of the automatic spending cuts. ICE officials are getting both praise and a lot of heat for the unusual move. NPR's Ted Robbins has the story.

Usually when we come up to the edge of one of these deadlines there are 11th-hour negotiations, and the two parties manage to swerve away from the precipice at the last minute. What about this time?

Syria's Islamists have grown in influence as the war against President Bashar Assad's government grinds on. They have proved to be effective fighters, well armed and funded.

But as Islamists have grown stronger on the battlefield, more Syrians are asking about their political ideas and what that will mean for the future of the country.

A recent confrontation between liberal protesters and Islamists in the northwestern Syrian city of Saraqeb, which was caught on video, set off a heated online debate.