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FROM THIS EPISODE

Syria has been beset by protests similar to those that have brought down other governments in the region. President Bashar al-Assad came to power after his father's death in 2000, with promises of reform that have yet to materialize. On this rebroadcast of today's To the Point, guest host Sara Terry considers the impact of protest movements there. Can the regime there hold on to power? What would regime change mean for a country long regarded as one of the most important players in the Middle East? Also, state budget cuts threaten community college students. On Reporter's Notebook, that time of year again. Batter up!

Banner image: Thousands of Syrians rally to show their support for President Bashar al-Assad (portrait), who is facing unprecedented domestic pressure amid a wave of dissent, in Damascus on March 29, 2011. Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Karen Radziner
Sonya Geis

Main Topic Will Syria Be Swept Up by the Winds of Change? 33 MIN, 31 SEC

All eyes are on Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is determined to hold on to power despite the resignation of his cabinet and with protests expected again tomorrow after Friday prayers. In a major speech to the nation yesterday, Assad disappointed expectations that he would repeal repressive emergency laws that have been in place for nearly 50 years. The US has been fairly moderate in its comments on Syria and its violent crackdown on protesters. Israel and Syria are considered the "best" of enemies, with no violence on their shared border for decades. Will Assad respond with another bloody crackdown? But will he be able to hold off the kind of protests that have unseated other leaders in the Arab world? What would a new regime in Syria look like?

Guests:
Ammar Abdulhamid, Tharwa Foundation
Joshua Landis, University of Oklahoma (@joshua_landis)
Robert Malley, International Crisis Group (@CrisisGroup)
Michael Young, Daily Star
Michael Singh, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Reporter's Notebook Take Me out to the Ballgame, a 2011 Baseball Preview 8 MIN, 42 SEC

Joe DiMaggio got it right when he said, "You look forward to it like a birthday party when you're a kid." He's talking about opening day of Major League Baseball season, of course, which is here once again, with fans descending on ball parks all across the country. Jon Heyman is senior writer at Sports Illustrated.

Guests:
Jon Heyman, Sports Illustrated

Guest Interview State Budget Cuts Threaten Community College Students 9 MIN, 15 SEC

The breakdown in state budget talks may mean that as many as 400,000 students could be turned away from California's community colleges next fall. According to Community College Chancellor Jack Scott, the state could cut funding by as much as 10 percent, which he says would be a deep blow to California's economy. Student fees, which are already going up to $36 per unit, could go increase further if a budget compromise is not reached. Nanette Asimov is education reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Guests:
Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle (@NanetteAsimov)

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