This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
American officials say that a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan walked off a base in the predawn hours this morning and began shooting at civilian homes in the southern province of Kandahar. Initial reports say 15 civilians are dead, including women and children. Relations between the United States and Afghanistan had been slowly returning to normal after last month's accidental burning of the Quran at an American military base. But this morning's news may erase that progress.
Japan is remembering the massive earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered a nuclear crisis a year ago today. At 2:46 P.M. local time, trains stopped, sirens blared, and people across Japan bowed their heads in silence. But one year on, rebuilding has not even begun on much of the country's devastated northeast coast.
And as NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports, the fishing town of Minamisanriku is still too early for most of the wounds to heal.
(SOUNDBITE OF A BELL AND A CHANTING BUDDHIST MONK)
Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 10:06 am
Since it seems to be Pest Resistance Week here at The Salt, with stories on weeds and insects, we might as well just pull out all the stops. So, next up: Why didn't Monsanto's scientists foresee that weeds would become resistant to glyphosate, the weed-killing chemical in their blockbuster herbicide Roundup?
Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 10:08 am
Millions of Americans are still searching for jobs or facing home foreclosures. For them, the Great Recession drags on into its fifth year.
But for others, the U.S. economy is looking up.
Companies in certain sectors are buying equipment again and hiring workers. These pockets of strength — found in energy, technology, manufacturing, autos, agriculture and elsewhere — are helping invigorate the broader economy.
The tsunami that struck Japan last year destroyed four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station on the east coast of the country. Radiation spread through the air and into the ocean, and workers labored for weeks to quench the melting reactor cores. Farmland and numerous towns were evacuated and much remains off-limits.
Since then, Japan has been temporarily shutting down its remaining nuclear plants as the public debates whether to swear off nuclear power permanently. But saying no to nuclear has been and will continue to be costly.
It could be a scene from almost any school in the world: rows of young kids reciting their lessons, the girls dressed in shades of pink and sporting Hello Kitty backpacks, the boys in dark clothing, looking a little restless.
But this makeshift school is in a concrete farmhouse on the outskirts of Antakya, in southern Turkey's Hatay province near the border with Syria. And the 156 students — aged 6 to 13 — are all refugees from cities and towns across Syria.
The city of Stockton, Calif., about 90 minutes east of San Francisco, is broke and on the brink of bankruptcy. Stockton's road to insolvency is a long one, and it appears that, financially speaking, everything that could go wrong in Stockton did.
If Stockton can't solve its budget crisis, it would be the largest American city to go bankrupt.
Mitt Romney picked up some support in Saturday's contests, but there may be trouble lurking for him in the near future as the GOP race moves to the Deep South.
Despite his second-place finish in Kansas, Romney scored victories Saturday in caucuses in Guam, the Northern Marianas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He also won county conventions in Wyoming.
Tuesday's primaries are in Alabama and Mississippi, and the reddest of states are proving to be a tough sell for the former Massachusetts governor. He's trying his best to connect with the Republican base.
In recent weeks and days, the divisions over how to deal with Iran and its nuclear program have sharpened. The only undisputed fact is that Iran is developing a nuclear energy program, but after that things get murky.
Israel and some European countries believe Iran is moving toward a nuclear weapons program, but U.S. intelligence agencies disagree. Israel argues that a nuclear-armed Iran poses an existential threat, and there's much speculation in the media about a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear sites.
Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 6:42 pm
Opponents of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin staged another rally in Moscow on Saturday, but with Putin now elected to the presidency for a six-year term, their mass protest movement seemed to be losing steam.
The musical group Zieti started when two American expats met two Ivorian musicians living in a seaside shantytown. They became fast friends, rehearsing on the beach and even recording a few tracks together. The tracks then went missing when Ivory Coast fell into a brutal civil war, scattering Zieti's core to the four winds. Then, after a decade apart, the players reconnected and set about re-recording their lost songs.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
It's already Sunday in Japan. And people across that country will begin to commemorate the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck one year ago. In a moment, we're going to hear about a group of volunteers who have been working with survivors, helping them get back on their feet.
But first to our correspondent Anthony Kuhn who's in Japan. And, Anthony, tell us, first of all, where you are and how it compares to what you saw a year ago.
As Japan continues to rebuild after last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami, many Japanese are devoting themselves to dealing with the human costs of the tragedy. Almost 20,000 people died in the disaster, but many thousands more were left injured, homeless and destitute. Doualy Xaykaothao met a group of Japanese people trying to make a difference.
Now to a story that's gripped a small town in Upstate, New York for the past five months. It's about 18 high school girls in the working-class town of Le Roy. It's just outside of Rochester. Reporter Susan Dominus wrote about it in this week's issue of the New York Times magazine, and she says it all started back in October when a high school cheerleader named Katie Krautwurst woke up from a nap.
After a series of videos revealing apparent cruel treatment of farm animals went viral, Iowa has made it a crime for people to misrepresent themselves to gain access to a farm. The so-called "Ag-Gag" law targets undercover animal rights activists who secretly take videos. Farmers say they need the legal protection to block those trying to take down agriculture, but critics ask what the industry may be hiding.
As the supernatural enjoys a pop culture resurgence — from vampires to fairy tales — there's also been a firestorm of fascination with dragons. Fire-breathing dragons are central to the much-anticipated second season of the HBO series Game of Thrones, which opens April 1. And this year alone the mystical creatures are being featured in two movies, a new book, video games and a museum exhibit.
I hope it's not ungentlemanly to note that Junie Hoang is 40 years old. Her birth date appears in the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, as does the fact that she has played a headless woman in Domain of the Damned and Ms. Fix-It in Voodoo Dolly.
She doesn't sound like a woman to cross.
Junie Hoang is going to court against IMDb, which is owned by Amazon, because it reveals her age in her entry. She believes that could cost her work.
Host Scott Simon reports on the other candidates for the Republican nomination for president: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. This week, they've been campaigning in the South and Midwest in the hunt for votes and nominating delegates.
As the candidates stump for votes, Republicans in Kansas and two U.S. territories will caucus today, and pick their choices to be the Republican nominee this fall. Many voters will show their support for a particular candidate. Long before they cast any votes, they might put up a poster or plant a yard sign for their candidate. These signs spring up like mushrooms every campaign season. Do they actually work?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. One year ago this weekend, Japan was battered by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. One of the places hardest hit was the coastal community of Yuriage. What was once a beautiful fishing village, and home to a bustling community of thousands, is now a desolate and deserted place. Doualy Xaykaothao reported from there shortly after the earthquake, and has just returned to file this report.
NPR's Richard Harris talks with host Scott Simon about the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors, one year after multiple meltdowns there spread radioactive materials across a swath of northern Japan. Huge technical challenges remain and prospects for resettling the area are uncertain.
This time last year, Col. Moammar Gadhafi was losing control of Libya. Scott Simon talks with Abdel-Rahim el Keib, the Libyan interim prime minister who took over in the wake of the country's uprising.