And let's stay in Iowa. It was only a few decades ago that railroad tracks laced the state's countryside, linking even the smallest Iowa communities to the rest of the country. Many of these short line railroads have been disappearing. They're being turned into farm land or in some cases, bicycle trails. But in one Iowa community, farmers and businessmen are using their own money to preserve their railroad connection. They see it as an economic lifeline.
North Carolina has become the 30th state to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. State law already prohibits same-sex marriage, but supporters of this amendment say they wanted extra protection. Jessica Jones reports from North Carolina Public Radio.
Some other news. Two words - pink slime - have been powerful enough to cost the jobs of 650 meat-processing workers.
Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports on the backlash against a ground-beef filler.
PAT BLANK, BYLINE: Officials with Beef Products Incorporated, or BPI, will permanently close three production plants in Waterloo, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and Garden City, Kansas; by the end of the month.
Reporting from the Afghan capital Kabul, Morning Edition's Renee Montagne talks to Afghanistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin about the strategic partnership recently negotiated between the U.S., and the case Afghanistan will be making for future economic support.
Kimberly Lankford, personal finance writer for Kiplinger.com and Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, talks to David Greene about the shifting market for long-term-care insurance, and if it is still worth buying.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
And now we go to southern Afghanistan for an update on an incident that threatened to undermine America's mission in this country. In March, an American soldier massacred villagers near a remote outpost west of Kandahar. An Army sergeant, Robert Bales, is in custody, accused of that crime.
I reached NPR's Tom Bowman who is in Kandahar now, just back from the area where Sgt. Bales was assigned.
And Tom, I understand you were just a mile or two from where those killings took place.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. There are new developments this morning in the story of the al-Qaida plot to bomb an airplane heading to the United States. It turns out that the man who was thought to be the bomber was actually a double agent - that, according to U.S. officials.
Japanese automaker Toyota on Wednesday announced its January to March profits quadrupled over last year to $1.5 billion. The company struggled with production after last year's earthquake and tsunami caused huge delays at its factories. With production back to normal, Toyota expects this to be its most profitable year since before the global financial crisis.
Attorney William T. Gibbs (left), and Tregg Duerson, son of former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson, announce the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL on Feb. 23 in Chicago. The lawsuit accuses the NFL of negligently causing the brain damage that led Duerson to take his own life at 50, by not warning him of the negative effects of concussions.
Even as the great, sad Junior Seau killed himself, more and more other old football players are joining in class action to sue the National Football League. They're claiming, generally, that while the NFL understood — for years — how vulnerable its players were to head injuries, the league did not sufficiently warn players about the danger of concussions.
Nor did the teams first do no harm — instead, allowing players to go back into games when they should have been kept out of the action.
President Bush and then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry shake hands at the end of a presidential debate in 2004 in St. Louis. Researchers want to better understand why partisans' views of the facts change in light of their political loyalties.
When pollsters ask Republicans and Democrats whether the president can do anything about high gas prices, the answers reflect the usual partisan divisions in the country. About two-thirds of Republicans say the president can do something about high gas prices, and about two-thirds of Democrats say he can't.
It sounds like a typical American success story: A young boy becomes an academic standout, an Eagle Scout and high school valedictorian. Later, he attends college and then law school, all on full scholarships.
But Jose Godinez-Samperio's story is not typical. He's an undocumented immigrant from Mexico — and now he's fighting to be admitted to the Florida bar.
Godinez-Samperio was just 9 years old when he came to the U.S. with his parents. They entered the country legally, but overstayed their visas and settled in the Tampa area.
Cybersecurity analysts work in the watch and warning center during the first tour of the government's secretive cyberdefense lab intended to protect the nation's power, water and chemical plants, electrical grid and other facilities on Sept. 29, 2011, in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
For the CEOs of companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, talk of cyberweapons and cyberwar could have been abstract. But at a classified security briefing in spring 2010, it suddenly became quite real.
"We can turn your computer into a brick," U.S. officials told the startled executives, according to a participant in the meeting.
Protesters march outside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Hotel where Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is speaking to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce on April 17 in Springfield, Ill. Walker faces Democrat Tom Barrett in a recall election June 5. The events in the state over the next four weeks could be a sign of where the U.S. is headed in the months ahea
Back before the conflagration that was World War II, some of Europe's great powers engaged in a surrogate struggle by arming the warring factions in the Spanish Civil War. It was a great way to test their latest weapons and tactics.
Here in our country and in our time, the role of Spain is being played by the state of Wisconsin, where a political civil war has raged for nearly 18 months — presaging the fierce national politics of this presidential year.
Watch Wisconsin over the next four weeks, and you will see where we are headed as a nation in the months ahead.
Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky walks into court in Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2011. A Moscow appeals court upheld the second conviction of Khodorkovsky, reducing his prison sentence by one year for a total of 13 years. He will be released in 2016.
Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth." This month, Brown selects two recent pieces of news commentary and a memoir on political resistors.
North Carolina voters decided to rewrite the state constitution, passing an amendment that makes the only recognized, domestic legal union a marriage between a man and a woman.
The AP made that projection based on an actual tally of votes. With 35 percent of the vote counted, 58 percent of those casting ballots voted in favor of the amendment, making North Carolina the 30th state to adopt such a measure.
A new key detail has emerged in the foiled underwear bomb plot: NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports that a CIA informant posed as a suicide bomber in order to persuade the al-Qaida branch in Yemen to hand over a new, more sophisticated underwear bomb.
The nearly four-decade career of Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar has come to an end. The Republican elder statesman, well known as an internationalist and as a moderate willing to reach across the aisle, lost his primary battle to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a conservative upstart backed by the Tea Party.
"My public service is not concluded," Lugar said during his concession speech, according to Reuters. "I look forward to what can be achieved in the Senate in the next eight months despite a very difficult national election atmosphere."
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, speaks to the press in Athens on Tuesday, May 8, after the Greek president gave him a mandate to form a government. Tsipras has three days to put together a coalition. An attempt by a conservative party has already failed.
My father, world-renowned virtuoso violinist and teacher Roman Totenberg, whose professional career spanned nine decades and four continents, died early Tuesday morning at the age of 101.
His death was as remarkable as his life. He made his debut as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic at age 11, performed his last concert when he was in his mid-90s, and was still teaching, literally, on his deathbed. This week, as word flew around the musical world that he was in renal failure, former students flocked to his home in Newton, Mass., to see the beloved "maestro."
At 8:30 p.m. last Friday, Mark Andrew Gravel was watching nervously as 40-odd assembled diners in the exposed brick basement of the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn plunged their forks into a plate of food he had just served.
This plate was piled with a curious combination of sunchoke (known to some as Jerusalem artichoke), olive, cattail heart, buttermilk, and whey.
It's no secret that Mexico has many very important problems, not the least of which is a drug war that has killed more than 47,000 people since President Felipe Calderón began his assault against cartels in 2006.
But during the first of two debates in run up to the July 1 presidential elections, the talk of the country is not policy differences. Instead, the talk since Sunday night has been the busty hostess who made her way on stage to hand out cards assigning the candidates a speaking order. Julia Orayen was wearing a long white dress with a plunging neckline.
Now that former candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are endorsing Mitt Romney to be the Republican nominee for president, the GOP is working to get the rank and file to fall in line.
That's especially important in swing states like Florida. But in the primary, Romney struggled in the Panhandle of the Sunshine State — a bastion of conservative voters. And it might take more convincing for them to really get behind the former Massachusetts governor.
Palestinian protesters rally in east Jerusalem on May 5, 2012 to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, many of whom are currently on hunger strike.
Credit Ahmad Gharabli / AFP/Getty Images
A Palestinian woman holds pictures of jailed relatives during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, May 8. Palestinians are protesting in solidarity with some 1,500 prisoners on hunger strike who are demanding an end to Israel's practice of detention without trial as well as more frequent family visits, among other issues.
Credit Hazem Bader / AFP/Getty Images
Israel released Khader Adnan, a senior member of Islamic Jihad, in February after a 66-day hunger strike. Now, he is helping rally support for Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike. He's shown here in the West Bank on April 18.
At least 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are on hunger strike in a growing protest movement that has captured the imagination of the Palestinian public. Daily demonstrations are taking place in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in solidarity with the hunger strikers.
The protest outside the West Bank's Ofer prison this past weekend is now familiar scene. For the past two weeks there have been daily rallies there, and across the West Bank. Some joke that holding the protests close to the prison makes it easy for Israeli authorities to arrest and detain them.
U.S. troops are training Afghan soldiers to take more responsibility in the war against the Taliban. But the Afghans still depend heavily on the Americans. Here, an Afghan solider fills up gas cans with diesel fuel from a U.S. Army tanker in southern Afghanistan.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
U.S. Army Lt. Adam Mancini is working with Afghan troops in the Panjwei District in southern Afghanistan. It's part of a program to wean Afghan troops off American assistance.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Afghan army Maj. Gen. Ahmed Habibi signs a logbook for diesel fuel he received from a U.S. Army tanker at a base in southern Afghanistan.
The stakes are high in the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of the 2010 health law, as countless commentators have observed. In some circles, however, the gambling metaphor has been pushed to its logical conclusion.
Manullah Ahmadzai, 27, lost the sight in his right eye while serving as a front-line soldier in the Afghan military. Ahmadzai is one of many soldiers who have been severely injured and say promised government benefits don't always arrive.
Last month, the Taliban carried out their largest coordinated attack across Afghanistan, including three sites inside the capital Kabul. It took an 18-hour gunfight to end the assault.
But even as they took cover, Kabul residents saw something new: their own soldiers taking the lead, with limited help from NATO. Television footage showed Afghan soldiers moving confidently into the building where the militants were holed up, avoiding reckless gunfire that might have endangered civilians in the crowded city.
Senate Republicans gave a thumbs down to a Democratic plan that would have frozen interest rates for 7.4 million students taking out new federally subsidized Stafford loans.
The vote was 52-45. Sixty votes were needed to avoid a certain Republican filibuster and to move the bill toward debate.
From the Republican perspective, it wasn't the idea of keeping the rate at 3.4 percent rather than letting it double starting in July. The impasse was over how to fund the one-year rate freeze, which would cost the government $6 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.