News From NPR

Parallels
3:32 am
Tue March 11, 2014

In Tsunami's Wake, Fierce Debate Over Japan's 'Great Wall'

Workers build a concrete barrier along the coast of suburban Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, which was hard hit by the devastating tsunami in 2011. Nationwide, Japan has poured concrete to defend nearly half of its shoreline. Critics say much of it is unnecessary.
Lucy Craft for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:28 am

Three years after the massive tsunami that ravaged northeastern Japan, the government is building the biggest anti-tsunami barriers ever.

The vast network of supersized sea walls, mocked by some as "the Great Wall of Japan," is already underway and would stretch 230 miles and cost nearly $8 billion.

The wall is designed to protect places like the small port city of Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture. With its dramatic hills, white fishing boats and seafood market, Kesennuma has the pleasant nautical feel of Seattle.

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Politics
3:27 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Holder Speaks Out On Snowden, Drone Policy, Softening Sentences

Already one of the longest-serving attorneys general in history, Eric Holder says he has no immediate plans or timetable to leave. Here, he speaks at the annual Attorneys General Winter Meeting in Washington on Feb. 25.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 12:13 pm

Virtually any time a major event ripples across Washington, the Justice Department is positioned near the center of it.

From the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner that carried three Americans on board to the fate of voting rights for millions of people, the attorney general has an enormous portfolio. And the stress to match it.

But after an elevated heart rate sent him to the hospital last month, Eric Holder says he's on the mend.

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National Security
3:26 am
Tue March 11, 2014

U.S. Checks For Stolen Passports, But Other Nations Fall Short

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:28 am

One of the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is the appearance of two men on the flight manifest who were apparently traveling with stolen passports.

On U.S.-bound flights there are safeguards aimed at preventing that from happening. Interpol, the international police organization, issued a statement criticizing Malaysia for allowing the passengers to board the flight.

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Around the Nation
3:08 am
Tue March 11, 2014

N.Y. Governor Says College For Inmates Will Pay Off For Taxpayers

Inmates at New York's Coxsackie Correctional Facility. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says reinstating state-funded prison college programs will ultimately save taxpayers money.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:28 am

America used to have a robust college education system for prison inmates. It was seen as a way to rehabilitate men and women behind bars by helping them go straight when they got out.

Those taxpayer-funded college classes were defunded in the 1990s. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would like to bring them back in the state, prompting a fierce new debate over higher education in state prisons.

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The Salt
3:06 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Turning Food Waste Into Fuel Takes Gumption And Trillions Of Bacteria

The digester eggs at Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn contain millions of gallons of black sludge.
Courtesy of New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 1:12 pm

Every year, Americans send millions of tons of food to the landfill. What if you could use all of those pizza crusts and rotten vegetables to heat your home? That's already happening in one unlikely laboratory: the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn.

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