Around the Nation
2:47 am
Tue February 7, 2012

China's Heir Apparent Rekindles Early Ties To Iowa

During his pending trip to the United States, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping hopes to reunite with Iowans he met back in 1985, during an agricultural mission to America. Here, Xi attends a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden last August.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

China's Vice President Xi Jinping is coming to America. Next week, he'll meet with President Obama at the White House. He'll lead a trade delegation to California. And he also plans to make a stop in Muscatine, Iowa.

Why Muscatine? It turns out that Xi wants to catch up with old acquaintances — he first visited the town (population 22,886) in the 1980s, as part of an agricultural mission.

Back then, the man who is likely to soon become China's president had dinner with Sarah Lande and her husband.

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Local
2:13 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Rockford's South Main Street plan released

The late Morgan Street Bridge. Its destruction is seen as one step toward revitalization of Rockford's South Main Street corridor.
Susan Stephens

 

It has been a year and a half in the making, and Monday, Rockford planners delivered their plan for revitalizing a well-worn area of the city: the South Main Street corridor.

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Education
11:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

UC Students Propose Alternative To Tuition Increases

A student prepares to speak in opposition to proposed tuition increases at a University of California Board of Regents meeting in July 2011.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Chris LoCascio, a junior at UC Riverside, feared that there was no end in sight for tuition increases at the University of California. The state kept cutting subsidies, students kept protesting, but no one had any answers. So he and other students decided to turn the discussion on its head.

What if, he says, "instead of charging students upfront for their education, students would attend the UC with no upfront costs whatsoever"?

Under the Fix UC proposal, the bill would not come due until students graduate and start making money.

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Around the Nation
11:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Alabama's Immigration Law May Get A Second Look

Protesters march outside Alabama's Capitol in Montgomery on Nov. 15 during a demonstration against the state's immigration law.
Dave Martin AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 12:00 pm

Whoever said "all P.R. is good P.R." probably never had dozens of protesters gathered in front of the office calling them "Hitler."

That's what happened during a recent lunchtime in the Birmingham, Ala., business district, as students from several local colleges held a mock funeral in front of a bank. They accuse the company of funding private detention centers where they claim illegal immigrants have died.

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Middle East
11:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Jews With Ties To Iran And Israel Feel Conflicted

Iranian-born Menashe Amir (shown here in 2006) hosts a call-in show on Israel Radio's Farsi service, one of the few forums for direct discourse between Iranians and Israelis.
Gali Tibbon Getty Images

As tensions between Israel and Iran ratchet up, one community is caught in the middle: Iranian Jews living in Israel. There are some 250,000 people of Persian descent living in Israel, and they maintain strong ties with their homeland.

As a result, they are uniquely conflicted over the possibility of war between the two countries.

In a small cluttered apartment in Jerusalem, Naheet Yacoubi cooks a traditional Persian meal for her Shabbat dinner. Originally from Tehran, she came to Israel when she was a child.

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Latin America
11:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

United Opposition A Challenge To Venezuela's Chavez

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles (center) waves to supporters on Oct. 12, 2011. Capriles is the front-runner in the opposition primary election to pick a candidate to run against President Hugo Chavez. The primary is scheduled for Feb. 12.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 3:51 am

The opposition to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has tried everything to end his long rule: huge protests, a coup and an oil strike. Nothing has worked, but now opposition leaders have coalesced into a united and focused movement that is preparing to choose one candidate to run against the president, posing the strongest electoral challenge to Chavez's populist rule.

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Latin America
11:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Drought Ravages Farms Across Wide Swath Of Mexico

A vulture picks at a dead steer. Ranchers say many cattle have died because of the drought that has ravaged much of Mexico.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 3:51 am

In the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, 76-year-old Genaro Rodarte Huizar rides his donkey along a dry riverbed. On his left is a dried out pasture; on his right is what used to be a cornfield; now it's just long furrows of gray, dusty dirt.

Rodarte says that for the past two years, the crops that he's planted here have failed. Normally, he plants beans and corn to feed his family, and oats to sell. He says he hasn't harvested anything because the land is too dry and there's no water.

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It's All Politics
11:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Romney Brings Up Religion To Attract Social Conservatives

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 7:52 am

GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is reaching out to social conservatives in a new way. At a rally in the gym at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., Monday night, Romney rolled out some new material: the rights given to people by God.

"I am just distressed as I watch, as I watch our president try and infringe upon those rights," Romney said to the capacity crowd. "The first amendment of the Constitution provides the right to worship in the way of our own choice."

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The Two-Way
5:44 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Remembering Roger Boisjoly: He Tried To Stop Shuttle Challenger Launch

Engineer Roger Boisjoly examines a model of the O-Rings, used to bring the Space Shuttle into orbit, at a meeting of senior executives and academic representatives in Rye, New York in Sept. 1991.
AP

Roger Boisjoly was a booster rocket engineer at NASA contractor Morton Thiokol in Utah in January, 1986, when he and four colleagues became embroiled in the fatal decision to launch the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Boisjoly was also one of two confidential sources quoted by NPR three weeks later in the first detailed report about the Challenger launch decision, and the stiff resistance by Boisjoly and other Thiokol engineers.

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The Two-Way
5:13 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Heartbreak And Victory, Kyle Stanley's Week In The PGA

Professional golfer Kyle Stanley will forever remember Super Bowl Sunday 2012. And not because he's an over-the-top New York Giants — or Madonna — fan.

But because he won the unglamorously-named Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday. And for Stanley, there was nothing trashy about his final round 65 that secured a one-shot victory and his first on the PGA tour.

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