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Parallels
3:57 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Afghan Army Makes Progress; Will Government Services Follow?

Brig. Gen. Akram Samme coordinates his men at Camp Eagle in the Shah Joy district of Zabul province in southern Afghanistan. He is a commander in the major operation against the Taliban that's currently under way.
David Gilkey NPR

Fuel trucks, cargo trucks and buses zip north along Highway One toward Kabul, just like any other morning. They seem not to notice what's above them on a vast desert plateau that overlooks the highway in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan.

Dozens of soldiers and police mill about, awaiting orders. There are armored vehicles, towed artillery, an ambulance and a long line of Humvees. Each one has a massive Afghan flag snapping in the breeze, like banners from some ancient army.

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All Tech Considered
3:54 am
Thu May 7, 2015

A Startup Scene That's Not So Hot: Japan's Entrepreneur Shortage

Slush Asia, a new tech festival held in Tokyo in late April, the scene and the energy resembled a small-scale South by Southwest Interactive.
Elise Hu NPR

Toshiba. Sony. Sharp. You know those brand names because they dominated the Japanese economy's global rise in the eighties. But that was 30 years ago. As the Japanese economy stagnates, it's unclear which new companies will replace them.

Doga Makiura is Japanese, and a startup founder. But he's not a startup founder in Japan. He created businesses in other Asian countries instead.

Why not be an entrepreneur in his native country?

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Parallels
3:52 am
Thu May 7, 2015

On Patrol With The Greek Coast Guard, On The Lookout For Migrants

Afghan migrants arrive in the courtyard of the Greek Coast Guard offices on the Aegean island of Leros. The coast guard and local police fingerprint and register new migrants, most of whom can only stay in Greece legally for a month.
Joanna Kakissis for NPR

Just past 9 p.m. every night, six crew members from the Leros division of the Greek Coast Guard board a bright orange search-and-rescue vessel and depart from the tiny Aegean island of Leros.

They patrol until dawn, looking out for boats in distress, packed with migrants trying to reach Europe.

"We see people almost every day, at least 40 people at a time, just in our area," says Captain Leonidas Papadakis. "Most say they're from Syria. Others say Afghanistan, Iraq." There are also Ghanians, Ugandans, even the occasional Dominican.

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Energy
3:50 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Power Problems: Puerto Rico's Electric Utility Faces Crippling Debt

PREPA's Central Palo Seco power station in San Juan. The utility's bondholders want to raise rates. That's a challenge in a territory where the median income is about half that of Mississippi, yet Puerto Rico's energy costs are among the highest in the nation.
Alvin Baez-Hernandez Reuters/Landov

As a U.S. territory with tropical weather and beautiful beaches, Puerto Rico has a lot going for it. But there are downsides to living on an island. A big one is the cost of energy.

All the electricity on the island is distributed by the government-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, also known as PREPA. Power on the island costs more than in any U.S. state, except Hawaii.

And that's not the biggest problem.

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Shots - Health News
3:48 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Losing A Hospital In The Heart Of A Small City

Ann Allen, front right, and Marie Birsic, left. Birsic says the neighborhood will "go down into a ghost town" once the hospital is turned into an outpatient center.
Sarah Jane Tribble/WCPN

In a leafy suburb of Cleveland, 108-year-old Lakewood Hospital is expected to close in the next two years, for economic reasons. Mike Summers points to the fourth floor windows on the far left side of the historic brick building. He recalls spending three weeks in one of those rooms. It was Christmas 1965 and Summers had a broken hip.

"I remember hearing Christmas bells from the church across the street," he says.

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