Morning Edition for Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Afghan Success Story: Fewer Child Deaths

One of the most dramatic changes in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban is the increase in life expectancy from 45 to 62 years. That gain is almost entirely a function of reductions in child mortality due to the spread of basic health services.
Renee Montagne talks with Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch on why the situation in the Central African Republic continues to spiral out of control.

How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World

Many American food companies, responding to consumer demands, are looking for grain that's not genetically modified. It turns out that non-GMO corn and soybeans aren't hard to find. Years ago, grain traders set up a supply chain to deliver non-GMO grain from U.S. farmers to customers in Japan.

Marine Museum Sponsors MRE Cook-Off

The National Museum of the Marine Corps held the second annual MRE Cook-off over the weekend. The winner: John Crist's sloppy-Joe-and-cheesy-garlic-mashed-potatoes-smothered-imitation-pork-thingy sandwich.

Skater Sonja Henie 'Put A Dollar Sign' Behind The Gold

The Norwegian figure skater reinvented the sport, adding grace and lyricism while also helping to commercialize it. She translated her gold medals into a high-flying Hollywood career, but also sparked controversy by rubbing shoulders with Adolf Hitler himself.

Wanna Smoke? It Could Cost You A Tooth, FDA Warns Teens

Cigarette smoking costs you a lot more than money, a graphic new ad campaign warns teenagers. It's the Food and Drug Administration's first foray into slick messaging aimed at keeping teens from taking up cigarettes. Most long-term smokers started as teens.

Political Map: Does Geography Shape Your Ideology?

Why do states have strong concentrations of liberals and conservatives? Why isn't there more mixing? New research explores the answer to these questions.

'Harsh Winter' Hurts Auto Sales

January sales were down for some of the largest car companies. General Motors, Ford and Toyota reported a sharp decline in last month's sales compared to the previous year.

VW Chattanooga Plant To Vote On UAW Membership

Next week in Tennessee, workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant will vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. It's the first attempt to unionize a non-Detroit-run factory in 13 years. Volkswagen has given the drive its blessing but outside groups have stepped in to fight the union.
Facebook's big birthday comes amid tales of trouble — that its youngest users don't find it cool anymore. But Facebook doesn't seem fazed. It is, after all, a company that serves almost one-fifth of the world's population and took in more than $7 billion last year.

Google Told To Move Mysterious Barge

It's stacked with shipping containers and its purpose has drawn much speculation over why it's there. State officials investigated after complaints about it, and they've found the barge lacks necessary permits.
The federal budget deficit is falling sharply, but you wouldn't know it from some of the rhetoric in Washington. But Republicans caution that the downward trend line will reverse itself soon enough.

Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA

Last year, a record number of people were exonerated for crimes in the U.S. Retesting of DNA evidence was once the primary force, but now experts say it's because prosecutors and police are reinvestigating old crimes — and learning that they sometimes got the wrong man.

Senate Expected To Pass Long-Delayed Farm Bill

The Senate is heading toward final passage of a five-year, half-trillion dollar farm bill Tuesday afternoon. Proponents are pointing to its elimination of direct subsidies and replacement with crop insurance. But critics say crop insurance continues to provide overly generous subsidies to even wealthy corporate farms.
Russell Currier, a native of Stockholm, Maine, earned a spot on the Olympic biathlon team, and that has his hometown abuzz. It's a reward for a region that's spent more than a decade rekindling its Nordic skiing roots.

You Know It's Cold When Kenny Martin Wears Pants

Kenny Martin is a mailman working out of the Walled Lake post office northwest of Detroit. He wears shorts all year around. He gives the Detroit Free Press a simple explanation: "I hate pants." But this winter finally broke him.

After 400 Years, Mount Sinabung Erupts

On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a volcano has become active after centuries of silence. Huge eruptions have been occurring for about three months and more than a dozen people were killed over the weekend. For an update, Steve Inskeep talks to Ben Otto, a reporter with The Wall Street Journal in Jakarta.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing hard for the grandiose projects that include a new bridge across the Bosphorus, a massive airport and an ambitious canal. Some Turks are cheering him on, but others worry about how they might change the city.
Jakobshavn, the river of ice in Greenland that produced the infamous berg, has become the fastest-moving major glacier in the world, surging toward the sea at the rate of 150 feet per day. That means its impact on sea level is growing.

Broken Bells: Life 'After The Disco'

James Mercer and Brian Burton have put out an album that explores what happens once the party is over: What happens after you've grown up? Recording a second album together as Broken Bells turned out to be a musical and artistic refuge for them both.

Microsoft Announces Nadella As CEO, New Role For Gates

After a long and closely watched CEO search, Microsoft has tapped Satya Nadella, an insider and 22-year veteran of the company. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is stepping down as chairman and will help Nadella shape technology and product development.
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