Japan is remembering the massive earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered a nuclear crisis a year ago today. At 2:46 P.M. local time, trains stopped, sirens blared, and people across Japan bowed their heads in silence. But one year on, rebuilding has not even begun on much of the country's devastated northeast coast.
And as NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports, the fishing town of Minamisanriku is still too early for most of the wounds to heal.
(SOUNDBITE OF A BELL AND A CHANTING BUDDHIST MONK)
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
American officials say that a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan walked off a base in the predawn hours this morning and began shooting at civilian homes in the southern province of Kandahar. Initial reports say 15 civilians are dead, including women and children. Relations between the United States and Afghanistan had been slowly returning to normal after last month's accidental burning of the Quran at an American military base. But this morning's news may erase that progress.
Ahead of the primary voting in Mississippi and Alabama, guest host Linda Wertheimer talks with William Martin Wiseman, director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Professor of Political Science at Mississippi State University, about the religious politics of the South.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won Kansas' Republican caucuses Saturday. Neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich spent any time campaigning in the state. Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda reports.
This past week, five Irish immigrant laborers were laid to read in Philadelphia, 180 years after their death. From member WHYY, Peter Crimmins reports they were part of a forgotten railroad work crew that was buried in a mass grave under the very railroad tracks they helped construct.
Since it seems to be Pest Resistance Week here at The Salt, with stories on weeds and insects, we might as well just pull out all the stops. So, next up: Why didn't Monsanto's scientists foresee that weeds would become resistant to glyphosate, the weed-killing chemical in their blockbuster herbicide Roundup?
The tsunami that struck Japan last year destroyed four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station on the east coast of the country. Radiation spread through the air and into the ocean, and workers labored for weeks to quench the melting reactor cores. Farmland and numerous towns were evacuated and much remains off-limits.
Since then, Japan has been temporarily shutting down its remaining nuclear plants as the public debates whether to swear off nuclear power permanently. But saying no to nuclear has been and will continue to be costly.
Millions of Americans are still searching for jobs or facing home foreclosures. For them, the Great Recession drags on into its fifth year.
But for others, the U.S. economy is looking up.
Companies in certain sectors are buying equipment again and hiring workers. These pockets of strength — found in energy, technology, manufacturing, autos, agriculture and elsewhere — are helping invigorate the broader economy.