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The Obama administration has released a figure that caught our attention. It's the number of people deported from the United States during the past fiscal year. For the first time, since the President Obama took office, that number is smaller than the year before.
Let's get an update now on the violence in South Sudan. Forces opposed to that nation's president have taken control of a major town, and killed at least three United Nations peacekeepers. Hundreds of other people are dead. The United States has flown in troops to protect its embassy, and a conflict is leaving the newest nation in the world close to civil war.
NPR's East Africa correspondent Gregory Warner is following the story from Nairobi, Kenya. And, Gregory, what is the conflict? What's behind this?
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Leaders of the Pentagon got something they really wanted in a congressional budget deal. They are restraining future pensions paid to American troops. Cutting veterans benefits is never popular, but on this program last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said benefits are getting so costly, it's hard to keep troops ready for war.
Fans of "Duck Dynasty" know this. It is a popular reality TV show about a family that found success selling products to hunters. Well, now the patriarch of the family has been suspended indefinitely from the show; this is after he made remarks about homosexuality to GQ magazine. The show is a huge hit for the A&E cable channel, spawning a multimillion dollar industry of related products and books. NPR's Lynn Neary has this look at the family and where they might be headed.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. On Thursday the United Methodist Church defrocked a Pennsylvania pastor who's presided at the wedding of his gay son. That wedding was back in 2007. The pastor is appealing the decision in his church trial, which has become a parable for the divisions in a church with more than eight million members across the United States. From member-station WHYY in Philadelphia, Emma Jacobs reports.
Russia has been drawing criticism for its handling of gay rights as that country prepares to host the Winter Olympics. A recent Russian law criminalizes what it calls gay propaganda. It's so broadly written, many gay people fear they could face charges for just living their lives. This week, Russia addressed some human rights issues. It granted amnesty for thousands of prisoners, including two women in the band Pussy Riot.
U.S. Ambassador to the Unitied Nations Samantha Power (right) listens to Lucy Mandazuto at a community hospital in Bangui, Central African Republic, on Thursday. Mandazuto was wounded in sectarian violence.
You don't have to venture far to see the misery caused by the latest crisis in the Central African Republic.
On the edge of the airport in the capital Bangui, tens of thousands of people are sleeping out in the open with no basic services. It's here that Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, meets Martine Kutungai with her husband, a pastor, and their eight children.
Kutungai says she's terrified to go home because of the Seleka — Muslim rebels who toppled the government in March.
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart recently ranted against Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
"Let me explain something. Deep-dish pizza is not only not better than New York pizza — it's not pizza," said Stewart, calling it "tomato soup in a bread bowl. ... I don't know whether to eat it, or throw a coin in it and make a wish."
Some upset Chicagoans made their own wishes — which can't be repeated here.
Yelitza Castro, an undocumented immigrant who works as a housekeeper in Charlotte, N.C., cooks dinners for homeless men and women every other Saturday night. It's a tradition that started after she and her children spotted a man standing in the rain on a cold day with a sign asking for help.
Yelitza gave the man $5, she recalls, but her children wanted to take him out to dinner. She turned around to go back, but he was already gone.
"And we were thinking we have to do something," she says.