And let's turn to another story that we've been following, the aftermath of that factory collapse in Bangladesh last month. In a report out today, the Bangladeshi government says the Rana Plaza factory was, quote, "a disaster waiting to happen."
This follow-up now on the move for immigration reform: When a Senate committee approved a bill overhauling immigration laws this week, it was a victory for supporters of reform, but a bitter pill for one group: the gay and lesbian community. Both Republican and Democratic senators rejected an amendment that would have allowed American citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners for permanent residency. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports from San Francisco.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene. Good morning. The final death toll from that tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is 24. Ten of the dead were children. The search for survivors is over, and now this stunned community begins the long process of rebuilding, which begins with removing a staggering amount of debris. NPR's Wade Goodwyn spent time at City Hall in Moore yesterday.
The movie Fast & Furious 6 hits theaters tomorrow. It is director Justin Lin's fourth film in the franchise, and is far different from his very first film, Shopping for Fangs, which starred a young John Cho and became a cult classic among Asian-American indie film fans.
The big bank Goldman Sachs holds its annual shareholder meeting today. These meetings are a chance for shareholders to hear from the CEO and vote on key issues, like CEO's pay. Five years ago, during the financial crisis, Goldman's CEO was a poster boy for overpaid executives. To find out how much Lloyd Blankfein is making now, we reached Neil Weinberg. He's editor-in-chief of American Banker.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene.
For months now, the Obama administration has promised to reveal more about America's secret drone program, and today could be the day. The president will speak this afternoon at the National Defense University, and he's planning to discuss America's fight against terrorism. He is expected to address everything from drones to the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Israel today. He's hoping to restart direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials. The secretary of State is holding two separate meetings, first with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and then with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
NPR's Emily Harris has been following these meetings and joins us from Jerusalem. Hey, Emily.
NPR's business news begins with a big payback to the Fed.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: Three years ago President Obama's green energy loan program gave a $455 million federal loan to electric carmaker Tesla. Critics bashed the loan as risky. Yesterday, Tesla announced it had paid that loan back in full - and early. The company was one of five carmakers to get money into the program. Tesla was first to repay it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Protesters of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's plan to close dozens of city schools rally in the Capitol rotunda in Springfield, Ill., on Wednesday. The Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 schools.
Credit M. Spencer Green / AP
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Board of Education General Counsel James Bebley listen at a packed board meeting Wednesday in Chicago. The board voted Wednesday on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to close dozens of schools.
A day after school officials approved shutting down 50 schools, the Chicago Teachers Union and community activists say they'll hold a voter registration and education campaign. The union is agitated that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, school board members and some lawmakers failed to listen to parents, teachers and others who called for the schools to remain open.
Before they voted yes on the sweeping school closure plan, school board members faced a torrent of criticism Wednesday. Protesters tried to conduct a sit-in at the front of the boardroom, but security officers escorted them out.
The IRS has admitted to targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. And yesterday at a House hearing the IRS director of exempt organizations said, quote: "I have not done anything wrong." She then declined to testify. Lois Lerner's brief appearance at the committee was just the beginning of a stormy, five-hour session filled with angry outbursts and allegations of political motives.
NPR's Peter Overby reports.
PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Lois Lerner did read a statement that she had done her job properly.
President Obama speaks at Ellicott Dredges in Baltimore on May 17. The trip followed a visit by the company's president to Capitol Hill to testify in support of the Keystone XL pipeline. The White House says Obama's speech had nothing to do with Keystone, but environmental groups have been frustrated with his stance on the issue.
Prison is a tough place, but Congress made an exception nearly 30 years ago, giving terminally ill inmates and prisoners with extraordinary family circumstances an early way out. It's called compassionate release.
But a recent investigation found that many federal inmates actually die while their requests drift through the system.
NPR continues its conversations about The Race Card Project, where NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris asks people to send in six-word stories about race and culture. The submissions are personal, provocative and often quite candid.
Credit Ian Harrowell, Christine Austin, Manish Arora / Harvard School of Public Health
This model of a molar shows color-coded barium banding patterns that reveal weaning age.
Credit Alyson Hurt, Adam Cole / NPR / Christine Austin / Westmead Centre for Oral Health
Top: Lines on a 100,000-year-old Neanderthal tooth mark the passage of time. Bottom: The distribution of barium shows dietary transition: low barium before birth (1), high barium during breast-feeding (2) and falling barium as the Neanderthal transitions to a mixed diet (3).
Our closest relatives, chimpanzees and gorillas, breast-feed their offspring for several years. Some baby orangutans nurse until they are 7 years old.
But modern humans wean much earlier. In preindustrial societies, babies stop nursing after about two years. Which raises the question: How did we get that way? When did we make the evolutionary shift from apelike parenting to the short breast-feeding period of humans?
What is the case against Wisconsin farmer Vernon Hershberger really about? It depends on whom you ask.
To hear the prosecution, it's about licensing, not raw milk: Hershberger, a dairy farmer hailing from the town of Loganville, is on trial this week for operating without three licenses. He's also accused of continuing to sell raw milk to members of his private club after he was ordered not to.
If convicted, the father of 10 faces more than a year in jail and more than $10,000 in fines.
For the first time, the U.S. government has acknowledged killing four American citizens in lethal drone strikes far outside traditional battlefields, confirming information that had been widely known but has only recently been unclassified under orders of the president.
Ibrahim Shomali, a Palestinian priest, offers Communion under the olive trees of the Cremisan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This is part of a regular protest against Israeli plans to build a section of its West Bank barrier here, which would separate Palestinians from their agricultural lands.
Credit Emily Harris / NPR
Israeli army Capt. Barak Raz stands on a concrete wall that is part of the barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Soldiers climb to this spot during Palestinian protests to disperse crowds with tear gas or a foul-smelling liquid nicknamed "skunk."
Israeli army Capt. Barak Raz climbs a metal staircase to the top of a high concrete wall that is part of Israel's West Bank barrier. From his perch, he overlooks both the Palestinian village of Bil'in and Modin Illit, the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, with some 50,000 residents.
The barrier here used to be a fence. After many confrontations with Israeli soldiers, Palestinian villagers won a court case, and the fence was moved off some of their land. But since the barrier was moved closer to an Israeli settlement, it was rebuilt as a wall.
"I'm shocked by the optimism here," Howard Yana-Shapiro, the chief agricultural officer for Mars Inc. said Tuesday to the audience of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs' Global Food Security Symposium in Washington, D.C.
Seated there before him were some of the leaders from the wealthiest international organizations and multinational companies of the fight to end hunger. And Shapiro told them they weren't even close.
After five marathon sessions debating 150 proposed amendments, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a landmark rewriting of the nation's immigration laws this week — and the bill emerged largely intact.
Three Republicans voted with the panel's 10 Democrats on Tuesday night to forward the bill to the full Senate. That strong showing followed a wrenching choice for Democrats on the committee: whether to risk shattering support for the bill by amending it to recognize equal rights for same-sex couples.
Public opinion about the scandals plaguing the Obama administration is decidedly mixed.
Republicans believe that the trio of controversies — concerning Benghazi, the IRS, and the Justice Department snooping on media phone records — are evidence enough that President Obama is either running a government motivated by partisan politics, or is badly out of touch.
Democrats, however, are proving to be much more forgiving.
George Plimpton boxed with Archie Moore, played quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and played percussion for the New York Philharmonic. He did these jobs, and many others, as an amateur. Plimpton was a professional writer. A new documentary about his life makes the case that Plimpton's best story was his own story, as NPR's Joel Rose reports.
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: When you listen to George Plimpton's voice, it's like hearing echoes of a New York that no longer exists.
On this day, two years ago, just after 5:30 p.m., a tornado roared into Joplin, Missouri. It cut a nearly straight line through town, splintering everything in its path. About 160 people were killed. Some 7,500 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Mike Woolston was the mayor at the time. He's now a city councilor in Joplin, and he joins us from Joplin to talk about his experience two years ago and how it might inform the task ahead for Moore, Oklahoma. Mike Woolston, welcome to the program.
During a tornado, the safest place to protect yourself is usually underground, but that's not an option for the large majority of people in southern Oklahoma. If you look just at new construction, fewer than 1 percent of homes in the area hit by the tornado have basements. Here to help explain why is NPR's Scott Neuman, who's written about this for our Two-Way blog.
And Scott, where I come from, a basement is a really common thing to have under the house. Not so in Oklahoma. Why not?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron says there are strong indications there was a terrorist attack in London today. A man was hacked to death in the street, close to a military barracks, and he may have been a serving British soldier. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.