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SCOTT SIMON, Host:

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports voter turnout is unusually high in some districts.

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The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast has torn the social fabric of many communities wrought havoc on the normal cycles of life and death. In the northern city of Kesennuma, where at least 300 people were killed by the tsunami, communities are struggling to maintain dignity and respect as they send off the deceased.

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SCOTT SIMON, Host:

So, of course, we've turned to NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman, who joins us. Tom, thanks for being with us.

TOM BOWMAN: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: And is it clear to you that diplomacy's over?

The social networking site Twitter turns five today. The service now boasts 200 million users, who send more than 100 million tweets each day. Twitter co-founder Isaac "Biz" Stone joined NPR's Scott Simon to answer questions about the popular social media site — including the one we've all been dying to know: Why 140 characters?

"I have a good answer for that," says Stone. "From the very beginning we built Twitter to work over SMS, or simple mobile text messaging. The limit internationally for text messages is 160 characters."

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SCOTT SIMON, Host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR news. I'm Scott Simon.

NCAA: NPR's Mike Pesca joins us in our studio. Good to be with you personally, right across from each other.

MIKE PESCA: Good to be with you.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, Host:

Thanks very much for being with us.

SIMON: Thank you so much.

SIMON: And what'd you do - just take cell phones out of your friends' hands and start studying them?

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Picture this: You wake up bleary-eyed on New Year's Day. Last night was wild, and you're not feeling so hot.

It's the first day of 2100, and here's how your morning might unfold: You stumble into the bathroom to wash your face and brush your teeth. Tiny microchips in your toothbrush and your toilet instantly analyze your health. You wrap a few wires around your head and mentally cue up soothing music and fried eggs for breakfast. When you're ready, you issue another mental command to your magnetic car, and it leaves the garage and cruises up to your front door.

Soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan routinely carry between 60 and 100 pounds of gear including body armor, weapons and batteries.

The heavy loads shouldered over months of duty contribute to the chronic pain suffered by soldiers like Spc. Joseph Chroniger, who deployed to Iraq in 2007.

Twenty-five years old, he has debilitating pain from a form of degenerative arthritis and bone spurs. "I mean my neck hurts every day. Every day," he says. "You can't concentrate on anything but that because it hurts that bad."

At 22 years old, Adele was inspired by the works of Etta James, Jeff Buckley and Jill Scott when she decided to enroll in the BRIT school. By the time of graduation she had perfected her sound and emerged as a soulful songbird and MySpace sensation in 2007 and 2008.

Sam Beam, better known by his stage name Iron and Wine, released his first album, The Creek Drank The Cradle, on the Sub Pop label back in 2002. He wrote, performed, recorded and produced every track by himself at a studio in his home.

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Ohio Valley ReSource

Henderson is a small city of about 30,000 people on the Ohio River. 

For most of the last 50 years, the city has run on coal power. And the coal is locally sourced: all of it comes from Western Kentucky coal fields from within a 30 miles radius. 
Henderson Mayor Steve Austin is giving a tour around downtown. He remembers growing up beside the plant. 

Rebecca Kiger

Far from the ocean and Puerto Rico’s famous beaches, narrow roads wind into mountains not unlike the country roads of our home, West Virginia. After hours of driving we reach a rural community in the island’s center called Tetuan Tres. Like so many places in rural Appalachia, you don’t come here accidentally.

Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

LaRue County, Kentucky, dairy farmer Gary Rock sits in his milking parlor, overlooking what is left of his 95 cow operation.

“Three hundred years of history is something that a lot of people in our country cannot even talk about,” Rock said.

That’s how long the farm has been in his family. While the land has turned out tobacco, soybeans and other crops over the years, since 1980 dairy has nourished the family in and out of tragedy.

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