The preparations for Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to Cuba have produced some unusual sights and sounds there lately.
A church van with a megaphone drove around one Havana neighborhood recently, calling Cubans out of their homes to a gathering in a nearby park, with the message that God loves them.
The number of churchgoing Catholics on the island is growing again, but it remains less than 10 percent, and the call to gather was a rare exception to the Communist government's ban on public acts of religious proselytism.
A few days ago, a plane carrying members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment touched down in Indiana. The 303 soldiers who were on board are members of an Army National Guard unit that has just finished a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
The soldiers, dressed in their combat uniforms and carrying their weapons, bounded down the stairs from the plane. They shook the hands of the generals who had gathered there to welcome them home. It was the middle of the night and raining, but none of them seemed to mind. It had been a long trip and a long year.
The Russian boy sent back to his homeland by his adoptive U.S. mother two years ago might have finally gotten a break.
Torry Ann Hansen put Artyom Savelyev on a plane with a note saying he had "severe psychopathic issues" and she didn't want to be his parent any more. A Shelbyville, Tenn., court ordered her to pay child support this month.
Artyom's journey highlights the challenges both within Russia and between Russia and the United States over how to care for orphans.
Rick Santorum had been expected to win Louisiana's Republican presidential primary Saturday, but the size of the victory was a surprise. The former Pennsylvania senator captured 49 percent of the GOP vote. Mitt Romney, who is the front-runner nationally, finished a distant second with nearly 27 percent. Santorum sees his win as evidence that the party still has big doubts about Romney.
Among those who voted for Santorum was 54-year-old Curt Thurmon in Shreveport.
No state has worked harder to stop the federal health care overhaul than Florida. Hours after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law two years ago, Florida led 12 other states in a federal court challenge. Eventually, a total of 26 states signed on.
The Supreme Court will hear the case this week. Meanwhile, Florida's governor, Rick Scott, has rejected more than $35 million in federal grants to help the state prepare for the new federal program.
Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 6:33 am
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to begin hearing oral arguments Monday in a Republican-led challenge to the national health care law that has convulsed the country and its political class for more than two years — and may well define President Obama's tenure in the White House.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan, in for Guy Raz.
The Republican nominating contest is back in the South today as primary voters cast their ballots in Louisiana. A little earlier, we caught up with NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea who's on the road in Louisiana. Don, where are you now?