State and National News

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This is a tale of two cities. In New Orleans, there are signs of hope that veteran homelessness can be solved. But Los Angeles presents a very different picture.

Under the deafening highway noise of the Pontchartrain Expressway in central city New Orleans, Ronald Engberson, 54, beds down for the night. Engberson got out of the Marines in 1979, plagued even back then by problems with drugs and alcohol. He says that's mostly the reason he's been homeless the past 10 years.

Nearly every plant that we now depend on for food — from wheat to beans to tomatoes — comes from ancestors that once grew wild on hills and in forests.

In most cases, we don't know who, exactly, tamed those plants. We don't know which inventive farmer, thousands of years ago, first selected seeds and planted them for food.

The blueberry, though, is different. We know exactly who brought it in from the wild, and where.

It happened in the pine barrens of New Jersey.

Germany may be Europe's economic giant, but Berlin remains the lone major European capital without a proper airport. The mismanaged, roughly $6-billion project to build one became a national laughing stock that has dragged on for years.

Ground was broken on the airport in 2006 and the opening was delayed just shortly before the planned date in 2012. The airport's managers are now pledging that Germany's third-largest airport will open on the outskirts of Berlin before the end of 2017.

During a severe drought in 2011, JennaDee Detro noticed that many trees on the family cattle ranch in Cat Spring, Texas, withered, but a certain evergreen holly appeared vigorous. It's called a yaupon.

"The best we can tell is that they enjoy suffering," Detro says with a laugh. "So this kind of extreme weather in Texas — and the extreme soil conditions — are perfect for the yaupon."

Detro began researching yaupon — a tree abundant in its native range, from coastal North Carolina to East Texas — and discovered that the plant contains caffeine and has a remarkable history.

An epic legal battle is about to begin over President Obama's plan to address climate change, in which the Environmental Protection Agency is putting in place new limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. Critics argue the plan is on shaky legal ground, but the administration says it's prepared to defend the regulations in court.

In announcing the "Clean Power Plan" on Monday, Obama predicted some of the arguments his critics would make.

On the ninth floor of a glassy high rise in downtown Washington, partitions are coming down to make more room for workers handing out billions of dollars in Obamacare-funded research awards.

Business has been brisk at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute or, PCORI, as it is known. The institute was created by Congress under the Affordable Care Act to figure out which medical treatments work best —measures largely AWOL from the nation's health care delivery system.

 Jay Dardenne is urging payback from a couple of fellow Republicans.

“David’s got a lot of money in the super PAC. Bobby’s got a lot of money in super PACs and taxpayers of Louisiana ought not be having to fund those efforts. That’s the point I’m really making,” Dardenne said of his call for David Vitter and Bobby Jindal to reimburse the state of Louisiana.


Banking on a New Orleans recovery

9 hours ago
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

Alden McDonald, the President and CEO of Liberty Bank, takes a pair of work boots from the trunk of his car and paces the perimeter of a branch that's under construction in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood. He lobs question after question at his contractors: what's the square footage on the restrooms? Where will the tellers sit? Is it possible to remove one wall and add some open space? McDonald is nothing if not persistent. It's a character trait that helped when Liberty faced its most trying time.

Dan Weissmann

The pharmacy counter was always in the back of a CVS for a reason. 

As Charles Rhyee, a Cowen and Company analyst, puts it, "They’re hoping that on your way out, you’ll realize, ‘Hey, I need some toothpaste. Or maybe I’ll pick up a newspaper or some gum at the front.' And all of those are actually higher-margin items" than just picking up a prescription.

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