Credit Toru Yamanaka and Roslan Rahman / AFP/Getty Images
Yuko Sugimoto (right) stands reunited with her 5-year-old son, Raito, on a road in Japan's Miyagi prefecture, 2012. This photo was taken at the same place where she was photographed immediately after the tsunami in March 2011.
On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m. (JST) Japan changed as a nation. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the largest to ever hit the island nation, and subsequent tsunami claimed more than 16,000 lives. One year later, the recovery efforts continue, as does the mourning.
Brownies from Troop 65343 in Brookline, Mass. recite the Girl Scout pledge. Enrollment in the organization has declined since the 1980s, but a modernizing makeover and new focus on minority and immigrant communities have helped some.
Credit Tovia Smith / NPR
A member of Brownie Troop 65343 works on an art project at a troop meeting.
It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Lucille Ball as part of the same club. But they were all, at one time, Girl Scouts. Founded 100 years ago in Savannah, Ga., the Girl Scouts now count 3.2 million members.
Girl Scout cookies have become as much of an American tradition as apple pie. At a busy intersection in Brookline, Mass., a gaggle of Girl Scouts stand behind a folding table piled high with boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas and Shortbreads.
"They are really, really good," the troop collectively assures a prospective buyer.
A worker is given a radiation screening as he enters the emergency operation center at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 20.
Credit David Guttenfelder / AFP/Getty Images
A deserted street inside the contaminated exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, on Nov. 12, 2011. Experts say health effects of radiation exposure likely won't be detectable and a bigger problem is the mental health issues resulting from the trauma of the tsunami.
One year ago this Sunday, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan triggered a tsunami that killed 20,000 people. It also triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.
But health effects from radiation turn out to be minor compared with the other issues the people of Fukushima prefecture now face.
Surgical robots like this one are wildly expensive. Before the economic troubles began, investment in such high-tech medical devices was plentiful. Now, hospitals are looking for comparatively simple solutions to cut costs: streamline medical billing and even investing in $1 catheters that can save upwards of $50,000.
It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.
Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.
But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.