The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down. That means more troops will be coming home. Jobs are tough to find these days for anyone, but especially for veterans. Yesterday President Obama signed into law a plan meant to get more vets hired. NPR's Rachel Martin has more.
RACHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: The unemployment rate for veterans is around 12 percent - that's close to four points higher than for everyone else. President Obama says it's time to do something about it.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Congress threatened itself with punishment if it failed to act. Lawmakers promised automatic spending cuts if a special committee failed to reduce the deficit. Now that they have failed, some want a way out of the punishment with which they had threatened themselves. This may be just one more episode in a long fight over taxes and spending, as we hear from NPR's Ari Shapiro.
Director Michel Hazanavicius met me at the Bradbury building in downtown L.A. It's the location of a key scene in his audacious new movie The Artist, which takes place just at the moment when talking pictures supersede silent films.
"It's mythic," said Hazanavicius of the era during which Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were stars.
In the scene shot here, a dashing film star reminiscent of Fairbanks bumps into his lovely young protégé on the building's remarkable staircase. He's on his way down; she's on her way up.
In a Healthpoint clinic in the village of Mallan in Punjab, India, lab technician Navdeep Sharma draws Suba Singh's blood sample. Part of Healthpoint's business plan is to offer cheap diagnostic tests at its clinics. Diagnosing and treating people in a single visit is one key to delivering affordable health care.
Credit Soma Vatsa / for NPR
Clinical assistant Deep Kaur weights Suba Singh as he chats with a doctor who's in a city about an hour away. The doctor tells the patient he needs to cut down on his food — fewer chapatis and more vegetables and water.
Credit Soma Vatsa / for NPR
Part of Healthpoint's business plan is to offer clean water to nearby villages. It sells 600 liters for $1.50 a month. Customers line up to fill plastic jugs.
In rural India, deep in Punjab — about 90 minutes from the Pakistani border — getting clean drinking water is a challenge. Well water often has high levels of dangerous chemicals. Surface water is contaminated with pesticides and agricultural waste.
Getting adequate health care is equally challenging. Government hospitals are often far away, and lines are long.
Here, in places like a dusty rural town called Rajiana, a 2-year-old company called Healthpoint Services is trying to figure out how to bring clean water and health care to rural communities on a global scale.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has directed much of its anger at giant banks, which are no strangers to customer complaints. Some of those who have been burned by high fees in recent years are now satisfying their banking needs with a giant retailer instead, as Wal-Mart surges into the financial sector with a pre-paid, reloadable debit card called the MoneyCard.