Afghan miners in a makeshift emerald mine in the Panjshir Valley in 2010. Reports suggest that Afghanistan is sitting on significant deposits of oil, gas, copper, iron, gold and coal, as well as a range of precious gems like emeralds and rubies. Currently these minerals are largely untapped and are still being mapped.
Credit Majid Saeedi / Getty Images
Hesco barriers and concertina wire surround the living quarters of the Chinese-owned Ainak copper mine in Logar, Afghanistan, in 2011.
Credit Benjamin Lowy / Getty Images
Afghan miners work a coal mine some 60 miles east of the western city of Herat, Afghanistan, in 2010.
Afghanistan faces the daunting prospect of a drastic reduction in foreign aid, which currently makes up about 90 percent of the country's revenue. Some have seen an economic life raft in geological surveys that indicate huge deposits of copper, iron, uranium and lithium in various parts of the country. But multinational mining firms have been slow to invest in Afghanistan — not least because of questions about stability after American troops draw down.
"The former superintendent of a southern West Virginia mine where an explosion killed 29 workers in April 2010 pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal fraud charge," The Associated Press reports. "Gary May of Bloomingrose, the highest-ranking Massey Energy official charged in connection with the blast, faces up to five years in prison when sentenced Aug. 9."
In case you're keeping track of high-profile endorsements in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination:
Wednesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney picked up the support of Florida Sen. Mark Rubio. This afternoon in Houston, as NPR's Wade Goodwyn tells our Newscast Desk, former President George H.W. Bush will endorse Romney. Bush's wife Barbara and son Jeb (a former Florida governor) have already said Romney's their candidate.
The owner of an African grey parrot says he believes the thieves will soon return the bird that was taken recently in England. It seems Chico loves to squawk a song by Queen. The parrot's owner says the thieves will soon tire of hearing "We are the Champions."
An Ohio man was strolling through a thrift store when he saw a framed poster with Picasso scribbled on it. He bought it for $14.14. The Columbus Dispatch reports an auction house confirmed it was an original design carved by Picasso making the poster worth $6,000.
A police video of George Zimmerman in the hours after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 does not show any obvious evidence of the injuries Zimmerman reportedly received during what he says was an altercation that ended with him firing his handgun in self defense.
Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 10:12 am
We probably won't know until June what the Supreme Court justices will decide regarding the health overhaul law known as Obamacare. The questions this week from the conservative majority seemed skeptical of the "individual mandate" at the center of the law, yet dubious of the law's survival without it.
(A line of questioning may not be a perfect guide to a justice's thinking, but right now it appears to be the way to bet.)
So let's say it's June and the high court has laid low the whole law. That's terrible news for President Obama and the Democrats, right?