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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

For nearly 40 years, voters in Maine have been able to walk into a polling place or town hall on Election Day and register to vote. But the Republican-controlled legislature this year decided to remove the option, citing the stress on municipal clerks and concerns about the potential for voter fraud.

Angry Democrats responded by launching a people's veto campaign, and come Election Day this Tuesday, voters will consider whether to restore same-day registration.

In 2008, food prices around the world surged and awakened fears – which continue to this day — that the world could re-live the disastrous food shortages of the early 1970s.

It's afternoon practice for the junior varsity football team at Vasquez High in Acton, Calif. A high desert wind somersaults a discarded paper plate across the line of scrimmage just before it becomes a pile of white jerseys and purple helmets.

"You were offsides," the coach yells after blowing his whistle.

The players dust themselves off and line up for the next play. At center, is Taylor, a lean 15-year-old. His quarterback, Bryan McCauley, is a few yards behind him in shotgun formation.

"Down, set, hike, good," Bryan says.

Sometimes, couples need help getting pregnant. In Seattle, that help may arrive by bicycle.

To be more specific, a bicycle with a giant sperm cell replica on it.

"It's a delivery bike, purpose-built delivery bike, and inside the front of the sperm we can store one of our cryogenic shipping containers," says Alan Dowden, lab scientist and occasional courier.

Dowden works at the Seattle Sperm Bank. The front of the bike is the bulbous head of a sperm, about the size of very large beach ball, with a long tail stretching behind. It's framed in electric blue.

What goes on inside China's leadership is usually played out behind the closed oxblood doors of the compound where the top leaders live. This year, though, a political debate has sprung out in the open — and it has leaders and constituents considering how to move forward politically.

Federal and state officials are increasingly contracting private companies to run prisons and immigration detention centers.

Critics have long questioned the quality of private prisons and the promises of economic benefits where they are built. But proponents say private prisons not only save taxpayers money, but they also generate income for the surrounding community.

Last June, the city council in Holland, Mich., voted against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its local anti-discrimination laws. Now an unlikely coalition is pressuring the city council to change that vote.

On Wednesday nights, Pastor Bill Freeman turns the podium of the city council meeting into a pulpit. He wants Holland to adopt local laws that would protect people from getting fired or kicked out of their homes because they are gay, bisexual or transgender.

'Darkhorse' Battalion And The Afghan War

Nov 5, 2011

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LAURA SULLIVAN, HOST:

All week, we've been reporting on one Marine unit. They're called Darkhorse. And they had a horrific deployment to Afghanistan about a year ago. They lost 25 Marines and many, many more were wounded.

Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and another school administrator were charged Saturday with perjury and failure to report in an investigation into allegations that former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight young men, state prosecutors said.

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