Today's agenda: Life under Taliban, Obama healthcare deal, Hubble repair

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What we're working on today:
In world news ...

• The pope begins his visit to the Middle East and tries to heal some rough spots in Vatican-Israeli relations. Jerusalem-based correspondent Ilene Prusher is covering this story.
Ben Arnoldy in Pakistan is just outside the embattled Swat Valley, interviewing refugees from the fighting there about life under the Taliban. The story is now posted.
Simon Montlake just left Sri Lanka and reports on the United Nations stepping up the urgency of its warnings there as the death toll mounts.
Iran has released American journalist Roxana Saberi after reducing her eight-year sentence for espionage to two years suspended. Scott Peterson, who has covered Iran for years, reports the story.

In US news ...

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Ron Scherer has reported on President Obama's deal with major players in the healthcare industry to shave 1.5 percentage points a year from the growth in healthcare costs. Linda Feldmann in Washington will follow up this afternoon after the president's formal announcement of the deal.
• Science writer Peter Spotts has described the Hubble-repair mission of the space shuttle, which is launching today. He will follow up later this afternoon after the launch.
Gordon Lubold at the Pentagon is looking into why Defense Secretary Robert Gates has just replaced the general in charge of the Afghanistan campaign only a year into the general's command there.
• In today's installment of Patchwork Nation, Dante Chinni has found that federal TARP money to rescue banks flows to some types of communities more than others.
Kathryn Perry is reporting on a trend that recession has not been able to slow down – the thriving tattoo business.

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