Blake Farmer

The U.S. Army has been ramping up instruction in the languages of Afghanistan, even as troop levels in the country decrease in preparation for the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2014.

This year, key installations have added several hundred speakers of Pashto and Dari to their ranks, more than doubling the number of soldiers trained in the Afghan languages.

But it's not just the country's languages that are foreign to U.S. soldiers — it's the culture, as well.

Tennessee ECD

An effort by the Haslam administration to close records regarding cash grants to private companies is being reworked after hitting a snag in the Tennessee Senate last week. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey repeated what started as an argument from a few Democrats, that the state should at least make public who owns a company seeking state incentives.

The Tennessee Economic and Community Development Department says it needs this confidentiality bill to compete for business with other states.

Wildlife officials don't usually base hunting policies on how the public feels about an animal. But the black bear seems to be different. The revered king of the forest has bounced back from near-extinction to being a nuisance in some areas. Some states are trying to figure out if residents can live in peace with bears, or if they'd rather have hunters keep numbers in check.

Fotolia

There’s a cardinal rule for corporations under criminal investigation – say nothing, at least publicly. But Nashville-based Gibson Guitar took off the mute button this year in a big way. It’s been publicizing its plight under an environmental law known as the Lacey Act. The PR campaign has gotten members of Congress talking about changes. But Blake Farmer of WPLN in Nashville reports Gibson’s strategy could still backfire.

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