Despite Afghanistan's fierce winter, it's rare to find a house with insulation or a modern heating system. So Afghans rely on bukharis, stoves that look like an oil drum with a big rusty pipe growing out of the top that bends off into a hole in the wall.
That fact keeps the hundreds of wood vendors around Kabul quite happy. This winter, NPR staff fed several tons of firewood into their bukhari — and that's just one house in a city of about 5 million people.
America has been debating the role of women in combat since 1779.
That's when the Continental Congress first awarded a military disability pension to Mary Corbin after she manned a cannon in the Revolutionary War at the battle of Fort Washington in New York. Corbin got only half the pension male soldiers received, but she asked for — and received — the full ration of rum.
Today, as the Pentagon decides how to remove the combat exclusion, women still have trouble getting fully recognized for what they've achieved at war.
Nothing sends more kids to the hospital than asthma.
So when doctors at Children's Hospital in Boston noticed they kept seeing an unusually high number of asthmatic kids from certain low-income neighborhoods, they wondered if they could do something about the environment these kids were living in.
A group of foreign college students who came to the U.S. on cultural work exchange visas in December have been protesting their working conditions at a McDonald's in Harrisburg, Pa. In the process, they've wading into a debate about guest workers in the U.S.
The students include Jorge Rios, who says three months ago he eagerly did the legwork necessary to get a J-1 visa, used for student work exchange.
A major lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department's use of warrantless stops in high-crime neighborhoods goes to federal court Monday.
Critics say the NYPD's practice — known as stop and frisk — is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. But defenders say it is legal and has helped make New York City safer than it's been in 50 years.
The case, Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al., is a class-action suit, so the stories of the plaintiffs are all different. But they do have some basic things in common.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that could upend the federal effort to spur and streamline voter registration.
At issue is an Arizona law that requires prospective voters to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. A federal appeals court ruled last year that the state law must fall because it conflicts with federal law.
How we end up in life has a lot to do with where we came from. That theory gets a good workout in the play Good People, from Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire. When the show was on Broadway two years ago, the trade magazine Variety proclaimed that "If Good People isn't a hit, there is no justice in the land."
As it turns out, justice has been served: Good People is the most produced play in America this theatrical season. By the end of this summer, it will have been on stage in 17 different cities.
There's news from Cyprus that could have broader implications for Europe when the eurozone's banks open Monday.
It comes a day after officials from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund signed off on a $13 billion bailout for Cyprus. The money was needed because Cyprus' banks lost 4.5 billion euros on their Greek bond holdings, which were written down last year after Greece's second bailout.
In the U.S., we drink $200 billion worth of the hops-brewed libation annually. What many Americans might not know is that most domestic beer, 90 percent in fact, is dominated by just two companies: Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors.
Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 7:14 pm
We followed the news as the field was announced for this year's NCAA Men's Division I basketball championship and then topped things off with a little "advice" for those who enjoy filling brackets (obviously, wink-wink, The Two-Way does not endorse betting in office pools).
Many of the 35 million Americans of Irish descent are here due to the worst famine to hit Europe in the 19th century, the Irish potato famine.
It drove more than a million people to flee mass starvation, many climbing aboard ships they hoped would ferry them to a better life in the New World. But the fate they would meet on what came to be known as "coffin ships" was often as grim or worse than the fate they were leaving behind; 100,000 passengers didn't survive the journey.
Toyo Ito, a 71-year-old architect based in Japan, is the winner of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The jury honored Ito for his more than four-decade career, in which he has created architecture that "projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy ... infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality."
Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 11:59 am
Editor's Note: The author is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus and is not being further identified for safety concerns.
In Damascus, you can smell the scent of gunpowder that wafts in from shelling on the outskirts of the capital. You hear fighter jets buzzing above. Ambulance sirens wail throughout the day, and death notices are regularly plastered on city walls.
Damascus is not under direct bombardment, like many other places in Syria that have been ravaged by an uprising now two years old. But the war is creeping closer, and residents feel the heat.