Regularly ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, Afghanistan has implemented what for it is a novel new program: selecting provincial and district officials on the basis of their skills, rather than connections.
By all accounts, Afghanistan's corruption is endemic at all levels of government. It's hoped the new effort will begin to curb graft, patronage and nepotism in the country's 34 provinces and roughly 360 districts.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:33 pm
There was a shooting incident at a high school in Taft, Calif., this morning. Now that many reports have come in from the scene, it appears that two people were injured and a shooter has been taken into custody.
Lincoln may not be a political film for the ages, but it's certainly a movie that speaks to our own time.
Although the movie centers on the abolition of slavery, Lincoln taps into one of the deepest desires of our historical moment — the desire for politicians in Washington to get their acts together and compromise to succeed in passing major legislation.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:22 pm
The thief who stole Harly and Courtney Forbes' bicycle seemed not to know how important it is to their lives. Because after dashing off with the tandem bike early Monday, the bike was returned Wednesday. Police say the thief was apparently moved to remorse by the pair's story of how they were now without a way of getting around on their own.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Now, we want to return to a story we've visited many times before, especially in the last three years. That's when an earthquake devastated the nation of Haiti. It left tens of thousands of people dead - nobody's really sure how many - and tens of thousands of people displaced.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, that devastating earthquake hit Haiti three years ago. The country is still trying to rebuild. We'll hear from an author who has been traveling to Haiti for years, both before and after the earthquake, and she offers some bracing observations about what has actually made a difference in the country and what hasn't. We'll talk with the author of a book called "Farewell, Fred Voodoo." That's in just a few minutes.
The Obama administration spent more money on immigration enforcement last year than it did on all other major federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a new report. Host Michel Martin discusses that budget and unsettled immigration issues with the report's author Doris Meissner.
And this morning here in Los Angeles the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards were announced. The movie with the most nominations: Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," with 12 nods.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "LINCOLN")
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS: (as Lincoln) Euclid's first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. That's a rule of mathematical reasoning. It's true because it works.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:39 pm
Maybe you were hoping you'd never hear the phrase "fiscal cliff" again after Congress passed legislation Jan. 1 to address that tax-break-expiration deadline.
Three more cliff-type deadlines are fast approaching. They involve: 1) raising the federal debt ceiling 2) modifying automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and 3) funding the government to avert a shutdown.
The deadlines all hit between Valentine's Day and Easter, which means new rounds of chaotic congressional negotiations may start up just after the Jan. 21 presidential inauguration parade ends.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 12:53 pm
The Mississippi River has provided George Foster with a living all his life. Now, with the river dropping to historically low levels, it's threatening to take his business down with it.
Foster's office sits atop an empty barge on the river, just south of St. Louis. His building tilts at a 30-degree angle because the water is so low. Visitors may want to stick out their fingertips for balance walking down his narrow hallway.
You practically can't visit a news site these days without seeing a story about why President Obama should or should not order the Treasury Department to strike a platinum coin "worth" $1 trillion and deposit it with the Federal Reserve.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:20 am
Update at 9:00 a.m. ET:
Lincoln, director Stephen Spielberg's acclaimed look at the 16th president's push for the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, has been nominated for Oscar awards in 12 categories, it was announced this morning in Hollywood. That's the most for any single film.
Life of Pi is up for 11 awards. Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook are up for eight.
Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. A travel group in Britain is advertising a six-month job with an intriguing set of qualifications: comfortable in swimwear, happy to get wet at work. And this is key: mad about water parks. The job is water slide tester at the company's Splash World Resorts in places like Majorca and Turkey. It pays just okay, but the gig does promise plenty of thrills before the water slide tester retires that swimwear. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, with an offer you probably can refuse. Washington, D.C. hotels offer luxury packages for those attending President Obama's second inauguration. The Madison Hotel offers one for $47,000. It includes four nights at the hotel, a car and driver, a shopping spree, and the services of a social media butler. You, too, could have someone follow you around, take your picture and chronicle your moves on Facebook and Twitter.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And today's last word in business goes out by special request to people listening in their cars. A new study finds that the music you listen to can affect how safely you drive.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Researchers at London Metropolitan University studied how drivers reacted to different playlists over 500 miles. Some of the safest music, we're told, included tunes by Norah Jones and Elton John. They're soft and slow-paced.
And there's more trouble for Foxconn, the electronics giant which makes Apple products in China. The company is acknowledging that Chinese police are looking into allegations that Foxconn employees took bribes from parts suppliers.