As Russia prepares to host the world for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, it faces a number of challenges: The weather is mild for winter sports; residents are complaining about being displaced; and the project is costing a huge amount of money.
Yet the Black Sea resort town, a favorite of President Vladimir Putin, is bustling with construction cranes. Workers are racing to complete high-rise hotels and state-of-the-art venues for figure skating, speedskating and hockey.
Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized since Saturday with a recurring lung infection. The government says his condition is unchanged — serious, but stable. But his poor health and advanced age — 94 — suggest the former president's days are numbered. Retired archbishop Desmond Tutu described the anti-apartheid campaigner as an "extraordinary gift".
Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 11:11 am
Our fascination with prison food is usually limited to death row prisoners' elaborate last meal requests and urban legends about disturbingly low-grade meat. But nowadays, the walls between the prison cafeteria and the outside world are coming down, at least metaphorically.
A crowd of wildlife rangers gathered on a woody hillside in Nepal last year to try something they'd never done before. A man held what looked like an overgrown toy airplane in his right hand, arm cocked as if to throw it into the sky. As his fellow rangers cheered, he did just that. A propeller took over, sending it skyward.
The craft was an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a drone, though not the military kind. Its wingspan was about 7 feet, and it carried only a video camera that filmed the forest below.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its practice of collecting vast data about the phone calls made in the United States. The ACLU claims the government surveillance violates the Constitution's guarantee of free speech, association and privacy.
Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 12:31 pm
Forms of gonorrhea that don't respond to the last line of antibiotics have rapidly spread in Great Britain, expanding the reach of drug-resistant disease.
The number of gonorrhea cases with decreased sensitivity to the front-line drug cefixime increased by nearly six times from 2004 to 2011 in England and Wales, a team from the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency reported Tuesday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:53 pm
Low Cut Connie is a Philadelphia band led by piano player Adam Weiner, who's a born ham: an entertainer who will pound his piano (and his listeners) into submission. Low Cut Connie began when Weiner and his partner, Englishman Dan Finnemore, decided to team up.
In this installment of World Cafe, the band plays music from last year's Call Me Sylvia and tells the tale of bonding in a stuck freight elevator.
As Google and other large tech companies cope with the aftermath of recent reports that the National Security Agency has had broad access to their users' data, the search giant is asking the U.S. government for permission to publish the number of national security requests it receives, including those made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
If you want to observe one of Washington's most delicate balancing acts, look no further than President Obama's effort to assert leadership on immigration legislation without its coming to be identified as a new Obamalaw.
Because they're keenly aware of how nearly any legislative effort that becomes known as the president's baby almost immediately makes his political foes hellbent on stopping it and denying him a victory, Obama and other White House officials have been committed to letting Congress take the lead on major legislation like immigration reform.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal today that would designate all chimpanzees as an endangered species.
Currently, chimps in the wild are classified as endangered but those in captivity are not classified as such. The Washington Post reports that the change could affect chimps that are used in medical research and are used as pets.
At a time when most pregnant women work, there are new efforts to keep companies from unfairly targeting employees because of a pregnancy. The allegations of pregnancy discrimination persist and have even risen in recent years despite a decades-old law against it, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:27 am
NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep recently traveled to Damascus for a series of reports on the ongoing war in Syria. He sent this postcard from the road.
On my first day in Damascus, I went walking in the ancient bazaar — narrow stone-paved streets surrounding a great stone mosque. The mosque is so old, it used to be a church during the Roman Empire, and before it was a church, it was a pagan temple. The bazaar is surely as old as the mosque, for Damascus is a historic city of trade.
After years in movies and TV shows, some child actors end up making headlines later in life for stints in rehab, or ongoing legal battles. But not all former child stars become tabloid fodder. Some leave Hollywood behind and pursue other careers.
Mara Wilson, who starred in Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire and Miracle on 34th Street, was able to avoid the drama. Wilson, 25, graduated from New York University in 2009 and is now a writer and playwright based in New York.
Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 11:22 am
I've been to New Delhi where traffic is frightening. I've seen pictures of Nairobi and Bangkok, where it's even scarier. But Ho Chi Minh City? The town we used to call Saigon? I don't think I'd put myself in a truck, car, bike or even a Sherman tank in that town. This video opens in the scariest traffic circle I could imagine — actually, it's beyond imagining — where bikes, cars and people seem simultaneously, collectively and individually heading straight at each other (when you look, just count the vehicles and people on collision course; there are at least two or three in every frame).
Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 12:23 pm
Give or take a few weeks, 2013's midpoint is upon us. After almost six months of new music, it's that time of year when we pause to catch our breath, get our bearings and share our love for the albums that defined the first half of 2013.