The Salinas Valley in Northern California grows about 80 percent of the country's lettuce, and it takes a lot of people to pick and pack it. In a field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods, a dozen lechugueros, or lettuce pickers, are bent at the waist, cutting heads of iceberg lettuce. They work frantically to stay in front of a line of 12 more packers, who seal them with tape and toss them onto a conveyor belt.
Congress decided last week to ease the effects of the across-the-board federal spending cuts on travelers upset over airport delays. But low-income Americans who rely on government housing aid are still feeling the pain.
Housing authorities across the country have all but stopped issuing rent vouchers as they try to deal with the cuts known as sequestration. Many newly issued vouchers have been rescinded, leaving some people homeless or doubled up with family and friends.
And the cuts come at a time when there's a severe shortage of affordable housing across the country.
By all accounts, it was a less-than-spectacular end to one of Spain's biggest doping cases. El País, the country's biggest newspaper, summed up the trial of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes saying it ended without blood and without a sentence.
Fuentes was convicted of endangering public health and was given a one-year suspended sentence, a $6,000 fine and a four-year ban from practicing medicine. Most people sentenced under two years in Spain skip prison.
After six years as a sideman for many soul veterans, Marc Ribot made his name in 1985 with Rain Dogs, the album that marked Tom Waits' permanent transition from eccentric singer-songwriter to truly weird singer-songwriter. Ribot has held down straight gigs since then, but his work has tended toward the avant-garde. That's much less true on the song-oriented second album by the trio he calls Ceramic Dog.
The move by the Peshawar High Court appears to end the possibility that Musharraf, who returned to the country last month after four years in self-imposed exile, will stand in the May 11 parliamentary elections as he had hoped.
The ancient statues depict young men, naked and muscled, in their physical prime. The two sculptures were supposed to celebrate the purity and kinetic beauty of ancient sport in a traveling exhibit, "The Olympics — Past and Present."
But when the Greek exhibit reached the conservative Muslim emirate of Qatar, the two statues were placed behind a screen of sheer black cloth.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:32 pm
California Gov. Jerry Brown is locked in a legal battle over control of his state's prison system. Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling ordering the state to drastically reduce its prisoner population. Brown claims the state has made substantial progress, but the governor has stopped short of complying fully with the court order.
In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.
Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.
"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 4:04 pm
For Jason Collins, coming out just might prove a winning career strategy.
Before this week, the NBA center seemed like just another second-tier professional athlete, slouching toward retirement while still in his 30s. But all that changed overnight when Collins acknowledged he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine published Monday.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:11 pm
A soccer referee who was reportedly punched in the face by a teenager during a game is in critical condition in a Utah hospital, four days after the incident.
After sustaining what seemed to be minor injuries, the 46-year-old official later lost consciousness — leading doctors to find "far more serious head injuries than thought," The Salt Lake City Tribunereports.
There's word that a Scottish cruise line has taken out an insurance policy in case of a beastly disaster. Jacobite Cruises is now insured against damage from the Loch Ness Monster.
"We see it as keeping in line with good business practice," Freda Newton, managing director of Jacobite Cruises, tells The Scottish Sun. "There is so much going on — people have tried to hunt the Loch Ness Monster, people have tried to capture it. We just don't know what could happen. It's prudent."
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 1:44 pm
The fact that Matt Pond has dropped the vestigial "PA" from the end of his moniker has more to do with geography than sound. On this episode of World Cafe, we learn why the singer-songwriter (and former Philadelphian) has moved around so much — it's all for love.
Pond does tell host David Dye what hasn't changed: his always likable voice and an ability to write heartfelt songs with melodies that stick.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 3:20 pm
A young girl raped this month in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has died, according to several news reports. The 4-year-old child had been lured with chocolate by her alleged attacker, who later dumped her at a farm, as NPR's Julie McCarthy has reported.
The New York Times' India Ink blog says the girl's parents found her April 18, the day after the attack, and that she had been in a coma since. She sustained extensive brain and vaginal injuries.
New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers, has spent much of the past year with the rebels in Syria, and has written poignantly about the impact of the fighting on the lives of ordinary Syrians and its devastating impact on that ancient land. Before becoming a journalist Chivers was a Marine and his knowledge of the military sometimes leads him to stories that only an insider would see.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 1:50 pm
The Neskantaga First Nation is grappling with mental health and other issues in northern Ontario, Canada, where a high suicide rate prompted officials to declare a state of emergency earlier this month. With a population of about 400, the community has seen an average of about 10 suicide attempts a month in 2013, according to local officials.