Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:12 am
The White House says President Obama will issue two new executive orders on guns — one to curb the import of military surplus weapons and another that closes a loophole allowing some felons to get around background checks.
The two actions — to be announced by Vice President Joe Biden at the swearing-in of Todd Jones, the new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — will join 23 others that the president has issued in an effort to reduce gun violence.
They are part of a set of recommendations from the vice president unveiled in January.
The Tomatina Festival, the famous free-for-all in which partiers pelt one another with ripe tomatoes, was held in Bunol, Spain, Wednesday. The big party that has become an international sensation in recent years was smaller than usual in 2013 — for the first time, the town sold a limited number of tickets for 10 euros (about $13.25) to indulge in the huge food fight.
It's late-night week on FRESH AIR. One of the big late-night changes scheduled for early next year is Seth Meyers moving to NBC's "Late Night," replacing Jimmy Fallon when Fallon moves to "The Tonight Show." Seth Meyers has been the head writer and co-anchor or anchor of "Weekend Update" since the fall of 2006.
Tighter lending standards for certain student loans have left many people looking for other ways to pay for school. Critics say historically black colleges and universities are hit particularly hard. Host Michel Martin speaks with David Wilson, President of Morgan State University, about the situation.
When President Obama asked Americans to examine their own racial biases, photographer Jane Critchlow took that to heart. She approached black men in her neighborhood and asked to take photos with them. Host Michel Martin talks with Critchlow about her project, and the men's reactions.
As thousands of people gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, many more activists participated online. Host Michel Martin talks about social justice in the digital age with Michael Skolnik of Global Grind and Corey Dade of The Root.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:11 pm
NPR's Larry Abramson is traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus, or ASEAN Plus. Larry sent us this dispatch:
You cannot hear the drums of war here in Brunei, but you can hear the surf from the Brunei coast, or the sounds of splashing from the humongous pools here at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:51 pm
The Netherlands is a famously tolerant and welcoming place. But the Dutch social affairs minister says he's worried about too many immigrants coming from Bulgaria and Romania, and he's tapped into wider fears in the European Union about foreign workers.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:41 pm
India says it has nabbed the co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen, a terrorist organization that has been blamed for attacks throughout the country.
NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi that Yasin Bhatkal was arrested near India's border with Nepal. He's wanted in connection with several attacks, including a 2010 bombing at a bakery that killed 17 people in the western Indian city of Pune.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 10:56 am
For Venus Williams, a three-hour tennis match came down to a third-set tiebreaker against Zheng Jie of China at the U.S. Open Wednesday night. But the world's former No. 1 player couldn't get past 44 unforced errors, and Zheng outlasted her in a rain-delayed match. Williams lost 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5).
In the match's final two points, Williams misfired on successive shots after coming back to even the tiebreaker at 5-5, sending Zheng into the third round. Williams is currently ranked 60th in the world.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:26 am
It's not news that Hong Kong, which brags one of the world's most stunning skylines, has been gradually losing it behind a curtain of smog.
But the Chinese territory's latest solution is new: To placate camera-clicking tourists unable to get those iconic shots of the skyscraper-studded waterfront, Hong Kong has set up a panoramic backdrop with clear, blue skies.
The Chinese website Netease published a series of pictures of tourists posing in front of the backdrop.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:34 am
A group of Israeli soldiers who diverted their patrol into a dancehall earlier this week are facing their bosses' displeasure, after video captured the men — armed, wearing helmets and other gear — dancing with dozens of Palestinians in a club in Hebron. They were drawn into the building by hearing "Gangnam Style," the iconic dance hit song by South Korean rapper Psy.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:28 am
Saying that there are "no plausible alternative scenarios," the U.K.'s Joint Intelligence Organisation released a statement Thursday to support the conclusion reached by U.S. and British officials that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for what's said to have been a chemical weapons attack last week near Damascus.
That attack, U.S. and British officials say, killed more than 300 people and may have injured several thousand more.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:32 am
The massive "Rim Fire" around California's Yosemite National Park is now about 30 percent contained and it's hoped that cooling temperatures and more moderate winds will continue to work in firefighters' favor.
But The Associated Press cautions that officials say it will likely still be three weeks before the fire is surrounded and that the blaze likely won't be out until many weeks after that.
The Monopoly game hitting store shelves contains a sleek kitty, which will join the classic Scottie dog and top hat. Fans adopted the cat in an online vote earlier this year. The company shelved the iron after a 78 year run.
For an introduction to India's cultural and culinary delights, you might hop a flight to Delhi or book a trip to Mumbai. But to meet the country sans passport free of airport indignities, you could just curl up with the crime novels of Tarquin Hall.
Vish Puri, Hall's opinionated private investigator, is a 50-something Punjabi super sleuth with a fondness for family and food. The mustachioed detective cracks open India's underbelly with a caseload that delves into forbidden love, corruption in Indian cricket and the deadly clash between science and superstition.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:15 am
Colorado's politics have become positively Californian lately. There are new restrictions on guns. Pot is legal. The legislative agenda featured an expansion of alternative-energy use requirements for rural consumers. Gay couples can now enter into civil unions.
There's a reason for all this.
Lots of Californians have moved to Denver and its environs, bringing a progressive strain of politics with them and angering more conservative parts of the state — so much so that 10 northeastern counties are planning symbolic but serious votes on secession this fall.
Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks has announced it's going to expand to Colombia.
The country is known for its Arabica beans and for the mythical coffee farmer Juan Valdez. He's helped sell Colombia's coffee for 50 years. Starbucks has cafes in 50 countries. And now, it's coming to perhaps the country most associated with coffee.
Howard Schultz, the company's chief executive, announced that the first shop will open in Bogota in 2014, followed by 50 more cafes and in other cities over five years.
All right, college football fans, it is time to get out your body paint and those foam fingers. The NCAA Division One football season is starting tonight with 17 games on the schedule. Most of the heavyweights start their campaigns on Saturday, and that includes top-ranked Alabama. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins me to preview the new season. And Tom, are you excited?
In California, there are more than 4,500 firefighters battling the wildfire burning in and around Yosemite National Park. The Rim Fire is more than 300 square miles in size. Crews have been making progress by doing controlled burns of things like brush that would feed a bigger blaze.