For a second day, the Syrian capital, Damascus is cut off from the outside world, with the international airport shut, the Internet down and mobile phone lines working sporadically. There are reports of fierce clashes around the capital and heavy airstrikes in the capital's suburbs and in the northern city of Aleppo.
Fast-food workers staged protests Thursday at restaurants in New York. The workers said their low wages need to be raised. But with the economy still slow, restaurant managers are determined to hold down labor costs so they can offer dollar foods.
The Peony Pavilion is one of China's most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. Chinese composer Tan Dun, who's best known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has adapted the work into a compact 75 minutes.
For more than 20 years, the Rev. Eric Williams has educated people about AIDS and helped those who suffer from the disease. But the focus of Williams' ministry isn't something he could have predicted back in 1991.
In those days, Williams was a young pastor who had only recently taken charge of his own church — Calvary Temple Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo. He had been ordained in 1988.
A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record, led by a dramatic decline in births among immigrant women. The trend has been visible at La Clinica del Pueblo, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that holds a weekly neonatal clinic.
Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.
But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.
The popular website Intrade allows its users to bet on the odds of almost anything — like whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will get ousted by a certain date, or whether the movie Argo will win best picture at the Oscars.
This week, Ireland-based Intrade announced that U.S. users will have to unwind their bets and shut down their accounts by the end of the year. That's after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Intrade for operating an unregistered exchange.
Facebook has a long history of upsetting its users by suddenly announcing a change to its privacy settings. In 2009, as a way to quiet the critics, Facebook set up a system for its customers to vote on changes. If enough of them were unhappy, the company would back down. Now, Facebook wants to get rid of the voting.
The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
There's a greenhouse boom around the country, thanks in part to the "buy local" movement. Paul Mock grows tomatoes, herbs and other veggies year-round in his Berkeley Springs, W.Va., greenhouse and sells to groceries and restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
"This is unprecedented, the level of opportunity," says Mock, whose business is booming.
It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.
But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.
Before Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton passes the reins to her successor, she's got a few loose ends to tie up. One of them is mapping out the U.S.'s continuing efforts to combat AIDS around the world.
So today she unveiled a "blueprint" for what she called an "AIDS-free generation."
Now Clinton isn't talking about ending the HIV pandemic altogether. Rather, she hopes to prevent most new infections from occurring in the first place and to stop HIV-positive people from developing AIDS.
Blues is so much a part of the fabric of American music and American culture — not only as a defined musical form, but also as a springboard for all kinds of creativity — that it seems crazy to try to encapsulate it in any way. Bear Family Records, though, has just released a 12-disc survey of electric blues called Plug It In! Turn It Up! that does a great job of illuminating one particular aspect of the blues.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:46 pm
Yes, he talked about the negotiations over taxes and spending cuts. Yes, it was a holiday photo op. But what really struck us about Vice President Joe Biden's this morning to Washington, D.C.'s first Costco store was how, once again, he just seems to have so much fun.
Mercury is not the first planet to come to mind if you were searching for ice in the solar system. After all, the surface temperature across most of the planet is hot enough to melt lead.
But at the poles on Mercury it's a different story. Almost no sun reaches the poles, and as a result, temperatures can drop to less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, three papers in the journal Science suggest there really is ice at the bottom of craters near the poles on Mercury.
While the next Congress includes more women than ever before, the sexual ratio remains way below 50-50. And that applies not just to electoral politics, but to the ranks of government officials. Yes, we've seen three women as secretary of State, but what about the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies? Important, argues Jane Harman, the president of our host today - the Woodrow Wilson Center - not just as demographic justice, but because women lead differently.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan with a special broadcast today from the Joseph H. and Claire Flom Auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. Today's show is part of a project called The National Conversation, a joint production of the Wilson Center and NPR.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 12:19 pm
For decades, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were locked in a checkmate that brought the countries to the brink of nuclear war. Now, a new multipolar landscape exists where at least nine countries have nuclear weapons and China is projected to become the world's largest economy.
These developments come after a series of rebel victories in recent days and suggest that President Bashar Assad's government is facing increased pressure from the rebels in an uprising now 20 months old.
Director, producer and screenwriter Robert Zemeckis is known for the Back to the Future films — which marked his arrival onto the Hollywood scene in the mid-1980s — as well as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump. His latest film, Flight, stars Denzel Washington as William "Whip" Whitaker, a heroic airline pilot with a dark secret.
The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.
But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.
An online video, urging Africans to save Norwegians from frostbite, has gone viral. The tongue-in-cheek spoof features South Africans singing about sending radiators to Norway. The filmmakers hope to take on stereotypes of Africa that are reinforced by charities and the media. Host Michel Martin speaks to Erik Evans, one of the video's creators.
The Bush-era tax cuts are taking center stage on discussions about deficit reduction. But the payroll tax holiday is also at risk, which could cost the typical family $1,000 a year. Host Michel Martin talks with The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy about the fiscal cliff and how the outcome could affect consumers.