A new album by bluesman Corey Harris pays tribute to one Southern neighborhood with a particularly haunted past.
Fulton Blues is named for a district in Richmond, Va., that was once home to a large number of the city's middle class African-American families. But by the 1960s, Fulton had fallen on hard times. Its scenic views of the James River and easy access to downtown made it a target for "urban renewal," as it was euphemistically called in the Virginia Statehouse. The residents of Fulton were evicted and the neighborhood was razed.
A man inspects a plastic cover placed over an artwork attributed to Banksy in London. The stencilled image depicts a poor child making Union Jack flags on a sewing machine and is located on the wall of a Poundland discount shop in the Wood Green area of north London.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 8:01 am
With less than a week before the across-the-board-spending cuts go into effect, Republicans and Democrats are sounding off about the sequestration.
"There's easy ways [sic] to cut this money that the American people will never feel," Rep. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said on Fox News Sunday. "What you hear is an outrage because nobody wants to cut spending ... and it will be somewhat painful, but not cutting spending is going to be disastrous for our country."
Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 11:08 am
We're getting word that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered U.S. special forces to leave Wardak Province within two weeks amid allegation of torture and disappearances centering on Afghans who are part of the U.S. forces.
Update at 1:07 p.m. ET. Order Came After Report
NPR's Sean Carberry is reporting on the move for our Newscast unit. Here's what he says:
Paul C.P. McIlhenny reigns as Rex as he arrives at Canal Street during Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans on Feb. 28, 2006, six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. McIlhenny, the CEO and chairman of the company that makes Tabasco sauce, died Saturday in New Orleans. He was 68.
"Benedict told the crowd that God is calling him to dedicate himself 'even more to prayer and meditation,' which he will do in a secluded monastery being renovated for him on the grounds behind Vatican City's ancient walls.
The wide world of sports moves fast and if you don't keep up, sometimes you get left behind. That is what happened this past week in Buffalo, New York. Lindy Ruff, the coach of the Sabres - that is Buffalo's hockey team - he was fired during his 17th season leading the team.
And that got NPR's Mike Pesca thinking. He joins us now.
In Florida and Arizona, it is a rite of spring for Major League Baseball teams and their fans. Spring training kicked off this weekend. Now, each club has its loyal followers, but arguably among the most diehard root for the team from the North Side of Chicago. The Chicago Cubs continually sell out games, even though the team hasn't won a World Series since 1908. Nick Blumberg from member station KJZZ in Phoenix talked to some fans at the team's first spring training game of the year.
It's been 40 years since Joel Grey won an Academy Award for his role as master of ceremonies in Bob Fosse's movie musical "Cabaret." Grey visited us at NPR this past week. He was in town to deliver his famous top hat, the one he wore in the movie, to the Smithsonian museum. The award-winning actor is surprisingly down to earth. Well, Mr. Grey, thank you so much.
JOEL GREY: Joel.
MARTIN: Joel. Thank you very much. Even so, he brought along a small entourage to our studio, which included a long-haired Chihuahua.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Yet another federal budget crisis is on the horizon. This Friday, March 1st, is the day that massive, across-the-board federal spending cuts will take effect unless Congress agrees on a new budget deal. Some analysts say the cuts, also known as the sequester, could drag the economy back into recession.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Coming up, a story of survival at sea. Steven Callahan was sailing across the Atlantic alone when nature intervened.
STEVEN CALLAHAN: Suddenly, there was a big crash on the side of the boat and a lot of water came flooding in. So, part of me was frightened and saying you're going to die, you're going to die, you're going right down with the boat, and part of me was saying shut up, do your job.
Cranes fly at sunset above the Hula Valley of northern Israel in January. Millions of birds pass through the area as they migrate south every winter from Europe and Asia to Africa. Some now stay in the Hula Valley for the entire winter.
Credit Menahem Kahana / AFP/Getty Images
Tens of thousands of cranes stayed this winter in the Hula Valley in northern Israel instead of migrating to Africa, taking advantage of the restored wetlands.
Like many countries, Israel tried to drain many of its swamplands, then realized it was destroying wildlife habitats. So the country reversed course, and has been restoring the wetlands of the Hula Valley in the north.
The effort has had a huge and rather noisy payoff. Unlike many birding sites, where the creatures take off when you approach them, you can practically touch the cranes that inhabit the Hula Valley.
Open the cover of Domenica Ruta's new memoir, With or Without You, and you'll find a quotation from Kurt Vonnegut: "You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do." His quotation foreshadows the woman at the end of this memoir — the one who emerges after a couple-hundred beautifully written, harrowing pages.
Stephanos Mwange, a Greek-born citizen of Ugandan descent, says his love for Greek history and mythology have inspired him to act ancient Greek tragedies such as <em>Hecuba</em>. He's a well-known actor, though his positive experience as a naturalized Greek citizen is exceptional. Most from a similar background say they've been made to feel like foreigners.
Credit Courtesy of Sotiria Psarou
A young couple is framed by Greek flags while watching Antonis Samaras, now the country's prime minister, speak at a campaign rally last June. Samaras wants to dismantle a law making it easier for second-generation Greeks to obtain citizenship.
Credit Courtesy of Myrto Papadopoulos
Jackie Abhulimen, 21, was born in Athens to a Kenyan mother and a Nigerian father and has lived here all her life. In Greek history books, she says, "the foreigner is always viewed as something negative, something threatening."
John Kerry sets off Sunday on his first foreign trip as secretary of state, visiting Europe and the Middle East.
One dominant theme of the trip will be how to resolve the crisis in Syria, where an estimated 70,000 people have been killed over the past two years. Kerry is portraying his trip as a listening tour, and he expects to hear a lot about Syria.
He told reporters recently that he wants to talk with U.S. allies about how to persuade Bashar Assad to agree on peace talks that would end the Syrian leader's bloody rule in Syria.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:55 am
Prehistoric humans didn't have toothbrushes. They didn't have floss or toothpaste, and they certainly didn't have Listerine. Yet somehow, their mouths were a lot healthier than ours are today.
"Hunter-gatherers had really good teeth," says Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA. "[But] as soon as you get to farming populations, you see this massive change. Huge amounts of gum disease. And cavities start cropping up."
Shen Lixiu, 58, says she had her front teeth kicked out in a re-education through labor camp. Chinese authorities say they are considering "reforms" to a system that is coming under increasing public criticism.
A lot of journalism about China focuses on the country's rapid and stunning changes, but equally telling are the things that stay the same. I did my first story on China's re-education through labor camps back in 2001.
I met a former inmate named Liu Xiaobo for lunch in Beijing. Liu, soft-spoken and thoughtful, had written an article mourning those who had died in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. He had also called for democracy.
So, one day, police took him from his house and charged him with "slandering the Communist Party" and "disrupting social order."
On-air challenge: You will be given some words starting with the letter R. You name a proverb or saying that contains each one.
Last week's challenge from listener Gary Alvstad of Tustin, Calif.: Name a well-known movie in two words with a total of 13 letters. Each of the two words contains the letter C. Drop both C's. The letters that remain in the second word of the title will be in alphabetical order, and the letters that remain in the first word will be in reverse alphabetical order. What movie is it?
Gerbrand Bakker's new international best-seller, Ten White Geese, opens with a mysterious woman alone on a Welsh farm. Humiliated by an affair with a student, she turns up alone at the farm, looking for nothing and no one. She answers to the name Emily, but that is actually the first name of the American poet about whom she is writing her doctoral dissertation. Her husband has no idea where she is.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:24 am
To those who closely follow the voter ID wars, Hans von Spakovsky is a household name, one of the nation's leading crusaders against voter fraud, and also one of its more controversial. Days before the 2012 election, The New Yorker profiled him as "the man who has stoked fear about imposters at the poll."
You're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Anthony Breznican said he can't predict Oscar winners. But here's a guy who says he's done just that. Conor Gaughan is the chief strategy officer for Farsite, and they've been looking at all kinds of data to predict who will take home those little golden men.
NPR's Bob Mondello and Tamara Keith read excerpts from Round 10 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. The entries are "Voice Mail Is For Suckers" by Kristin Bonilla of Fulshear, Texas, and "Chubby Bunny" by Katie Camlin of Warrensburg, Mo. Read the full stories below and see other submissions and past winners on our Three-Minute Fiction page.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control superPAC has poured more than $2 million into a Democratic primary in Chicago for a U.S. House seat.
Credit Brendan McDermid / Reuters/Landov
Most of the money spent by Michael Bloomberg's gun-control superPAC in the 2nd Congressional District race in Illinois has been used to attack former Rep. Debbie Halvorson for positions seen as pro-gun.
Credit John Smierciak / AP
Former Cook County administrator Robin Kelly has been the beneficiary of the Michael Bloomberg-funded superPAC.
One of the most important events in the national gun violence debate will take place Tuesday — in the snows of Chicago, a thousand miles from Newtown, Conn., or Washington, D.C.
That's where Democratic voters will choose their nominee to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. Because the district is so heavily Democratic, the winner will almost certainly be sworn in at the Capitol following the April general election.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:34 am
The Obama administration is following through on its relatively newfound support of gay marriage. On Friday, the administration filed a legal brief with the Justice Department that urges the Supreme Court to strike down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Syria's main opposition group is declining invitations to international meetings to protest what it calls the "shameful" failure by world leaders to end violence there.
"The international silence on the crimes committed every day against our people amounts to participating in two years of killings," the Syrian National Coalition said in a statement released Friday and reported on by Agence France-Presse and other news organizations.
Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 1:03 pm
The liberal watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy says Fix the Debt — a key unit in philanthropist Pete Peterson's corps of organizations to battle the national debt — is a pro-business effort masquerading as a grassroots movement.
In a conference call with reporters Friday, CMD director Lisa Graves called Fix the Debt "an Astroturf supergroup that is exceedingly well funded." The term "Astroturf" refers to groups that appear to be citizen-organized but actually have their roots at consultants' offices inside the Capital Beltway.