It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
Intensive diplomatic efforts are under way in the Middle East to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas. Those efforts haven't stopped the two sides from escalating their attacks. And if the diplomacy fails, Israel could decide to invade Gaza. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us now from Gaza with the latest. Anthony, what's been happening today so far?
The conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip continues to escalate after Israeli airstrikes flattened key targets in Gaza, and Palestinian rockets threatened deeper into Israel than ever before.
The death toll in Gaza doubled overnight to at least 39 people, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Gaza City. Around 300 airstrikes overnight hit the Hamas prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels, among other targets.
Director Ang Lee's new film, Life of Pi, tells the story of a 16-year-old Indian boy who is the lone survivor of a terrible shipwreck. Pi Patel finds himself lost at sea, alone on a boat with a Bengal tiger.
The film is based on Yann Martel's fantasy novel of the same name. The book won the 2002 Man Booker prize for fiction and was optioned to be turned into a film even though it was considered by many in Hollywood to be unfilmable: How do you make a movie that takes place almost entirely on a boat? And with a real tiger?
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:30 am
Sarah and Yael Levintin raised their wine glasses to the sky and toasted the Iron Dome system that had just been deployed outside Israel's commercial center.
The two sisters decided to leave their apartment Friday evening after two rockets fired into the Tel Aviv area were successfully intercepted by the system.
"We had stayed home all day because we didn't want to take the chance that, you know, we'd be away from the bomb shelter," said Yael Levintin. "We aren't used to war. I guess we are kind of babies about it."
Former Bears Coach Mike Ditka was hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke on Friday. The Hall of Famer says doctors have assured him the stroke was slight, and he told The Chicago Tribune, "I feel good right now and it's not a big deal." As the Tribune explains:
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 1:53 pm
For the sake of argument, let's agree that when we use the word "inauguration" in this particular post, we are talking about the multiday, ball-bestrewn, soiree-soaked, tuxedo-dappled extravaganza that costs tens of millions of dollars and often leaves many Americans out in the cold — figuratively and literally.
Congressional leaders after their meeting with President Obama Friday. From left: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), House Speaker John Boehner (R) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).
As President Obama and congressional leaders started negotiations Friday to find a way to avoid the nation's going over the fiscal cliff, it was fairly plain that even some of those who are wisest in the ways of Washington couldn't agree on whether policymakers would actually be able to prevent the federal government from becoming a cliff diver.
A diamond prospector filters earth from a river in Koidu, the capital of diamond-rich Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone. Koidu suffered some of the worst ravages of Sierra Leone's war in the 1990s as rebels forced citizens to mine at gunpoint. Ten years after the conflict, diamonds remain a contentious issue.
Credit Issouf Sanogo / AFP/Getty Images
Small-scale artisanal mining has sustained this area since diamonds were discovered in 1930, but it is hard work and the pay is low.
Sierra Leone's "blood diamonds" helped fuel atrocities in the impoverished West African nation in the 1990s. The war has now been over for a decade, and the country's most valuable resource is no longer known as the product of a conflict. But it remains a contentious issue.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to the media at U.N. headquarters in April.
Credit Seth Wenig / AP
Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., appear during a news conference Wednesday about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Graham argued that Rice misled the public when addressing the attack, in which four Americans were killed.
President Obama hasn't even named his choice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who plans to step down at the end of this term. But there's been a lot of heated rhetoric this week over one of the front-runners, Susan Rice.
Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of the administration on five Sunday talk shows days after the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. At the time, she suggested the attack began as a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video. U.S. officials now say it was a terrorist attack.
Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 12:16 pm
David Petraeus' resignation from the CIA further complicated the debate over the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Petraeus, a key figure in the events, stepped down as director after admitting to an extramarital affair. But members of Congress were so anxious to hear from him that they brought Petraeus back to Capitol Hill on Friday to get his version of the Benghazi story.
Fresh off his re-election, a politically fortified President Obama summoned the top four congressional leaders to the White House on Friday for the first of what could be many rounds of talks for a deal to avert fiscal calamity.
The meeting was part of the opening moves to keep the nation from sailing over the so-called "fiscal cliff" — those across-the-board tax hikes and deep spending cuts set to kick in at year's end.
In welcoming the quartet of lawmakers, Obama struck a conciliatory note.
Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 4:00 pm
Rep. Peter King caused a row coming out of the closed-door hearings on the attack of the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
In an interview with Fox News, King, a Republican from New York, said that when former CIA Director David Petraeus said he believed from the start that this was a terrorist attack, he was contradicting earlier testimony.
The tech industry has been lobbying hard for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the 1986 law governing online privacy.
Under an umbrella group calling itself Digital Due Process, companies and civil liberties groups have argued that the law is too loose with the privacy of data stored online, especially Web-based email and other documents on the cloud.
Ernest Shallo, of Carteret, N.J., throws a ruined air conditioner onto a pile of debris in front of a small home in Seaside Heights, N.J. Residents were allowed back in their homes for a few hours Monday, two weeks after the region was pounded by Superstorm Sandy.
Credit Mel Evans / AP
A damaged home in Seaside Heights, N.J.
Credit Jim Zarroli / NPR
Wayne Duszczak (left) and his son Anthony clean up the gravel yard of their Seaside Heights home, which was badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy.
Ever since Hurricane Sandy ripped through the New Jersey coast, some of the hardest-hit towns have been closed altogether. Authorities say gas leaks and unstable buildings have made them too risky to visit.
This week, residents were allowed to enter Seaside Heights for a few hours each day to get a firsthand look at the damage. Many are struggling with whether to rebuild their homes.
Now, on to our final game, Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players has 60 seconds to answer as many questions as they can, each correct answer now worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?
CARL KASELL: Charlie Pierce and Faith Salie have a tie for the lead, Peter. Each of them has three points, and Mo Rocca has two.
Randy Sprecher came to Milwaukee years ago to make beer for one of the big breweries. But he didn't like the beer he was making so he founded his own brewery ... and now, his friends keep showing up at his door all the time with lame excuses.
We've invited Sprecher to answer three questions about Carrie Nation, the famously violent prohibitionist.