Maryland is about to become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.
A bill has passed the state Senate and is expected to pass the House of Delegates easily with the governor's ardent support. The strongest advocate to end the death penalty in Maryland is Kirk Bloodsworth, who was convicted of murder in that state in 1985 and was the first person in the U.S. to be sentenced to death row then exonerated by DNA evidence.
The Last Five Years originally ran off-Broadway in 2002. Cited as one of Time magazine's "Ten Best of 2001," it won Drama Desk awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics.
There are only two characters in the musical, Jamie and Cathy. Jamie is a young novelist and Cathy is a struggling actress. Told in reverse chronological order, the drama shows what happens when an artistic couple's romance fizzles out.
Christa and Cara Parravani were identical twins. When they were 28, Cara died of a drug overdose, and Christa spiraled into depression.
In her new book, Her: A Memoir, Christa explores their bond of sisterhood, which went beyond blood into the elliptical world of twinhood.
Both were artists, one a writer and the other a photographer. Both married young. Both lived through a hardscrabble childhood with a troubled mother. But Cara's path diverged after she was attacked and raped at age 24.
"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now, we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free." — A Sand County Almanac
A Sand County Almanac, a collection of essays and observations, was written decades ago by Aldo Leopold, the father of the American conservation movement.
Militants in Nigeria have killed seven hostages, including three Westerners, in an act the British foreign secretary called "pure, cold-blooded murder."
The seven hostages — four Lebanese and one British, one Greek and one Italian citizen – worked for the Setrapo construction company. They were kidnapped Feb 16 from Jama'are, a town about 125 miles north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state. Ansaru, a group that's an offshoot of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement, claimed responsibility for the killings.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai claims the U.S. is holding talks outside Afghanistan with the Afghan Taliban.
The allegations come as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continues his first visit to the nation as Pentagon Chief – and after a deadly explosion in Kabul on Saturday that the Taliban called a message to the new defense secretary.
Karzai made his claims in a nationally broadcast address just hours before he was to meet with Hagel, reports NPR's David Welna, who is traveling with Hagel.
We're going to take a moment now to talk about a word - yep, one word. Maybe you use it all the time or maybe you feel people use the word and it drives you up the wall. I'm talking about the word literally.
So that is one specific way that some in Congress are trying to address the issue of gun violence. Dr. Ted Corbin of Philadelphia says there's a need for broader gun control laws. But he also says people in his field can make a difference. Corbin is an emergency room doctor and the director of a program called Healing Hurt People. Corbin says when someone comes into an emergency room with a gunshot wound, there's an opportunity to make sure it doesn't happen again by directly introducing the victims to social services.
Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 1:59 pm
With a stroke of her pen, Queen Elizabeth II is giving royal support to equal rights.
Her majesty is expected to sign a new charter for the Commonwealth on Monday. The charter declares the core values for the 54 member states, most of which were once under British rule. It's getting attention for statements on gender equality and what it may imply for gay rights.
Last-minute preparations are under way at the Vatican where the conclave to elect the new pope begins Tuesday.
The 115 cardinal electors will remain at the Sistine Chapel incommunicado from the rest of the world as they vote. In the era of social media, however, Vatican officials are taking every precaution to prevent cardinals from yielding to the temptation to tweet and text.
There are only about 1,000 people of pure Hawaiian descent left in the world, but island residents are cooking up an idea to keep native island culture from fading away. The key ingredient? Reviving a starchy food called poi.
Lucy is a stereotypically giddy black labradoodle. She's not what you picture when you think of a military dog serving on the front lines in Afghanistan. She wiggles around the room chasing her tennis ball and thinks my microphone cover is a chew toy.
But her handler, Spc. Heath Garcia, says when Lucy is on a mission, she's all business. She's highly trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which are the No. 1 killer of civilians and troops in Afghanistan.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. It takes a special kind of person to blaze a trail. A bit later this hour, we'll hear from actress Rita Moreno about her amazing life from her childhood in Puerto Rico to the harrowing boat trip that brought her to New York City to becoming an acclaimed actress, singer and dancer and a mainstay of American stage and screen. But now...
Despite the controversy we just heard about, John Brennan was confirmed by the Senate, making him the next director of the CIA. Scott Shane covers national security and intelligence issues for the New York Times. We asked him what kind of CIA John Brennan will inherit.
Host Rachel Martin talks with Sen. Mark Begich, an Alaska Democrat, about his newly proposed gun violence legislation. He introduced it at a press conference with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham this past week.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a word containing an A and a Z. Given anagrams of the remaining letters, name the word. For example, given "leg," the answer would be "glaze".
Last week's challenge: Eight people are seated at a circular table. Each person gets up and sits down again — either in the same chair or in the chair immediately to the left or right of the one they were in. How many different ways can the eight people be re-seated?
Did you leave a message after our prompt? For Round 10 of Three-Minute Fiction, we asked you to submit a short story in the form of a voice mail message. For this contest, the original fiction must be read in about three minutes, no more than 600 words.
After four weeks and more than 4,000 stories, we have a winner.
Listen to the full story on Hugo Chavez's legacy on All Things Considered
Venezuela's elections commission announced Saturday that voters will go to the polls on April 14 to choose a successor to President Hugo Chavez, who died this week after a battle with cancer.
The nation's constitution mandated that an election be called within 30 days of Chavez's death on March 5, but the scheduled date falls outside of that window. Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's vice president, was sworn in as interim leader on Friday.
In the 1940s and '50s, Tadd Dameron worked with everyone who was anyone in jazz, from Miles Davis to Artie Shaw, Count Basie to John Coltrane. Everything Dameron touched had one thing in common, says Paul Combs, author of Dameronia: The Life and Work of Tadd Dameron.
"A penchant for lyricism," Combs says. "Almost everything that he writes has a very lyrical grace to it."
It was supposed to be the most modern election in African history. Biometric identification kits with electronic thumb pads, registration rolls on laptops at every polling station, and an SMS-relayed, real-time transmission of the results to the National Tallying Center in Nairobi.
Ambitious? Of course. Only 23 percent of the country has access to electricity.
Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 4:51 am
The Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has been secretive, keeping to itself and refusing to meet Western journalists. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the Obama administration and was thought to be made up mostly of foreign fighters, working alongside Syrian rebels.
But lately, members are starting to open up as more Syrians join the group and they make more gains on the ground in the fight against the Syrian government.
The man who invented Roomba, the robotic vacuum, is back — this time, with Baxter. Rodney Brooks, roboticist and entrepreneur, brought Baxter, his latest robot, to the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., last week.
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: