Nowhere are the many recent reforms in Myanmar, also known as Burma, so evident as on city streets. Until this year, they were often choked with ancient jalopies because for most of the past half century ordinary Burmese citizens weren't allowed to purchase imported cars.
But the country's car import policies are now undergoing a lurching sort of liberalization, whose speed, quirks and unintended consequences offer a window on Myanmar's reforms.
This may be the year of actor Matthew McConaughey.
At the very least, fans will remember 2012 as the year that McConaughey revolutionized his career. He's starred in five different independent films, taking on smaller, character-actor parts in place of his usual roles as the sly-grinning heartthrob in romantic comedies.
You might not be able to hear it on television, but in the Olympic stadiums and arenas of London over the next weeks, games-watchers will be treated to some exclusive new tracks from world-renown mashup artist Jordan Roseman, better known as DJ Earworm.
"Out of the blue, there was an email," Roseman tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "They wanted these mixes."
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is calling Sen. John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 a "mistake."
In an excerpted interview with ABC News'This Week on Sunday, Cheney said it's important that Romney not repeat the fumble. The list of potential VP picks is a big one, he says, but there's a shorter list, too:
Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 10:39 am
Fighting continues in Aleppo, Syria's largest city on Sunday while accusations of meddling – and pleas to meddle more – are flying on the international stage.
According to Guardian correspondent Luke Harding, reporting from Aleppo province, the rebels are holding their own but are ultimately outmatched against government forces using heavy weaponry. He quotes a rebel commander who "was relatively pessimistic about the Free Syrian Army's chances of fending off repeated attacks":
The Olympics have officially had a "Salahi moment." Remember, the White House gatecrashers? Well, on Friday during the opening ceremony, a young woman wearing a red jacket and turquoise pants was seen walking with the Indian delegation into Olympic stadium. Not only that, but she was walking alongside the flag bearer.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene. The presumptive Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, is holding meetings today in Israel with top Israeli officials, and also with the Palestinian prime minister. This morning, Gov. Romney made a visit to the Wailing Wall.
This is the second stop on a much-anticipated overseas trip that got off to a rocky start, in London. Sheera Frenkel is joining us on the line from Jerusalem, to update us on the trip. And Sheera, good morning.
Day One of the London Olympics may have signaled a passing of the torch from one generation of swimming superstars to another. Expectations were sky-high for Michael Phelps, who already had the biggest gold medal haul in Olympic history. But a much-anticipated showdown with swimming teammate Ryan Lochte, turned out to be not much of a showdown at all.
If you own a smartphone, chances are it's made by Apple or a company that Apple is suing. And for the first time tomorrow, one of those lawsuits is going to a jury trial. Apple wants more than two and a half billion dollars from Samsung for what it claims is patent violation.
NPR's Laura Sydell has been following this story and joins us. Hey, Laura.
LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Hi.
GREENE: So, two and a half billion dollars? I mean is that real? That's a huge amount of money.
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is an American classic with a distinctive black-labeled bottle that kind of looks like the typeface on an old wanted poster. Patrick Wensink wrote a novel called Broken Piano for President with a cover that was clearly inspired, maybe a little too much, by Jack Daniel's.
While Major League baseball is big and epic, there's something magical about sitting in a small stadium. Guest host David Greene reports on the progress of Minor League Baseball player Tyler Saladino at one of his team's away games. Saladino is an infielder for Alabama's Birmingham Barons.
Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, remain one of the biggest killers in Afghanistan. As NATO forces prepare to withdraw from the country, Afghans are learning the special skills needed to find and disarm these deadly weapons.
The training area near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif is a large expanse of dirt and gravel, dotted with a few beat-up old taxis and scattered bunkers.
Imagine being able to rock a piano so well that Aerosmith wants you as its touring keyboardist. That's what happened to Russ Irwin, and he's been sharing the stage with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry for 15 years.
"I'm staring at their backsides," he tells NPR's David Greene. "It's an interesting place to be."
Mike Lee is one of the most conservative members of the Senate. The freshman Utah Republican was elected with strong Tea Party backing and, like Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, he's a man of the West.
Mention the possibility that Thune, 51, might team up with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Lee's eyes light up: "I love John," he says. "He's articulate, passionate, collegial. I mean ... I think he'd be great."
In Spain, the growing crisis — debt, austerity and joblessness — has prompted more people to vote with their feet. In the first six months of 2012, emigration from Spain is up more than 44 percent from the same period last year.
The Spanish government denies it, but the "brain drain" has become something of a flood with more and more educated, skilled Spaniards moving abroad.
It's summer. It's hot. And that means it's time for a particular kind of music: the kind that streams from church basements and empty lots, raising your spirit as high as the mercury. It's revival season.
Spirit Family Reunion isn't from Appalachia or the plains; the band is from Brooklyn. Its music, though clearly Americana-based, casts a wide enough net to elude classification.
In August, lawmakers will be heading home to their districts for the month's recess. Last summer, things weren't quite so calm.
A year ago at this time, Congress was in a nasty and protracted battle over whether to raise the debt ceiling. If they didn't make a decision, the government was going to go into default. It's a fight that cost Congress its already waning public support, and cost American taxpayers $1.3 billion.
The first full day of Olympic competition brought moments of tense excitement, in the pool and on the archery course, among other places. At the time of this post, China leads the overall medal count, with 6, followed by Italy and the United States, with 5. Four of China's medals are gold.
Something is happening when it comes to religion in America.
Though more Americans go to church or believe in God than their counterparts in virtually every other Western country, fewer Americans now trust religious institutions. A recent Gallup poll showed that just 44 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in "the church or organized religion."