Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has waged a two-pronged campaign against the opposition, critics say. His military continues to fight, while nonviolent activists are being detained in increasing numbers, according to monitoring groups.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
While fighting continues in Syria, the government has been detaining many nonviolent activists, according to monitoring groups. Here, Syrian soldiers are shown on a bridge in Damascus last November.
President Bashar Assad's regime has launched a new and sweeping arrest campaign of opposition activists and intellectuals in the past few weeks, according to Western analysts and diplomats.
The growing tally of arrests has gone largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the daily violence that threatens to jeopardize the U.N. peace plan. But in combination, both are undermining the already faint hopes of peace.
In Peter Carey's new novel, The Chemistry of Tears, the hero and the heroine are separated by 150 years. It is an object — a piece of technology — that brings Catherine and Henry together: An enormous, 19th-century, mechanical duck.
Catherine, a horologist — an expert on the inner workings of clocks — is restoring it in the present day. It's a distraction from the sudden death of her married lover. Henry, more than a century earlier, commissions the duck as a giant toy for his beloved, but very sick child.
Conservator Angelyn Bass cleans and stabilizes the surface of a wall of a Mayan house that dates to the ninth century. The figure of a man who may have been the town scribe appears on the wall to her left.
Credit Tyrone Turner / Copyright 2012 National Geographic
Four long numbers on the north wall of the ruined house relate to the Mayan calendar and computations about the moon, sun and possibly Venus and Mars; the dates stretch some 7,000 years into the future.
Credit Illustration by William Saturno and David Stuart / Copyright 2012 National Geographic
The painted figure of a man — possibly a scribe who once lived in the house built by the ancient Maya — is illuminated through a doorway to the dwelling, in northeastern Guatemala. The structure represents the first Mayan house found to contain artwork on its walls.
Credit Tyrone Turner / Copyright 2012 National Geographic
Archaeologists working in one of the most impenetrable rain forests in Guatemala have stumbled on a remarkable discovery: a room full of wall paintings and numerical calculations.
The buried room apparently was a workshop used by scribes or astronomers working for a Mayan king. The paintings depict the king and members of his court. The numbers mark important periods in the Mayan calendar.
Gideon Lewis-Kraus was confused. A few years ago, the American 20-something was living in Berlin, hanging out in art galleries and nameless speak-easies, preoccupied with living a creatively meaningful life, but unsure what that meant or how to make it happen.
After spending much of the year on the rise, gas prices are now falling. The average price for a gallon of regular gas nationwide is $3.73, according to AAA. That's a drop of nearly 20 cents in one month, and industry analysts expect the price to keep falling.
You can get in a lot trouble trying to predict commodity prices, though. Phil Flynn, a market analyst at futures brokerage PFGBEST in Chicago, says there is one thing you can predict.
California's Legislative Analyst's Office said the latest proposal to build a $68.4 billion high-speed train system is still too vague and the state legislature should not approve funding it for it this year.
On-Air Challenge: The word "mother" has a surprising property. If you move the first two letters to the end, you get "thermo," the prefix for "heat." Every answer today is another six-letter word that, when you move the first two letters to the end, you get another word or phrase.
Last Week's Challenge from listener Gary Witkin of Newark, Del.: Using only the six letters of the name "Bronte," repeating them as often as necessary, spell a familiar six-word phrase. What is it?
Mitt Romney delivers the keynote address at Liberty University's commencement ceremony in Lynchburg, Va., on Saturday. In his speech, Romney told students that "marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman."
President Obama's support for same-sex marriage has been a hot topic this week. After he announced his position during an ABC News interview Wednesday, it's been difficult for pundits, the media and the public to focus on much else, especially since the news came on the heels of North Carolina's approval of a ban on same-sex marriage.
From NPR News, it's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.
For three days now, Mitt Romney's campaign has tried to steer the national conversation back to the economy. But the pressure to respond to President Obama's announcement in support of gay marriage has been intense. And this morning at a speech to students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Romney definitively spoke out.
MITT ROMNEY: Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.
Football is a violent game, but a century ago it used to be a lethal pastime. NPR's Tom Goldman explains how President Teddy Roosevelt stepped in and forced the establishment of new rules that made the game safer.
In 1919, Chicago was called the "youngest great city in the world." World War I had just come to a close, troops were coming home, industry was booming and crime was down. Chicago's mayor at the time, William Hale Thompson — known as Big Bill — had just been re-elected and was spearheading an ambitious urban improvement program.
But in mid-July of 1919, just about everything that could go wrong in Chicago did. Among the headlines were a deadly dirigible crash, a bizarre kidnapping, race riots and a major public transit strike.
In one of the most talked-about moments from the hit TV show Glee, Blaine declared his love for Kurt and then — they kissed.
Glee is just one of many popular shows on television right now that feature gay characters. Those characters aren't just entertaining us, they're changing Americans' attitudes toward homosexuality.
In five separate studies, professor Edward Schiappa and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota have found that the presence of gay characters on television programs decreases prejudices among viewers.
Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval first met Dizzy Gillespie in Havana in 1977, when the American jazzman came to Cuba to play a concert. Sandoval showed him around the city, where the two men listened to the sounds of rumba music echoing through Havana's black neighborhoods. That night, Sandoval managed to play his trumpet for Gillespie — and blew him away.
We want to remind everybody they can join us here most weeks at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago. For tickets and more information go to wbez.org, or you can find a link at our website, waitwait.npr.org. Right now, panel, time for you to answer some questions about the week's news, of course.
Mo, interesting study this week about climate change. Some scientists are suggesting that 150 million years ago, what contributed to global warming?
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing his week with Mo Rocca, Tom Bodett and Amy Dickinson. And, here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Thank you everybody.
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SAGAL: It is, of course, time again for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Tom Bodett, Amy Dickinson and Mo Rocca. And, here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
Coming up, it's Lightning Fill in the Blank. But first it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-Wait-Wait. That's 1-888-924-8924, or you can click the contact us link at our website waitwait.npr.org.
There you can find out about attending our weekly live shows here at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago and our upcoming shows in Cleveland, Ohio and Portland, Maine. Tickets for those shows go on sale this week. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
Now, on to our final game, Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as he or she can. Each correct answer is worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?
CARL KASELL: Tom Bodett has the lead, Peter. He has four points. Amy Dickinson has three. Mo Rocca has two.
SAGAL: Mo, you're in third place. You're up first. The clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank.
The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. is always a work in progress. Although it's more than a century old, and is being repaired from damage caused by last year's earthquake, it always makes room for new statues and carvings of people who inspire.
REVEREND DR. FRANCIS WADE: May God bless the eyes of all who see the likeness we dedicate this evening.
The British have been holding a public inquiry into press ethics for the last few months. The government is responding to the outcry over the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World. The inquiry's investing the way newspapers, the police and politicians may feed off each other and that means shining a light into the secluded world, in particular, of the prime minister's social set. NPR's Philip Reeves has been watching the questioning.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Republicans in Wisconsin are gathered this weekend for their annual political convention. The delegates could make an endorsement in a key Senate race this year. It is the contest to replace retiring Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl.
Now, many believe that George W. Bush's former Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy Thompson, might essentially breeze through a four-way Republican primary.
Are you calling 911 or you just glad to sit down? Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a study this week that shows that 38 percent of the calls received by New York's emergency services are mistakes - mobile phones that dial 911 when a user jostles a phone in their purse or pocket. The popular term for such calls is pocket or butt calls.