Daoud Kuttab, executive producer of Shara'a Simsim, the Palestinian version of Sesame Street, holds a Muppet at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah earlier this month. The producers say they have been forced to put production for the 2012 season on hold because of a funding freeze by the U.S. Congress.
This used to be a busy time of year for Shara'a Simsim, the Palestinian version of Sesame Street.
Producers and educators would be choosing the "words of the day" for the upcoming season. Writers would be brainstorming ideas around a large conference table. Project director Laila Sayegh says everyone would be working long days.
"From the morning, like 8 until 6 o'clock in the evening. And now as you can see, it's empty. We have nothing," she says.
A nurse weighs an Afghan child at a U.S.-funded clinic in Farza, Afghanistan, in September. A new U.S.-sponsored survey shows dramatic gains in life expectancy and other aspects of health care in Afghanistan. But some experts are questioning the accuracy of the results.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a trio of cases involving free speech and religion.
In the first set of cases, the court declined to address the burgeoning legal debate over what powers school officials have to censor students who are at home, working on their personal computers, when they create parodies or personal attacks involving school officials or fellow students.
The employees of Morgan Stanley, owner of the world's biggest brokerage, will receive a maximum cash bonus of $125,000, this year. As The New York Times puts it, the cap reflects "the difficulties that new financial regulations and the debt turmoil in Europe have posed to Morgan Stanley and its rival firms."
And with tongue firmly in cheek, it also notes that the bankers "may want to put their kitchen renovations off until next year."
There were hints that all was not well in Paula Deen's Southern-fried world. Last November, when NPR correspondent Allison Aubrey asked Deen if she'd ever do healthier versions of her greasy, sugar-laden fare, Deen said: "As I age, and get older and I get 'different things' that I have to battle physically — it may, you know, resonate closer to home for me."
The 168-year-old British tabloid News of the World shut down last July after a widespread scandal that involved phone and voice mail hacking. Now there's a debate about placing new regulations on the British press.
The voice mail and computer hacking and police bribery scandal that has roiled the British newspaper industry has also led to calls for government regulation of the press in one of the world's greatest democracies.
Some newspaper executives, such as Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail and editor-in-chief of the Mail on Sunday, are attempting to draw the line.
Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 12:03 pm
Investigators are now saying arson was not the likely cause of a fire that on Monday destroyed a cypress tree in Central Florida that was an estimated 3,500 years old — making it perhaps the oldest such tree in the nation and one of the oldest in the world.
Known as "The Senator," the tree that once stood 165 feet tall (before a hurricane lopped off about 45 feet in 1925) was more likely brought down by a fire that had been smoldering inside it — without being detected — since a lightning strike about a week ago, investigators say.