A big international conference is being held in Bonn, Germany, on Monday to help draw up a roadmap for Afghanistan after combat operations there cease at the end of 2014. But Pakistan — a critical player in the Afghanistan conundrum — has said it's boycotting the conference after NATO troops killed 24 Pakistani soldiers during an attack in late November.
The International Monetary Fund used to bail out deadbeat nations in Latin America. Now, in a role reversal, the IMF's new director, Christine Lagarde, is seeking the region's help in containing Europe's worsening debt crisis. Officials in Brazil, now the world's seventh-biggest economy, say they're putting together an IMF loan. And Lagarde says the whole region can provide Europe with lessons on how to manage the economy.
Russia's ruling political party fared worse than expected in a parliamentary election Sunday. The vote is being viewed as a setback for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, which retained power but has a weaker majority in Parliament. For more on the election, Steve Inskeep speaks with Masha Lipman, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center.
Instant cups of soup — the kind that often come in a Styrofoam cup full of noodles — send children to the hospital every day.
"I don't have them in my house," says Dr. Warren Garner, director of the burn unit at University of Southern California's County Hospital in Los Angeles. "I would say that we see at least two to three patients a week who've been injured by these products."
Bean counters at the Pentagon are working long hours to figure out how to cut close to a trillion dollars from the Department of Defense budget over the next 10 years.
Those were the Pentagon's marching orders after the congressional supercommittee failed to come up with a plan to slash the country's deficit. Pentagon officials are looking at cutting weapons programs, troop levels and possibly even some base closures.
If you've shopped at a toy store recently, you know that you can easily spend hundreds of dollars on just a few items. So why not just rent the toys instead? Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin tells us how toy rental websites work.
Military benefits for retirees cost the Pentagon more than $50 billion each year. Few in Washington are publicly in favor of cutting those entitlements, even though former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the cost was "eating the Defense Department alive." One former Navy commander, Bryan McGrath, tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin he'd be willing to pay more for his benefits.
At 32, neo-soul singer and multi-instrumentalist Mayer Hawthorne isn't quite old enough to remember the classic days of Motown, but the Michigan native says he did absorb some of the music's aesthetic growing up, thanks to his father.
Pauline Kael, long-time New Yorker film critic, was famous for her scathing, but honest movie reviews. She took digs at many popular films like The Sound of Music and Star Wars with no inhibitions. Yet her enthusiasm for films like Bonnie and Clyde gave some movies a new lease on life.