Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
4:24 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Rich Reads: Historical Fiction Fit For A Queen

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 9:33 am

I have always loved a great story set in the past. Give me a high-powered historical plot, and I will keep turning those pages until my eyes cross. Kings or consuls, functionaries or janissaries, it doesn't matter, only that it pounds onward to the conclusion — volcano explosion, battle or market crash. It's literary dessert, and I devour every bite.

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Author Interviews
4:23 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Lessons For Europe From 'The Second World War'

STF AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 10:47 am

For most people, the start of World War II means German soldiers marching into Poland. Historian Antony Beevor begins and ends his new book, The Second World War with something different: the story of a German soldier who was actually Korean, was captured in Normandy, and wound up living in Illinois.

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The Record
4:23 am
Sat June 23, 2012

A Summer With Fun.

Nate Ruess before fun.'s show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on Friday.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 10:26 am

Fun. is in the middle of quite a run. For six weeks this spring, the band had the No. 1 song in the country with "We Are Young," an anthemic pledge of drunken solidarity that has appeared in countless commercials and TV shows, and dominated radio playlists and sales charts since March (it's still in the top five).

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U.S.
4:23 am
Sat June 23, 2012

What Title IX Didn't Change: Stigma About Shop Class

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 11:05 am

Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, which said no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from any education program or activity. Vocational education courses that barred girls — such as auto mechanics, carpentry and plumbing — became available for everyone. But it's still hard to find girls in classes once viewed as "for boys only."

Zoe Shipley, 15, has a passion for cars and tinkering with engines.

"It's just kind of cool to learn how to fix a car or learn about it," she says.

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Science
4:22 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Rio+20 Summit Sustains Little More Than Sentiment

U.N. General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's Secretary of the Conference Luis Figueiredo Machado and Rio+20 Secretary General Sha Zukang attend the closing ceremony of the Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
Andre Penner AP

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 9:15 pm

The Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development was the biggest United Nations conference ever, but it may be one of the biggest duds. It produced no major agreements — just a vaguely worded declaration that has been widely derided.

More than 45,000 people registered for the event in Rio de Janeiro, but diplomats couldn't even agree about the meeting's objective until 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday, just before heads of state and other high-level delegates started arriving in Rio.

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Around the Nation
4:03 am
Sat June 23, 2012

On This Stage, Jesus Is A Robber; The Devil's A Rapist

David Sonnier Jr., from Jeanerette, La., plays the Devil in Angola Prison's production of The Life of Jesus Christ. He was convicted of aggravated rape and is serving a life sentence.
Deborah Luster for NPR

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 9:07 am

There are more than 5,300 inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Nearly 4,000 of them are serving life without parole. Last month, the Angola Prison Drama Club staged a play unlike any other in the prison's experience.

The Life of Jesus Christ featured 70 inmates, men and women acting together for the first time — in costume, with a real camel, performing for the general public. For the untrained actors, this production held special meaning as they saw pieces of their own lives revealed in the characters they played.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Paraguay's Congress Votes To Oust President

Paraguay's congress impeached President Fernando Lugo on Friday over his handling of a deadly land dispute.
Jose Cabezas AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 8:11 am

Paraguay's congress voted to remove President Fernando Lugo. The impeachment proceeding was a lightening process in which with both chambers approved his destitution in a little more than 24 hours.

Paraguay's La Nacíon reports that Vice President Federico Franco will assume the presidency after Lugo was found guilty of "performing his duties badly."

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Sandhya Dirks arrived in Iowa in January of 2012 as a general assignment reporter. Since coming to Des Moines she has covered the Statehouse and traveled across Iowa to bring back stories for IPR. Sandhya was previously a reporter at KALW in San Francisco, covering education and criminal justice issues. Her work was awarded a SPJ Sigma Delta Chi and a regional Edward R. Murrow award.

Most recently, Sandhya earned her Master of Science from Columbia Journalism School in New York. Her master’s project was an investigative documentary about international adoption for which she was awarded the Pasty Preston Pulitzer Documentary Fellowship.

Sandhya’s favorite public radio program is Radiolab.

Around the Nation
4:02 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

A Century-Old Grotto That Might Out-Glitter Vegas

Father Paul Dobberstein began building the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa, 100 years ago. It's covered with stones, rocks, petrified wood and seashells.
Denise Krebs via Flickr

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 4:11 pm

The Midwest is known for its roadside attractions — world's largest ear of corn, heaviest ball of twine, biggest truck stop.

But it's also home to one of the largest collections of grottoes in the world. Most of these man-made caves were created by immigrant priests at the beginning of the 20th century. And the mother of them all — encrusted in $6 million worth of semiprecious stones — is in West Bend, Iowa.

This weekend, the Grotto of the Redemption turns 100.

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Sports
3:47 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

40 Years On, Title IX Still Shapes Female Athletes

Michelle Marciniak (right) of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers attempts to elude the defensive pressure of Nykesha Sales of the UConn Huskies during the 1996 NCAA Women's Final Four.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 4:30 pm

Title IX, which turns 40 on Saturday, has helped reverse years of bias, banning sex discrimination in federally funded schools and colleges.

Its guarantee of equal access to sports was a small part of the original legislation. But it's become the most recognizable part of Title IX. That guarantee has not always played out, and the law has its critics. For four decades, however, it's played a huge part in shaping lives.

'I Can Handle This World'

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