Government opponents in Syria have not been able to dislodge President Bashar Assad, but they are doing something the country has rarely if ever seen: they are organizing by themselves, outside of government control.
The massive street protests, demanding the end of Assad's regime, have defined the revolt over the past eight months.
But other things are happening as well, far from public view. In one quiet office in Damascus, Ashraf Hamza, 28, is leading a group of men at a session on community organizing.
Instructor Mark Fabro leads an exercise at the Department of Homeland Security's cyberdefense facility at the Idaho National Laboratory in September. Training at the lab is intended to help protect the nation's power, water and chemical plants, electrical grid and other facilities from computer viruses such as Stuxnet.
Credit Mark J. Terrill / AP
Cybersecurity analysts look at a diagram that shows their computer network, which is coming under attack, during a mock exercise at the Idaho National Laboratory in September.
Credit Mark J. Terrill / AP
Marty Edwards, director of the DHS Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (shown here at the Idaho National Laboratory in September) says the U.S. government's cybersecurity lab had no role in the development of Stuxnet.
Credit Ebrahim Norouzi / AP
The Stuxnet computer worm reportedly affected several laptops belonging to employees of the Bushehr nuclear power plant (shown here in a photo from August 2010 and released by the International Iran Photo Agency) in Iran, as well as centrifuges at Natanz, the country's most important uranium enrichment facility.
The Stuxnet computer worm, arguably the first and only cybersuperweapon ever deployed, continues to rattle security experts around the world, one year after its existence was made public.
Apparently meant to damage centrifuges at a uranium enrichment facility in Iran, Stuxnet now illustrates the potential complexities and dangers of cyberwar.
Secretly launched in 2009 and uncovered in 2010, it was designed to destroy its target much as a bomb would. Based on the cyberworm's sophistication, the expert consensus is that some government created it.
A sign that reads "recall" hangs on a statue in front of the Wisconsin state Capitol last month in Madison. Labor groups are making an effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker for his controversial union rights law.
A Wisconsin law on union bargaining rights signed by Gov. Scott Walker shows no signs of disappearing.
In February and March, there was a shocking, sometimes strange sight at the Wisconsin capitol: By day, protesters marched shoulder-to-shoulder. By night, they lived in the capitol, sleeping on the building's marble floors.
It began after Walker, a Republican, broke 50 years of Wisconsin precedent, announcing he would not bargain with public employee unions. He said the state was broke and he had nothing to negotiate with. The rest is the stuff of political folklore.
Lawyers for President Obama's Justice Department and Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be squaring off in federal court in Washington on Wednesday.
The state has sued the federal government to try to win court approval for its new legislative maps. There are big stakes: Texas stands to gain four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. But minorities in Texas, with a boost from the Justice Department, say the new boundaries amount to a step backward for Latino voting power.
If you want to know just how unhappy Americans are with their two-party government, a group called Americans Elect is ready to tell you.
The nonprofit group has scheduled a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday in a bid to show the Democratic and Republican establishments that voters want a third choice in presidential candidates.
It's a choice Americans Elect hopes to provide. This might sound like a third political party taking the field, but the group says that's not what it is.
Next week Mississippi voters will decide whether to pass a constitutional amendment that redefines a person. Under the proposal, fertilized human eggs would be considered human beings, which would ban all abortions in the state. But abortion-rights activists say it would also limit contraception and threaten fertility treatments.
Les Riley has worked on the initiative for years, gathering signatures to get it on the ballot. Now, in northwest Mississippi, he's talking to voters and assembling yard signs that urge the passage of Amendment 26.
This week, we're asking what it really means to live in a world with 7 billion people. For some answers, we visit Karachi, Pakistan.
The grandest expression of the world's population growth is in the word "megacity." Dozens of these cities of more than 10 million now ring the globe, like a string of oversized pearls. In a megacity, people and ideas clash: The ancient collides with the modern; secular with religious; global with local. In Karachi, Pakistan, those forces can be seen in the story of a single piece of real estate.
Arizona is one of a handful of states that hands the redistricting to an independent commission, instead of its legislature. At least that's what's supposed to happen. In a stunning move last night, though, the Arizona Senate and its governor ousted the head of the state's independent commission.
NPR's Ted Robbins joins us from our bureau in Tucson to explain. Good morning, Ted.
Embattled Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball reached an agreement late Tuesday to sell the storied franchise. Roger Arrieta of Los Angeles, who started a website calling on billionaire Mark Cuban to "Save the Dodgers," plans a rally at the stadium to celebrate the sale.
Just a day before a meeting of the world's top 20 economies in France, Greece stunned the world by announcing it would put a hard-won bailout package agreed upon by Eurozone nations to the test in a popular referendum. The news went down like a lead balloon in European capitals and sent the markets reeling. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, host of the G20, is scrambling to repair the damage, summoning Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to France.
The Presidents Cup, on display in front of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. It's unclear to Frank Deford exactly what the Presidents Cup is — he knows only that it's played in November.
There's an awful lot of games played in November –– even with the NBA locked out –– but it's really just an in-between month in sports... and life. There are no May-and-November romances, no good November songs. It's sort of a semi-final of a month.
Why are they still playing tennis in November? Let the boys and girls rest up for the summer so they're not all hurt when it matters.
The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think thank in Washington, D.C., is causing waves with a study (pdf) it released today that found teachers are overcompensated in comparison to "similarly educated and experienced private-sector workers."
The organization said it took a "comprehensive" look at teacher's salaries and tried to take into account what it says are unique areas of compensation for teachers, including generous pension plans and better job security.
Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 4:14 pm
Federal officials say they're making headway in their push to stem abuse of addictive painkillers. Still, they say, U.S. doctors are prescribing enough narcotics to medicate every American around the clock for a month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses may soon overtake car crashes as the nation's leading cause of fatal injury.
The United States House of Representatives is expected to vote on a reaffirmation of "In God We Trust" as the country's official motto, today. The bill would also encourage public buildings to include the motto in their architecture.
Babies digest milk with ease, but it can get harder with age, unless you picked up a gene from your Northern European ancestors. Between 30 to 50 million American adults can't crank out enough of the enzyme that digests lactose, or milk sugar, which can turn a bowl of ice cream into a roller coaster of stomach discomfort.
Lactose-intolerant people who want to indulge in dairy without suffering the consequences have two options: take supplements of the enzyme lactase, or buy lactose-free dairy products, which are made by adding lactase to break down the milk sugar.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou leaves a news conference after a meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Oct. 13 at EU headquarters in Brussels. EU leaders were surprised and angered Tuesday when Papandreou said he would place a debt restructuring proposal before Greek voters.
Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 8:12 pm
Greece, the birthplace of democracy, may be suffering from an overdose of public input.
The decision by Greece's government to hold a January referendum on its deal with the European Union to restructure public debt has thrown the pact — and investors — onto shaky ground. Stocks around the world took a sharp dive on Tuesday's news, and other European leaders left little doubt over how they felt.
Amy Murray at home with her daughter Harper in Oceanside, Calif. Her husband, Capt. Patrick Murray, with the Darkhorse battalion, returned home from Afghanistan, in April 2011; 25 Marines from his unit did not.
Credit Courtesy of the Boelk family
A roadside bomb killed Lance Cpl. James Boelk, 24, while he was on a foot patrol, Oct. 15, 2010. The Darkhorse infantry rifleman was on his first combat deployment.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
The recent deployment to Sangin was Capt. Patrick Murray's fifth combat tour.
Credit Courtesy of the Boelk family
The Boelk family is seen at Christmas in 2009. This is the last family photo that was taken before their son James was killed in Afghanistan.
A year ago, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. By the time their tour ended in April 2011, the Marines of the 3/5 — known as "Darkhorse" — suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. This week, NPR tells the story of this unit's seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home.
Japan's Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office Yasuhiro Sonoda drinks a glass of decontaminated water taken from puddles inside the buildings housing reactors 5 and 6 at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Markets slumped from Asia to Europe to the U.S. on word that the Greek prime minister will put the European Union rescue package to a referendum. What now? Guy Raz speaks with NPR's Eric Westervelt for more.
Guy Raz speaks with Leslie Bruce, senior writer the Hollywood Reporter, about the money behind reality star Kim Kardashian's wedding to basketball player Kris Humphries. The reportedly multimillion dollar wedding actually earned the Kardashian family money through various deals with entertainment television and magazines. But Kardashian filed for divorce Monday after 72 days of marriage.
Robert Siegel speaks with Ken Bensinger, business reporter for the Los Angeles Times, about used car sales lots known as "Buy Here Pay Here" dealerships. Bensinger has written a three-part investigative series on this type of business. He tells Robert that "Buy Here Pay Here" lots are very common, and they prey on people with low incomes and bad credit. They charge high prices and very steep interest rates. And in many cases the buyer defaults on the loan, and the car is repossessed and resold again and again.
Bank of America canceled plans to impose a $5 monthly fee on customers who use debit cards in stores and restaurants. The bank's original decision to charge the fee came under sharp attack from consumer groups and individual customers.
And you know the game where you guess how many candies are in a jar and win something cool? Well, at the APHA meeting, the anti-tobacco American Legacy Foundation is giving away a new Kindle, if you can guess how many cigarette butts are in a huge jar.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. During a question and answer portion of the program, Cain called the accusations of sexual harassment against him "a witch hunt."
Credit Robert Kradin / AP
Wendell Willkie, photographed in New York in 1942, was the GOP nominee for president in 1940 even though he had never held elected office.
Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 6:11 pm
The lawyer for a woman who settled a sexual harassment complaint against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in the late 1990s says that Cain may have violated the confidentiality terms of the agreement by commenting on its specifics over the past 24 hours.
"Herman Cain and others have already disclosed that there was a confidential settlement," says Joel P. Bennett, a Washington-based attorney specializing in employment law, who also represented the woman when she negotiated her settlement.
In a lawsuit filed against one of the largest private mortgage brokers in the country, the United States alleges fraudulent lending practices by Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. cost the government $834 million in insurance claims paid by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Roll Call, a newspaper that specializes on reporting from Capitol Hill, digs through the personal financial disclosure forms of elected officials every couple of years to look at trends in the aggregate.
In its analysis of this year's data, it found that "members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 total..."