North Korean residents line up to receive food rations at a Red Cross distribution center in Tongsin, North Korea, in 1997. Discussions over U.S. food aid to the reclusive country were to take place Monday. "You could, in a very real sense, see the needs for food assistance," said an official with Mercy Corps, after a September 2011 visit to the country.
The changing of the guard in North Korea poses clear risks for the United States.
Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is the likely successor. But he's still in his 20s and has had little time to prepare to take over the country. Analysts say that because he's weak, he won't be in any position to get back to nuclear disarmament talks and make concessions.
Kim Jong Un may also be tempted to take provocative actions to establish his leadership credentials, and the Obama administration has to take all this into account as it decides on next steps.
It's here. The cholesterol-fighter Liptor, the biggest hit in the history of the pharmaceutical industry, is now widely available in generic form.
The Pfizer drug finally lost its U.S. patent protection at the end of November, opening the door for cheaper substitutes (atorvastatin, generically) and ending the monopoly for one of the most profitable brand-name products of any kind.
Days after it seemed Congress had struck a budget, tax cut and unemployment deal that would get it through the holidays, it is clear that they did not. House Speaker John Boehner Monday must deal with a restive House GOP caucus that signaled over the weekend that it had no interest in going along with the Senate's two-month plan. NPR congressional correspondent David Welna joins Lynn Neary with the latest.
Christmas tree growers are frustrated that politics are delaying a marketing campaign to promote real trees over artificial. Following four years of work to get it passed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the industry-sponsored real Christmas tree campaign in November. But conservatives quickly branded it as "President Obama's Christmas tree tax" and the program was delayed within days of its approval. There are 18 other commodities — like pork and eggs — with similar generic advertising programs. They show anywhere from a two-to-one to a ten-to-one return on investment.
As North Korea mourns the death of its leader Kim Jong Il, both South Korea and China have reacted to the risk of instability on their borders. The South Korean military has been placed on alert, and there are reports that the Chinese have closed their border with North Korea. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Louisa Lim, who is watching events from the South Korean capital, Seoul.
With the death of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, attention has turned to the successor he named before he died. Little is known about his third son, Kim Jong Un. Robert Siegel talks with an author who goes by the penname James Church. Church has written a series of fiction books set in North Korea, and he is a former western intelligence officer who has been to North Korea many times.
Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 12:03 pm
2011 is shaping up to be the safest on record for airline travel, according to analysis of United Nations data by a trade group.
The International Air Transport Association reports that January to November of 2011 are the safest months on record since the U.N. started keeping data in 1945. The 11-month period has also seen a 22 percent improvement in safety from last year.
Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 1:03 pm
There's certainly already been a lot said about North Korea's Kim Jong Il. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has an obit and Planet Money has a recap of how North Korea's economy is fueled by drug dealing and smuggling of counterfeit goods.
Kim Jong Il succeeded his father and ruled the secretive nation for 17 years. It was a period that included repeated friction with the international community over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and a devastating famine in the late 1990s that may have been responsible for upwards of 2 million deaths.
Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 3:24 pm
Born in the spring of 1958, former Sen. Rick Santorum — the son of a psychologist and a nurse — was the second of three children in a Catholic family. The Pennsylvania Republican spent most of his childhood in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
If you feel hungrier as winter draws near, you're not alone. Even though most of us spend our days in climate-controlled offices and homes, our appetites seem to change when the days grow shorter. Some researchers say it's our primitive impulses promting us to stockpile calories for the winter ahead.
The flower auction house in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands, is one of the largest in the world — and a part of the country's strong export base. As Europe's debt crisis continues, the Dutch economy is feeling the effects of being heavily reliant on world trade.
It's been two years since Kim Jong Un effectively became North Korea's "Great Successor" and heir to the seat of power in the communist nation run by a family dynasty — a dynasty that began with his grandfather, Kim Il Sung (the "Great Leader") and continued with his father, Kim Jong Il (the "Dear Leader").
But in that time about the only new thing we know is that he's two years older and now thought to be in his late 20s. And, that he appears about to become at least the titular head of an impoverished nation that threatens its richer neighbor to the south with nuclear weapons
Kim, whose official age was 69 but who actually was 70, died Saturday of a heart attack, according to North Korean state media.
He leaves behind a pretty much officially designated heir, his son Kim Jong Un, whose age is about 29. The young man has been given exalted titles including full general but has little experience compared with what his father had under his belt when Kim Jong Il's own father and predecessor, Kim Il Sung, died in 1994.
Only two weeks to go until Iowa Republicans head to their caucuses to begin choosing a presidential nominee and NPR's Pam Fessler reports on Monday's Morning Edition that many are still trying to decide who will win their votes.
There's been a sharp increase in recent decades in the number of young Americans who report they've been arrested at least once, researchers report in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
While in the mid-1960s about 22 percent of Americans reported having been arrested by the time they turned 23, researchers estimate that the "prevalence rate" for arrests by that age now lies "between 30.2 percent and 41.4 percent."
Known for its sometimes irreverent way of illustrating world events, The Economist magazine has over the years been quite creative when it's cover subject was North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (who died Saturday at the age of 69).
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A teenager in Northern California pulled a Santa last week when he shimmied down his parents' chimney. He wasn't carrying gifts but guilt for staying out past his curfew. Predictably, George Herrera got stuck, for 90 minutes until an emergency crew arrived and saw something you usually see in Christmas cartoons - feet dangling from the fireplace. The teen now knows why it takes a jolly old elf to get down a chimney. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Tyler Carroll organized a kneel-down at his Long Island high school last week, and about 40 students participated. The superintendent called it a safety hazard because the Tebowing blocked the hallways. Carroll serves his suspension on Monday.
We've been following the reaction this morning to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The response of many Chinese is coming through in emoticons, symbols often used in text messages.
The Wall Street Journal reports Kim's death is the most popular topic on China's equivalent of Twitter. And among the more than million posts about him are many decorated with laughing emoticons and victory symbols. But just as many however show broken hearts and candles.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
The Libyan government has given armed groups until Tuesday to disarm and depart from the capital. But the deadline is unlikely to be met. It's indicative of the wider problem in Libya where anyone with a uniform and a gun can say they are in charge.