Ahmed Jama was running a successful Somali cafe in southwest London when he decided it was time to go home. Against the urgent advice of friends, he returned to Mogadishu three years ago and started cooking.
Jama epitomizes the spirit of rebirth in the city that has been brutalized by 21 years of civil war. As expatriates return to take their homeland back from warlords, terrorists and looters, Jama is doing his part to revive Mogadishu one prawn at a time.
Lots of good business ideas have emerged from kids' play. Seattle-area resident Will Chapman could thank his youngest son. At the age of 9, he wanted to know all he could about World War II and was using Lego toys to act out history. But his son was stymied — he couldn't find all the pieces he wanted.
Each year Lego turns out 19 billion plastic bricks, figures and gears for building things. But sometimes, it seems, even 19 billion isn't enough.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 2:50 pm
First, there was the post-Thanksgiving sales spectacle Black Friday and then the online version, Cyber Monday. Now, charitable groups want to start a new holiday tradition — it's called Giving Tuesday and the first one is tomorrow.
It may seem a little surprising that no one came up with the idea before of designating a specific day to help launch the holiday charitable giving season.
A Hare Krishna distributes food gifts from a chariot during a festival in London in 2011. The religious group began distributing books, flowers and gifts to strangers in the 1970s, drawing on the rule of reciprocation to raise money.
Credit Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images
In 1974, Phillip Kunz, a sociologist at Brigham Young University, wanted to see what would happen if he sent Christmas cards to people he didn't know.
Credit Courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University
In 1974, Phillip Kunz and his family got a record number of Christmas cards. In the weeks before Christmas they came daily, sometimes by the dozen. Kunz still has them in his home, collected in an old photo album.
"Dear Phil, Joyce and family," a typical card reads, "we received your holiday greeting with much joy and enthusiasm ... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's. Love Lou, Bev and the children."
When you think of mental illness, you don't often think of comics; but for cartoonist Ellen Forney, the two came crashing together just before her 30th birthday. That's when she found out she has bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that finally explained her super-charged highs and debilitating lows.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week takes up the question of who qualifies as a supervisor when the issue is harassment in the workplace. The court's answer to that question could significantly restrict employer liability in racial and sexual harassment cases, or, in the view of some business organizations, it could result in frivolous litigation.
The facts of the particular case before the court Monday are, to say the least, in dispute.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi has granted himself almost absolute power, but has not been able to win anything like unanimous approval. The new president faces criticism for a decree stating he can do anything he thinks will advance Egypt's revolution, and that courts cannot review his decisions. Egyptians have taken to the streets in protest. Markets have reacted badly, and the country's top judges are paying Morsi a visit today to discuss this turn of events.
Now let's catch up on a vote in Catalonia, Spain's most economically powerful region. That region gave overwhelming support to pro-independence parties in elections on Sunday. This election is seen as a threat to Spain's political and financial stability, so we're going to talk about this with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli. She is in the most famous city in Catalonia, Barcelona.
And, Sylvia, we did say that there were pro-independence parties. Who exactly won these elections?
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
College football's wild season was not so wild this past weekend. There were no major shifts at the top of the BCS rankings as there were the week before. That's mainly because Notre Dame beat the University of Southern California on Saturday and maintained its number one ranking.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
This is the season when political professionals try to make sense of the last election. Plenty of Republicans have been calling for their party to take a new approach to immigration after the Hispanic vote went overwhelmingly to President Obama.
Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 3:33 pm
This is the time of year when people all over the country are coming together and getting food to needy families, but for one community in Manchester, N.H., private acts of charity aren't just a holiday tradition — they are a display of anarchist and libertarian principles.
On a recent day, about 50 people gathered in a converted office space with $6,000 worth of food and a list of needy families. Mike Ruff, with help from a couple of kids, filled shopping bags with food for the hungry.
More than $174 million in donations has been raised for those affected in New York and New Jersey by Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of the Atlantic coast in late October.
"The more affluent and well-insured people will figure a way to recover their lives, but there are a lot of people in New York who really won't have that capacity and can't speak out for themselves," says Stacy Palmer, the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
After Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, Norman Kansfield's daughter asked him to perform her wedding ceremony.
Kansfield, a respected pastor, scholar and lifelong member of the Reformed Church in America, agreed to marry Ann and her long-time girlfriend. He informed the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey, where he served as president, of his plans.
"I had thought that there would be a request for my resignation," Kansfield says. "Nobody did that."
William Styron was one of the flamboyant literary figures of the 20th Century. He was a Southerner whose novel Lie Down in Darkness received immense acclaim when he was just 26 years old. He would go on to write the Confessions of Nat Turner, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968.
But for the last 27 years of his life, Styron did not write a novel. He battled depression, and wrote a seminal work about it, Darkness Visible, in 1990.
The mortar and pestle can be found in kitchens around the world, including Thailand. In the United States, chef Tanasapamon Rohman uses the tool to grind up chili paste and pulverize rice at her Thai restaurant.
Chefs these days stock all sorts of high-tech tools, from liquid nitrogen to $500 blenders. But in kitchens throughout the world, there's one piece of technology that's been the same since the Stone Age: the mortar and pestle.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference in the Capitol on Nov. 9. Boehner has said Republican House leaders and Obama "can find the common ground" on immigration policy.
Voters in Spain's northern region of Catalonia go to the polls Sunday in a parliamentary election that is shaping up as an unofficial referendum on secession. The current Catalan president has pledged to pursue a move toward independence if re-elected.
The region, which holds 8 million people, is the country's industrial engine. Catalans are resentful that their taxes are being siphoned off for poorer regions. The prospect of secession is opposed both by the Madrid government and the European Union.
Congolese flee the eastern town of Sake, just west of Goma, on Friday. Fighting between rebel and government forces in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has displaced at least 100,000 people.
Credit Jerome Delay / AP
Tariq Riebl, Oxfam humanitarian coordinator in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, meets refugees at the Don Bosco Catholic School, where thousands of displaced persons are setting up camp.
The rebel movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo has set off another humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of displaced villagers who fled the fighting are on the march with their belongings, and someone has to take care of them.
Into this sea of need wades Tariq Riebl, a tall 34-year-old German with a shaved head. He is the humanitarian program coordinator for the international charity Oxfam in the rebel-held city of Goma.
"Basically, what we're going to do, we have two teams," Riebl says.
Cairo's Tahrir Square was nearly empty as the sun rose Saturday. A few demonstrators camped out overnight after mass protests on Friday condemned controversial decrees by Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi.
Earlier this week, Morsi gave himself unchecked powers until a constitution is written and passed by a popular referendum — in about two months. He also decreed that neither the body writing the constitution nor the upper house of Parliament could be dissolved by the courts.
Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 4:26 pm
JACKI LYDEN, HOST:
I'm joined now by Professor Samer Shehata, professor of Middle East politics at Georgetown University. Welcome to you.
SAMER SHEHATA: Thank you.
LYDEN: So Mohammed Morsi was widely praised for his role in negotiating the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas this last week. And now he appears to be playing the same role on the international stage as his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, and I mean by that, being an autocrat at home while being an international statesman.
The Department of Homeland Security is examining its policy on deadly force along the U.S.-Mexico border. In less than two years, U.S. Border Patrol agents have killed 18 Mexican citizens there — including eight people who were throwing rocks.
What do you do if you're an aspiring drummer and someone steals your drum set? Well, if you're Piney Gir, you become a singer — because, as she figured it, they can't steal your voice.
Gir grew up in a fundamentalist Pentecostal household in Kansas, attending church four or five times a week. She got the solos in the choir and grew to love performing. The singer, whose real name is Angela Penhaligon, eventually found her way to London and the world of indie art-rock.
Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 12:48 pm
Paloma Faith has been described as smart, vivacious, red-streaked and a singular talent. Before breaking into the music business, Faith worked as a magician's assistant and a dancer. She debuted as a solo artist in the UK in 2009 with the album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? Her latest album is no less provocatively titled — it's called Fall to Grace.
John Gagliardi is hanging up his clipboard. He announced his retirement this week, as the winningest coach in the history of college football. Over the course of 64 seasons - that's also a record; most of them at the St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota - Coach Gagliardi has racked up 489 wins, 138 losses and 11 ties. He's now 86 years old. Coach Gagliardi joins us from his home. Thanks very much for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Much of our political oxygen is taken up with fiscal cliff negotiation and speculation in the United States as people try to figure out whether we will indeed go hurtling over into recession or inch back from the edge of the cliff. Since all our economies are linked in a global network these days, we thought we'd get the view of all of this from elsewhere.