People, one holding an image of Cuba's President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel Castro, wait in line at a bus stop in Havana last month.
Credit Franklin Reyes / AP
Cuba's President Raul Castro and Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong review an honor guard during an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi in July. The Cuban leader flew in from China for the second leg of his Asian tour to Cuba's two Asian communist allies.
Credit Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP/Getty Images
Cubans pass by a billboard celebrating the 86th birthday of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, on Aug. 13 in Havana. Castro celebrated his birthday quietly and out of the public eye, while political allies and Cuban citizens paid tribute from afar.
Cuba is one of the world's last remaining communist states. Cuba's allies in China and Vietnam also maintain firm one-party rule, but have prospered by introducing market principles to their economic models. With Cuban President Raul Castro easing government controls on property rights and private enterprise, many are wondering if the struggling island is looking to Asia for a way forward.
For more than a decade, author Patricia Lim researched the 8,000 graves of the Hong Kong Cemetery, one of the city's oldest Christian cemeteries. Here, Lim stands at the grave of former Hong Kong police officer Richardson Barry Loxley Leslie. Last year, she rested on the grave while, unbeknownst to her at the time, she was having a mild heart attack.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
This lopped-off pillar was raised to the memory of Yeung Ku-wan. The revolutionary had already helped organize two failed uprisings to overthrow the last dynasty of China, the Qing, one of which cost the lives of 48 men, when he was murdered in 1901. His tombstone was left uninscribed, for fear of desecration and heightening tensions with the Chinese.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
A series of identical graves mark the resting spots for 11 British soldiers, including Col. Cyril Wild. His plane crashed in 1946 en route to Tokyo,where he was heading to give evidence against Japanese army officers at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. He'd been the only fluent Japanese speaker in the British army, and he helped negotiate the Japanese surrender in Singapore.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
An early picture of the island of Hong Kong. In 1841, the British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston criticized the deal that gave Hong Kong to the British, famously describing the island as "a barren rock with nary a house upon it." He predicted, "It will never be a mart for trade."
Credit Courtesy of Hong Kong University Press
Hawkers carry goods for sale along the street in early Hong Kong.
Below a noisy flyover alongside Hong Kong's Happy Valley racecourse, there's a little-noticed green oasis stretching up the hillside, punctuated by imposing Victorian chest tombs, granite obelisks and delicate angels. This is Hong Kong cemetery, the last resting place of the early settlers who colonized the island, starting in the 1840s.
For my mother, Patricia Lim, the cemetery is a repository of the island's early untold early history.
Better Place is building a network of electric car battery changing stations throughout Israel. The idea is to make changing a spent electric battery as easy as pulling into the gas station for gasoline. Here, Better Place CEO Shai Agassi is shown in front of a cutaway model of an electric car at the company's showroom in Tel Aviv earlier this month.
It looks like a bright new car wash, but it's a battery swapping station for electric cars in Israel. When a vehicle pulls up, it is slowly pulled through a conveyor. The spent battery is taken out and replaced with one that is fully charged. The entire process takes less than five minutes.
From Congress to The Colbert Report, people are talking about the Midwestern drought and debating whether it makes sense to convert the country's shrinking corn supplies into ethanol to power our cars.
It's the latest installment of the long-running food vs. fuel battle.
Patricia and Steven Cumber run the Food Tailor food truck in downtown Oshkosh, Wis. It's their primary source of income after Steven lost his job as a welder.
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
Judith Koeppl runs Judy's South of the Border "diner on wheels" at the Winnebago County Fair.
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
Dairy cows on show at the Winnebago County Fair in Oshkosh.
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
Charlie Knigge is a dairy farmer from Omro, Wis. He talked to NPR at the Winnebago County Fair in Oshkosh. "I'm not a big fan of how big the government's gotten or how many people are living off the government now," he says.
As the presidential election nears, Morning Edition is visiting swing counties in swing states for our series First and Main. We're listening to voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year. This week, we're spending time in Winnebago County, Wis.
We began our conversations in the lakeside city of Oshkosh, at a cafe on Main Street. But now, we're heading outside town to the Winnebago County Fair, where I was eager to taste Wisconsin's most famous food: cheese curds.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 5:19 pm
The Department of Transportation said it has fined JetBlue $90,000, after it failed to inform passengers that they could leave a plane that sat at the gate for close to three hours.
DOT said that violated airline protection rules that went into effect in April 2010. The rule says that if passengers can get off the plane, they should be informed that they can do so and they should be given updates every 30 minutes.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 4:42 am
A 21-year-old man whose hands were cuffed behind him in the back seat of a police car in Arkansas killed himself with a concealed handgun. That's according to an autopsy report released Monday into the death of Chavis Carter.
Carter died July 28 after being detained during a traffic stop. Police said he had an outstanding arrest warrant – later revealed to be drug-related. The driver and the passenger of the vehicle he was in were allowed to go.
In a new study, The Pew Hispanic Center says that for the first time ever, Hispanics have become the largest minority group in the country's college campuses.
It's a report that marks many firsts for the ethnic group, which has been making great strides in education since 1972.
Among them: For the first time, there were more than 2 million latinos ages 18 to 24 enrolled. They reached a record 16.5 percent of all college enrollment. Hispanics make up a little more than a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in two-year colleges.
Pretty much every smartphone on the market today offers GPS. Apps of all kinds use that geo-locating ability to offer you the local weather forecast or help you find nearby restaurants.
There are also apps designed to help singles look for love, and the concept has been a hit — with men. The app Grindr, for gay men, has more than 4 million users worldwide. And straight guys are signing up for a bunch of dating apps, as well.
Today at All Things Considered, we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month, we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.
A tow pushes a barge past a sandbar on the Mississippi River near the confluence with the Missouri River north of St. Louis., on Friday. Many sandbars normally under water on the two rivers are now exposed as the drought has caused river levels to drop.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 5:15 pm
With women's issues front and center again in the presidential campaign, a bus tour through several swing states kicked off Monday in opposition to President Obama's views on abortion.
At the same time, the Obama campaign launched a new TV ad — aimed at some of the same voters in some of the same key states — criticizing Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, on the issue.
Simply stated: We give a donor a cool green shopping bag. Every time she goes shopping for her own groceries she buys one extra non-perishable item and puts it in the cool green bag. Every two months a volunteer picks up the bag at the home and gives her another.
Wind and solar get lots of attention, but another kind of renewable power actually creates more energy in our country --wood. The state of Massachusetts on Friday decided that these plants aren't green enough to get some special breaks.
If you want to see how much Mitt and Ann Romney consider themselves a team, check out his official portrait at the Massachusetts Statehouse. He's the first governor to request that an image of his wife be included in the painting — he's posed beside a framed picture of her.
By all accounts, the Romneys consult each other on everything. So after a bruising campaign in 2008 that left Mrs. Romney openly disgusted by the process and vowing she would never do it again, it looked like that might be it for Mitt.
A queen of comedy has died. Phyllis Diller had audiences in stitches for more than five decades with her outlandish get-ups and rapid-fire one-liners. She died at her home, where she had been in hospice care after a fall. She was 95.
Diller was glamorously outrageous — or at least the character she created was glamorously outrageous, the one who wore wigs that made her look like she had her finger in an electrical outlet, who wore gaudy sequined outfits. She was known for her laugh and those nasty jokes about her dimwitted husband, "Fang."
Oswaldo Paya, who challenged Cuba's communist regime for decades, died in a car crash on July 22. A Spanish man who was driving Paya has been charged with the equivalent of vehicular manslaughter. Here, a nun holds a portrait of Paya during his funeral in Havana.
Credit Adalberto Roque / AFP/Getty Images
Ofelia Acevedo (right), the widow of Oswaldo Paya, and her daughter Rosa Maria Paya hold a news conference in Havana earlier this month. Acevedo says she doesn't believe her husband's death was an accident.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 3:07 pm
Since GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, seems all we've been hearing about is Medicare and its future.
No surprise, of course: Ryan is the author of the GOP budget plan that would dramatically remake how the health care insurance program for seniors is managed and funded. He also calls for big changes to Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor, including elderly Americans who have exhausted their means.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder has focused attention on the shame that sometimes accompanies mental health diagnoses in the African-American community. Psychiatrist William Lawson joins NPR's John Donvan to discuss why such a stigma exists.
Syria's civil war erupted again on Monday, just one day after the U.N. ended its monitoring mission in the country. Reporter Jon Lee Anderson joins NPR's John Donvan to discuss the different factions that are rising up amid the current confusion.
In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent describes incidences of clubs, offices and public spaces posing obstacles for him and his wheelchair. He joins NPR's John Donvan to discuss the places where those in wheelchairs still don't feel welcome.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:02 am
No one said it would be easy to sell kids on quinoa and kale, but an invitation to the White House's first Kids State Dinner today, complete with fresh fruit topiaries and balloon animals, turned out to be just the ticket for some.
Changes in the health insurance industry are at the top of NPR's business news.
The giant insurance company Aetna plans to get a little bigger. It's buying Coventry Health Care for more than $5.5 billion. Now, if you want to know why, consider the changing landscape in which Aetna does business. Medicaid is expanding under President Obama's health care law, Medicare is expanding as Americans grow older, and those government-run plans include many opportunities for private insurance companies.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 7:20 pm
Saying that the comments "don't make sense to the American people" and were "way out there," President Obama just weighed in on the controversial remarks made over the weekend by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who said in a television interview that "if it's a legitimate rape," it's rare for a woman to get pregnant and therefore want an abortion.