Europe's economy, the world's largest, is in the midst of economic turmoil. A growing debt crisis has already forced the resignations of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou as well as Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi. And forecasts from the European Union suggest the 17-nation Eurozone could be facing possible recession next year. Some analysts are considering the possible collapse of the Eurozone. The Institute for Policy Studies recently published an article titled "Is Europe Over?"
The European debt crisis has driven politicians in Italy and Greece to turn to technocrats for leadership. What exactly is a technocrat? Will they be the silver bullets needed to help lift Europe out of its economic quagmire? Guest host Linda Wertheimer gets some answers from political scientists.
It's a politics-filled Saturday as Republicans hold a presidential candidate forum and the Democrats have their Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. This year's dinner features Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the keynote speaker; four years ago the dinner launched then-Sen. Barack Obama's presidential candidacy into high gear. Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks with NPR's Don Gonyea about the events.
When President Obama came into office, he promised to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for good. In the years since, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have made that difficult. Congress has barred the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the continental U.S. and has made it difficult to send the suspected terrorists to third countries. That may be why the prison is beginning to feel permanent.
In the crowded race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney may be the tortoise, but Newt Gingrich is the newt. And newts are highly adaptive salamanders that regenerate limbs when wounded and emit poison when challenged.
Conventional — and up-to-the-minute contemporary — wisdom pegs Gingrich as the ascendant favorite, knocking other candidates off their posts and platforms like an Angry Bird.
The congressional supercommittee has only a few days left to come up with a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit. One of the areas on the chopping block is the nation's defense budget, and Pentagon officials are pushing back against any cuts beyond the $450 billion they've already been asked to make.
The defense budget is an easy target when it comes to cutting the deficit, because it makes up half of the federal government's entire discretionary budget, says Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
The Sense of an Ending, winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, might be — paradoxically — Julian Barnes' slenderest and most emotionally forthcoming book to date. In his previous novels and short stories, emotion has been stifled, concealed or tucked behind technical devices (as in Flaubert's Parrot). In this latest book, feeling is laid bare and imbued into Barnes' longstanding intellectual preoccupations with authorship, authenticity and mortality.
Workers take a break in front of the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Dadong, Shanxi province, China. At a House hearing on Tuesday, Nisha Biswal defended USAID's programs in China, saying the money goes to efforts that include reducing harmful emissions from the country's power plants.
According to HRL Laboratories that is an "ultralight metallic microlattice" sitting atop a dandelion. The material was developed by scientists at HRL, The California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine.
The material is 99.99 percent air and 100 times lighter than styrofoam.
There's no Peggy Sue — or even a Margaret or a Susan, for that matter — in the British folk-rock band Peggy Sue. There is, however, a hard-driving group that has just released its second album, Acrobats. Peggy Sue is the trio of singers and guitarists Rosa Slade and Katy Young, and drummer Olly Joyce.
Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 2:01 pm
At an Aravind hospital in Madurai, a city on India's southern tip, the waiting room is packed. A clinical assistant calls out the names of patients, and they're escorted to examination rooms. This hospital alone screens around 2,000 patients a day — and tour guide Shawas Philip says this day is busier than usual.
"We might break that record today — of the number of patients that are seen on a particular day. That's exciting," he says.
The self-help guru responsible for three deaths at a 2009 sweat lodge ceremony in the Arizona desert was sentenced to two years in prison, today.
At his sentencing James Arthur Ray begged for forgiveness. The AP reports:
"Ray said during his sentencing hearing that he would have stopped the ceremony near Sedona had he known people were dying or in distress. He turned to the more than a dozen family members seated in the courtroom, tearfully taking full responsibility for the pain and anguish he caused them.
Republican Newt Gingrich's presidential stock is rising in the polls. And his newfound popularity is also bringing new scrutiny to what he's been up to since he stepped down as Speaker of the House in 1998.
Joe Paterno's son said his father has lung cancer, but that it was treatable.
The AP reports:
Scott Paterno says in a statement provided to The Associated Press by a family representative that the 84-year-old Joe Paterno is undergoing treatment and that "his doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery."
People offer prayers at the newly completed Uppatasaniti Pagoda in Naypyitaw earlier this year. It's unclear when construction on the new capital began or how much it has cost this impoverished nation where round-the-clock power is a rarity.
Credit Soe Than Win / AFP/Getty Images
Workers walk past an arch at the entrance to a park in Naypyitaw, the new capital of Myanmar, in January. The then-military rulers of the southeast Asian nation abruptly moved the capital from Yangon to remote Naypyitaw in 2005.
Credit Courtesy photo
In Naypyitaw, armies of laborers in long-sleeve shirts and broad-brimmed hats to protect them from the scorching sun take care of lush new gardens — doing much of the work by hand.
The government of Myanmar bars or severely restricts reporting by foreign correspondents. NPR is withholding the name of the veteran journalist who recently entered the country and filed this story, in order to protect his identity and his ability to return in the future.
The newest — and nicest — road in Myanmar is, paradoxically, one of the emptiest as well: Only a handful of cars travel along the desolate four-lane highway to nowhere, or so it seems.
Saying it is deeply troubled by "tragic events" alleged to have happened at Penn State, the NCAA has told the school it is launching an examination of whether the university has "institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics program, as well as the actions, and inactions, of relevant ... personnel."
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (left) talks with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Washington on Tuesday. The pair testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on security issues relating to Iraq.
Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 11:41 am
It's hard to miss the irony: Leon Panetta, as President Clinton's budget guru, backed billions of dollars in Pentagon cuts. Now, as secretary of defense, he's warning that the U.S. could become a "paper tiger" if his department's budget is further reduced.
Melissa Block talks with John Seabrook, staff writer at The New Yorker. His latest article, "Crunch," delves into the world of the SweeTango — a new hybrid apple that is part Honeycrisp, part Zestar. It's sweet and tangy. There's a hint of cinnamon, a hint of pineapple and a whole lot of crunch.
On Thursday, the U.S. military successfully tested a new hypersonic missile. The missile flies at eight times the speed of sound with a range measured in the thousands of miles. That allows the missile to hit a target anywhere on earth in less than an hour. Guy Raz talks with Noah Shachtman of Wired.com about how the Army's Advanced Hypersonic Missile works.
Long-simmering tensions between Egypt's ruling military council and post-Mubarak political parties could burst into the open. Islamist and secular parties are both planning mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square to protest what they see as efforts by the military to enshrine its power at the expense of an elected government.
The Roman Catholic Church is about to buy a beacon of Protestant televangelism.
The Crystal Cathedral, a temple of glass in Garden Grove, Calif., will be sold to the Catholic Church for $57 million — a decision that left some congregants furious and their future up in the air.
When the Crystal Cathedral declared bankruptcy last year, it soon became clear the legendary building would have to be sold. There were several offers, but in the end, the church's board favored the Catholic diocese in Orange County.
While the professional basketball season is on the verge of collapse, Major League Baseball and its players wrapped up a new contract. Guy Raz talks with sportswriter Stefan Fatsis about what's next in the NBA negotiations and what's new for baseball with this agreement.
A U.N. climate panel says that we can expect more extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change. Above, people run from a high wave on Nov. 8 in Nice, France, where heavy rain and flooding forced hundreds to evacuate.
Brace yourself for more extreme weather. A group of more than 200 scientists convened by the United Nations says in a new report that climate change will bring more heat waves, more intense rainfall and more expensive natural disasters.
These conclusions are from the latest effort of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a consensus statement from researchers around the world.
The Columbia University Lions are 0-9 this season. So after the team's ninth loss of the season against Cornell, the marching band decided to poke a little fun. The Columbia Spectator explains:
"'Every time every game ends, we play 'Roar," said José Delgado, CC '12 and the band's manager. 'There's music, there's a part in between when we sing lyrics, and there's music again—that's where it happened.'