After fighting for power for nearly 50 years, a Colombian rebel group is now opting to negotiate a peace deal with President Juan Manuel Santos' government and bring the country's slow-burning but brutal conflict to an end.
Most of Colombia's 47 million people are supportive of talks, which begin soon in Oslo, Norway, before moving to Havana.
We're all familiar with the many sports terms that have moved into general usage: "par for the course," "slam-dunk," "curveball," "photo finish" and so on.
Curiously, though, every now and then something of the inverse occurs, and we get an expression which is commonly used that has been derived from sport, but never used in sport.
For example, that awful, overdone cliche, "level playing field." Never in my life have I ever heard anyone in sport — that is, somebody actually right there on the level playing field — say, "I'm glad we're playing on a level playing field."
Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:47 am
The U.S. Supreme Court will not halt the execution of Texas death row inmate Cleve Foster, as it did three times in 2011. Foster, 48, has maintained he is innocent in the 2002 shooting death of Nyaneur Pal, 30.
"I didn't do it," Foster told the AP recently from death row. "And if it means I'm going to the gurney and the taking of my life, so be it."
Few places are more exotic in the imagination than Papua New Guinea. The romantic images it conjures up are the stuff of a National Geographic cover story, complete with deadly animals and, of course, cannibals.
But once I stepped off the plane, I entered a land that was wrestling with its past and its present.
The Sepik River basin, deep in the heart of the country, is a popular tourist destination. It's the perfect place for a jungle river tour, with dense greenery, massive birds and stops at tribal villages.
Democrats in Florida think they have a chance in November to take back some congressional seats now held by Republicans. Near the top of the list is the 26th Congressional District near Miami.
It's a largely Hispanic district currently represented by Republican David Rivera. Although just a freshman in Congress, Rivera is a well-known Miami politician. Before being elected to Congress, he served eight years in the Florida Legislature and shared a house with longtime friend Marco Rubio.
There's a new mystery on Broadway — one about the musical Rebecca, based on the Daphne du Maurier novel.
You can't see it yet on the New York stage. In fact, it hasn't even started rehearsals. That's because the production is short $4.5 million after one of its investors died before he could hand over the money.
Cooks and servers, scientists and sales reps — those are some of the workers who say they do better after drinking coffee, according to a new study. Nurses, journalists, teachers, and business executives also said they're more effective at work if they have coffee, in a survey commissioned by Dunkin Donuts and CareerBuilder.
About a dozen men prayed recently at Darkei Shalom, a Hasidic Jewish synagogue in the working-class neighborhood of Otradnoye in north Moscow.
Except for the Star of David on its squat tower, the building is as plain and utilitarian as the linoleum on the floor. It sits — along with a Russian Orthodox church and a mosque — on a leafy stretch of land surrounded by towering apartment blocks.
Greece is in the fifth year of a painful recession, and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. One big problem the country faces is a shortage of strong companies that know how to compete on the world market. And nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the challenges faced by the country's olive oil business.
Near the mountain city of Potosi in the southern highlands of Bolivia, the cone-shaped peak of Cerro Rico stands as a 15,800-foot monument to the tragedies of Spanish conquest. For centuries, Indian slaves mined the mountain's silver in brutal conditions to bankroll the Spanish empire.
Today, the descendants of those slaves run the mines. But hundreds of years of mining have left the mountain porous and unstable, and experts say it is in danger of collapsing.
Tell people you're doing a story about the life spans of Korean eunuchs, the typical reaction is a giggle or a cringe.
But if you can overcome your visceral response to the topic, a study scientists in Korea did is quite interesting, both for what they found, and the way they found it.
Several scientists have shown that there is a link between longevity and reproduction: the greater the fertility, the shorter the life span. This has been fairly well established in nonhuman animal species, but proving it's the case for humans has been tricky.
Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 12:09 pm
In Britain, frustration over why fiery radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri remained a free man for so many years went all the way to the top of society to the queen, the BBC revealed — a revelation the network has subsequently apologized for.
New Orleans is known for being different. The trial of the man accused in the 2010 murder of "social-media celebrity Anthony Barre, better known as Messy Mya," is adding to the city's reputation.
As The Times-Picayune reports, the trial was halted Monday after the district attorney's office "got wind of a YouTube video of the 7th Ward slaying and dropped the murder charge against Jason Baptiste Hamilton in an attempt to track down the footage."
As this presidential election year was kicking off, strategists were saying the focus would be on the economy. But now — even as absentee ballots are being filled in — the candidates are still dodging details about how to improve growth.
"President Obama doesn't have a plan," says Kevin Hassett, an economic adviser to Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Jeffrey Liebman, an economic adviser to President Obama, says Romney has revealed no plan other than "going back to the failed policies of the past decade."
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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At the United Nations today, President Obama told world leaders that there's no place for violence and intolerance. The president has been struggling to contain widespread anger in the Muslim world, sparked in part by an anti-Islam video.
Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 12:20 pm
So what do cartoonists think about those controversial French cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad?
The cartoons, which ran last week in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, led the French government to close down diplomatic missions in 20 Muslim countries last Friday out of concern they might be attacked. There were protests, but no serious violence
A new Washington Post poll shows President Obama inching ahead of Mitt Romney in Ohio. The state swapped political allegiances in the past — going for President Obama in 2008, then going for a GOP governor in 2010. Former Governor Ted Strickland lost that race and is now a surrogate for the president. He joins guest host Celeste Headlee.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, if you're a football fan, you've probably been, shall we say, puzzled, at least, by one or two calls made by replacement referees this season. We're going to get the latest from one of our sports contributors in just a few moments.
We turn now to the National Football League. We're three weeks into the season and that means a lot of amazing plays, even more amazing catches, but story number one by far has been the referees. The NFL locked out its regular refs in a labor dispute and so replacement officials have been on the field and they're taking heat off the field for some blown calls.
If you get health insurance at work, it's just about time to pick your plan again. The good news for this open enrollment season is that premiums aren't expected to increase quite as much for 2013 as they did this year.
The increase looks to be about 5.3 percent instead of an average 5.9 percent rise for 2012, according to Towers Watson's annual health care survey of mid- to large-size employers.