In Philadelphia in 1972, an immigrant couple of Kalmyk origin gave birth to a boy they named Erdne. A few years later, the Dalai Lama renamed him Telo Tulku Rinpoche and identified him as one in a long line of reincarnations of an ancient Buddhist saint. The boy was then taken to a monastery in the mountains of southern India to learn the teachings of the Buddha.
Telo Rinpoche was one of the first of his kind: someone from the West learning thousand-year-old traditions a world away from his family.
Flotsam and Jetsam: of such things are stories made. Writers use objects to give their stories weight, attachment and verisimilitude, like Gary Paulsen's The Hatchet; Jean Shepherd's Red Ryder BB Gun inspired A Christmas Story; and how about Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon?
In Teddy Wayne's new novel, YouTube sensation Jonny Valentine has the sugar-sweet pipes of a teen heartthrob. But he also has a controlling manager-mom, a missing father, a retinue of people who work for him and a record label that's leaning on him to move the merchandise — fast.
It sounds like a horror story: Every few years, usually in the winter months, residents of the town of Leesburg, Va., come home from work to find their backyards overrun with turkey vultures. Not just a few birds, but hundreds of them. Everywhere.
Lt. Jeff Dube is with the town's police department. For a whole week, he spent every evening driving around town, looking for the latest vulture hotspots.
"They like Leesburg. There's really no rhyme or reason. Every three to five years they come back en mass, like this year, 2- to 300," Dube says.
As crews dig out from a record-breaking snow storm in New England, there are new worries about flooding. The National Weather Service reported waves three stories high off the coast. NPR's Jeff Brady reports from Boston.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
Heavy snow is falling across the Northeast, and when it's all over, winter storm Nemo could be a blizzard of historic proportions. The governor of Massachusetts has even ordered all cars off the roads.
CORNISH: The impact on transportation is widespread: thousands of flights cancelled, trains service disrupted. NPR's Jim Zarroli tells us more.
Lack of water supply isn't just an issue in hot spots like Texas, Colorado and the Mississippi; it has also become a problem in the Northeast, where rivers are drying out in the summers and infrastructure developments are competing more for resources.
One of the area's biggest public universities, the University of Connecticut, needs more water. But plans to obtain it are generating controversy in a region where the availability of water is becoming more and more unpredictable.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Police in Southern California are still searching for Christopher Dorner. He's the fired LA police officer who's wanted for three murders and other shootings since the weekend. At last word, the search had led police into the San Bernardino Mountains where Dorner's Nissan pickup truck was found torched. Police are going door to door in search of Dorner, who is a 33-year-old, 6-foot tall, 270 pound African-American.
The Obama administration faces tricky political and legal questions on the subject of gay marriage. By the end of this month, the federal government is expected to file not just one but two briefs in a pair of same-sex marriage cases at the U.S. Supreme Court.
But it is the Proposition 8 case from California that poses the thornier questions for the administration — questions so difficult that the president himself is expected to make the final decision on what arguments the Justice Department will make in the Supreme Court.
The No. 1 song in the country right now is "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, a rap group out of Seattle. Their claim to fame: They got the song to the top of the chart by themselves, without being signed by a major label.
This past weekend, a surprising little movie topped the box office over pop-action juggernaut Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and the Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook.
Warm Bodies is a zombie romance brought to you by the man behind the recent cancer comedy 50/50; clearly, director and screenwriter Jonathan Levine has an interest in genre bending, and this latest flick is equal parts Night of the Living Dead and Romeo and Juliet. It's told through the eyes of R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie living in an airport.
Iran's government on Thursday made clear it has no interest in direct talks until the U.S. eases sanctions that have been squeezing Iran's economy. But the Obama administration isn't budging and says the ball is in the Iranians' court.
The suspicion that Iran wants to make a nuclear weapon is the rationale for the sanctions as well as for veiled threats of U.S. or Israeli military action if those sanctions fail.
Thursday marks the beginning of New York Fashion Week, where big-name designers like Michael Kors, Anna Sui and Vera Wang will debut their Fall 2013 collections. It's part of an industry that generates billions of dollars of revenue for New York City, employing hundreds of thousands of workers. But the real business of fashion happens several blocks south of the glamorous Lincoln Center runways,in New York's Garment District.
Movies are big business in China, and 2012 was another record year: Theaters raked in about $2.7 billion, pushing China past Japan to become the world's second-largest market.
Those blistering sales were expected; China's ultimate box-office champ, however, was not.
Hollywood blockbusters usually do well in China. And last year, competition was stiff, including a new installment of Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible franchise, as well as Skyfall, the latest James Bond flick.
The faces of American Kim Lee and her Chinese husband, Li Yang, both in their 40s, once graced the covers of books that sold in the millions. He was China's most famous English teacher, the "Crazy English" guru of China, who pioneered his own style of English teaching: pedagogy through shouted language, yelling to halls of thousands of students.
His methods were given official recognition after he was employed by the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee to teach Olympic volunteers.
Just a stone's throw from two of Los Angeles' busiest freeways lies the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, a unique spot in an urban jungle.
The northern portion of the reserve is adorned with 30-foot-tall cottonwood trees, spots of coyote bush and other plants. Native plants cover 50 percent of the nature spot, says Kris Ohlenkamp with the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society.
"On the other side it was significantly more than that," he says.
Minnesota has a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators, and Democrats control both houses of its Legislature. So it may have come as no surprise when President Obama went there earlier this week to rally support for his proposals to reduce gun violence.
But even in the politically blue state, there's considerable resistance to placing further restrictions on gun ownership.
During his visit to a Minneapolis police facility Monday, Obama urged Minnesotans to find common ground in curbing gun violence.
President Obama's choice to take over at the Department of the Interior comes from the business world. Sally Jewell is the CEO of outdoor equipment supplier REI.
"For Sally, the toughest part of this job will probably be sitting behind a desk," the president said when introducing his nominee Wednesday. "I suspect she'll want to get out of the office quite a bit."
Before Jewell took the reins at REI, she worked in the financial industry at Washington Mutual. Before that, she was an engineer in the oil business, with Mobil.
The U.S. and the international community have pledged $16 billion to support Afghan security forces after NATO troops complete their drawdown at the end of 2014. That money covers the cost of troops and equipment.
But just what equipment will be provided? Afghan military officials want big-ticket planes, tanks and other conventional weapons.
The U.S., however, says the Afghans need to get their strategic priorities in order, and focus less on prestige hardware and more on weaponry and equipment suitable for counterinsurgency warfare.
The Justice Department said Tuesday it could seek more than $5 billion in damages from Standard & Poor's, the nation's biggest credit ratings company, a day after it sued the company, alleging that S&P defrauded investors by giving triple-A ratings to risky subprime mortgage investments.