The question of whether to circumcise a newborn son is no question at all for most observant Jews. In Europe, the practice has come under fire. This summer, a German regional court ruled that circumcision is physical abuse, and a Swiss hospital temporarily banned the procedure. The debate has infuriated Jewish community leaders there.
In Israel, even the most secular Jews overwhelmingly have their sons circumcised. But the debate in Europe has drawn attention to a still small but growing number of Israeli Jews who are forgoing the procedure.
Ten years ago, a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island disintegrated and melted in the waters off Antarctica. Two other massive ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula had suffered similar fates a few years before. The events became poster children for the effects of global warming. But a new study finds that the story isn't quite so simple.
There's no question that unusually warm air triggered the final demise of these huge chunks of ice. But a lingering question is whether these events can be attributed to human-induced global warming.
Cuba has hot weather, hot music, hot politics and hot Cubans. So why is the food so bland?
Tourists who have visited the island, particularly Cuba's state-run restaurants, know that Cuban chefs are deeply fond of frying their ingredients, but the range of seasonings tends to span from salt to garlic, with not much else in between.
Enter the Spice Man. He is Cedric Fernando, co-proprietor of the first and only Indian restaurant in Cuba, called Bollywood. And he's definitely turning up the heat in the kitchen.
Time now for your comments and some corrections. On Monday, we got some modern Chinese history wrong. We described a phrase used famously by Chairman Mao, let 100 flowers bloom, as launching the cultural revolution. But Mao's 100 flowers campaign, a brief period of openness in China, occurred one decade before the brutal crackdown of the Cultural Revolution.
It's a typical day at a Head Start center near downtown New Haven, Conn., and restless 3- and 4-year-olds squirm and bounce on a colorful shaggy rug vying for their teacher's attention. Down the hallway several women make their way to a parenting class, stopping to marvel at a 4-month-old baby.
What you don't see, says the center's Keith Young, is men, fathers.
On a muggy summer afternoon in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a dozen people are hard at work on the patio behind a local church. They're stripping old bicycles of their brakes, cables and chains, and sanding and spray-painting them white.
But behind the lighthearted chatter, there's a more somber purpose to this gathering: They're building "ghost bikes."
Painted all white and adorned with colorful notes and flowers, ghost bikes are the cycling community's equivalent of roadside shrines dotting the highway; they mark the spot where a rider was killed in traffic.
While many cities around the country grapple with drought and excessive heat this year, city planners in Boston have something else on their minds: the prospect of rising water.
In this coastal metropolis, scientists and computer models predict that climate change could eventually lead to dramatic increases in sea level around the city. Coupled with a storm surge at high tide, parts of the city could easily end up under water.
In Nairobi, Kenya, when friends want to celebrate a birthday, the end of bachelorhood or a graduation, they often go out for goat. This communal and culinary tradition in Kenya is called nyama choma — literally, roasted meat. While it's usually goat, some places offer beef, chicken and lamb. If you know where to look, you can even get illegal zebra and and wildebeest meat.
When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate, Catholics passed a milestone. For the first time in history, both vice presidential candidates, Ryan and Vice President Biden, are Catholic.
But if Biden and Ryan share the same faith, they couldn't be further apart in their cultural and political worldviews. On issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, taxes and Medicaid, they are miles apart.
Facing a deadline to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race, Representative Todd Akin says he will not step aside. Akin has been under fire for days for his controversial comments about so-called "legitimate rape." Many members of the Republican establishment, including Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell, have put pressure on Akin to pull out of the Senate race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. On Tuesday, Missouri's Republican U.S. Senator and four former Republican senators issued a joint statement calling on Akin to step aside. Audie Cornish talks with Brian Naylor.
With all its current troubles, Pakistan has not been attracting much foreign investment recently. In fact, China seems to be the only country that's prepared to pour money into Pakistan in a big way.
But a boost in Chinese investment has sparked resentment in southern Pakistan, where activists accuse China of trying to be a new colonial power. A bomb blast recently hit near the Chinese Consulate in Karachi — an ominous sign of the rising tensions.
Cities may be the defining element of human civilization.
The path from hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic era 25,000 years ago to the high-tech, high-wonder jumble we inhabit today runs straight through cities. In traveling that path, our construction of cities has always been a dance with physics. In some cases, that physics was explicitly understood; in others, its manifestation was only recognized in hindsight.
As our cities have become more complex the physics embodying their behavior and organization has also become more nuanced, subtle and profound.
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.
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."
Roxana Castro sits in an orange chair in the waiting room at Mary's Center in Washington, D.C. She's 17, and expecting a baby boy next month. The pregnancy was a surprise, she says, mostly for her parents, but also for the baby's father.
Even with her mother's help, Castro admits she's nervous. The father of the baby says he'll be there, but she knows this is a big responsibility, and says she's not ready to start a family just yet.
"A baby is so fragile," she says. "I don't know how to take care of it or anything."
All it takes to enter a time warp in New Hampshire is $15 and a summer afternoon. Spanning more than 250 years of American history, Strawbery Banke is the oldest neighborhood in the state's oldest city, Portsmouth.
It's kind of like Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg — lite. Stationed inside many of the 37 homes are re-enactors in different period garb. Inside a hulking white house, it's 1872.
Weekends on All Things Considered continues its "Why Music Matters" series with a story from the operating room.
"The O.R. is a naturally rhythmic place, in that you have the beating of the anesthesia machines and the autoclave comes on," says Divya Singh, an orthopedic and hand surgeon. "So music just becomes another sound."
In just a few weeks, we will mark the seventh anniversary of one of the country's deadliest hurricanes. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still recovering from the devastating damage and loss of life caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — the storm that would follow.
In the 1920s, the sound of music in the black church underwent a revolution. Standing at 40th and State Street in Chicago, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was a witness to what occurred.
The high-energy gospel beat of the music that can still be heard in this Pentecostal church is the creation, music critics say, of Arizona Dranes, a blind piano player, a woman who introduced secular styles like barrelhouse and ragtime to the church's music.