Millions of voters go to the polls in the Democratic Republic of Congo Monday in only the second election in its history. The mood in the country is tense. The current president Joseph Kabila is deeply unpopular, but many in Congo believe he will go to any lengths to hold onto power. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.
Egyptian voters in Cairo, Alexandria and several other major cities are voting Monday in the first stage of the country's parliamentary election. Turn out is heavy and so far there has been no major violence. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
In the mid-'90s, the big banks set up the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, to track mortgages as they're traded by investors in mortgage-backed securities. It's a system set up to let banks skip the process of paying recurring filing fees at county courthouses each time a mortgage was bought or sold. Now, many cash-strapped local governments, big and small, are filing lawsuits against MERS. Politicians contend their communities are owed millions of dollars.
Whether you want to or not, you've probably heard the songs on the top-100 list in the U.S. But do you know what's hot right now in West Africa or China? Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin finds out what music is popular in Hong Kong and Dakar by talking to music critics Ben Sin and Rose Skelton. They each pick three favorite songs that best represent the music scene in their cities.
Writer-director Paddy Considine's debut film, Tyrannosaur, is a favorite of critics this year. It's generating Oscar buzz and has earned Sundance Festival awards for Considine's directing and the film's lead actors. the film tackles dark themes like death and spousal abuse, but a message of hope manages to shine through. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin talks to Paddy Considine about writing and directing the film, which is in theaters now.
Pakistan says 25 of its soldiers were killed in a NATO helicopter attack on a checkpoint at the Afghan border. NATO says it is investigating what happened. Host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Quil Lawrence about the incident, which has further exacerbated U.S.-Pakistan tensions.
With more on this story and the rest of the week's news, we're joined now by Doyle McManus. He's the Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and he has graciously agreed to stand in for our regular news analyst, James Fallows. Doyle, thanks so much for being with us.
NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday. The MSL is five times heavier than the rovers currently on Mars and has twice as many scientific instruments. It will take nine months for the spacecraft to reach the Red Planet, and there's plenty of things for it to do before then.
Andrew Robinson was injured by a roadside bomb during his second deployment to Iraq. Now a quadriplegic, he says he is learning how to use his limited mobility and is proud of having protected his fellow soldiers. He is especially motivated because his wife is expecting twins next month.
Photographer Lindsay McCrum's new book includes images of women who feel that hunting is a way to bring people and family together. Among those women is Alexandra, who poses for McCrum with her son, Truett, and her Ithaca 20-gauge side-by-side shotgun.
Credit Lindsay McCrum /
Lindsay McCrum is a fine art photographer. She lives in New York City and California.
If you turn to page 109 of Lindsay McCrum's photo book, you'll see a photo of a woman wearing jeans and a green baseball cap standing in a grassy field. She's looking straight at the camera, clutching a semi-automatic rifle as if it were a water bottle. Standing between her legs is her son, his blond hair peeking out from behind her thigh as he poses with his toy gun, a miniature of his mother's.
When Rachel Martin was given a slot guest-hosting weekends at All Things Considered, she took the opportunity to get a little holiday shopping out of the way. Needing musical stocking-stuffers for a few pesky relatives — her fiance's mom, for example, or her dad, who likes "Tchaikovsky and Johnny Cash" — she consulted NPR Music's Stephen Thompson, and asked him for some tips.
Egypt's military rulers named a former prime minister under Hosni Mubarak to head the new government. The move is likely to further incite the tens of thousands of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, demanding the resignation of the ruling military council. And for the first time, pro-military protesters gathered in another of Cairo's squares.
Last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited SeaWorld following the death of a killer whale trainer. If a Florida court rules in favor of OSHA, employees of SeaWorld and other parks like it will no longer be able to come into direct contact with whales unless there is a barrier between them. Guy Raz speaks to Tim Zimmermann, a correspondent for Outside Magazine, about the ongoing legal dispute.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. And now it's time for your letters - all about our annual Thanksgiving Day story by writer Bailey White. This year, Bailey told us about a Florida painter who moved to Vermont, where he has trouble fitting in. At a neighbor's suggestion, he turns to raising turkeys.
Guy Raz talks with our weekly commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times, about Congress' tough spot, observations on the political divide, economic mobility and disagreement over core values.
In September, the pro-Russia Harmony Center party won parliamentary elections in Latvia. But the governing coalition has left the party on the sidelines. Supporters of the Harmony Center party protest in front of the Parliament building during its opening session in Riga on Oct. 17. The banner reads: "No to ethnic discrimination."
Credit Raitis Purins / AFP/Getty Images
The Museum of Occupation (shown here in 2005) was a pro-Soviet museum before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Now, the museum's exhibits chronicle Latvia's periods of Nazi and Soviet occupation.
Of all the economic downturns of the past few years, the tiny European nation of Latvia may have suffered as much as any place. Incomes fell and families suffered as the government implemented harsh austerity measures.
Now, the citizens of this former Soviet republic seem more open to what was once unthinkable: backing a social democratic party that's pro-Russian.
It's been an All Things Considered Thanksgiving tradition since 1991— a Bailey White original short story. Over the years, White's stories have included tales about a rose queen, a telephone man, an ostrich farmer and a wife exacting revenge. This year, White presents "Call It Even." It's about a shy painter who moves from Florida to Vermont and wants to feel like he fits in — so he raises a dozen turkeys.
In the small-town of Elko, ambition looks like high-heel suede booties on the floor of the auto shop at the local high school.
Brandi and Kaylee look like the Olsen twins. And they're the best auto-shop students at Elko High. The girls have a plan. Everyday out the school window, they see trucks heading up to the gold mines. Day and night. So, the girls figure, why not open a truck repair shop after they graduate?
"In Elko we've been really blessed and really lucky to actually have a good economy," Kaylee says. "We can actually have our hopes and dreams."
Nov. 23, 1936, was a good day for recorded music. Two men, an ocean apart, each stepped up to a microphone and began to play. One was a cello prodigy who had performed for the queen of Spain; the other was a guitar player in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. But on that day, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson each made recordings that would change music history.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is one of those small corners of the government with an important mission: It's supposed to help protect federal whistle-blowers and shield civil service workers from politics.
But during the Bush years, the office was engulfed in scandal. It was raided by FBI agents, and its chief was indicted for obstructing justice.
It's into that unsettled environment that the new leader, Carolyn Lerner, arrived five months ago. And good government groups say she's already taking the office in new directions.
The congressional supercommittee announced Monday that it failed to come to an agreement on reducing the deficit. After three months of negotiating, the Democrats and Republicans just couldn't agree on how much spending to cut or how high to raise taxes.
But this is not a story about how the left and right disagree with each other. In fact, they actually largely agree.
President Obama Monday put the blame for the supercommittee's failure squarely on congressional Republicans — and their unwillingness to consider higher taxes on the wealthy. Obama also threatened to veto any effort to escape from the automatic spending cuts agreed to in August without a balanced plan to reduce the deficit. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Scott Horsley for more.
With Thanksgiving hard upon us, now is a good time to think about our past. History writers can tell the best stories from centuries of human achievement and folly, yet too often they produce recitations of one damned thing after another. A few, though, combine a respect for accuracy with a deep understanding of the longings, fears and triumphs of the people of our past. Such books make magic.