Credit Michael Nagle for The New York Times / Redux
Rabbi A. Romi Cohn, a noted mohel, prepares an infant for circumcision at Congregation Shaare Zion in Brooklyn on Sept. 4. Cohn opposes a New York City rule requiring parental consent for a type of circumcision ritual practiced by some Orthodox Jews.
An ancient circumcision ritual is at the center of a present-day legal battle in New York.
The New York City Department of Health wants to require parental consent for a controversial circumcision practice, which it says can spread the herpes virus. But several Jewish organizations are suing to block the new rule, which they say violates their freedom of religion.
When Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was elected, some Egyptians jokingly referred to him as the Muslim Brotherhood's "spare tire." He was the backup candidate of the Islamist organization, whose first choice for the presidency was barred from running.
But Morsi has proved much more formidable than many Egyptians believed.
As leaders in Washington try to make a deal to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts slated to go into effect in the new year, one major focus of the negotiations is whether to let taxes go up on the rich.
The Obama administration wants to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for top earners. House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans have countered with a proposal that they say would raise revenue through ending loopholes and deductions in the tax code and would not increase tax rates.
People originally from northern Mali carry signs that call for military action to retake that part of the country, now under the control of Islamist militants. The rally was held in Mali's capital, Bamako, in October.
In the southern part of Mali, which includes the capital, Bamako, it's not hard to find people who are angry about the Islamist militants who have taken over the country's north.
But there's little reason to believe the Islamists will be ousted soon. The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet this week to discuss plans for a 3,300-strong regional force to enter Mali. But it is unlikely any sort of military operation will take place in the near future.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block.
And today there is a counter offer. Republicans have put forward the broad strokes of their proposal to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled at the end of the year. It should sound familiar to those who followed the presidential campaign. House Speaker Jon Boehner offered a plan that borrows heavily from ideas put forth by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Life can be especially cruel for girls growing up on Kenya's Swahili Coast. Some families sell their daughters to earn the bride price, while others encourage them to become child prostitutes for tourists. The girls drop out of school and have babies, and their childhoods are stolen. Now, a coalition of educators, religious and traditional leaders is fighting back.
Thirteen teenage girls — all with babies on their laps — are gathered around a table in the town hall of Msabaha village, not far from the beach resort of Malindi.
When Christine Rowan gave birth prematurely in August, her new baby was having problems breathing. So Rowan brought her daughter, Zoe, to the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., for genetic testing.
"It's funny because when we first had the testing done, we didn't even really think about the fact the testing was going to lay out all of her DNA," says Rowan, 32, who lives in Northern Virginia.
But while Rowan and her husband were waiting for the results, questions started popping into their heads.
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity cut a wheel scuff mark into a wind-formed ripple at the "Rocknest" site to give researchers a better opportunity to examine the particle-size distribution of the material forming the ripple.
The director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said last week that preliminary data showed the possibility that the agency's Mars Science Laboratory – the six-wheeled rover that landed on Mars in August — had found signs of carbon-containing molecules.
Gary Ross has penned and directed some big Hollywood hits like Big, Pleasantville and The Hunger Games. But for the past 15 years, his obsession has been something much more personal: a Dr. Seuss-ian children's book called Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind.
It started when Ross got a call in 1996 from fellow screenwriter David Koepp. Koepp was up against a tight budget and approaching deadline with his debut directorial effort, The Trigger Effect. Its heroine had to read an as-yet-unwritten bedtime story to her child.
Over three decades, Ian MacKaye has tested a few possibilities of what punk can mean. His first band to make a national impact, Minor Threat, was a clear outgrowth of the hardcore scene in his native Washington, D.C. His second act, Fugazi, was subtler: four musicians, all songwriters, infusing punk's energy with rhythms pulled from funk, reggae and even classic rock.
Five years ago, Paul Young was working three jobs outside Portland, Ore., when he decided to write a Christian tale of redemption for friends and family. He went down to an Office Depot and printed off 15 copies of the story he called The Shack.
The manuscript was never intended for broad publication, but it eventually caught the attention of two California-based pastors. They took it to 26 different publishers but got rejected each time. So the pastors set up their own publishing company and started a whispering campaign among churches.
Miss America's walk might look effortless, but her road to success probably cost more than you think.
Ten-thousand women will compete in a Miss USA-sponsored pageant this year. That organization is just one of more than 15 small circuits, each with its own local, state and national competitions. It's a big industry. From the organizers, designers and coaches, lots of people make money — except the contestants.
Twenty-four women are in the running to become the latest Miss District of Columbia USA.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. (right), shown at a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is arguing for raising taxes on the wealthy as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
As negotiations continue in Washington over a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff — that combination of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1 — one big sticking point is whether to raise tax rates for high-income Americans.
Congress and the White House constructed the cliff last year, thinking it would force them to focus on solving the deficit problem. But they're still battling over what approach makes the most sense.
South Dakota's foster care system "systematically violated the spirit and the letter" of a law meant to protect Native American children, a coalition of tribal directors from the state's nine Sioux tribes said in a report released Thursday night. The report comes a year after NPR aired a series questioning whether the law was being enforced.
While thousands of people on the East Coast waited weeks for big utility companies to turn the lights back on after Superstorm Sandy slammed ashore, the residents of Madison, N.J., had power just days after the storm. This leafy New York City suburb operates its own municipal utility — and now some neighboring towns are asking whether they should, too.
"We were able to power up sections of town within two days," said Madison Councilman Robert Landrigan. "And then, by the weekend [after the storm], most of the town was back."
Freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has been standing side by side with colleagues John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in questioning the Obama administration's version of events about the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September.
It is just the latest in a series of high-profile moments for Ayotte, who is seen as a rising star in a party struggling to win female voters.
This weekend, 20 people from around the country will meet in a nondescript hotel room in Arlington, Va., and take a vote. A passing stranger who stumbled on this group wouldn't see much of anything, just a bunch of graying academic types sitting around a table.
But millions of people will be touched by that vote because the graying academic types are voting to approve the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual — the bible of psychiatry.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has had a tough week. At the U.N., Rice had to explain to the world why the Obama administration was part of a small minority voting against the Palestinian statehood bid. She's also been under attack as a potential secretary of state. And as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, her critics seem to be growing in number.
The Carousela cafe in West Jerusalem is one of a handful of restaurants and cafes in Israel staging a bit of a rebellion by defying Jewish religious authorities who claim they are the only ones who can certify restaurants as kosher, or in compliance with Jewish dietary laws.
Archaeologists call an excavation site on Istanbul's southern shore the world's largest shipwreck collection. The area, unearthed during construction of a railway station, was once a Byzantine-era port that harbored cargo and military vessels, and received goods from around the Mediterranean.
Credit Mustafa Ozer / AFP/Getty Images
Archaeologists in Istanbul work on the remnants of a Byzantine-era ship in June 2006.
Credit Mustafa Ozer / AFP/Getty Images
The archaeological finds include millions of shards of pottery.
In Istanbul, major public transit projects are back under way after years of paralysis. The problem wasn't a lack of financing, but the layer upon layer of ancient artifacts that turned up every time the earthmovers started their work.
The excavation began eight years ago on projects intended to ease Istanbul's notoriously clogged traffic.
The job included building a tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait and linking it to a rail and subway network. When the dig was stopped several years ago, eyes rolled and shoulders shrugged.
"The word random is the most misused word of our generation — by far," he proclaims to a tittering audience of 20-somethings. "Like, girls will say, 'Oh, God, I met this random on the way home.' First of all, it's not a noun."
Angel Salvatory, 17, buys cloth at a market in Kabanga village in Tanzania. Albinos living in a nearby protection center are allowed to go to the local market as long as they travel in a group for their own safety.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin for NPR
Mwatatu Musa, 45, was abandoned by her husband and now lives in a one room hut in Kakonko, Tanzania. As a young woman she was raped by men, who she thinks victimized her because she has albinism.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin for NPR
Maajabu Boaz, 20, who has albinism, plays checkers with local men where he feels safe in Nengo Village, Kibondo, Tanzania. Boaz has a reputation of carrying knives for self-protection.
Life is hard for albinos throughout Africa, but especially in the East African nation of Tanzania. At best, they face raw prejudice; at worst, they are hunted for their flesh, the results of superstitious beliefs.
Albino killings have been reported in a dozen African countries from South Africa to Kenya, but they are worse in Tanzania than anywhere else.
A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record, led by a dramatic decline in births among immigrant women. The trend has been visible at La Clinica del Pueblo, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that holds a weekly neonatal clinic.