The conflict in Syria is now nearly a year and a half old, and there appears to be no end in sight.
August was the deadliest month yet, with thousands of people, mostly civilians, killed in fighting around the country. While anti-government rebels are making advances, government troops are digging in their heels.
It started as a protest movement. Now, analysts in the U.S. and the region agree, the conflict in Syria is a civil war.
A Civil War
Even Syrian President Bashar Assad came close to acknowledging as much in a speech last week.
Seventy-five years ago, Key Underwood and his raccoon-hunting dog Troop had a connection. Years of training and a deep relationship make human and canine a seamless hunting unit. The two can share a special bond.
So when old Troop died, Underwood buried him on the crest of a hill hidden away in the lush countryside near Cherokee, Ala. It was Underwood's favorite hunting spot. He marked the grave with an old chimney stone he chiseled with a hammer and screwdriver.
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And I'm David Greene. During his acceptance speech last night at the Republican convention, Mitt Romney told a story about his father. He said his father gave his mother a rose every day, and left it by the bed. She found out he had died on the day the rose did not appear.
OK. So the president is focused on young voters. At the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney and his supporters were focused on women. Their effort is driven by the big deficit that Romney has had among women in poll matchups with the president. And that's why the GOP convention featured one high-profile female speaker after another. Here's NPR's Don Gonyea.
And our last word in business today is Happy Birthday.
Turns out when you're a billionaire investor you can celebrate any way you want. Warren Buffett turned 82 yesterday and his wish was to give away billions, so he did, in the form of millions of dollars worth of his company stock. All told, those shares will eventually be worth about $3 billion. That gift was divided between his three children's charitable foundations.
The remnants of Isaac have left Louisiana behind, but parts of the state will be rebuilding for a while. The storm brought extensive flooding to communities that had been largely spared during earlier hurricanes. NPR's Joel Rose rode along as Louisiana's governor toured one such town on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain outside New Orleans.
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College students have been heading back to school, and so has President Obama. For the last two weeks, the president has been visiting campuses in swing states around the country. He's been urging students to register and vote. His campaign says it is also working to win the votes of young people who are not in school. Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.
Syria's president has vowed to crush the rebels by any means; his air force has not spared the towns and villages that support rebel brigades. In August, the death toll often topped 250 a day, according to Syrian activists. The fighting between troops loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebel forces has also sparked a refugee crisis for Syria's neighbors as thousands flee to the borders.
Although discussion of foreign policy was in scant evidence at the Republican National Convention, one country did loom large in the lineup: Israel.
Republican delegates in Tampa, Fla., were treated this week to images of Mitt Romney's recent visit to Israel. With stirring music and pictures of Jerusalem's iconic sites, the message of the Romney campaign is that the Republican candidate is a better friend to Israel than President Obama is.
Ben Mattlin has defied expectations for his entire life — starting with being alive at all. Mattlin has a condition called spinal muscular atrophy, and many infants born with it don't live past age 2. But Mattlin grew up to be one of the first students using a wheelchair to attend Harvard. He married, had a family and is now the author of a new memoir, Miracle Boy Grows Up: How the Disability Rights Revolution Saved My Sanity.
This holiday weekend, state troopers across the country will be stepping up their patrols. Much of their work will be routine traffic stops, but some calls they will respond to will be accidents, some of them tragic.
Retired police officer Mark Edens, 61, spent half of his career investigating fatal car accidents for the Michigan State Police.
Let's follow up on another story. Earlier this year, five big banks settled the so-called robo-signing case, admitting they rushed the foreclosure processes for thousands of homeowners. Now, those banks are working to forgive and modify $20 billion worth of home loans.
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, yesterday was the first chance to look at how banks are handling this part of the settlement.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Joseph Smith's first full report wasn't due until November, but he was eager to keep the issue top of mind.
Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep. Every so often, people talk of eliminating the penny - which isn't worth much anymore. It survives, but not in a Chipotle restaurant in New Jersey. The Star-Ledger says a customer discovered the restaurant rounding his bill to the nearest nickel, often collecting an extra cent.
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It is the wind that defines the strength of a hurricane. The storm is not a hurricane at all until the wind reaches 74 miles per hour. Hurricane Isaac's sustained winds were not much beyond that, so it was a Category 1 storm, not two, three, four or five. But if the winds define a hurricane, it's the water that can do the most damage.
Just to keep us up to date here on Hurricane Isaac, it's become a tropical storm and forecasters expect to downgrade it to a tropical depression by this evening. That is small comfort, though, to people facing the storm's strong winds and heavy rains. States as far north as Ohio could feel Isaac's effects.
But now to Tampa, where this evening Mitt Romney will formally accept his party's nomination for president.
Last night, though, the stage belonged to vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. In a campaign, it often falls to the running mate to be the attack dog and Ryan sounded up for the job. It was also a chance for the rising GOP star to defend his own ideas.
Turkey's foreign minister is in New York today. He's urging the United Nations to begin sheltering and protecting refugees inside Syria. It's a move that would almost certainly require international military involvement to safeguard an area inside the country. But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says talk of a safe zone inside his country is not practical. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report from Istanbul.
Now, as Isaac moves north from Louisiana, it could affect other parts of the country, and we'll be following that story as it develops.
The other big story we have been following this week is the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Today is the final day, and it's an important one for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. He'll officially accept the nomination this evening. Yesterday, Romney took a break from the hubbub of the convention to do a little campaigning elsewhere. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on his getaway.
Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 4:31 am
It was Ann Romney and Janna Ryan's turn to campaign in Tampa Wednesday. The wives of the Republican presidential and vice presidential candidates made a pitch to female voters. And Mrs. Romney reached out to Latinos.
We're getting a reminder here of how fiercely competitive this race is. Even as his party's convention is going on, Mitt Romney, campaigning in Indiana and President Obama, of course, not taking the week off - as rival candidates sometimes do during the opponent's convention. He's been making his case the last couple of days in college towns, trying to energize young voters.
And NPR's Scott Horsley is on the road with the president.
This week, Americans have been remembering Neil Armstrong. But before he walked on the moon, he had to solve a much more prosaic problem.
"You're about to embark on a mission that's more dangerous than anything any human has ever done before," Robert Pearlman, a space historian and collector with collectspace.com, told me. "And you have a family that you're leaving behind on Earth, and there's a real chance you will not be returning."