The Lebanese classical musician and composer Marcel Khalife is often compared to Bob Dylan — not for his music, but for his politics. The Middle Eastern musical and political icon sings about freedom and nationalism.
Khalife is famous for translating poetry into music. For years, he collaborated with the nationalist Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
"It began when I graduated from the music conservatory in Beirut. The civil war started in Lebanon — I wanted to change the world with music," says Khalife.
It's perhaps the most reproduced piece of art ever created. It has adorned key chains and coffee mugs, and the cover of Time magazine. Andy Warhol used it, and now one of the four versions of The Scream, Edvard Munch's iconic work — the only one outside Norway — is coming up for auction at Sotheby's in New York. Sale estimates are as high as $80 million.
Conservative critic Jonah Goldberg says he's inspired to write when he gets annoyed. "Aggravation is a muse," he says. And after speaking on a number of college campuses, he grew aggravated enough to write a book. It's called The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.
The writer Robert Caro has spent about 35 years writing about President Lyndon Johnson and he still isn't done. As we heard on the program yesterday, Caro has come out with his fourth book on Johnson's life.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Years ago, one reviewer noted that Caro's research was so exhaustive that his book on Johnson's youth in Texas described the average annual rainfall in the Texas hill country in the years before Johnson was even born.
The president's counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, made another statement yesterday. He argued that drone strikes to kill militants are legal.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Brennan's remarks were unusual. It's rare that the administration mentions drones at all. Yesterday, Brennan chose to say that the missile strikes by unmanned aircraft which take place in countries like Yemen and Pakistan fit within international law.
In a new report, the employment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas predicts more jobs for teenagers this summer. While the jobs picture is improving, CEO John Challenger says teen hiring is still several years away from returning to pre-recession levels.
Two stories out of China — the escape of a blind dissident from house arrest and the corruption scandal involving a top politician and his family — have attracted international attention. But inside China, the picture is different. The government has successfully suppressed the story about the dissident, Chen Guangcheng, such that most Chinese have never even heard of him. The Communist Party has waged a smear campaign against the fallen official, Bo Xilai, whom citizens see as a loser in a power struggle, a corrupt politician or both.
Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is the latest politician to appear on the campaign trail with presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. That's fueled speculation that Ayotte is being considered as a running mate.
The average caregiver is 49 years old. Cheryl Matheis, senior vice president for policy at AARP, tells Steve Inskeep when a worker has to leave their job to care for a relative, they lose on average $325,000 in lifetime income — from lost wages, Social Security and pensions.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene. Over the course of more than 60 years in the media business, Rupert Murdoch has earned a reputation as a blunt-spoken businessman who comes out swinging. Well today, British parliamentarians didn't pull their punches against him. They released the findings of an investigative panel that spent months looking into the illegal phone-hacking practices at Murdoch's News of the World, the now-closed British tabloid.
NPR's business news begins with more job cuts at Bank of America.
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INSKEEP: The Wall Street Journal reports that the nation's second-largest bank is planning about 2,000 layoffs at its investment banking, commercial banking and wealth management units. These cuts are notable because they include high-earning employees in operations that account for most of Bank of America's profits since the financial crisis.
Wal-Mart remains under a cloud after The New York Times reported the retailers expansion in Mexico involved systematic bribes. To get a sense of how that might play out, Steve Inskeep talks to Peter Solmssen, a managing board member and general counsel for Siemens. The German engineering and electronics conglomerate was involved in its own bribery scandal.
South Sudan is the country that voted to break away from Sudan. They've been jostling for control of border zones, including oil fields. And just as the two sides were sitting down to negotiate, fighting broke out.
Microsoft is committing $300 million to the venture with Barnes & Noble. They are working to create a new subsidiary of the bookseller. The two companies are hoping to energize sales of the Nook tablet.
Peggy McAlpine wasn't happy when she lost her world record. The Scottish woman was 100 when she became the oldest person to paraglide. That title was recently taken away by an American woman. So at age 104, McAlpine took the the skies again and regained the record.
China is clamping down on social media as it grapples with a crisis over the escape of a high-profile dissident, apparently to U.S. protection. The case presents new difficulties for a Chinese leadership already struggling to deal with the scandalous downfall of a powerful politician, and it complicates U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Beijing this week.
Yet China's use of social media in dealing with these two recent crises has been a study in contrasts.
The International Labor Organization issued a report Monday warning that austerity measures imposed in many countries are hurting the job market, as well as failing to effectively reduce deficits. The major European economies received the brunt of the report's criticism. The report predicts a 3 percent rise in the global unemployment rate for 2012.
Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 4:26 am
Tuesday marks one year from the day President Obama announced to the nation that Osama bin Laden had been killed. To underline the significance of the anniversary, the administration sent its counter-terrorism expert out on the airwaves Sunday. It also launched a controversial campaign ad about the raid against the al-Qaida leader.
And let's turn now to Africa and a story we'll be following this week. Sudan has declared a state of emergency along its border with South Sudan, the new country there, further raising fears that these two nations are heading toward all-out war. Earlier this month, South Sudan invaded and briefly occupied Sudan's main oil field. This followed aerial bombardments of South Sudan's border regions by the Sudanese air force.
Every day more than a quarter billion dollars worth of goods passing over a single U.S. border crossing - the Ambassador Bridge - which stretches across the Detroit River, from Detroit to Canada. U.S. and Canadian officials say traffic jams on that bridge are hampering the flow of international commerce and they say a second major crossing from Ontario to Detroit is needed. The question, now, is who would control that bridge. We have a report from Quinn Klinefelter of WDET.
Egypt has made a request to Saudi Arabia. In effect: Please, send your ambassador back here to Cairo. The Saudis recalled their ambassador over the weekend, exposing tension in one of the most important relationships in the Arab world. The Saudis have the most money. Egypt has the most people.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Cairo, on what they do now.
Judge Thurgood Marshall (left) in discussion with President Lyndon Baines Johnson, following Marshall's appointment as a member of the Supreme Court, the first African-American to hold the post.
Credit National Archives / Getty Images
Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office as president of the United States after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963.
Credit Steve Inskeep/NPR
Robert Caro is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes in biography, a National Book Award and two National Book Critics Circle awards, among other honors. He stands in front of the outline of his next book.
Robert Caro writes obsessively about power. Fittingly, it's Lyndon Johnson — catapulted suddenly into the presidency "in the crack of a gunshot" — who consumes him.
The Passage of Power, the fourth volume of Caro's massive biography of Lyndon Johnson, is released this week. Caro has dedicated decades to meticulously researching Johnson's life, and the previous books in the series have been almost universally hailed as a significant achievement in American letters.