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.
A fad that has been sweeping through middle-class India might look familiar to some Americans — it's a craze for fancy gym equipment. But when commentator Sandip Roy visited India's first Mr. Universe (who is known as the "Pocket Hercules") he found that the body builder has little patience for the new trend.
Michael Jordan, one of the greatest players in basketball history, has one more record. It's not likely a record he wanted. He's the owner of the NBA's worst team ever. The Charlotte Bobcats have seven wins and 59 losses.
William Lawlis Pace died in California this week. He holds the record for the person alive the longest with a bullet in his head. Back in 1917, his brother accidentally shot him with a rifle. Doctors left the bullet in place, feeling it would do more damage to remove it.
Sales of previously owned homes are up more than 10 percent from last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. At the same time, the number of homes for sale is at the lowest levels in years. The result, say many real estate firms, is that most of the offers being made these days come with competing bids.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Seems like only a month or two ago that some pundits saw almost no way that Mitt Romney could easily sew up his party's nomination, and they spun out elaborate scenarios of a contested convention. Actually, it was only a month or two ago that some pundits were saying that. But now Romney's nomination is assumed, especially after he won five primaries this week. And that leaves him a full half year to make his case against President Obama.
Now f or Jessica Evers Jones, the anniversary of the LA riots is also a birthday. Jessica entered the world dramatically. On that first day of the riots, her pregnant mother, Elvira Jones, was shot in the stomach outside her home. Elvira was rushed to the hospital and Jessica was delivered by emergency C-section. Surgeons removed a bullet from her elbow. She was famous before she was a week old.
National Guardsmen watch a business go up in flames in South Los Angeles on April 30, 1992. The riots erupted after a mostly white jury acquitted police officers accused in the beating of black motorist Rodney King.
Commentator John Ridley moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago, not long before the riots.
Look, I was always going to end up in Los Angeles. From the time I was a kid in Wisconsin, for me, L.A. was the city. It had sunshine, palm trees, a black mayor, even a police force whose legend was preached nightly on hit TV shows.
Pakistan faces even more political uncertainty. The country's supreme court today found the prime minister guilty of contempt of court. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had resisted demands by the court that he press authorities in Switzerland to pursue money laundering charges there against his boss, the president of Pakistan. NPR's Julie McCarthy has been following this story. She was at the court in Islamabad.
As we just heard from Jackie, most drone strikes are in areas along the border with Afghanistan, places overrun in recent years by the Pakistani Taliban and other radical groups. And our next guest is using a form of soft power to fight terrorism there: mothers. Mossarat Qadeem is deploying mothers to pull their sons back from militancy.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's follow up on the controversy over the American use of drones in Pakistan. Over the past few years, no issue has done quite as much to inflame public sentiment and stir anti-American feelings in Pakistan as drone strikes.
Let's stay in Europe for our last word in business - about an ad that allegedly pushes Nationalist buttons.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The story starts with the Netherlands Energy Company. As a promotion, the energy company is offering free beer taps.
INSKEEP: We do not know how a free beer tap promotes using energy, but never mind. The company bought ads. The ads contain a warning for Netherlands women: Prevent your husbands from traveling to Ukraine to see this summer's European soccer championship. They thought...
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
For the president, next week is being billed as the official launch of his re-election campaign. Mr. Obama will be holding rallies in the swing states of Ohio and Virginia. But it would be hard to tell a difference from this week, when Mr. Obama made a tour of college campuses in three other battleground states.
Young corn plants grow next to the Guardian Energy ethanol plant in Janesville, Minn. Five years ago, the U.S. government projected that in 2012, ethanol production would use up 30 percent of the nation's corn supply. Last year, it used 40 percent.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
A 45-cent-per-gallon government subsidy for ethanol producers ended earlier this year, but there's still a mandate that forces refineries to blend ethanol with gasoline. Before the mandate, refineries used about half as much ethanol as they do today.
Five years ago, ethanol was seen as the next big thing to wean the U.S. off foreign oil. Then some studies on the corn-based fuel cast doubt on its environmental benefits, and auto companies turned their attention to hybrids and electric cars. The hype died off, but the ethanol industry is alive and well, driving a big change in America's corn consumption.
Rising up out of the corn fields outside Lake Odessa, Mich., is the ethanol refinery for Carbon Green Bioenergy. The company's CEO, Mitch Miller, says a lot of refineries were popping up when this one was built in 2006.
NPR's business news starts with a cage-free promise.
Burger King announced yesterday, that by 2017, all of its eggs and pork will come from animals not penned-up in cages and crates. Burger King is the first major U.S. fast food chain to put a firm deadline on such a promise. The move is seen as part of an industry-wide shift to consider animal concerns.
One food industry analyst says it proves quote, "that consumers are willing to pay a little bit more for fairness."