Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 7:18 am
In the decade since Israeli director Eytan Fox made Yossi & Jagger, the precursor to his sublimely tender new drama Yossi, Israel has undergone two significant changes. A tacit and active homophobia has given way, at least in the open cultural climate of Tel Aviv, to a matter-of-fact acceptance of gay rights. At the same time, Israeli cinema has bloomed, becoming a thriving international presence in just about every genre.
The Gatekeepers is an Israeli documentary based on long interviews with the six surviving heads of the Shin Bet — that's Israel's domestic security service. These six "gatekeepers" were in charge for more than 30 years.
Time now for a home-viewing recommendation from NPR movie critic Bob Mondello. A quiet recommendation — because Bob is touting the Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection, a 14-disc set of classic silent comedies.
Silent film had three great clowns. Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp is the one everyone remembers; all-American daredevil Harold Lloyd is the one who made the most money; and Buster Keaton was the genius.
Actor Jimmy Stewart in a scene from the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which popularized the notion of a "talking filibuster." Even under changes negotiated in the Senate, the talking filibuster remains a thing of the past.
Another new consequence of Greece's economic crisis is that the skies of Athens and other cities are filled with smoke due to the increase in the use of wood burning stoves. The cost of heating oil has gone up 40 percent — a tax increase imposed by the troika. The Greek Environment ministry has issued a warning that the increase in pollutants in the air is posing public health risk.
Boeing's flagship jetliner, the 787, has been stuck on the ground lately. The FAA and safety authorities around the world grounded the fleet after battery problems. And today we have an update on the investigation of the battery fire onboard a Japan Airlines 787 this month in Boston.
NPR's Wendy Kaufman has been following this story and joins us now for an update. And, Wendy, what did the National Transportation Safety Board have to say today?
President Obama has nominated former prosecutor Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). White made her mark in high profile cases against terrorists and the mobster John Gotti. She would be the first prosecutor to head the SEC, and that could blunt criticisms that the administration hasn't been tough enough on Wall Street. But White also advised securities firms as a corporate lawyer after her stint as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The share of the American work force that belongs to a labor union has hit a 97 year low. Today only 11.3 percent of workers hold a union membership. Labor expert Tony Carnevale of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce says the federal government has replaced the labor union for many American workers, in pushing for health and safety regulations, minimum wage legislation and equal pay.
One Paris neighborhood is known as "Little Bamako," named after the capital of Mali. It's a place where Malian immigrants welcome and closely follow the French military campaign against Islamist extremists in their home country. Some express disappointment that President Obama did not send U.S. troops alongside the French soldiers. They reject the harsh Sharia law of the extremists, saying Mali is in fact a very tolerant nation.