If you're dismayed that people already talk of the presidential race in 2016, just be grateful we haven't said much yet about 2020. That year is already on the minds of the members of the International Olympic Committee. The committee decides in September among possible venues for the 2020 Olympics, including Istanbul, Madrid and the city we visit next. Tokyo is clean, safe and efficient, but has one problem.
Lucy Craft reports the cultural problem that gets in the way of closing the sale.
We've been closely tracking events in Mali since French forces led a military campaign to rid that country's vast northern desert of militants linked to al-Qaida. Those Islamists had taken over much of the region last spring and imposed a harsh form of Islamic law. But the fabled Timbuktu and other cities have been taken back with almost no fight. Now the French say it's time for them to step back and hand over to an African peacekeeping force.
Having overthrown their autocratic leaders, several Arab nations now face the question of how to govern themselves.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
One of the toughest questions is the role that Islam should play in crafting new laws. Secular or moderate groups hope to leave space for democratic debate rather than clerical rule. That's especially true in Egypt, which has a large Christian minority.
Iran is preparing for a presidential election set for June. The last election back in 2009 was followed by massive protests after hard line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. Iran then brutally cracked down and thousands of Iranians fled into exile. NPR's Peter Kenyon met with many of them in neighboring Turkey. He found memories of the regime's crackdown still fresh and little hope things will improve with the next election.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. More signs today of a slow, slow economic recovery. The Labor Department reports the economy added 157,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, to 7.9 percent. To tell us what's behind these numbers, we're joined by NPR business correspondent Yuki Noguchi, and also our White House correspondent, Scott Horsley. Good morning to both of you.
One of the most entertaining documentaries to come out of this year's Sundance Film Festival is "Sound City." The rock musician Dave Grohl, of the band Foo Fighters, is the director - a first for him. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.
KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Sound City" is a mash note to a machine - not just any machine, however, but one that helped change the face of rock 'n' roll.
The Baltimore Ravens are the underdogs in this Sunday's Super Bowl, going up against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, there have been bigger underdogs. And yes, the Ravens are not the lowest-seeded team to make it to the Super Bowl. But the Ravens have beaten the odds in another way. NPR's Mike Pesca talked to some football numbers guys and has this report.
And now to Google, which is looking for some hackers to ride to the top in an unusual competition. Our last word in business is: pi contest, as in 3.14.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Three point one four, that's the amount in millions of dollars that Google is offering in what its Podium Hacking Contest. The challenge here is to hack the Google Chrome operating system and expose security flaws.
Travis McCoy is the product manager for Chrome and we asked him why pi.
Something tells me a few people may be hoisting a few cold ones on Sunday. One hundred ten million people are expected to tune into the Super Bowl then. And, of course, it's not just the game that attracts people, it's also the ads. Viewers who watched the 1984 Super Bowl may not recall who won the game, but they may well remember the ad that Ridley Scott directed for Apple. And you may not recall very many plays from last year's Super Bowl, but I bet you heard about the Chrysler ad starring Clint Eastwood.