A police officer blocks photos from being taken outside Zhongnanhai, the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China, in Beijing last year.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Zhang Xuezhong, a professor of law, was recently suspended from teaching at his university in Shanghai. Among Zhang's offenses was writing articles that urge the Chinese Communist Party to respect the country's constitution.
Credit Ma Zhancheng / Xinhua/Landov
President Xi Jinping speaks at a congress in Beijing marking the 30th anniversary of the implementation of China's constitution, on Dec. 4, 2012. In the speech, he vowed to uphold the constitution and the rule of law.
Several weeks back, officials with the East China University of Political Science and Law met one of its professors, Zhang Xuezhong, at his favorite hangout, a coffeehouse in Shanghai.
Sitting in a private room, they told him he was suspended from teaching for articles he had posted on the Internet. In them, Zhang had argued that China's government needs to build a real rule of law — one to which even the party is accountable — as well as a system of checks and balances.
One way to start, he says, is to live up to the promises made in China's 1982 constitution.
A man relaxes at a downtown park in Seoul. The pronounced demographic shift triggered by a plummeting birth rate and soaring life expectancy is seen as one of the greatest challenges facing Asia's fourth-largest economy.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:43 pm
A story in the Financial Times caught our eye this week. It was on foreign workers in South Korea.
The story looked at the town of Ansan, where about 7.6 percent of the population is foreign. They come from other Asian countries, as well as from Russia. Here's one of the reasons for the change in South Korea, a highly homogeneous society:
Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, took the crown in this year's Miss America beauty pageant. It was the 87th year of the competition, and Davuluri was one of two Asian-Americans in the final round. Although she's just a few days into her reign, Davuluri has already made history. She's the first Indian-American Miss America.
Her win highlights how far the U.S. has come, but also how far the country has to go: Racist tweets flooded in on Twitter right after her victory.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 10:05 am
This week's feel-good story of the homeless man in Boston who found a backpack containing $42,000 in cash and travelers checks and then turned it into authorities is developing into an even better tale.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 2:34 pm
"I don't know why he did what he did and I'll never be able to ask him why," Cathleen Alexis, mother of the man who authorities say killed 12 people Monday at the Washington Navy Yard, said in a statement she read to the media at midday Wednesday.
CNN has audio of her comments, in which she also says that "Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that I am glad."
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 12:33 pm
If you're a dutiful fan of Stephen King's work — myself, I'm an off again, on again follower — you will have read The Shining, King's hit 1977 novel about a haunted resort in the Colorado Rockies. Depending on how recently you immersed yourself in that story, you'll have a sharp or vague recollection of a young child with the power of "shining," or mind-reading mixed with telekinesis.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:42 am
With the coffee giant caught in the middle of what he says is an "increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening" debate, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has posted a letter to "fellow Americans" asking that they not bring guns into Starbucks' shops.
Fantasy film star Lily Collins seems harmless but beware of looking for more about the starlet on the Internet. According to antivirus software company McAfee, she is the Most Dangerous Celebrity. Plugging Collins' name into a search engine has a 14 percent chance of turning up a computer virus.
As the investigation into Monday's mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard progresses, authorities are learning more about the mental state of the gunman, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis. A recent police report indicates Alexis was hearing voices coming from walls. Meanwhile, work is resuming at the Navy Yard.
A secret surveillance court has issued a very rare public defense of the U.S. program that collects massive data on phone calls. The court wrote that this program which stores numbers and call times but not content, we're told, does not violate privacy rights.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The American Civil Liberties Union countered that it is folly to trust privacy decisions to a secret court.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:19 am
In the aftermath of this week's shooting rampage at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., there has been no revival of the debate over gun control. In fact, the response from both sides in the debate has been muted. That's very different from what happened after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December.
The House of Representatives is expected to take up a bill Thursday that would chart the course for federal nutrition programs for years to come.
The measure calls for $40 billion in cuts over a decade to the federal food stamp program, now known as SNAP. The measure's Republican backers say it attacks fraud, but advocates say it will hurt the poor.
Law students are looking for some changes to their education. The American Bar Association plans to issue a report in the next few weeks, recommending a major overhaul of how law schools operate. And students are hoping that a recent comment from President Obama, will boost one reform in particular: cutting law schools down to two years, from three.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 4:06 am
Three New York men were so eager to get the game; they hatched a scheme that could be one of its plots. According to the New York Post, the men pulled up to a mall in an unmarked vehicle, walked past hundreds of people in line and purchased the game. Real police pulled them over after they ran multiple stop signs trying to get away.
Judy Bonner, the University of Alabama's new president, when the school's championship football team visited the White House on April 19, 2012.
National Guard Brig. Gen. Henry Graham informs Alabama Gov. George Wallace that the guard was under federal control as the two met at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on June 11, 1963. Wallace, who had vowed to prevent integration of the campus, gave way to federal troops.
Students at the University of Alabama and community leaders are reacting to allegations that white sororities denied access to black women because of their race.
The student newspaper in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson White, ran a story that quotes sorority members who say they wanted to recruit at least two black candidates but the students' names were removed before members could vote on them.
More than three months after Edward Snowden revealed details of NSA secret surveillance activities, intelligence officials are still assessing the fallout from the former contractor's disclosures. But they already know how the leaks happened.
"We have an extremely good idea of exactly what data he got access to and how exactly he got access to it," says the NSA's chief technology officer, Lonny Anderson.
In interviews with NPR, two government officials shared that part of the Snowden story in one of the most detailed discussions of the episode to date.
After 117 years, sports has finally made it to the big time, when, starting next Tuesday, a sports company will be included in the Dow Jones averages.
The Dow Jones, of course, has always preferred very serious corporations –– your banks, your automotives, your insurers. OK, the movies were allowed in 1932 with the inclusion of Loews, and Walt Disney was brought onboard in 1991, but sports was never considered substantial enough for an industrial average until now, when Nike has been ordained.
At a community center named for Florida civil rights pioneer Carrie Meek, a few dozen members of Miami's National Church of God gathered over the weekend for a tea party — and to hear from a special guest, Monica Rodriguez of Enroll America.
The organization is working to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act, the federal law that will let people without health insurance shop for coverage starting Oct. 1.
We've all faked our way through conversations before — whether about books we haven't read, movies we haven't seen or concepts we don't understand. In her new book, I Don't Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn't), Leah Hager Cohen explores moments in history and everyday life when "I don't know" can have a big impact.