China's government has recently jailed officials and issued a slew of new rules to curb corruption, but it's apparently not an effort that independent citizens groups are welcome to join.
On Sunday, a Chinese court sentenced Xu Zhiyong, a leading proponent of civil society, to four years in jail. Police have also arrested around a dozen other members of his group, called the New Citizens' Movement.
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
William Wiley has made a career out of international criminal law, working on cases in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Iraq. He now oversees a nonprofit called the Syrian Commission for Justice and Accountability (SCJA).
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:03 pm
Icy vortices, trains of snowstorms, treacherous temperatures — many people are having to learn some harsh lessons about harsh weather.
"When the weather is bitter cold," says Dr. Campbell McLaren, "we have to be vigilant — not just to protect ourselves, but those around us."
And we have to watch out for the "umbles."
As an emergency room doctor in northern New Hampshire, McLaren has specialized in hypothermia and other deleterious effects of extreme cold. He speaks in a Scottish brogue — and by telephone and email, he warns against the umbles.
Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 9:09 am
Arizona Sen. John McCain has gone soft when it comes to conservative principles. That's according to his state's Republican Party, who sent the former presidential candidate a message on Saturday by voting to censure him for his 'liberal' voting record.
They've got a zillion categories showcasing all kinds of great and interesting music (really!) in all kinds of genres (really!). But when it comes to awards night, you see a tiny selection of awards (eight or nine, maybe, in three hours), together with a bunch of performances ranging from the flawless to the weird thing that happened last year involving Frank Ocean's video legs.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:45 am
Police have identified the gunman who killed two people at a Maryland shopping mall before taking his own life, but officials say they still don't know why he did it or whether the assailant had any relationship with the victims.
As we reported, the shooting occurred at about 11 a.m. Saturday at the Mall in Columbia in the Baltimore suburb of Columbia, Md.
Restless and determined young Dubliner Jimmy Rabbitte put together a neighborhood soul band in 1987. Jimmy rounded up his pal Outspan and Declan and some other folks, including soul veteran Joey The Lips on trumpet, pretty Imelda and Natalie — the Commitment-ettes — as backup, and the rest was history. That's the gospel according to Dubliner Roddy Doyle's first novel, The Commitments.
There is a vibrancy and spirit this year that's different than other shows. There's also been a lot more money spent. The tenor of the show is very different than when the federal government had an ownership stake in Chrysler and General Motors.
It's a heavy burden for such a light movie but it's possible that Anchorman 2 is the movie that will ring in the end of film. The L.A. Times reported last week that Paramount Pictures, the studio that made "Anchorman 2," will move to a completely digital format to distribute its films to theaters. It's a shift with huge implications, not just for cinephiles who are attached to the warmth and quality of 35 millimeter film, but for archivists who rely on film as a medium that will stand the test of time.
Talks between the Syrian government and the opposition have now moved to separate rooms in Geneva. The two sides met face to face this morning but so far have failed to find agreement on a humanitarian cease-fire that would allow humanitarian aid into the city of Homs. U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said today that he hopes people will be able to leave Homs in the next few days. Women and children are already beginning to depart. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: In fact, women and children have not yet begun to leave.]
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In the Ukraine, the streets have erupted into violence again this morning with protesters vowing they will keep up the pressure on the government until it folds. The country's president this morning offered concessions but they were rejected by the opposition. And now, protesters are back in the streets, demanding that the president step aside and hold new elections.
Joining us now from Kiev, the capital city, is NPR's Corey Flintoff. Good morning, Corey.
The Yankees signed the Japanese superstar pitcher this week for a whopping $155 million. NPR's Rachel Martin talks sports with sports correspondent Mike Pesca about what that means for the Bronx Bombers' bottom line.
Ten years ago, NASA's rover, optimistically named Opportunity, landed on Mars on what was to be a three-month mission. But Opportunity is still going strong today, still searching the Red Planet, sending data and images back to NASA. To celebrate Opportunity's decade of life, we called Jim Bell. He's an astronomer at Arizona State University. Welcome to the program.
JIM BELL: Great to be here.
MARTIN: So, take us back, Jim. What was Opportunity originally designed to do?
To California now where a polarizing lawsuit goes to trial tomorrow. At issue, whether job protections for public school teachers undermines students' constitutional rights to an adequate education. The students and parents who filed the lawsuit say it could provide a model for challenging teacher protection laws in other states. But to unions and state officials, all the lawsuit does is demonize teachers.
Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 1:23 pm
Anti-government protesters clashed with security forces overnight in the Ukraine capital, Kiev. The latest violence comes a day after embattled President Viktor Yanukovych tried unsuccessfully to quell unrest by offering top political posts to the opposition.
Writers are a curious bunch, known for holding court at parties, charming their readers publicly, yet also famously — stereotypically — cranky in the daylight hours. They prefer their own quiet shuffling to any other human noise. I, too, admit a certain tendency toward this peculiar, self-inflicted isolation.
It doesn't take long to understand why a Baltimore gang of dirt bikers is called the 12 O'Clock Boys: Flying at top speeds down city streets, they flip precariously high wheelies, maneuvering their bikes to near vertical positions, like clock hands at high noon.
The police try to crack down on them, but that only adds to the gang's allure — especially for a young rider named Pug. "If I fall, I'm gonna hop back on my bike," Pug says. "Doesn't matter if I break my arm or anything, I'm hopping back on this bike."
Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:21 am
Update: On Jan. 27, the American Library Association awarded the Caldecott Medal to Locomotive by Brian Floca. Three Caldecott Honor books were also named, including Journey by Aaron Becker and Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner.
Pork producers across the country are grappling with a virus that's going after piglets. Livestock economists estimate the porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs in the U.S. since it was first found in Iowa last spring.
Canada reported its first case Thursday, and the disease shows no sign of abating. That has veterinarians worried.
Isabel Allende planned to retire in 2011. Instead, she wrote a murder mystery.
The New York Times bestselling author is known for her unique style that blends historical reportage, memoir and literature. Her books have sold over 60 million copies and are translated into more than 35 languages.