At least 21 people — most of them foreigners — died when the Taliban struck a restaurant popular with Westerners in downtown Kabul on Friday. Two of them were Americans. It appeared to be a well-coordinated attack.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has written a series of presidential histories — covering Lyndon Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Her book about Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals, helped inspire the movie Lincoln, and her latest book, The Bully Pulpit, is about Teddy Roosevelt.
Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 2:21 pm
India is reeling after the death of Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of government minister Shashi Tharoor. As NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi, Tharoor, who was a United Nations official for years, and his wife had been at the center of a social media scandal that grabbed national headlines.
Julie filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"Tharoor, the flamboyant diplomat turned politician, found his wife Pushkar dead in a room at a luxury hotel in Delhi.
President Lyndon B. Johnson went to eastern Kentucky in 1964 to promote his War on Poverty. But when he did, he opened a wound that remains raw today. People in the region say they're tired of always being depicted as poor, so when NPR's Pam Fessler went to Appalachia to report on how the War on Poverty is going, she was warned that people would be reluctant to talk. Instead, she got an earful.
A lot of writers can be fairly easily stereotyped. They write stories about dysfunctional families, star crossed lovers, endearing losers; they write historical fiction, literary fiction or crime novels. But Jay Cantor's body of work defies categorization. His fiction has been inspired by topics as wide-ranging as the revolutionary life of Che Guevara and the comic strip world of Krazy Kat.
The nominations for the Oscars were announced this week, and while many of the big contenders, such as 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street, weren't a surprise, there were some controversies in different categories. Top among the film-world controversies was India's submission for best foreign language film, The Good Road, a drama about a truck driver in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Time now for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
NEARY: And then there were four. Tomorrow is the Sunday before the Sunday before the Super Bowl. And that means New England takes on Denver and San Francisco goes up against Seattle to see who's headed to the big game. NPR's Tom Goldman, who's caught in the middle of that San Fran-Seattle crossfire, joins us on the line from Portland. Good morning, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: I'm ducking here. Hiya, Lynn.
The North American International Auto Show opens to the public today. That's the fancy name for the Detroit car show. NPR's Sonari Glinton has been getting a sneak preview in the Motor City, hanging out with engineers and auto execs. And he's with us now. Good to talk with you, Sonari.
SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: It's good to be here, Lynn.
NEARY: Now, you've spent, I think, four days at the car show. What are the standouts?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. This week, it came out that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan quietly signed into law one of the most repressive anti-gay measures in the world. The law punishes violators with up to 14 years in prison. The development got us thinking about just how difficult it is to be homosexual in so many different parts of the world. To hear more about this, we've reached Jonathan Cooper, the chief executive of the U.K.-based gay rights organization Human Dignity Trust. Thanks for joining us.
Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City began as a newspaper serial in the 1970s, and grew into a beloved series of books that stand as a chronicle of life in the city of San Francisco. And it began in the decade after the Summer of Love, before anyone had ever heard of AIDS — now, it will end in the era of marriage equality.
If you have teenagers in your house, you may find this hard to believe, but texting is on the decline.
For the first time ever, traditional texting — the kind you do through your cell phone provider — has dropped in Britain. That's according to the annual technology predictions report from Deloitte, which reported that the number of text messages passed around by Brits decreased by 7 billion last year.
Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 7:57 am
Here's a snapshot of the Arab world on the third anniversary of its uprisings: Tunisians celebrated in the streets this month. Egyptians voted on a constitution that highlighted their bitter divisions. Beleaguered Syrians prayed that peace talks will bring an end to their nightmarish civil war.
The revolutionary fervor that gripped Arab nations in early 2011 has long since dissipated. All those that experienced uprisings have struggled to remake themselves and the prevailing mood across much of the region has been disappointment or worse.
Patty Gold may be the loudest spectator at the bottom of the half-pipe, with her cheers, gasps and the yelling of her children's names. She mostly stands perfectly still with her hands clasped to her face, waiting for scores, safe landings, and possibly medals.
Taverna du Liban was a welcome respite from the pressures of living in a third-world war zone.
The cozy, Kabul restaurant with its Middle Eastern décor served up a tasty variety of Lebanese dishes and the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten, courtesy of the Lebanese owner, Kamal Hamade, who baked the cakes himself.
But the appeal of Taverna — where I ate nearly every week when I lived in Afghanistan — was about much more than the food. It was about friendship.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 11:19 am
A suicide attack at a Kabul restaurant popular with foreign nationals killed at least 21 people on Friday, including the country director for the International Monetary Fund and four United Nations employees.
The attacker exploded a bomb at the restaurant gates, clearing the way for two gunmen to enter and start shooting indiscriminately, reports NPR's Sean Carberry. Afghan security forces killed the gunmen in a shootout.
Saying that his state must take steps to plan for prolonged water shortages, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over an extended drought Friday. California faces "water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history," according to the governor's office.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:16 pm
A controversial North Carolina law requiring women who want to have an abortion to undergo an ultrasound scan is illegal, according to a federal judge's ruling issued Friday. The state's law required that the women have a medical professional tell them what the image depicts. It also said the women should "listen to the heartbeat of the unborn child."
The U.S. Supreme Court is delving into the technology-versus-privacy debate, agreeing to hear two cases that test whether police making an arrest may search cellphones without a warrant.
The court's announcement Friday that it would take the cases came just hours after President Obama outlined his proposals to address government retention of citizen phone data as part of his speech outlining reforms at the National Security Agency.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 6:21 pm
Subpoenas are hitting his closest aides and allies. His approval rating in New Jersey has taken a modest hit. And suddenly, politicians long afraid of him are speaking out about his revenge-style of governing.
But headed into a three-day weekend, there's some good news for Christie. The conservative base of the Republican Party, long skeptical of the New Jersey governor because of his bro-hug with President Obama after Sandy, is beginning to rally to his side. Here's some evidence:
What does it mean when lawmakers as different as Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall and New York Republican Rep. Peter King offer praise for the president's long-awaited speech on surveillance reforms?
Mostly that resolution to the biggest controversies after leaks by NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been put off — or pushed to working groups in the executive branch and the lawmakers themselves.
Still, the president's NSA reforms speech Friday offered a revealing look into the nation's phone data collection program and the direction of the surveillance policy debate.
If there was a consensus emanating from Congress Friday after President Obama's NSA reform speech, it was — not surprisingly — that Congress itself has a major role to play in the ultimate fix.
Whether from strong NSA supporters or agency critics, the reactions sounded similar: Congress intends to do much of the steering in the drive to overhaul the NSA's gathering of certain non-public information, especially consumer phone records, in the nation's counterterrorism efforts.
Even so, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of politics in some of the reaction.
President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion spending bill into law Friday afternoon, enacting more than 1,500 pages of legislation that received broad support in the House and Senate earlier this week. The expansive bill ensures the U.S. government won't face a potential shutdown until at least October.
Sarah Wendell is the author of the book, Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels. She is also the cofounder of the romance-reviewing website, smartbitchestrashybooks.com.
With French President Francois Hollande the focus of international headlines for cheating on his partner, Valerie Trierweiler — who is in the hospital due to the shock — a happy resolution to their problems seems unlikely.