From Syria to Afghanistan, to Russia and Ukraine, the United States finds itself confronting some major foreign policy challenges. There are old rivalries and new one testing the limits of the United States.
NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam regularly joins us to talk about matters related to individual and organizational behavior, but today, he's found some new research that's relevant to the way we think about foreign conflicts and he's in our studios. Shankar, welcome back.
The National Football League has been confronting questions about head injuries and the danger of concussions among its players. But football is a contact sport beginning at a much younger age, and many states are implementing - or at least considering new policies - to protect student athletes from head injuries.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will speak via videoconference to the attendees of South by Southwest Interactive later this morning, and you can bet a much wider audience than just those here in Austin will be watching.
What do an eccentric British detective, a cut-throat Washington pol and a bunch of nerds at Caltech have in common?
They are characters in some of the most popular foreign TV shows in China.
Over the past five years, The Big Bang Theory alone has been streamed more than 1.3 billion times. To appreciate how much some young Chinese love the BBC series, Sherlock, step inside 221B Baker Street. That's Holmes' fictitious address in London as well as the name of a café that opened last year in Shanghai's former French Concession.
It's an hour before suppertime, and the line outside Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky., is wrapped around the building. The people are waiting for more than a Bible sermon; there's a raffle tonight. Twenty-five guns are up for grabs.
There's nothing new about gun raffles in Kentucky, even at a church. Last year, there were 50 events like this one in the state. The Kentucky Baptist Convention says it's a surefire way to get new people through church doors.
It's taken several years, but in many parts of the country, home prices are nearly back to where they were at the peak. In places like Florida, where the housing recession hit hard, home prices rose last year by one-fifth or more.
A major factor in the price rise is hedge funds, private equity firms and other large investors. They've moved aggressively into the residential market over the past two years, buying tens of thousands of distressed properties, often at bargain prices.
Teenagers put a lot of stock in what their peers are doing, and parents are forever trying to push back against that influence. But with the advent of social media, hanging out with the wrong crowd can include not just classmates, but teenagers thousands of miles away on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 5:01 am
Too many poor people in the U.S. lack access to lawyers when they confront major life challenges, including eviction, deportation, custody battles and domestic violence, according to a new report by advocates at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic.
Sheryl Sandberg doesn't like a word a lot of people and parents use to describe little girls.
In an editorial for The Wall Street Journal, she called it "the other B-word." She says as a kid, she didn't really play with other kids, instead the current chief operating officer of Facebook used to organize their play.
In 1966, psychedelic drug advocate and former Harvard professor Timothy Leary appeared on the Merv Griffin Show.
"I'm in the unfortunate situation of being about 20 years ahead of my time," Leary said. When asked how many times he'd taken LSD, he answered 311. The audience gasped.
Leary was fired for experimenting with psychedelics on undergraduates, and before long, LSD was classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it had "no known medical use." Research on the medical uses of LSD and other psychedelics came to a halt.
Boy, Snow, Bird reimagines the traditional Snow White fairy tale. Helen Oyeyemi's new novel explores beauty, envy and identity in New England in the 1950s — race and skin color shape the characters' experiences.
The wicked stepmother in this story is named Boy; the fair beauty is Snow. The birth of Snow's half-sister, Bird, reveals a long-buried family secret. Throughout the book, characters are haunted by a sense that things are not as they appear in their relationships and in the outside world.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it a priority to eliminate corruption within the Chinese Communist Party.
"The [Communist Party] desperately wants the appearance of cracking down hard on corruption because they understand that rampant corruption is threatening the party's legitimacy," says Associated Press reporter Gillian Wong.
In a story published Sunday, Wong uncovers how that crackdown on corruption has led to another problem: abuse and torture of party officials.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
If you've been to Montreal, you may have been greeted in stores with the phrase bonjour hi. That friendly greeting could soon be illegal. The Parti Quebecois, which advocates for establishing Quebec as a sovereign state, is leading the polls for next month's provincial election. Saving French, Quebec's official language, and banishing English is a passionate concern for the PQ.
The United States and other world powers have said that Russia's actions in Ukraine are a clear violation of its international agreements. One of those agreements is known as the Budapest Memorandum signed in 1994.
Steven Pifer is a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. And he was part of the American team that negotiated the terms of the memorandum.
The White House announced Sunday that President Obama will host Ukraine's interim prime minister Wednesday. It is another diplomatic move to peacefully resolve the standoff with Russia over Crimea. NPR's Arun Rath talks with reporter Emily Harris about the situation.
NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Beijing correspondent Anthony Kuhn about the latest news on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The plane had been carrying 239 people when it apparently vanished.
William Clay Ford, a descendant of auto industry pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions, has died at age 88. He was the son of Edsel Ford.
Ford's death was confirmed by the automaker that bears his family's name Sunday. The company said Ford died at home after suffering from pneumonia. And it said that during his 57 years with the company, Ford led the Design Committee and helped develop cars such as the Continental Mark II, a sleek two-door built in the mid-1950s.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 11:53 am
Italy has more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other country in the world, and its art and cultural riches have drawn visitors for centuries.
It also prides itself on being a culinary mecca, where preparing, cooking and serving meals is a fine, even sacred, art. And now that the country is in the deepest and most protracted recession since World War II, why not cash in on its reputation as a paradise for visiting gourmets and gourmands?
An experimental blood test can identify people in their 70s who are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease within two or three years. The test is accurate more than 90 percent of the time, scientists reported Sunday in Nature Medicine.
The Conservative Political Action Conference ended in Washington Saturday, after giving Sen. Rand Paul a second consecutive victory in the presidential straw poll that's seen as an indicator of how Republicans see their leaders.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's straw poll victory at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference wasn't unexpected for the presidential contender. In third place, however, was a surprise finisher.
Dr. Ben Carson is one of a handful of black Republicans that conservatives are buzzing about this year. While the GOP has made strides in cultivating viable black candidates, the party still has difficulty resonating with black voters.
He may not have the rock-star status of top conservatives like Paul or Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, but Carson's following is growing.
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.
After years of selling drugs and serving prison time in Detroit, 54-year-old Isaac Lott is now a site supervisor with the organization Reclaim Detroit. The group deconstructs abandoned homes to reclaim materials from them.
Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:45 am
Pro-Russian groups used whips to attack pro-Ukrainian demonstrators in Sevastopol, the port city of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, according to the BBC. The news agency says its reporter at the scene is "describing the scenes as very ugly."
Interpol says that "at least two passports" used to board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were listed in its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database. And matching up with what's been reported earlier, the agency identified them as being Austrian and Italian documents.
The agency says it's also reviewing other passports used to board the flight, to determine whether any of them might have been reported stolen. That's from a statement released Sunday.
When Mexican artist Diego Rivera was commissioned in 1932 to do a mural in the middle of Manhattan's Rockefeller Center, some might have wondered whether industrialist tycoon John D. Rockefeller Jr. knew what he was getting into.
In 1934, the legendary artist's work was chiseled off the wall.
Now, in Washington, D.C., the Mexican Cultural Institute has mounted a show that tells what happened to Rivera's mural.
Detroit's Orchestra Hall is one of the best symphony concert halls in the country. The acoustics are top-notch. The theater itself is grand. Important music is made there by some of the country's most talented classical musicians.
This post is being updated throughout the day Sunday.
After a second day of frantic searching failed to uncover the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, ships and aircraft are combing over parts of the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea where the jetliner is suspected of crashing with 239 people aboard more than 48 hours ago.
Vietnamese officials say search planes have spotted an object that could be debris from the jet — but darkness fell in Asia hours ago, complicating any attempts to verify or expand on that claim.