Cephus "Bobby" Johnson in 2011, when the former transit officer who shot Johnson's nephew, Oscar Grant, was released from jail. Johnson and other family members have seen Fruitvale Station, a new feature film depicting the shooting, multiple times.
It's not often that Oakland, Calif., hosts a movie opening. But there is plenty of anticipation for Fruitvale Station.
The film is about the life and death of Oscar Grant, a young black man who was fatally shot in the back by a white transit police officer in the early morning hours of New Year's Day in 2009.
Grant was killed by Officer Johannes Mehserle, who claimed to have been reaching for his Taser, not his handgun. Mehserle was tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served 11 months of a two-year term.
Soldiers close the gate to the tiny West Bank outpost, right next door to a Jewish settlement, where the HaHod platoon of the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yahuda battalion is stationed.
Credit Emily Harris/NPR
An Israeli soldier in a platoon reserved for the ultra-Orthodox leans on the doorway of the unit's makeshift synagogue. The military accommodates the religious needs of ultra-Orthodox soldiers by allowing time for Torah study and prayers three times daily.
Credit Emily Harris/NPR
A white metal trailer serves as the makeshift synagogue at the West Bank outpost of an all-ultra-Orthodox Israeli military platoon.
Credit Marco Longari / AFP/Getty Images
An Israeli police officer arrests an Ultra-Orthodox Jew during a protest against the draft law in Jerusalem on May 16.
Moshe Haim always wanted to be a soldier. The 20-year-old is now a sergeant, more than halfway through three years of service in the Israeli military.
But when he goes home on leave, he doesn't talk about his military experiences to any of his eight siblings, especially his brothers.
"I know that for my parents and my brothers, the first, best choice is to be in the yeshiva and study there," he says at a small West Bank outpost where he's stationed. "It wasn't good for me, but my brothers are still pure."
The battle for the city of Dera'a in southern Syria has become a test of an American pledge to give military support to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. After a string of defeats, the rebels have scored rare victories around Dera'a.
But in interviews,rebel commanders passing through neighboring Jordan say those gains could be lost without a dependable arms pipeline and promised U.S. support.
Yasser Aboud, a thin, intense former colonel in the Syrian army, commands the joint operations center for southern Syria.
Back in 2006, President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt talked with reporters during a trip to Florida, where Bush spoke to volunteers helping seniors sign up for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Soon, most Americans will have to buy health insurance or pay a fine. This sounds like a marketer's dream: Captive shoppers directed by the government to buy your product. But when the product you're selling is health insurance, there are some pitfalls. Your customers may not love you. In fact, they may despise you.
"I think it may be too little too late for health insurance companies to now come out, like, 'Hey,we were just kidding the last 50 years!,'" says James Percelay, co-founder of the viral marketing firm ThinkModo in New York.
Mary Hamilton was found in contempt of court in Alabama, when she refused to answer questions after the prosecution addressed her only by her first name. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled in her favor.
When the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling, its decisions can carry weight for generations. Think about decisions in the civil rights era regarding school segregation and the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama.
As part of our look back on the summer of 1963, we examine another Alabama case that had a subtle effect on the way courts treat defendants.
At a mock trial at Samford University in Birmingham, a student playing the role of a defense attorney questions his client on the stand: "To your knowledge, can a driver turning left turn on a yellow light?"
The "Giant Tabular Iceberg" floats in Antarctica's Ross Sea in December 2011. Under a proposed new international agreement, large sections of the oceans around Antarctica would become protected as a marine preserve.
Credit New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade
The New Zealand-United States Proposal. This plan would establish an 888,000-square-mile marine protected area in Antarctica's Ross Sea.
Credit Australian Antarctic Division
The Australia-France-EU Proposal. This proposal for new marine protected areas "would conserve representative areas of biodiversity in the high latitudes of the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean," according to the Australian Antarctic Division.
The area of ocean set aside as a nature preserve could double or triple in the coming days, depending on the outcome of a meeting in Germany. Representatives from 24 countries and the European Union are considering setting aside large portions of ocean around Antarctica as a protected area. And the deal may hinge on preserving some fishing rights.
There are two proposals on the table: One would set aside huge parts of the Southern Ocean around East Antarctica; the other would focus on the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand.
Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi are the human co-pilots who mind-meld to control the giant Jaegers — massive robots engineered to fight rampaging sea monsters — in Pacific Rim, a kaiju-film homage from director Guillermo del Toro.
The simple pleasures of watching Godzilla or Ultraman doing battle on Saturday afternoon television have proved difficult to re-create since their heyday in the '70s and '80s. Big-budget Hollywood attempts to replicate the experience tend to not just be failures, but disastrous, highly polished failures on an epic scale: Roland Emmerich's 1998 take on Godzilla, for instance, or Michael Bay's Transformers series.
For the past three years, StoryCorps' Legacy program has given people facing serious illness the chance to record interviews with loved ones and caregivers. Recently, StoryCorps expanded the program to include children.
In 2007, Faith Marr was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer on her spine. She was 4 years old. That year she had her first of eight surgeries, replacing her vertebrae with titanium rods. Doctors were uncertain about her chances of survival.
Take It Or Leave It: The legalese you accept when you use Facebook or iTunes (or NPR's digital platforms) may have you agreeing to some surprising things. Cullen Hoback's documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply illustrates just how many — and just how much control we've obligingly signed away.
Credit Variance Films
Irish tourist Leigh Bryan (left), here with director Cullen Hoback, sent a tweet to a friend before a U.S. vacation, joking that he intended to have a few drinks and "destroy America." As he tells it in Terms and Conditions, immigration authorities were less than amused.
Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 11:06 am
I'm 45, single, substantially in debt and way too susceptible to jokes about redheads. And I'm telling you these things upfront because ... why not? It wouldn't be all that hard for you — or your Big Brother — to find out.
California lawmakers are calling for an investigation into allegations that 148 female prisoners underwent tubal ligation surgeries without the state's required approval. Some inmates said they had been pressured into undergoing the sterilization procedure, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
It's been five and a half years since the recession started, and four years since the recovery began. It's been a brutal time for the U.S. job market (obviously), and the picture is still pretty bleak.
But when you look at individual industries, you see a more nuanced picture. Many industries have lost jobs, but others are employing more people than ever.
To see how the jobs picture has changed since the start of the recession, we created the graph below. Here's how it works:
The size of the circle represents the number of jobs in each industry today.
Augusta Scattergood was in the fifth grade when she decided she wanted to become a librarian. She now reviews books for magazines and websites, including Delta Magazine and The Christian Science Monitor. Glory Be is her first novel.
In July, NPR's Backseat Book Club traveled to Hanging Moss, Miss., where Gloriana June Hemphill, better known as Glory, is just an ordinary little girl. But this is no ordinary summer — it's 1964 and the town has shut down the so-called "community" swimming pool to avoid integration.
The prospects for a sweeping immigration overhaul dimmed as House Republican leaders said they would not take up a comprehensive bill passed by the Senate last month. Instead, they argued for a slower, step-by-step approach. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R, Fla.) tells Audie Cornish that he remains optimistic that the House can still pass a bill to fix the immigration system.
To raise awareness about force-feeding, Yasiin Bey, the musician and actor formerly known as Mos Def, in a video voluntarily underwent the same procedure administered to prisoners who refuse solid food in political protest while they are held in Guantanamo Bay.
Credit Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images
This image reviewed by the U.S. military shows the front gate of the "Camp Six" detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
For centuries, the act of refusing food has turned human bodies into effective political bargaining chips. And so it's no surprise that the prisoners desperate to leave Guantanamo after, in some cases, nearly a dozen years there, have turned to hunger strikes on and off since 2005 to try to win their release.
House Republicans have approved a farm bill sans food stamps, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the measure for the first time in 40 years.
The 216-208 vote was largely on party lines, with no Democrats supporting it. Twelve Republicans also voted against it.
The decision to cleave food stamps — formerly called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, from the rest of the farm bill gives Republicans a victory after GOP lawmakers in the House turned down the full measure last month.
The PSA test has been dissed a lot lately. The nation's preventive medicine task force, for one, says the test is so unreliable in figuring out who's at risk for deadly prostate cancer that most men shouldn't bother getting one.
Photos depict scenes at the $34 million command center in Camp Leatherneck, completed in November. U.S. troops will never use the facility, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says.
"On a recent trip to Afghanistan, I uncovered a potentially troubling example of waste that requires your immediate attention."
That's one of the opening lines of a letter the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction sent to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week. In it, Special Inspector General John Sopko detailed how a contract worth $34 million was used to build a facility U.S. troops will never use.
Justin Carter, the 19-year-old who was arrested and jailed in February after making a Facebook comment about a school shooting, is out of jail. An anonymous donor posted the $500,000 bond to allow Carter to go home. Carter plans to stay near New Braunfels, Texas, to await his trial on a felony terroristic threat charge.
Is it the summer of Shakespearean comedy? You might not guess it from the box-office grosses, but with the release of Joss Whedon's delightful Much Ado About Nothingand now Matias Piñeiro's wondrous Viola, the spirit, if not the strict content, of Shakespeare's less bloody-mindedplays is sneaking into theaters, offering an invaluable lesson to other films in how to be lighthearted without being empty-headed.
Improbably or not, Salma Hayek (left) and Adam Sandler (far right) are a couple again in Grown Ups 2. Billed as a comedy, the film also features Kevin James, Alexys Nicole Sanchez, Chris Rock, Maria Bello and David Spade, who in this scene are all pretending to laugh at something that in all likelihood involves poo.
Two decades ago, when stupid Hollywood comedies were relatively smart, they lampooned their own sequelitis with titles like Hot Shots! Part Deux. The genre has become less knowing since then, so the follow-up to 2010's Grown Ups is named simply Grown Ups 2.
Grown Ups Minus 2 would be more apt.
Like its predecessor, this is a vehicle for Adam Sandler, his pals and whatever they think they can get away with. That means some creepy sexual insinuations, if not so many as the first time.
Michael B. Jordan plays Oscar Grant, an Oakland man with a checkered past and a new determination to get his life right — until one terrible night at Fruitvale Station.
Credit Cait Adkins / The Weinstein Co.
Oscar's interactions with 4-year-old daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal) help layer Ryan Coogler's warm portrait of a family that's seen its share of upheavals, but that's solid nonetheless — until tragedy intervenes.
Fruitvale Station, on the Oakland side of the San Francisco Bay: Grainy cellphone video from a day, four years ago, that commanded the nation's attention. Several young black men sit on a transit station platform, white transit police officers standing over them. There's shouting, scuffling, but nothing that looks worrisome.
Lukas works in a Danish kindergarten, and it's clear he's in the right place: When the kids look at him, they see a great big toy.
That's especially true for 5-year-old Klara, the lonely daughter of Lukas' best friend, Theo. Klara's folks fight a lot, and her teenage brother is too busy looking at dirty pictures with his buddies to pay her much attention.
In Lac Megantic, Quebec, locals are waiting impatiently for answers following Saturday's train explosion that left 50 people dead. The provincial government in Quebec is blasting the railroad at the center of this disaster for responding too slowly — and requesting more aid from Canada's federal government to help the rural town rebuild.
A Moscow judge has found Sergei Magnitsky and his boss, investor William Browder, guilty of evading about $17 million in taxes. Trouble is, Magnitsky died in jail in 2009 and Browder is safe in Britain. The unusual exercise of trying a dead man seems to be an effort to rebut Browder's claims that Magnitsky was jailed in revenge for uncovering a $230 million tax fraud perpetrated by Russian officials. Magnitsky's supporters say he was beaten and mistreated during his year in pre-trial detention, and that he died from medical neglect.