Urban explorer Steve Duncan goes underground, examining the hidden infrastructure of major cities all over the world: their tunnels, subways and sewers. Late in 2010, NPR's Jacki Lyden joined Duncan and a group of subterranean adventurers in New York. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 2, 2011.)
In 2007, a breakaway extremist offshoot of the Mormon Church called the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints made national news. Police raided an FLDS compound in Texas where they found hundreds of women and girls. The church's leader, Warren Jeffs, was sentenced to life plus 20 years behind bars for sexually assaulting children.
The black, long-horned Camargue bull is just one of two breeds of fighting bulls in Europe. The bulls are shown here at the Roman arena in Arles, southern France.
Credit Eleanor Beardsley / NPR
<em>Gardiens</em>, or cowboys, Renaud Vinuesa (on horseback, left) and Olivier Terroux (on horseback, right) are out in the Camargue region of southern France for a branding, or <em>la ferrade</em>, with their tridents.
Credit Eleanor Beardsley / NPR
French <em>raseteur</em> Sabri Allouani flees from a bull during a bullfight in Vendargues, southeastern France, in 2006.
Amid streaks of lightning and startling thunder claps on a recent day, I head out into the middle of the marshy wetlands known as the Camargue. I'm with a group of tourists, piled on hay bales in the back of a flatbed trailer pulled by a massive tractor.
The delta in southern France where two branches of the Rhone River meet the sea, the Camargue is the biggest Mediterranean delta after the Nile. The stunning ecosystem is home to pink flamingos, rice paddies and salt, which has been harvested here since the Middle Ages.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
The U.S. and Russia have agreed on a plan to get rid of Syria's chemical weapons by the middle of next year. Secretary of State John Kerry calls it an ambitious timetable but says he's confident the international community can keep the pressure on Syria to comply. President Obama welcomed the agreement but says the U.S. remains prepared to act should the diplomatic route fail.
Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 4:25 pm
A complicated salvage operation is set to begin Monday at the site of the Costa Concordia, the luxury cruise ship that ran aground off Italy in 2012. Even if it succeeds, it will be a long time before things return to normal on the island of Giglio, where the ship wrecked last January.
A large team has gathered to try to move the wreck of the ship, which measures 952 feet in length and weighs more than 114,000 tons. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli filed this report for our Newscast unit:
The villa that allegedly belongs to the NSA in Vienna. News outlets, the government and opposition parties are battling it out over allegations that the stately villa in a leafy Vienna district served as a sophisticated a U.S. intelligence listening post keeping tabs on most of Vienna.
Joe Lhota, the Republican nominee for mayor of New York City, is former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Credit Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Democrat Bill de Blasio, right, stands near the man he'd like to succeed in office — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — during ceremonies Wednesday marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. De Blasio easily outdistanced a handful of opponents in Tuesday's Democratic primary, but a recount is needed to see if he topped the 40 percent threshold to avoid a runoff.
Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 3:40 pm
Color continued to be a big deal on the New York runways during Fashion Week this week, but almost all the color was represented by the clothes being showcased in the new collections and not the models wearing them.
That lack of diversity has been a perennial problem in the fashion industry — at home and abroad — for at least the past 15 years. And while there may be an Asian or Hispanic girl from time to time (in this industry, everyone is a "girl"), discernibly black girls get token representation if they get it at all.
Japan's new solid-fuel rocket lifts off from the launch pad at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Uchinoura Space Center in Kimotsuki, Kagoshima prefecture, on Japan's southern island of Kyushu Saturday.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 4:02 pm
An all-digital public library is opening today, as officials in Bexar County, Texas, celebrate the opening of the BiblioTech library. The facility offers about 10,000 free e-books for the 1.7 million residents of the county, which includes San Antonio.
On its website, the Bexar County BiblioTech library explains how its patrons can access free eBooks and audio books. To read an eBook on their own device, users must have the 3M Cloud Library app, which they can link to their library card.
Latin jazz works best when the musicians involved are as fluent in Afro-Cuban rhythms as they are in the deep grooves and advanced harmonics of bebop. Arturo O'Farrill has that pedigree in his DNA: His father, Chico O'Farrill, was part of a groundbreaking group of musicians who created the mash-up of Afro-Cuban music and jazz back in late-'40s New York.
Samantha Kinzig of Longmont, Colo., and her daughter Isabel, 5, took a close look at a damaged bridge in Longmont Friday. Heavy rains that fueled widespread flooding in numerous Colorado towns have eased, but forecasters predict more on Saturday and Sunday.
Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 2:17 pm
The rains that brought severe flooding to parts of northern and central Colorado have eased, allowing people a chance to regroup before more rain comes, possibly as soon as Saturday afternoon. Thousands of residents have been displaced by the flooding, from Fort Collins in the north to Colorado Springs in the south, since waters hit dangerous levels Wednesday.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:06 am
Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart have reached a deal that calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons. The plan, which Kerry announced in a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday, gives Syria a week to detail its chemical arsenal.
"The world will now expect the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments," Kerry said. "And as I said at the outset of these negotiations, there can be no games, no room for avoidance, or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime."
Federal police removed thousands of protesting teachers Friday from the main downtown plaza where they had camped out for weeks. The teachers are angry about a new education law that takes power away from their union.
What it would take to identify, inventory and destroy Syria's chemical weapons? How can the U.S. tell if Syria is lying, and whether this solution bestows an unintended legitimacy to the Assad regime? Host Scott Simon asks Former United Nations weapons inspector Charles Duelfer.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday they have reached an agreement on a framework for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons. Michele Kelemen speaks with host Scott Simon.
Responders at the Veterans Crisis Line work to help veterans through their darkest hours. The Department of Veterans Affairs runs the hotline, the only national line dedicated to helping veterans in crisis.
A report in February was the most comprehensive to date from the VA on veterans and suicide. As of that publication, the Crisis Line had made approximately 26,000 rescues of actively suicidal veterans.
Another Colorado story now. Gun control advocates had hoped that last year's shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado might move more Americans to call for stricter gun laws. Gun control measures ground down in the U.S. Congress but some states did pass legislation, including Colorado. Yet this past week, Colorado voters recalled two lawmakers who had backed the legislation.
A new computer school in Paris has been overwhelmed by some 60,000 applicants.
The school, called 42, was founded by a telecom magnate who says the French education system is failing young people. His aim is to reduce France's shortage in computer programmers while giving those who've fallen by the wayside a new chance.
In the hallways of 42, suitcases and sleeping bags are piled, and people are stretched out on mattresses in some of the corners. There are showers and dozens of colorful bath towels.
As the Obama administration made its case for military action in Syria, one of the loudest voices in opposition came from Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink.
You may not know her by name, but if you follow national politics, you've no doubt seen her work.
At the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this month, for instance, as Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for a military strike in Syria, Medea Benjamin sat behind him, holding up her hands, painted bright red.
It's axiomatic now that comics have gone from being kids' stuff to, in some cases, adults only. These days, comics are recognized as a real artistic form, one that can be complex, subtle, pointed, probing and profane.
One of the artists most responsible for this is Art Spiegelman, who drew for Topps Bubble Gum comics, invented the Garbage Pail Kids, created a character who was all head, no body, for Playboy and won the Pulitzer Prize for Maus, his Holocaust comic — a phrase that was once unfathomable.
Terry McMillan weaves together different voices, generations, races and surprises in her latest novel, Who Asked You?. It's a family story that revolves around Betty Jean — known as BJ — a woman who worked as a Los Angeles maid and raised three kids. Her husband is now retired and suffers from Alzheimer's and her children have grown up in radically different ways. One son, Dexter, is in prison. Another son, Quentin, is a successful chiropractor who has had multiple marriages, pointedly lives out of town and wants little contact with his family.
Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952
Credit LAWA Flight Path Learning Center
William H. Evans, Tower of Civilization, 1939. At 150 feet in diameter and soaring 1,290 feet, the tower would have been the tallest structure in the world at the time.
Credit Huntington Library
Goodell Monorail, 1963 — The coaches on the proposed monorail took design cues from the Cadillacs of the time.
Credit Los Angeles County Metropolitan
Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952<strong> — </strong>The original design for LAX had a single, centralized terminal under a glass dome, a plan which was nixed by both the airlines and city engineers.
Credit LAWA Flight Path Learning Center
B+U, Firestone Mixed-Use Office Building, 2009 — A mix of offices, retail shops, a cafe and a plaza, this building would have been covered by braided fabric at different levels of transparency. The project went down with the economy.
Credit B+U Architects
Lloyd Wright, Civic Center Plan, 1925. Lloyd Wright's competition entry for the Los Angeles Civic Center put rapid-transit throughways under the city and gave pedestrians right-of-ways on broad terraces.
Credit Eric Lloyd Wright
DMJM, Pacific Ocean Park Redevelopment, 1969 — The designer proposed a 30-story hotel situated 300 feet offshore. It would have had a glass-enclosed bridge to connect it to land; alas, it fell victim to real estate negotiations.
Credit Edward Cella Gallery/Carlos Diniz Archive
John Lautner, Griffith Park Nature Center, 1972-1974 — In this painting of the proposed center, Lautner was at pains to how the building was inspired by land and sky.
Credit 1996-2001 AccuSoft Co., All righ / John Lautner Archive, Getty Research Institute
Frank Lloyd Wright, Huntington Hartford Sports Club, 1947. The planned 130-acre hotel development would have been a few blocks off Hollywood Boulevard.
Credit Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
The "Steel Cloud," which won a design competition aimed at creating a monumental Los Angeles answer to structures like St. Louis' iconic arch and the Eiffel Tower, was designed by Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture.
A museum exhibit about buildings that don't exist might not sound all that exciting. But the Architecture & Design Museum in Los Angeles has had its crowds grow to 10 times their normal level for a show called Never Built: Los Angeles. It's on through Oct. 13 – and it's all about projects that were imagined for the city but never constructed.
Let's start with one of the most high-profile: a 1968 proposal that would've dramatically altered the profile of Mount Hollywood.