Recently, I decided to apply for a driver's license in China. Since I already have one from the U.S., the main thing I had to do was pass a computerized test on the rules of the road here. I figured it would be a breeze.
Driving and car ownership have taken off in China. Last year, the country added nearly 18 million drivers. There is so much demand for licenses that I had to wait a month for the first available testing date.
I'm Michel Martin. And this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, during his life he was revered as a towering figure in the world of letters and reviled as an anti-Semite and misogynist. And the division around his legacy continues after his death last week at the age of 79. So we wanted to take a closer look at the work and legacy of the late playwright Amiri Baraka. That's coming up later.
LISTEN: President Obama's national security address
(This post was most recently updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.)
Saying that "critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives," President Obama said Friday that he wants the National Security Agency to stop holding on to massive amounts of "metadata" about the phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.
Donny Hathaway's repertoire occupies a peculiar space in jazz. Though not a jazz artist, he has influenced a variety of jazz musicians through his work as a singer, keyboardist and composer. Still, jazz musicians have only skimmed the surface of his small but remarkable catalog.
With this episode of Piano Jazz, weremember drummer Joe Morello in a special reunion session with the Hickory House Trio recorded in 1990. He died on March 12, 2011, but during the 1950s, Marian McPartland, Morello, and bassist Bill Crow performed together at the Hickory House, one of the last jazz clubs on 52nd Street in Manhattan. In this session, guest host Crow shares music and memories from his days playing bass in the trio.
This week's show (which we taped before the Oscar nominations were announced, so you can bet we'll be getting to those later) catches us post-Golden-Globes for a conversation about awards hosts, speechifying, satisfying victories, and the odd surprises that keep us tuning in to the season's drunkest ceremony of them all.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:17 pm
Ruling that "voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election" and that Pennsylvania's "Voter ID Law does not further this goal," a state judge on Friday struck down that controversial statute.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley's ruling is posted here.
After balking for years, Major League Baseball is dramatically expanding its use of instant replay in the hope that blown calls will be corrected by umpires in a New York City studio who will be able to review them from multiple angles.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:14 am
Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese intelligence officer who for 29 years after the end of World War II continued to hide, fight and kill in the jungles of the Philippines because he did not believe the war was over, has died.
Japan's Asahi Shimbun says Onoda died Thursday in a Tokyo hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia. He was 91. The newspaper sums up the story of Onoda's post-war years this way:
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:07 am
When a federal ban on slaughtering horses to produce horse meat was lifted several years back, ranchers including Rick De Los Santos, a New Mexico rancher and owner of Valley Meat Co., stepped up to start operations with an aim to export the meat.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:51 am
President Obama is expected to announce Friday morning that he is "ordering a transition that will significantly change the handling of what is known as the telephone 'metadata' " that the National Security Agency collects, officials are telling Reuters and NPR.
The wire service, which broke the story, writes that:
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:00 pm
E.L. Doctorow's 19th book, Andrew's Brain, is a real head-scratcher. This short, perplexing but occasionally potent novel presents particular challenges to a critic, as it's difficult to discuss its enigmas without giving away its odd twists. What I can say is that what starts out as a tale of lost love ends up taking a baffling political turn into rather biting commentary on post-Sept. 11 America.
Colombia is a country famous for its exports. It's well known that those exports traditionally include flowers and, also, unfortunately, cocaine. You may not realize Columbia is also the world's fourth largest coal exporter thanks in part to the Drummond Coal Company. The Alabama-based mining firm produces about 25 million tons of coal annually in the South American country.
World powers will be gathering in Switzerland next week to look for ways to end Syria's brutal civil war. At this late date, though, representatives of the Syrian opposition are still deciding if they will come. For months now, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been cajoling opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to come to the Geneva conference, but the U.S. would allow Iran only a limited role on the sidelines, although Iran is a major player in the Syrian conflict.
And even before Edward Snowden and his leaks made NSA surveillance the subject of dinner table conversations all over American, President Obama said he wanted a debate about the right balance between security and civil liberties. The Snowden revelations made sure that Mr. Obama got one. NPR's Mara Liasson reports on how the political calculus is working at the White House.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: The president's new senior advisor, John Podesta, describes what Mr. Obama wants Americans to understand.