Trading on the Nasdaq exchange was halted today due to an unspecified technical glitch. The shutdown rattled investors and raised fresh concerns about the safety and stability of financial markets. Nasdaq in particular has experienced technological mishaps, most notably during the Facebook IPO in 2012.
The former politician Bo Xilai offered a spirited defense in court in China on Thursday, surprising observers who had expected a quick show trial to end the country's biggest political scandal in decades. However Bo was allowed to cross-examine witnesses and tell judges he had been framed in the bribery charges against him. He said he had confessed to the charges under psychological pressure during interrogation.
Hundreds of people are believed to have perished in an alleged government-launched chemical weapon attack earlier this week on the rebel stronghold of Ghouta, outside of Damascus. Melissa Blocks speaks with Abo Abdulrahman, a doctor from a field hospital there, who reports an enormous influx of patients coming into his clinic.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was released from prison on Thursday and immediately flown to a military hospital in Cairo. The court-ordered release does not mean the end of his problems. The 85-year-old Mubarak is still facing charges of conspiracy and murder in a re-trial that could begin as early as this weekend. A small group of Mubarak supporters gathered outside the prison for his release, but overall the decision to transfer him to the hospital has not ignited any street protests.
April 5, 2014 — that's the day Afghans are scheduled to head to the polls to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai. He's constitutionally banned from running for a third term. But, in a country that loves a good conspiracy theory, many think that Karzai will find some way to stay in power. Even if he doesn't, there are still many questions about how free and fair next year's vote will be.
More than 330,000 people filed new claims for unemployment insurance benefits last week. That sounds like a big number — and is a slight increase over the previous week — but it's being taken as some very good news. For a month, now, fewer new people are asking for unemployment insurance than at any time since November, 2007. That's before the Great Recession.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:46 pm
President Obama unveiled a plan on Thursday that would, for the first time, tie federal student aid to a new rating system for colleges and universities. While the president's message that higher education costs should be reined in was simple enough, the sweeping proposal is anything but.
We hear some of the 911 call from a Georgia school clerk to the police earlier this week. Antoinette Tuff, who works at the McNair Discovery Learning Center, talked a 20-year-old gunman who was brandishing an AK-47 and shooting at police, into giving himself up.
One aim of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington was to get Congress to pass civil rights legislation. President John F. Kennedy had proposed a wide-ranging measure earlier that summer. But he faced unrelenting opposition from lawmakers, many in his own party.
In a military court in Washington State today, Army Sergeant Robert Bales offered these words: Sorry just isn't good enough, but I am sorry. Bales agreed to plead guilty to killing 16 Afghan civilians, as part of a deal that spared him the death penalty. Now his sentencing hearing is wrapping up.
And NPR's Martin Kaste is at the hearing at Joint Base Lewis McChord. He joins us now.
Martin, this is the first time that the jury heard from Sergeant Bales at any length. What did he say to explain what he did?
The Justice Department is suing the state of Texas over its strict voter ID law, saying it discriminates against minorities. The attorney general also wants a judge to order Texas to get federal permission before it changes its election procedures.
A group foster home + abused and at-risk kids + tough love + junior staff nearly as troubled as their charges: The potential for cliche is everywhere in Destin Cretton's enormously engaging Short Term 12, and — happily — is everywhere avoided. What might seem on paper a cloyingly sentimental heartwarmer becomes, in Cretton's hands, a briskly believable, often funny, always invigorating and ultimately wrenching story of emotional fortitude.
The difference between a provocative film and a challenging one can be difficult to parse. Yet it's essential to understanding the success and occasional missteps of Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Faith, the second part in a trilogy that, so far, has excelled at exploring the depths of human misery.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:07 pm
"She's so pretty, she could be in any movie," a fan gushed after a screening of Joe Swanberg's Drinking Buddies. There's a lot more to Olivia Wilde than her feline loveliness, which, combined with a challenging stare that dares you to dismiss her as fluff, reminds me of a young Michelle Pfeiffer. But not much of that is allowed out to play in this strained comic drama about two young couples struggling to answer universal questions in particular ways.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm
The Packard plant, which once symbolized the might of America's auto industry, is at risk of heading to auction if a pending development deal fails. If that happens, The Detroit Free Press reports, the 35-acre site eventually could be sold "for as little as $21,000," a figure that comes from Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski.
From January 1992 to September 2001, Branford Marsalis set the JazzSet pace, hosting 39 new shows a year (now we do 26) from the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band; festivals in Iowa City, Telluride, Pasadena, Mount Hood, Montreal and Brevard, N.C.; the new music festival in Groningen, the Netherlands, and the Havana Jazz Festival in Cuba; clubs from Yoshi's in California to Sculler's and the Regattabar in Boston. WGBH producer Steve Schwartz sent us lots of Boston sets during that first decade, all of them much appreciated.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 3:43 pm
The international community once again rose in near unanimity to condemn a mass killing of civilians in Syria. But, as with so many previous episodes, no one proposed concrete action intended to prevent such bloodshed in the future.
The White House on Thursday expressed "deep concern" and urged a U.N. investigation into what the Syrian opposition says was a chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Wednesday that left hundreds dead.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 4:33 pm
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the monthly bale of sunflower seeds we've decided to order from Amazon Prime via subscription is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for advice on when and where it's courteous to wear headphones in public.
Brian Bowen writes via Facebook: "When is it OK to wear headphones in public — in transit, at work, during events large or small, standing in line at the post office, etc.?"
Doctors want people to quit smoking before surgery because it reduces the risk of complications, but often don't do much to make that happen.
But, it turns out, just a wee bit of help makes it much more likely that people will quit before going under the knife, a study finds.
Patients who got less than five minutes of counseling from a nurse and free nicotine patches at least three weeks before surgery were much more likely to quit, according to researchers at the University of Western Ontario. Those patients also got a brochure and a referral to a quit-smoking hotline.
<strong>Under Construction:</strong> A recent survey of Americans found that fewer than half believe the U.S. has made substantial progress toward racial equality. Here, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., is boxed in by scaffolding as work is done on it.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:01 pm
Fewer than half of all Americans say the United States has made substantial progress in treating all races equally, according to a new poll released by the Pew Research Center Thursday. The results were announced days before the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic "I Have A Dream" speech on the National Mall.
In this photo released by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, Bo Xilai appears Thursday on the first day of his trial in eastern China's Shandong province. Interestingly, he was photographed flanked by two very tall policemen.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 5:07 pm
In China, recent Communist Party show trials have featured cowed defendants acknowledging their crimes and offering apologies. Not this one.
The country's biggest trial in decades kicked off Thursday with the defendant, former politburo member Bo Xilai, denying guilt, claiming his confession was coerced and branding the testimony of one of his accusers — in this case his wife — "laughable."
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:38 am
When Hosni Mubarak was whisked out of prison by helicopter on Thursday, he did not become a free man. The former Egyptian leader, 85, was taken to a military hospital in Cairo, where he's under house arrest and still faces criminal charges.
But to many, the move was highly symbolic, the latest sign that the 2011 revolution is being rolled back and that the country's future is growing messier and more complicated by the day.
When Raymond Chandler first set Philip Marlowe walking down the mean streets of L.A., he couldn't have imagined that eventually every city, from ancient Athens to 21st century Bangkok, would have its own detective series. Of course, they're not all equally good.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:16 pm
(This post was last updated at 6:14 p.m. ET)
Nasdaq has resumed trading in all securities following a prolonged halt Thursday afternoon caused by a technical glitch.
"NASDAQ will first re-open trading in symbols ZVZZT and AAIT with a 15-minute quoting period beginning at 14:30, with trading beginning at approximately 14:45. All other securities will then be released at 14:55 with a 15-minute quote only period with trading resuming at approximately 15:10," the exchange said in a statement.