Jhumpa Lahiri's new book has been nominated for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. It's an ambitious undertaking, spanning decades and continents as the author tells the story of three generations of a family in Calcutta and Rhode Island.
The story opens with brothers Udayan and Subhash sneaking into an exclusive golf club near their home in Calcutta. Udayan, the younger brother, is bold and daring; Subhash tags along, timid but unwilling to let his brother take such a risk alone.
I don't know about you, but I'm a little troubled when I hear about people who watch multiple screens. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe you're watching a movie at home while live tweeting, or while keeping track at a ballgame. At least movie theaters are a sacred space, immune to these changes.
World leaders are convening in New York this week for the United Nations' General Assembly. And among other things, they're facing some potentially dramatic changes in arms control in the Middle East. Syria might give up it chemical weapons. Iran is signaling that it might negotiate with the West over its nuclear plans. From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris looks at how this might affect Israel and its own weapons programs.
On a Monday morning, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. The siege of a Kenyan shopping mall was one of several spectacular acts of violence over the weekend. Each act only highlighted a long-running conflict that has continued for years somewhere off in our peripheral vision.
GREENE: The Somali group Al-Shabab claims responsibility for the attack on a mall in Kenya. Gunshots and explosions continued there today, on the third day of the siege.
In Germany, low unemployment and a strong economy translated into a big election victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Conservative political party. This means a third term for the 59-year-old physicist. The win for Merkel was even bigger than predicted by her political party. Merkel's win is all the more impressive as other European leaders have fallen, with voters venting frustration over the continent's financial crisis.
The International Monetary Fund has played a pivotal role in responding to the global financial crisis. The IMF has almost 200 member countries, and the organization helps to keep their economies growing, or at least stable. Christine LaGarde heads the IMF.
President Obama spoke at a memorial service Sunday for the victims of last week's shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. The president and first lady also met with families of the dead. Twelve people were killed in addition to the gunman, who died in a shootout with police.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:35 am
In Nairobi, the military says it has rescued "most" of the remaining people trapped inside the high-end shopping mall. At least 68 people have been killed and 175 injured. The militant group al-Shabab from neighboring Somalia has claimed responsibility.
As if the battle over the budget as well as the looming fight over the debt ceiling were not enough, there's a Farm Bill. Congress extended the Farm Bill after the fiscal cliff deal in January, but that extension expires at the end of the month. Congress is bitterly divided on food stamps and other issues. But both parties agree on something: The $5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called direct and countercyclical payments must go.
Stephanie Rubin and Ingrid Calvo are two New York-based moms who think American school lunches leave a lot to be desired. So they started a delivery business in Manhattan called Inboxyourmeal com. For $10, they'll deliver healthy, chef-prepared meals to students in their delivery area.
NPR's business news includes a first for Internet TV.
The video streaming service Netflix claimed a victory at the Emmy Awards last night. David Fincher took the Best Director prize for his work on the political drama "House of Cards;" the first time an online video distributor won in a major category.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene, good morning. Here is a window into President Obama's agenda right now. He's off to New York today for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Meanwhile, the U.S. federal government is heading towards a possible shutdown. And the president is helping the nation heal after another mass shooting.
Let's bring in a familiar voice on Monday mornings. Cokie Roberts, good morning.
Earlier this month, Jhumpa Lahiri rejected the idea of immigrant fiction. "I don't know what to make of the term," she toldThe New York Times. "All American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction."
John Hewitt is a neuroscientist who studies the biology of intelligence. He's also a parent. Over the years, Hewitt has periodically drawn upon his scientific knowledge in making parenting decisions.
"I'm a father of four children myself and I never worried too much about the environments that I was providing for my children because I thought, well, it would all work out in the end anyway — aren't the genes especially powerful?" Hewitt says.
Pregnant women hear a lot about things they should avoid: alcohol, tobacco, chemical exposures, stress. All of those have the potential to affect a developing fetus. And now scientists are beginning to understand why.
One important factor, they say, is something called epigenetics, which involves the mechanisms that turn individual genes on and off in a cell.
Bernard Vallius, who heads the group, says it used to be that people ate a sit-down lunch and dinner with family or friends every day. Now people — especially the young and those who live in cities — eat sandwiches or skip lunch altogether and snack, he says.
Sure, Bob Newhart may have won his first Emmy for guest-starring as Professor Proton on the hugely popular show The Big Bang Theory, about four young scientists at Caltech. But behind the scenes is a real-life professor, David Saltzberg of UCLA.
Saltzberg studies high-energy particle physics and high-energy neutrino astronomy, using radio-detection techniques when he's not working as The Big Bang Theory's science consultant.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 2:02 am
Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was honored over the weekend for her service to the public by Scripps College. Giffords' alma mater awarded her the school's highest level of recognition: the Ellen Browning Scripps Medal.
Claudia Felder lives in Chino, Calif., with her parents. It's a wholesome scene: nice house, three dogs and a parrot and happy family pictures everywhere.
You'd have no idea that the composed, cheerful, articulate young woman got off to a rough start in life.
Felder spent much of her childhood in foster care, starting when she was 3 years old. She's 21 now, and has been living happily with her adoptive family. But memories of an abusive past still haunt her.
Every year, the trade magazine Drinks International puts out a list of the top-selling alcohols in the world, and in the category of spirits, there is one brand that more than doubles the sales of its closest competitor every year. Smirnoff, Jack Daniel's and Bacardi don't even come close.
In Germany Sunday, exit polls show that Chancellor Angela Merkel has won a third term, with her political party getting the most votes. But one of the key members in her ruling coalition appears to have been voted out of parliament, leaving it unclear who Merkel will partner with in her next government.
In Nairobi Sunday night, Kenyan government forces appear to be preparing for a major push to end the standoff in the Westgate Mall. The government says it has cornered the gunmen who stormed the mall Saturday. NPR's Gregory Warner tells host Arun Rath at least 68 people have been killed.
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the first-ever national academic standards for students. But opposition is growing, and some lawmakers are having second thoughts about their states' support.
Meanwhile, proponents of the standards are still struggling to explain the initiative to parents, many of whom say they've never even heard of Common Core.
A small town on the Syrian-Turkish border is playing an outsized role in what has become a war within the war in Syria. Azaz is now a symbol of the dangerous rift between Western-backed rebels under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army and a radical Islamist groups linked to al-Qaida.
Clashes on Wednesday — the seizure of Azaz by an al-Qaida offshoot — were followed more closely than other battles, in part because Azaz was the gateway town for journalists reporting on Syria.
Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 2:24 pm
Cyclist Jacob Landis, who rode more than 10,000 miles on his bike this year to raise money for cochlear implants, will miss out on the final miles of his ride after being hit by a truck. Landis had planned to ride his bike to every Major League Baseball stadium this season. Despite the crash, he says he'll still go to the final game on his schedule.