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And I'm Melissa Block.
President Obama has canceled a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The decision comes not long after Russia announced it was granting temporary asylum to Edward Snowden. He faces charges in the U.S. that he leaked secret documents on government surveillance programs. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, today's reversal is just the latest sign that U.S.-Russia relations are not in a good place.
In Egypt, the military-backed government issued a warning today: A crackdown is imminent. The target: supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi who have been protesting at two sit-in camps in Cairo for more than a month. The warning comes after the interim president declared diplomatic efforts to end the political crisis a failure.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Cairo with the latest. And, Soraya, have Egyptian officials said when this crackdown will take place and what it will entail?
Fifteen years ago, al-Qaida militants bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The anniversary comes days after the U.S. government shut down diplomatic missions in various nations as part of a heightened security alert. The missions in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam remain open but a fire at Kenya's international airport heightened concerns over renewed attacks.
Days after the U.S. announced it would close its diplomatic missions across the Middle East and Africa, Yemeni security officials said that they had foiled a plot by al-Qaeda to attack fuel pipelines and two of the nation's ports. It is unclear if this plot is the same as the one that was alluded to in al-Qaeda communications U.S. intelligence officials intercepted earlier this month.
This summer, the New York Botanical Garden is featuring an exhibit called Wild Medicine: Healing Plants around the World. The most beautiful and interesting part is a small scale recreation of the 16th century Italian Renaissance Garden at Padua, the site of one of the earliest and most important medical schools. (This piece originally aired on Weekend Edition on July 6, 2013.)
There was an unexpected hold-up on day two of the court martial of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused of gunning down fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. His "standby" attorneys have told the judge that don't believe it's ethical for them to keep assisting a man who they believe is trying to get the death penalty.
Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 2:40 pm
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights' movement March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, President Obama will deliver remarks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the White House said today.
It was on those same steps that 50 years ago on August 28, that Martin Luther King delivered his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech.
For those who haven't yet discovered Nora Jane Struthers, the summery song "Bike Ride" is a great introduction to her beguiling, well-considered worldview. The first time Struthers sings the song's most important line — "I can go anywhere" — the phrase rises up out of her throat, free, wide open. The second time, a phrase later, she clamps down on it with some grit. "'Bike Ride' is a song about a re-awakening," the 29-year-old Nashville resident said in a recent email. "When you propel yourself forward through time and space on your own steam, you realize your own agency."
Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 10:44 am
Why buy 1 pound of hamburger meat from a local farmer when you can buy 5 pounds — plus another 20 pounds of stew meat, steaks and roast — for as little as half the price of what it all goes for at the market?
Juliann Ashcraft, wife of late firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, receives a U.S. flag during a memorial service in July. Ashcraft says the city has refused to pay full benefits for her husband's death, calling him a seasonal employee.
The widow of a man who died fighting a wildfire this summer as part of a "hotshots" team based in Prescott, Ariz., says her attempts to be paid her late husband's lifetime benefits have been denied. The city's explanation is that Andrew Ashcraft, 29, was a seasonal employee, Juliann Ashcraft said Wednesday.
The ongoing immigration debate in Congress often spotlights the job market for people living in the U.S. illegally. Not long ago, that market included one of the country's top organic herb farms — until an immigration bust forced the business, based in Washington state, to clean up its payroll.
Ted Andrews, owner of HerbCo International, says he's learned some tough lessons during the transition to a legal workforce. Lesson No. 1: "There are events that can destroy a business in the snap of a finger," he says. "This was one of them."
A Russian police officer watches a protester during a rally in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in September 2004. Some 500 protesters demanded the extradition of Ilyas Akhmadov from the United States.
Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 2:30 pm
Earlier today, diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia suffered a substantial blow, when President Obama pulled out a of planned bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September.
Wijbren Landman, biologist and press officer at the Emmen Zoo, on why baboons sometimes act so sad.
When the keepers at the Netherlands' Emmen Zoo opened the night enclosure for 112 baboons on July 29, they expected the animals would be, as usual, eager to get inside.
After all, the baboons knew there was food for them in there.
Instead, biologist and zoo press officer Wijbren Landman tells All Things Considered the baboons didn't want to budge. "It took us about an hour to get them inside," he says. That night, the baboons didn't eat.
Temperatures Wednesday in Shanghai hit an all-time high: 105.4 degrees, according to officials here. It was the hottest day in 140 years, since the government began keeping records.
The Chinese megacity is in the midst of its hottest summer ever.
Usually bustling streets are near empty at noon and thousands have gone to hospitals for relief. To get a feel for how people are handling the heat wave, I waded into a public pool in the city's Hankou district. By early afternoon, the temperature was 98 degrees in the shade, according to the thermometer I brought along.
Russia's immigration issues would be familiar to Americans: Millions of impoverished migrants have come and found low-wage jobs. Some are in Russia illegally and are exploited by their employers. And a growing number of Russians fear this influx of migrants, many of whom are Muslim, is changing the face of the country.
At 3:30 on a recent morning, the train from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, pulls into Moscow after a four-day journey. The passengers hauling their bags out onto the damp, ill-lit platform are mostly men. Russian police eye the new arrivals with suspicion.
A city in South Korea flipped the switch on a road this week that will provide an electric charge to commuter buses on an inner-city route, officials say. The wireless power will be used to run two buses on round-trip routes of 24 kilometers (nearly 15 miles).
The charging road would allow electric vehicles to have much smaller batteries, according to researchers, and to be recharged whether they're parked or on the move.
Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 12:29 pm
Almost every time the U.S. government gets wind of a potential terrorist attack, it faces a tough choice: It can quietly pursue the suspected plotters, or it can go public in the belief that public awareness can discourage or thwart the attack.
In the current episode, the Obama administration has gone public in a big way, announcing the threat, temporarily shutting more than 20 U.S. embassies and diplomatic posts from Rwanda to Bangladesh, and evacuating many embassy workers in Yemen, the country described as the main source of the threat.
Instead of throwing out the nutritious broth that's left over when you cook down greens, why not use it as the base for a delicious dish like this rockfish with clams in a garlic-shallot pot liquor sauce?
Credit Alison Aubrey / NPR
Chef James Huff of Pearl Dive restaurant ladles up some pot liquor fresh from a steaming pot of sauteed collard greens and kale.
The Netflix hit Orange Is the New Black has won over critics and viewers alike this summer. The original series follows a diverse cast of characters in a women's prison in upstate New York. One of the breakout stars is Laverne Cox. Her character, Sophia, is a transgender woman who stands up for herself among prison officials and other inmates.
Cox spoke with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about the show and her experience as a transgender woman and actress.
And speaking of sports, you might have heard our interview with John Tatum last month. He's the 94-year-old swimmer from Washington, D.C. who was getting ready for three events at the National Senior Games. We wanted to see how we did, so we caught up with him after the games wrapped up.
JOHN TATUM: Well, I got two gold medals and one silver medal, and I call that a successful outing. Although, I wanted to win them all.
We wanted additional perspective about this, so we've called Krista Kafer. She's an education policy expert. She's the executive director of Colorado's Future Project. That's a think tank associated with the Independent Women's Forum. Welcome to you, Krista Kafer. Thank you so much for joining us.
Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 9:54 am
Freddie Mac racked up a $5 billion profit in the second quarter, the mortgage backer said in its quarterly report Wednesday. The earnings are the second-highest in the history of Freddie Mac, which has now extended its streak of profitable quarters to seven in a row.