BRICS leaders, from left, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a group picture during the BRICS 2013 Summit in Durban, South Africa, on Wednesday.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 10:53 am
The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – emerging economies that collectively are referred to as BRICS – announced Wednesday the creation of a development bank to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 10:33 am
Thomas Perez, the president's nominee to lead the Department of Labor and a high-profile Latino advocate for civil rights, is scheduled for a Senate confirmation hearing April 18. But behind-the-scenes wrangling over his nomination, and his controversial role in a Supreme Court case, is already well under way.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case challenging whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means the federal government can deny marriage benefits to same sex couples in states that allow gay marriage. Same-sex couples had reason to be optimistic afterward. Assuming the court can overcome procedural concerns, it looked as if a majority of justices was ready to strike down DOMA.
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 4:12 pm
The attorneys for James Holmes, who is alleged to have walked into a crowded Colorado movie theater and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding nearly 60, say he is willing to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.
Colorado's 9 News reports that his defense attorneys made the offer public in a two-page filing that says the prosecution has yet to accept the offer because "it may choose to pursue the death penalty."
With the Supreme Court hearing arguments this week on same-sex marriage, I'd like to point out a parallel evolution in what I see as a Hollywood mini-genre: films in which gay characters are either taken to court or seek redress in court for issues involving their sexuality.
Arguably the most famous question ever asked in a courtroom about a line of poetry — "What is the love that dare not speak its name?" — was originally put to playwright Oscar Wilde in 1894 by a British prosecutor. It was an attempt to trap Wilde into admitting to then-illegal homosexual conduct.
We continue our series now on a dangerous and illegal practice that kills, on average, 16 people in the U.S. each year. It's called Walking Down the Grain. Employers at farms and grain elevators send untrained and ill-equipped workers into bins to break up wet or clustered grain. In the last four decades, more than 660 people have died because of the quicksand effect of grain.
But preventing these deaths is relatively simple, as NPR's Howard Berkes reports from inside a massive grain bin in Homestead, Iowa.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
What should government do for the country's most vulnerable citizens, for people who just aren't making it? It's a fundamental question. And as we've been reporting this week, America's disability programs have become, in part, a default answer. There are several reasons for this. One has to do with changes we made to our social safety net back in the mid-1990s.
American actor David Hasselhoff speaks to protesters next to a remnant of the Berlin Wall last week. Thousands of people turned out to oppose a plan to knock down one of the few remaining sections of the wall. A small part was removed Wednesday.
Protected by scores of German police officers, workers removed sections of a key remnant of the Berlin Wall before dawn Wednesday despite earlier protests demanding the concrete artifact of the Cold War be preserved.
The removal came as a shock to residents, just as it did on Aug. 13, 1961, when communists first built the barrier that divided Berlin during the Cold War.
Tour guide Rolf Strobel, 52, was among the scores of people who came to gape at the holes in what had been the longest remaining stretch of the wall — about eight-tenths of a mile.
Robert Siegel talks to Joseph Cotterill, writer for the Financial Times, about what may happen if the European Union's bailout plan for Cyprus succeeds and which country may be poised to take on the role as the next Cayman Islands of Eastern Europe.
One could be forgiven for being confused about the Syrian rebels, who's in charge and what their demands are. At this week's Arab League summit in Doha, the capital of Qatar, opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib sat in Syria's seat. Al-Khatib, formerly an imam at a prestigious mosque in Damascus, recently resigned his post as president of the rebel coalition.
Now, we're going to take a few minutes to listen to some of today's examination of the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court. The court usually doesn't provide such speedy access to audio, so this is a rare opportunity to hear the arguments on the same day they happened.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
In a second day of historic arguments on gay marriage, the Supreme Court wrestled with DOMA today. The Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996 defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal law and it affects the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs, everything from Social Security and family leave to the estate tax.
For some analysis of today's arguments, we turn again to Tom Goldstein. He's publisher and regular contributor to the website SCOTUSblog. Tom, good to have you back.
TOM GOLDSTEIN: Thank you so much.
CORNISH: All right. So this time around, I had a little bit more trouble following along. And at the beginning of the arguments there was this issue of jurisdiction which got very technical. What's the upshot of this question?
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:30 pm
A group of astronomers believe they have found a new kind of "mini" supernovae that appear to share traits with other previously known types.
Until now, only core-collapse supernovae, the grand finale of stars approximately 10 to 100 times more massive than our sun, and Type Ia, which occur when certain conditions exist in binary (two-star) systems, were known to exist.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:48 am
One day, the legislature in the state where you live passes a new law: Until further notice, you're not allowed to take your money to another state.
There are exceptions. You can take a few thousand dollars with you if you go on a trip. You can do some out-of-state shopping on your credit card, but not too much. Beyond that, all your money — your checking account, your savings account, the cash you buried in your backyard — has to stay in your state. You're free to leave the state, as long as you don't take your money with you.
The British government has suffered another loss in its attempt to deport Muslim cleric Abu Qatada back to Jordan.
While Qatada has never been charged with anything in the United Kingdom, he is accused of being a spiritual inspiration for some of the those involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The BBC reports that today a Special Immigration Appeals Commission decided the government of Prime Minister David Cameron could not send him back to Jordan, where in 1999, he was convicted on terror charges in absentia.
When we heard a few weeks ago that Illinois was considering banning lion meat, our first thought was, who's eating lion meat? And why Illinois?
Turns out, lion meat has been gaining traction among adventurous foodies who argue that the meat can be an ethical alternative to factory-farmed animals — if the meat comes from American-raised circus and zoo animals that were sent to the slaughterhouse in their old age.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 2:25 pm
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal benefits for and recognition of same-sex marriages.
Audio of the arguments is available above, and a transcript, as prepared by the court, follows.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will hear argument this morning in Case 12-307, United States v. Windsor, and we will begin with the jurisdictional discussion. Ms. Jackson?
The chief of Amnesty International Russia, Sergei Nikitin, at his Moscow office on March 25, after Russian prosecutors and tax police carried out a search. The group is one of many that have been searched under a new law that critics say is being used to stifle dissent.
Credit Ivan Sekretarev / AP
Prosecutors searched for documents related to the activities of the human rights group Memorial in Moscow on March 21.
Russian investigators have descended on the offices of nongovernmental organizations across the country, demanding to inspect financial records and other documents.
This follows the recent passage of a law designed to impose tighter controls over these NGOs, especially those that receive funding from abroad. Critics say it's part of a broader crackdown on dissent since Vladimir Putin regained the presidency last year.
The offices of the human rights group Memorial are still abuzz after a team of government inspectors paid an unannounced visit
Repeated American attempts to work with Russia on Syria have foundered on a fundamental difference. Vladimir Putin insists on a deal that includes Bashar al-Assad as part of Syria's future. So the civil war grinds on and the situation of civilians there grows ever more dire. So why? Arms exports? Access to the port of Tartus? Standing up for old allies?
Jonathan Dee likes to write about rich, good-looking people falling apart — and who among the 99 percent of us can't enjoy that plot? In The Privileges, the dad of the family was a Wall Street trader, tempted by existential boredom into larceny; in A Thousand Pardons, the dad of the family is a partner in a New York law firm, tempted by existential boredom into a disastrous workplace affair.
On Monday evening on MSNBC, All In with Chris Hayes will premiere, making the 34-year-old the youngest prime-time anchor on any of the major cable news channels. For the past 18 months, he has hosted an early morning weekend show — Up with Chris Hayes — on MSNBC, but he's already a familiar face to MSNBC evening viewers: He has frequently filled in for Rachel Maddow and has been a popular guest on her show.