More than a century before Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln offered an intimate portrait of the 16th president and his family, a memoir from the first lady's dressmaker offered a glimpse into the Lincoln White House.
Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln's seamstress and maybe her closest friend, told her story of slavery and self-emancipation, and her relationship with the Lincolns in a tell-all memoir called Behind The Scenes.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 1:39 pm
Jews all over the world are gathering around dinner tables Monday night to celebrate the first night of Passover, one of the most important festivals of the Jewish calendar. And in the small, northern Spanish town of Ribadavia, Spanish, American and Israeli Jews are coming together to conduct the first Seder there in more than 500 years.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 11:53 am
President Obama on Monday designated five new national monuments, including one in Maryland dedicated to anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman and another setting aside Washington state's San Juan Islands.
"These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country," President Obama said in a statement. "By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come."
As a film critic for The Boston Globe, Ty Burr has met a lot of movie stars and is often asked what they're really like. What he has realized is that often, the actor's image has little to do with their actual personality, but that's not what interests him; Burr is more curious about why we ask that question to begin with. Burr wants to know "why we respond to these people who we think are larger than life [and] that are — especially in the classic days — manufactured and all their irregularities sanded off and presented to us as some kind of perfection."
To remember Chinua Achebe who died last Thursday, Fresh Air listens back to an interview with the great African writer that originally aired on May 10, 1988. In it, Achebe talks about the literary trope of the white explorer or missionary living amongst the savages, and the importance of struggle.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 9:33 am
Illustrations produced by an Indian ad agency showing scantily clad cartoon women bound, gagged and stuffed into the hatch of a Ford Figo have led both the car company and the ad agency's parent to issue apologies.
The images, according to FirstPost.Business, were "scam ads — ads that are created not to sell products and services, but to win awards at awards shows such as the Abby or at Cannes."
From 'Morning Edition': Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports
The deal we posted about Sunday evening — a $13 billion bailout by international creditors for the beleaguered banking system on Cyprus — is being met with skepticism on that Mediterranean island nation.
Secretary of State John Kerry is putting his diplomatic skills to the test this week. He is dealing with some difficult partners and trying to revive Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Kerry spent the day yesterday in Baghdad and today he made an announced trip to Afghanistan to try to smooth over the latest disputes with President Hamid Karzai. NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with the secretary and joins us now from Kabul. Hey, Michele.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 8:00 am
Didn't have time to watch or didn't really care? If you're not up to speed on the weekend's news from the men's and women's Division I college basketball championships, but want to be armed with a few things to talk about if someone brings up basketball today, here goes:
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. We've been hearing a lot of stories of the new pope's modesty, and now this. The pope called a Buenos Aires newspaper kiosk to cancel his own subscription. The shocked kiosk owner thought it was a joke until his holiest customer said, seriously, I'm calling you from Rome. The news vendor told an Argentine daily of another humble habit. The then-cardinal always collected and once a month returned the rubber bands from his newspapers. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Pro golfer Sergio Garcia hit a ball into a tree at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend. The easy choice: Just take a one-stroke penalty. Drop the ball to the ground. But Garcia did it the hard way. He climbed 15 feet up the tree and played the ball from there. Balancing himself with one hand on the club, he somehow knocked the ball onto the fairway. Well, what is the best club in such a situation? One PGA announcer suggested a tree iron.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 7:49 am
The calendar says one thing, but the snow, slush and ice coating the nation from the Central Rockies through parts of the Midwest and on into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast say something else entirely.
Cyprus has secured a $13 billion package of rescue loans in tense, last-ditch negotiations. Some in Cyprus question whether the European Union wanted Cyprus' recently discovered natural gas reserves or big bank deposits to go to German banks.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
The tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus was on the brink of bankruptcy. But at the last minute, European finance ministers approved a multibillion-dollar bailout for the country. The deal will keep the island's banking system from collapsing, but the country is far from out of the woods.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson begins our coverage from Berlin.
Secretary of State John Kerry is putting his diplomatic skills to the test this week. He is dealing with some difficult partners and trying to revive Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Kerry spent the day yesterday in Baghdad. He's nudging the Iraqi government to stop letting Iran use Iraqi air space to send weapons into Syria. The United States does not have much leverage, however, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
Well, Passover begins tonight at sundown. Observant Jews will commemorate the mass exodus from Egypt and for the next eight days eat matzo, the dry flat cracker known as much for its bland taste as its symbolism. It's also fueled the entrepreneurial spirit of an Atlanta couple.
Susan Mittleman sampled their business venture, a venture that mixes matzo with granola.
SUSAN MITTLEMAN, BYLINE: Wayne Silverman has made maple-nut matzo granola in his kitchen for more than 40 years.
NPR's business news starts with Apple doing some shopping.
Apple has been trying to go head-to-head with Google to provide better mapping services. Apple's latest effort to do that has a price tag of $20 million. That's how much it paid for a small startup company called WiFiSLAM, which maps indoor settings. Think shopping malls and airports. Apple confirmed the purchase to The Wall Street Journal, but wouldn't discuss its plans. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And our last word in business today is: highly illogical, captain.
Congress has rebuked the IRS for spending tens of thousands of dollars to film a "Star Trek" parody video.
(SOUNDBITE OF IRS VIDEO)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: These are the voyagers of the Starship Enterprise Y. Its never-ending mission is to seek out new tax forms, to explore strange new regulations, to boldly go where no government employee has gone before.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The video stars IRS workers and was shown at a conference in 2010.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 6:34 am
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And police in Britain are piecing together the final days in the life of a Russian oligarch named Boris Berezovsky. They hope this may shed light on his sudden death this last weekend. Berezovsky used to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Russia. Then he fell out with the Kremlin and sought asylum in Britain. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.
Both housing and the stock market have been on the upswing in recent months. But a full recovery in the housing market would be more significant to the overall economy. That's because more Americans have something at stake in home values than in stock prices.
Despite the enormous destruction Hurricane Sandy caused to the Jersey Shore, realtors who specialize in the region say business has been steady. Plenty of home buyers and investors appear eager to jump into the market. Damaged homes and lots have been selling for discounted rates, while prices are inching up on houses that survived since there are simply fewer properties available.