Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 12:25 pm
At the time of his death from cancer in June, Iain Banks had written 27 books. He was the rarest of creatures, a writer acclaimed (by critics and fans alike) not just for his literary fiction, but also for the science fiction novels he wrote as Iain M. Banks. It is hard to think of another author who crossed genres and melded audiences with a comparable level of success.
Gay rights activists celebrated two big victories this week before the U.S. Supreme Court, as justices overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for same-sex marriages in California.
Now gay marriage opponents and supporters are turning their attention to individual states, like New Jersey, where polls show most residents support same-sex marriage. So far, one person, Gov. Chris Christie, has stood in the way.
Right now, 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. One of them is 73-year-old Pansy Greene. She's in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and she and her husband, Winston, want people to know that so far, their daily lives have changed little despite the diagnosis.
For many of us, a single cycling event — the Tour de France — defines athleticism on two wheels. The epic race was first organized by a French newspaper editor named Henri Desgrange in 1903. But Desgrange also had a hand in the creation of a very different style of cycling: the randonnée, a long distance-ride that prizes camaraderie and self-sufficiency over flat-out speed.
President Barack Obama plans to visit privately Saturday with relatives of former South African President Nelson Mandela, but doesn't intend to see the critically ill anti-apartheid activist he has called a "personal hero."
The White House did not disclose any details for Obama's plans to meet the family in a brief statement issued upon Obama's first morning in South Africa during a weeklong tour of the continent. The statement simply said that Obama and his wife would offer their thoughts and prayers at the family's difficult time.
The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and on the big day, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture will be heard from coast to coast, complete with fireworks and cannons. But how did a Russian composition, depicting the rout of Napoleon's Army, end up as the unofficial soundtrack for our most quintessentially American holiday?
If you were a track and field fan in the 1980s and '90s, three names rose above all the others — and they all belonged to one woman. Jackie Joyner-Kersee rose from East St. Louis to medal in four Olympic Games and to be named the greatest female athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.
Now it's time for our final game, Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill-in-the-blank questions as he or she can. Each correct answer now worth two points. Bill, can you give us the scores?
BILL KURTIS: Brian as one, Kyrie has two, Mo has five.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its injunction on gay marriages in California on Friday. They'd been on hold while the challenges to Proposition 8 worked their way through the appeals process.
Retired Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff who has reportedly been named as a target of a federal leak investigation, has issued a statement defending himself, saying that he did not betray the United States.
When the 911 phone system was established, it gave citizens a fast, easy way to reach police in an emergency.
But it also created a logistical challenge for law enforcement: Police departments get so many calls, 911 can be as much a burden as a boon. Many calls are non-emergencies, and responding can take police away from situations where they're really needed.
What does an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws have to do with the Second Amendment right to own guns?
If you're the Gun Owners of America, everything.
The GOA, a smaller cousin of the National Rifle Association that often takes an even more aggressive approach, is branding the just-passed Senate immigration bill, with its path to citizenship for people in the country illegally, as an "anti-gun amnesty."
Two people have died in Alexandria, Egypt, where protests against President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have been building all week. Egyptian security officials say one of the dead is an American citizen. Dozens of people were wounded in the violence.
Update at 8 p.m. ET: Death Of U.S. Citizen Confirmed
"We can confirm that a U.S. citizen was killed in Alexandria, Egypt," State Department Press Office Director Patrick Ventrell said in a news release Friday evening.
For at least as long as there have been Fall Preview issues of TV Guide, there's been a sense of optimistic excitement about the start of new television series. But more recently, producers of long-running TV shows have injected excitement into the ends of their programs' life spans as well. By announcing, in advance, that a show is going into its final season, no matter what, it ups the emotional ante on what to expect — and, with a finite end in sight, what might happen.
A heat wave is broiling America's Southwest, where temperatures are expected to soar past 110 degrees in coming days. Before noon on Friday, temperatures in many parts of southeastern California, Nevada and Arizona had already topped 100 degrees.
An "excessive heat warning" was issued Friday by the National Weather Service, which blames the dangerously high temperatures on "a massive area of high pressure across the Western United States through Monday."
A few weeks ago, Alberto Baco Bague arrived in New York for a roadshow of sorts. In just 48 hours, Baco, Puerto Rico's secretary of economic development and commerce, met with more than 30 hedge fund managers, investors and others who could be classified as very well-off.
His mission might seem quixotic at best: trying to convince these well-heeled New Yorkers to uproot themselves from Manhattan and relocate to Puerto Rico. But he says they are starting to come.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
President Obama landed in South Africa today, the second stop on a three-country tour. He arrives as Nelson Mandela, now 94 years old, remains in a hospital in Pretoria. Our East Africa correspondent, Gregory Warner, traveled to Pretoria to gauge what kind of welcome the U.S. president might expect.
Brazil wanted this to be their moment in the sun — hosting the World Cup and the Olympics was meant to show the country at its best. Instead, the spotlight is being shone on glaring inequality and a culture that invests in glossy stadiums while displacing its poor.
Summer travel is in full swing, and that means crowded airports, flight delays and long security lines. To help calm weary travelers, some airports are turning to man's best friend.
San Jose's and Miami's international airports have therapy dog programs, and Los Angeles International Airport — ranked the second-most-stressful airport in the country last year — launched its own crew of comfort dogs this year.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The NBA season may have ended, but there is still a lot of pro basketball to talk about. The NBA draft took place last night with a real surprise choice leading things off, and there's a big trade in the news too. NPR's Mike Pesca is with us. Hi, Mike.
The Supreme Court struck down a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act this week. The court said that the standard by which it is determined that some states need preapproval for making changes to voting laws was unconstitutional. So what does it mean for the Department of Justice and states that were affected by the law? Audie Cornish speaks with Bill Yeomans, law professor at American University.
This City Life Snapshot brings us sound of an old fashioned technology for connecting our cities that's still operating in some parts of the country. We board a Pullman Rail Car that regularly makes the trip from Chicago to New Orleans thanks to the company, Pullman Rail Journeys. Head Steward Rick Hansen gives us a tour. This comes to us from Jennifer Brandel at member station WBEZ and the Localore project Curious City.
It's emotional, high-stakes and dramatic. But the trial of reputed mobster James Whitey Bulger now ongoing in federal court in Boston, is not being recorded or televised, so the drama is harder to come by for anyone not inside the courtroom.