Katherine Walton and her five children were in Nairobi's Westgate Mall when it was stormed by terrorists last week. After four hours in hiding, several Kenyans helped them escape. I reached Katherine Walton yesterday on her cell phone in Nairobi. And I asked her when she first realized the mall was under attacked.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The massacre at Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall last week, has put the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabab under new international scrutiny. To understand more about this group's history, its motives and capabilities, we've reached out to Peter Bergen. He's a counterterrorism expert with the New America Foundation here in Washington.
Poor communication contributed to the deaths of 19 elite firefighters in Arizona this past June. That's just one of the findings of a long-awaited report on the Yarnell Hill Fire that was released yesterday. It was the deadliest U.S. wildfire in 80 years. The report lays out in detail what happened that day but it does not address why it happened or who was responsible. NPR's Ted Robbins was in Prescott, Arizona and he brings us the story.
In the midst of all these budget battles, debt ceiling fights and the sequester that has forced the government to cut billions of dollars in programs, the Pentagon is going forward with the most expensive weapons system ever.
The far north of Europe, where I come from, is supposed to be the Mecca of melancholy. And yet there's a contradiction to our famous Nordic gloom: the Nordic countries are as much associated with light as with darkness. From our folklore to our folk songs to our literature, the Arctic summer light pierces our darkest tales. The season is almost like a religion to us.
The new TV series Masters of Sex is set in the middle of the last century — before the 60's, before the pill, almost, it seems, before the invention of sex. It's the story of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, pioneering researchers in the field of human sexual response, and it's based on a 2009 book of the same name, by Thomas Maier.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:52 am
It's not Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but people are dressing up anyway.
A group of Brazilian protesters have been coming out in costume at demonstrations against Rio's governor, Sergio Cabral. There's the masked crusader Batman, of course, but also a motley assortment of other characters, including Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Shortly after midnight Sunday morning, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would keep the government's lights on. It would also delay the Affordable Care Act for a year, making the legislation a non-starter for Senate Democrats and the president.
The ball is back in the Senate's court now, with fewer than 40 hours until a government shutdown begins.
The House bill does three things. First, it's a temporary measure to keep government operations funded through the middle of December.
Tuesday is a big day for the White House. That's when new health insurance exchanges open in every state, where people can buy the insurance the Affordable Care Act requires next year. They will also see if they qualify for new subsidies to help them afford it.
In The Faithful Scribe, Shahan Mufti examines the history of Pakistan and its relationship to the United States. He also explores how his own family story is part of the tumultuous story of the world's first Islamic democracy.
"A huge impetus for me in writing this book was actually being on both sides of this present conflict, where America is involved in this war in Afghanistan," Mufti tells NPR's Arun Rath. "As we know, the place of Pakistan in this conflict is very dubious and questionable."
The Affordable Care Act requires nearly every American to have health insurance or pay a penalty, beginning Jan. 1. The so-called "individual mandate" has been controversial ever since the law was passed.
But for people who fall into a few select categories, the mandate doesn't apply. Like Native Americans who get health coverage through the Indian Health Service, or people who are incarcerated.
Efforts by the National Security Agency to track potential suspects and find connections between them have led the agency to collate its reams of data with information drawn from sources that include GPS locators and Facebook profiles, according to The New York Times. The newspaper cites documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contract worker, as well as interview with officials.
In the central State of Mexico, officials are trying a new approach to fight corruption.
Authoritieshave hired hundreds of women and put them in charge of issuing all traffic violations. They're trying to crack down on the famous mordida, or bribe — a favorite among Mexico's crooked traffic cops.
Authorities say women are more trustworthy and less corrupt than men. But the plan has run into a few snags.
Next, we're headed to Fresno, California. The city has one of the highest homeless populations per capita in the country. Fresno has been a poor city for a long time. But since the recession, the situation of the city's homeless has become even more wretched. Like a lot of places, Fresno was hit hard when the housing market collapsed. Large shanty towns covering several acres began to sprout up around downtown. Facing pressure to act, in recent weeks, city officials armed with brooms and backhoes began dismantling them.
From NPR West, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.
Three months after 19 firefighters died on the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona, the officials have released a long-awaited report detailing what happened to the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The report was given to the firefighters' families this morning, then released online and in a news conference in Prescott, Arizona.
NPR's Ted Robbins is there, and he's with us now to discuss what was the worst loss of life in a wildfire in 80 years. Ted, what does the report say?
From NPR West, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.
Since the Affordable Care Act was passed four years ago, the House has voted more than 40 times to repeal or defund all or part of it. At this hour, the House once again is set to vote on a measure that would delay the rollout of Obamacare for a year. That is one of two amendments the House Republicans are adding to a bill that would keep the government open for business past Monday. Without a stop-gap spending bill, a partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 2:40 pm
The 19 firefighters who died after being trapped by an Arizona wildfire in late June were only about 600 yards from a designated safety zone at a ranch, according to a task force formed by the Arizona State Forestry Division to investigate the firefighters' deaths.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:53 am
When the Navy Yard mass shooting took place in Washington on Sept. 16, my 10-year-old daughter got a one line e-mail from her best friend in Nairobi, where we used to live. It read: "r u ok."
Her friend Banita had seen the news on television in Kenya. She was worried. My daughter wrote back that she was fine. We now live in Washington, but miles away from the site of the latest mass killing here in the U.S.
In this globalized world, communications can bring quick comfort.
Greek police arrested the leader of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party Saturday on charges of establishing a criminal organization. The police also issued warrants for more than 30 party members — including six members of parliament — on charges of murder, money laundering and other crimes.
Greek TV stations interrupted regular programming to show live scenes of the Golden Dawn members led away in handcuffs. It's the first time since 1974 — when a seven-year military dictatorship ended — that sitting members of parliament have been arrested.
The Republican governor has been turning up in other states, touting the wonders of Texas and promising business owners they'll find lower taxes and more manageable regulation there.
"It does help get the word out to business leaders that may be frustrated," says David Carney, a longtime consultant to Perry. "Going in person can get literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of free media coverage."
Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 6:52 am
Updated at 12:24 a.m. ET Sunday
The House voted early Sunday to tie government funding to a one-year delay in implementing Obamacare, sending the dispute back to the Senate, where it is certain to get a frosty reception. The House measure also repeals the Affordable Care Act's tax on medical devices.
Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 12:57 pm
In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani was both celebrated and vilified Saturday for speaking to President Obama by phone during his trip to the United Nations in New York. After Rouhani's return, crowds that gathered near Tehran's airport were divided, with many voicing their support for Rouhani. A hardliner held a sign reading, "Down with USA."
One critic threw a shoe at Rouhani's car, according to the Agence France-Presse.
Barry Clifford has spent the last 30 years diving in the waters off Cape Cod. He's searching for buried treasure spilled by the pirate ship Whydah, which sunk there in 1717. He's pulled a trove of artifacts out of the sea and sand over the years and this summer he learned there may be far more treasure waiting. He joins us now from Provincetown, Massachusetts. Mr. Clifford, thanks so much for being with us.