Writing for the New York Review of Books at the beginning of November, Robert Malley, the program director for the Middle East and North Africa with the International Crisis Group, and Hussein Agha described the current situation in the Middle East:
Mitt Romney refused to mix religion with politics in this year's presidential campaign, but that didn't repress people's curiosity about Mormonism. His candidacy brought the homegrown faith into the spotlight.
Patrick Mason, a professor and chairman of the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University, says attention paid to his faith has been twofold. On one hand, it's been good for attracting new converts. On the other hand, it's turned Mormonism into something of a cultural punch line.
Details are still emerging in the wake of a factory fire that killed more than 100 textile workers outside the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. Melissa Block speaks with Reuters' South Asia bureau chief, John Chalmers, about the latest from Bangladesh, where protests have raged for three days.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily banning BP from doing new business with the federal government. The agency cites BP's lack of business integrity as a reason, pointing to the company's conduct during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. The suspension doesn't affect current contracts.
Now to the fragile truce between Israel and Hamas. The fighting may have stopped but a lot of work needs to be done for the cease-fire to last. In Cairo, talks are underway mediated by Egypt, on key issues such as easing the blockade of Gaza.
NPR's Philip Reeves reports those talks are being followed closely by people on land and sea.
Every year, restaurants throw away as much as 10 percent of the food they buy, as we reported yesterday, yet food waste ranks low on most chefs' list of priorities. But some restaurants want to do something about food waste in their quest to go green. That includes Mario Batali's Lupa Osteria Romana, one of New York's trendiest restaurants.
The latest film for Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone, is a French art film about two broken individuals who find love at the edge of the sea. It's poetic, lyrical — and not necessarily playing at a theater near you.
That was not the case earlier this summer, when Cotillard appeared as one of the central characters in the blockbuster Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:30 pm
The GOP's roughing up of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, thought to be President Obama's top pick for his second-term secretary of state, brings to mind the last time the Senate rejected a commander in chief's choice for that most crucial position.
It was some six decades ago, and after bitter and tumultuous hearings — think allegations of communism and homosexuality, as well as a high-profile suicide — that senators dumped the president's nominee by a vote of 74-24.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader in the House, says she's optimistic that Democrats and Republicans will reach a deal that would avoid triggering a wide array of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect in the new year and that experts say could send the economy into a recession.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 1:21 pm
Susan Rice is in many ways a prototypical Obama administration official: young, ambitious and accomplished, with a reputation for being direct and — at times — confrontational.
But unlike her colleagues, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is embroiled in a lingering controversy, over what she knew and what she said in the days after September's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 10:28 am
Alexander Murphy recalls visiting a Guatemala museum some years ago and gazing up at a huge relief map of the country. Something about the borders struck the University of Oregon geography professor as out of place.
"And then I realized, 'Wait, all of Belize is shown as part of Guatemala,' " Murphy says. That's when he remembered a decades-old territorial dispute between the two Central American neighbors.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:26 am
In an episode from the fifth season of Mad Men the show's main character, advertising executive Don Draper, is asked by his client, the cologne company Chevalier Blanc, to supply a Beatles song for a television commercial. The year is 1966, and the 40-year-old Draper doesn't have his finger on the rapidly rising pulse of popular music. So he calls in a team of younger, hipper copy writers, including his wife Megan.
"When did music become so important?" he asks her.
Citing a "lack of business integrity," the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was temporarily suspending the oil giant BP from entering into new contracts with the federal government.
In a press release, the EPA said BP demonstrated the lack of integrity during the Deepwater Horizon "blowout, explosion, oil spill and response." This kind of suspension, the EPA explained, is "standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case."
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, when you imagine Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, you probably think about warm, fuzzy characters, but those two, along with their friends, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman, show their tough side in the new film "Rise of the Guardians." We'll talk with the director of the film and how he's making history in his own way. We'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.
Mexico's President-elect, Enrique Pena Nieto, is promising to work closely with President Obama. Pena Nieto was in Washington this week ahead of his inauguration on Saturday. Host Michel Martin speaks with Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News, and Stephen Johnson from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Finally today, some thoughts about so-called Black Friday, which actually started on Thursday this year. You know what I'm talking about, the big-box department stores, mainly: Wal-Mart, Kohls, Target, JCPenney. But also stores like Toys "R" Us and Best Buy opened anywhere from 8 PM to midnight on Thanksgiving Day to lure shoppers in with deep discounts on everything from appliances to pillows to computers to cameras.