Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:02 pm
Bear in mind that, as NPR's Louisa Lim has said, North Korea's regime is skilled at making threats. And fortunately, the most ominous of those threats have not been followed by action in recent decades.
With those caveats in mind, here are Thursday's developments in the latest round of provocative moves by the communist state. From Beijing, Louisa tells our Newscast Desk that:
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Here's an old saying: Feed and love a dog, and the dog thinks you must be God. Feed and love a cat, and the cat thinks, hey, I must be God. A cat from the Middle Ages apparently demanded attention. A researcher was recently studying a manuscript from 1445 in Croatia, and that researcher discovered paw prints. Apparently, a scribe was working in 1445 when the cat stepped in ink, and then stood with all four paws on the work in progress. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The action film "Jack Reacher" hit theaters in December, and it got some favorable reviews. But one New Zealand moviegoer didn't think it was action-packed enough. That's because the trailer featured an explosion that wasn't in the movie. Disappointed, the man complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. He said the explosion was one of the main reasons he went to see the flick in the first place. Paramount Pictures has now offered to refund the money for his ticket.
Rachel Kushner's brilliant lightning bolt of a novel, The Flamethrowers, straddles two revolutions: the squatter-artist colonization of Manhattan's SoHo in the 1970s, and the rise of Italy's radical left during the same period. Its young artist narrator, Reno, is wistful and brutally candid at once, with a voice like a painting — lush and evocative — but also like a scythe. "Enchantment," she says, describing her dashed hopes after a one-night stand, "means to want something and also to know, somewhere inside yourself, not an obvious place, that you aren't going to get it."
Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 10:27 am
Saying that on this "profoundly emotional day" he hoped that his state would serve as an example to the rest of the nation, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sat down Thursday at 12:20 p.m. ET to sign into law what's being described as the most sweeping gun control legislation in the nation since the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Malloy praised lawmakers and those who helped craft the legislation for coming together "as few places in our nation have demonstrated the ability to do."
David Greene talks to Muhannad Hadi, the World Food Program's regional emergency coordinator for Syria, about the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria. The civil war there has entered its third year, and last month was its deadliest.
Los Angeles is getting ready to elect a new mayor, and the field is down to two: city comptroller Wendy Greuel and city councilman Eric Garcetti. Now, while Garcetti speaks often of his Mexican ancestry on his father's side, neither candidate is seen as a product of L.A.'s Latino community or political establishment.
And this is notable because of all the attention paid to the current mayor's background when he came to office. Here's NPR's Kirk Siegler.
President Obama was in Colorado Wednesday to highlight the state's gun control efforts as a model of what is possible for the country. Obama plans to visit Connecticut next week, to highlight that state's efforts.
And today's last word in business is space memorabilia.
Heritage Auction house is selling items that have gone to the moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin's toothbrush could be yours with the right offer.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
OK. The bidding for this toothbrush - I hope they disinfect it - it's a light blue, Lactona tooth tip brush. The bidding starting at $9,000. The auction house is actually hoping that buyers will offer more than that.
After buying the company last year, Google decided to stop printing Frommer's travel guides. The founder of the brand now says Google has agreed to sell the company back to him. Arthur Frommer says he will continue to print the travel guides — in addition to publishing them electronically.
Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, for a preview of what Friday's jobs report is likely to say about the U.S. economy. The stock market is setting records and though profits are up, wages are stagnant.
Bank foreclosures often force people out of their homes. Some houses re-sell, and new people move in. Five years ago, NPR's Emily Harris bought a house that sold in foreclosure. An evening ring at her doorbell led her to meet the person who had lived there before.
OK. So Frommer's guidebooks will stay the same. "The Tonight Show" is changing. This is a long-running television network drama - the saga of NBC easing Jay Leno out of the chair. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, Leno will be replaced next year by Jimmy Fallon, in a show based in New York City.
Two years after the revolution, Egypt is in a deep economic crisis. It's running out of money to purchase crucial imports like wheat and fuel, both of which are subsidized by the government, and an infusion of cash is desperately needed.
While a delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Cairo continuing negotiations on a $4.8 billion loan, Egyptians are strained by the rising costs of food — and the gas needed to cook it.
South Africa says its military is done trying to police another African country. Late last night, South Africans said they would withdraw their small military force from the Central African Republic. Ten days ago, rebels advanced on the capital of that country and killed 13 South African paratroopers. That prompted many South Africans to ask why the soldiers were there at all. The question here is whether the troops were protecting business interests linked to South Africa's governing party.
Amber Bartlett was waiting last Friday for her kids to come home from school. One of them called from the entrance to the upscale subdivision near Little Rock, Ark., to tell her the community was being evacuated because of an oil spill. Bartlett was amazed by what she saw out her front door.
"I mean, just rolling oil. I mean, it was like a river," she says. "It had little waves in it."
Robert Mueller became FBI director just days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, he's been the U.S. government's indispensable man when it comes to national security.
But Mueller's term has expired, and the clock is ticking on an unprecedented extension that Congress gave him two years ago.
The first time the Obama White House thought about a replacement for Mueller, back in 2011, officials threw up their hands and wound up begging him to stay. Congress passed a special law to allow it. Then Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa put his foot down.
Washington is awash in rumors this week that the White House is planning major changes in the way the U.S. donates food to fight hunger in some of the world's poorest countries.
It has set off an emotional debate. Both sides say they are trying to save lives.
America's policies on food aid are singularly generous — and also unusually selfish. On the generous side, the U.S. spends roughly $1.5 billion every year to send food abroad, far more than any other country.
President Obama was in Denver on Wednesday to rally support for gun control laws. Colorado has stepped up on both background checks and ammunition magazines, and Democrats there fear backlash next year.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and Booker Prize-winning novelist, has died at her home in New York. She was 85.
NPR's Bob Mondello reported on her career for NPR's Newscast Desk:
"With the films of Merchant/Ivory, you tend to think first of period-perfect costumes and settings, but it was Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's scripts that gave them substance. She was witty, cultivated and could be wonderfully precise about class and propriety in her adaptations of, say, E.M. Forster.
The middle-income housing projects Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village sit on an 80-acre patch of Lower Manhattan. In 2006, they came to epitomize the lunatic excess of the housing boom when their 11,232 apartments sold for $5.4 billion. They were bought at a competitive auction by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty.
The tech industry wants more skilled workers — from overseas. Companies are lobbying hard for Congress to raise the limit on H-1B visas — visas for people with specialized skills — researchers, for instance, or software engineers.
Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, recently told NPR that more H-1B visas can't help but be good for the country.
Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.
But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.
Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.