As the holiday season approaches, the TV cupboard may seem a bit bare; the industry winds down like everything else, filling cable and broadcast networks with holiday specials, reruns and also-ran reality shows.
But there are bright gifts, too: TNT offers Mob City, a three-week, lavishly produced noir-ish TV show about cops and crooks vying for control of 1947-era Los Angeles, airing Wednesdays.
On Dec. 8 and 9, A&E presents a four-hour miniseries on Bonnie and Clyde, retelling the story of the Depression-era outlaws and lovers.
In 2007, Benazir Bhutto — twice prime minister of Pakistan and then-leader of the Pakistan People's Party — was killed in a suicide bombing attack that claimed 38 lives. The factors at play in her assassination, however, reached deeper than many imagined.
In his new book, Getting Away With Murder, Heraldo Munoz portrays the tense political climate that surrounded Bhutto's return to politics and examines the circumstances of her death.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 7:54 am
Aside from racial and ethnic slurs, there aren't many words that prompt a more immediate and visceral response than "hipster." Many associate the term with craft beer, smugness and, of course, Brooklyn. Modern-day hipsters have inspired a huge number of Tumblrs, memes and trend pieces in the media.
It may seem like hipsters sprang up out of nowhere sometime in the late 1990s, but the original hipsters were around several generations before that. And they were strongly associated with another uniquely American phenomenon — jazz.
Not long ago, Nick Lowe was approached by his American record label about releasing a Christmas album. The esteemed UK songwriter, who gave the world "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Cruel to Be Kind," says the idea seemed laughable.
"But I was confused by how snooty I felt when they asked me about doing it," Lowe says. "I think it's a Brit thing, really: Making Christmas records is seen as a not very cool thing to do. And I thinkg it's all bound up with strange ideas from the 1960s, about selling out and things like that."
When the U.S., Canadian, and Mexican governments were negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement back in the 1990s, environmentalists warned that it would create a race to the bottom: Countries would compete to gut environmental rules to attract businesses. But by and large, those fears were not realized. Still, the trade deal had other unforeseen environmental consequences.
The plan to dispose of Syria's chemical weapons is swiftly moving ahead. But the plan to get the materials out to sea to dispose of them is easier said than done, when it means transporting them through a war zone. Arun Rath talks to Amy Smithson of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies about what lies ahead.
This week, Hassan al-Laqis, a senior commander of Hezbollah, was assassinated in Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah has blamed Israel for the killing, but Israel has denied that it had any involvement. Host Arun Rath speaks with Mitchell Prothero, who reports from Beirut for McClatchy, and Matthew Levitt, author of Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Army of God, about who al-Laqis was, and what the assassination means.
In Ukraine, protests continue over President Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of closer trade ties with the European Union. Protesters believe the president will opt instead for closer trade ties with Russia and several former Soviet republics.
It has been National Day of Prayer and reflection in South Africa as the nation pays tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. Host Arun Rath speaks with NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about the day, and how white South Africans are reacting to the death of Mandela.
President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law 20 years ago on Dec. 8, 1993. One of the clear beneficiaries over the past two decades has been the Mexican automobile industry.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just published a blockbuster story that's today's must read: Based on court records, police reports and dozens of interviews, the paper details how the ATF used "rogue" tactics — including providing underage youths with alcohol and allowing them to smoke pot — to run storefront gun and drug stings across the country.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:27 pm
A U.S. company is taking what it hopes to be a small step toward eventually mining the moon.
Moon Express, based in Mountain View, Calif., just unveiled the design for a small robot spacecraft about the size of a coffee table that it says could move about the moon's surface powered only by solar panels and hydrogen peroxide.
The national debate about income equality and low-wage labor ramped up this week as fast-food workers across the country rallied for better pay and President Obama assailed the nation's growing income gap as the "defining challenge of our time."
Meanwhile, an $11.50 minimum wage bill was approved in the nation's capital, and giant discount retailer Wal-Mart opened its first Washington stores — accompanied by a flurry of ads defending the company's often-criticized pay and benefits practices.
It's always chic to make fun of holiday letters. People can't win, whether they earnestly recount their fellowship missions to poor countries (self-important), brag about European vacations (must be nice) or simply bore with accounts of school plays or travails in their gardens.
The habit of knocking holiday letters is now not just snark shared between friends, but has become an annual journalistic tradition.
In 1995, South African rugby captain Francios Pienaar receives the Rugby World Cup from President Nelson Mandela, who wears the green Springbok jersey.
Credit Jon Eeg / AP
Though there was no warmth between them, Nelson Mandela and President F.W. de Klerk understood they needed to work together. Their careful collaboration led them to share the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
The same scene played out repeatedly at political rallies in South Africa's dusty black townships two decades ago: Nelson Mandela's then-wife, Winnie, would electrify the crowd by lashing out at the white government. She would fire up the young men with her heated rhetoric, tapping into their grievances and leading them into frenzied chants and songs of liberation.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 12:19 pm
Another diplomatic shot was fired in the spate unfolding over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea on Sunday: Countering China, South Korea announced that it was expanding its air defense zone to partially cover some of the same area China laid claim to in November.
On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person whose first and last names start with the same consonant or group of consonants. You're given rhymes for the two names. You name the people. For example, if given "cycle four," the answer would be "Michael Moore."
Last week's challenge: Name a dance. Change one of the letters to a U. The resulting letters can be rearranged to name an event at which this dance is done. What is it?
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Several years ago, David Harris-Gershon and his wife Jamie were studying in Israel, where they'd constructed their daily life in ways they hoped would protect them from a terrorist attack. They weren't so fortunate.
It has been almost 20 years since the U.S. Congress approved the North American Free Trade Agreement - New Year's Day to be precise. It was an agreement that was met with all kinds of controversy. Over the next few weeks, NPR will be airing a series of stories looking back at NAFTA. This morning, NPR's Jim Zarroli tackles one of the first assumptions about NAFTA, that it would send a wave of American jobs to Mexico, where labor is cheaper.