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And I'm Melissa Block. Chuck Hagel is freshly back this week from his first trip to Afghanistan as defense secretary. For the 66,000 American troops in Afghanistan, the distance that separates them from their Pentagon superiors can feel enormous. They received Hagel as one who has walked in their boots. NPR's David Welna was along on the trip.
Tony Lithgow and Andrea Mayer have been living under a highway overpass in downtown Baltimore since last year. He's 49 and has been homeless on and off for eight years. She's 51 and has been homeless for 10 years.
Living on the streets has clearly taken a toll on the couple, both physically and mentally. While they're standing at a corner waiting for a free city bus to take them to a soup kitchen, Tony shouts at a passenger staring at them from a car stopped at the light.
A difficult conversation about the military occurred today at a Senate panel on Capitol Hill. Victims of sexual assault testified that the military's criminal justice system is broken. They spoke of commanders who brushed aside their claims, prosecutors who decided not to pursue charges, and a military culture that protects predators. The hearing comes after a general's decision to overturn an officer's conviction on sexual assault. NPR's Tom Bowman has the story.
Testimony began today in a rape trail that has thrown a small Ohio town into the international spotlight. Two football players from Steubenville High School are accused of raping a 16-year-old girl during a night of partying last summer. Lawyers for the boys say the sex was consensual. The case has attracted widespread attention in part because of shocking photos, video and texts that circulated over the Internet.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a priest sex abuse case. The settlement is the first since documents detailing the involvement of high-ranking church officials — including Cardinal Roger Mahony — in moving and protecting abusive priests. Mahony was at the Vatican where he was one of the 115 cardinals who gathered to select the new pope.
Moving on now to the U.S. economy, there are several signals today that its chugging away at a healthy pace despite fiscal uncertainty in Washington. A report on retail sales finds them up more than expected, and two separate surveys reveal that top executives are feeling pretty good about the outlook for their businesses.
NPR's Yuki Noguchi tells U.S. more.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Ron Arrington is chief money man for a Fort Worth construction company who likes what he sees in his crystal ball.
It's well documented that some women suffer depression after having a baby. But it's less well-known just how many do.
The largest study to date shows that as many as 1 in every 7 women suffers postpartum depression. And the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, finds that among women followed for a year after delivery, some 22 percent had been depressed.
The study also recommends that all pregnant women and new mothers be screened for depression.
Listen to Stephen Thompson's conversation with Audie Cornish on All Things Considered by clicking the audio link.
The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 4:53 pm
As news spread that the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel was billowing white smoke to signal the election of Pope Francis, anticipation built for the new pontiff's first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:01 pm
Pope Francis goes into history as the first pontiff from the New World.
For Latin America in particular, this is a momentous occasion: It is home to 483 million Catholics, or a little more than 40 percent of the global population.
Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of Italian parents. At one point, he was the archbishop of the Buenos Aires diocese, which The Wall Street Journal reports, has "the largest concentration of Catholics in the world."
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 4:12 pm
In the ongoing Washington budget battles, one word gets more of a workout than most: balanced.
This single word illustrates the vast distance between the parties. Democrats and Republicans are working from very different definitions of the term in discussing their budget proposals being unveiled this week.
What Democrats are saying: A balanced budget is deficit reduction through a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. As in: We want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit.
Cardinals at the Vatican chose Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope. He will take the papal name Francis and is the first pope from South America. NPR's Neal Conan talks with guests about the significance of the event around the world.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 7:41 pm
The new pope, 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first Jesuit, but he appears to hold views very much in line with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
Bergoglio has chosen the papal name Francis, becoming the 266th to hold the title of spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.
North Korea scrapped the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War, escalating fears of a preemptive nuclear attack on the U.S. Tuft University Korean studies professor Sung-Yoon Lee discusses this precarious moment for North Korea, its neighbors and the international community.
The Boy Scouts of America has sent a detailed survey about its exclusion of gay members to 1.1 million scouts.
As The New York Times reports, the survey doesn't just pose a simple yes or no question on whether the Scouts should lift its ban on gay members and leaders. Instead it seeks answers using detailed hypotheticals.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 6:11 am
The world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new spiritual leader, and for the first time it is someone from the Americas.
As afternoon turned to evening in Vatican City on Wednesday, a little after 7 p.m. local time, white smoke rose from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang through St. Peter's Square — the traditional signals that the church's cardinals have chosen a new pope.
What do Best Coast, Boba Fett, Beach Fossils and street yogis have in common? They were among the many artists and fans who came for the first day of South by Southwest. See a gallery of photos by Adam Kissick here and follow us on Flickr for much, much more.
A small herd of European bison will soon be released in Germany's most densely populated state, the first time in nearly three centuries that these bison — known as wisents — will roam freely in Western Europe.
The project is the brainchild of Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. He owns more than 30,000 acres, much of it covered in Norwegian spruce and beech trees in North Rhine-Westphalia.
For the 78-year-old logging magnate, the planned April release of the bull, five cows and two calves will fulfill a decade-old dream.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:57 pm
From the ongoing budget battle to Sen. Carl Levin's retirement announcement, NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin recaps the week in politics. NPR's Phillip Reeves provides an update from Rome as cardinals elected a new pope.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 2:12 pm
Three decades after giving the world The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden is poised to release its latest work — and it's a beer. That's the latest from the Metal Injection website, whose "Bands and Booze" section makes it uniquely qualified to present such news.
There must be something in the water — or the beer — in Texas that caused the huge eruption of garage bands and psychedelic bands in the mid-1960s, because there sure were a lot of them, and their records on obscure labels have kept collectors busy for decades. Most of them were amateurs, but the Coachmen, who came together around 1964, were different.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 11:16 am
In his new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid's nameless protagonist is an ambitious young man who moves from the countryside to a megalopolis in search of his fortune. The city is modeled on Lahore, Pakistan, where Hamid was born and partly raised and where — after living in the United States and England — he has now settled with his family.