Female Marines unload their rifles after a patrol with Afghan soldiers in Helmand province in June. The Marine Corps leadership has started an experiment to determine whether female Marine lieutenants have what it takes to become infantry officers and lead on the battlefield.
Women in the U.S. military have been flying warplanes for years, and recently began serving in artillery and tank units. But they're still barred from direct ground combat.
Now, for the first time in the course's 35-year history, the Marine Corps is putting the first women through its grueling Infantry Officer Course: 86 days crawling through obstacle courses, lugging heavy machine guns, navigating the woods at night.
Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, the top trainer at Marine Base Quantico in Virginia, says there's a good reason the course is so tough that 1 in 5 Marines fail.
For one day, anyone who showed up to this alley in the U Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., could take a free turn at playing Indiana Jones — donning a fedora and whip and fleeing from a gigantic, rolling boulder.
A demonstrator reacts after Pakistani policemen fire tear gas during a protest against power cuts in Karachi in June. Pakistan suffers from a massive energy crisis, one of several factors contributing to the country's severe economic troubles.
If you want to gain a good insight into Pakistan's economic situation, just look at a few of the country's newspaper headlines on any given day. The language says it all: prices soar, stocks plunge, budget deficit swells, foreign investment evaporates — and the list goes on.
Now, analysts are increasingly worried that the faltering economy could join Pakistan's pervasive insurgency and repeated political upheavals as another serious threat to the country's stability.
James Bond — the film franchise, that is — is turning 50. But if 007 is getting up there in years, his gadgets will never get old.
Throughout the series, the creators have always come up with wild gear for Bond to bring along on his missions — while often taking a lot more creative license than they might have needed. They've come up with pieces that were inventive and prescient at best, impossible in the real world at worst, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells NPR's David Greene.
Nicole Kotovos was searching for a way to start a new life when the idea struck her: She would go to her ancestral homeland of Greece and open an American-style bakery cafe. She would bring the cupcake fad to Athens.
What she didn't figure on was the historic downturn in the Greek economy.
The former New York TV producer arrived in 2008, just as the country's debt-mired economy was falling into a deep recession it still hasn't emerged from.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 10:47 am
I have spent the past few days sequestered with a crack team of political pros — actually, curled into a fetal ball, clutching a fading 1980 John Anderson poster — to gird myself for the vital first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
So many questions lingered:
Would Romney offer to wager Obama $10,000 on who wins the race?
Would Obama tell Romney, "You're taxable enough, Mitt"?
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 11:09 pm
We headed to Virginia's Prince William County, a swing county in a swing state, to watch Wednesday night's presidential debate with four undecided voters — three of whom voted for Barack Obama in 2008, one who voted for Republican John McCain.
They gathered in the Occoquan home of Kim Deal and Jim Drakes, and were joined by Connie Moser of Dale City and Al Alborn of Manassas.
Workers prepare Wednesday for the presidential debate at the University of Denver. Experts differ over whether even a televised debate is a good forum for sharing very specific details about policy proposals.
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 4:19 pm
Responding to calls that the Republican presidential ticket provide more detail about some of its policy proposals, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says TV isn't always the right medium for such specifics.
"I don't have the time," Paul Ryan told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday this week, when asked about his proposed revenue neutral tax cut. "It would take me too long to go through all the math."
If buying a local wine just isn't local enough for you, then you might consider joining the growing ranks of people making homemade wine this fall.
Some home winemakers make wine with friends for fun, some make wine with family for tradition; some make it "old school," adding nothing, and drink it by Christmas; others do it "new school," adding preservatives, and wait a year or more to bottle.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / New Hampshire Public Radio
In Durham, N.H., Oyster River Middle School seventh-graders Patrick Beary and Morgan Bernier play with StoryKit, a free app that helps middle-schoolers put together simple presentations, and elementary students make storybooks.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / New Hampshire Public Radio
Oyster River Middle School has invested in a wide range of mobile technology in the classroom. Even so, Oyster River's bring-your-own-device policy is seen as a way to ensure that kids are using technology every day, as teachers assume they'll do after they graduate high school.
If there is one thing that the mobile-computing era has made clear, it's that kids love touch screens. Because those touch screens — smartphones, iPads, Kindles and the like — are an inevitable added distraction to the classroom, schools across the country are struggling to deal with the growing prevalence of the technology.
But a growing number of schools are embracing these hand-held, Internet-ready devices by creating policies that put them to use in the classroom.
Fox News and other conservative media outlets claimed to have a scoop on Tuesday they called "Obama's other race speech." The tape that was supposed to turn this election around, however, was documented and reported on in 2007 by the very same news outlets.
After a two-year investigation, a Senate report released Wednesday criticizes the Department of Homeland Security's "fusion centers" as ineffective, expensive, and encroaching on civil liberties. The centers were created after Sept. 11 to improve communication between federal counter-terrorism agents and state and local law enforcement. A department spokesman called the report flawed.
Guitarist Ernest Ranglin is an elder statesman of Jamaican music. A self-styled composer and improviser, he has traveled and collaborated widely during his 80 years. In California last year, he teamed up with three much younger musicians from South Africa, the U.S. and Israel. The four musicians bonded and quickly recorded an album, named for the San Francisco street where they rehearsed: Avila.
A new analysis shows that the Obama campaign continues to have superiority over the Romney campaign and its allies when it comes to TV ads. The report also finds that political ads are the most negative since 2000, and that the leading advertiser in congressional races is Karl Rove's tax-exempt group Crossroads GPS.
When the Libyan consulate was attacked and the American ambassador killed, the immediate word from the administration was that the strike was a spontaneous reaction to a controversial film. In the immediate aftermath, Republican challenger Mitt Romney harshly criticized the Obama administration and soon found himself at the center of controversy. In the weeks since, however, the administration story has evolved and now a congressional hearing on the matter is scheduled for next week.
Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 12:25 pm
Last Friday two things changed. The shifts weren't seismic, or unexpected, but now Brooklyn is different and hip-hop is different. It's because of Jay-Z, who, despite owning only 0.067% of the Nets and less than 0.2% of the Barclays Center, has become the public face of Brooklyn – not the team, the town.
Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court reconsiders affirmative action. On Wednesday, it will hear oral arguments in the case of Fisher versus University of Texas. The plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, is a white woman who says she was denied admission because of her race. Her case is the first to reach the high court since 2003, when it re-affirmed that public colleges and universities could consider race as one of many factors in admissions decisions.
And you can listen to tonight's debate live on many NPR stations. We'll also have analysis and fact checking at NPR.org. Now, our next story looks not at the differences between the candidates, which we're sure to hear about tonight, but at a similarity. President Obama and Mitt Romney share something that goes to the core of this campaign. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, it comes up in every stump speech they give.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. The stage is set in Denver for the first presidential debate tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. The candidates are suiting up, reporters are gathering, live tweeters are sharpening their virtual pencils. And NPR's Mara Liasson is in Denver and she joins us for a preview. Welcome, Mara.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.
CORNISH: So what is the format for tonight's debate?
Love songs are like the meat and potatoes of most rock and pop music, but sometimes you need something different. For the band Delta Rae from Durham, N.C., inspiration for new material comes from stuff like graveyards and being stuck in the wrong job.
Delta Rae is a six-piece band that includes three siblings: Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes. Their music is like a kind of modern folklore.
Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 8:49 am
If it were the late 1960s, Lawrence Arabia might be one of the biggest bands in the world. The group, which is essentially the sole work of New Zealand artist James Milne, makes trippy, perfectly composed, melodic pop, similar to classic works by The Zombies or The Beatles.