Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 8:35 am
Syrian activists tend to spend long nights on Skype and Facebook, sending and receiving updates on the battle to oust the government.
And online is also where they sometimes fall in love.
Mohsen, an activist from Hama, says he first met Sara, his girlfriend of nearly two years, on Facebook.
She sent him a friend request because she saw he worked in the field of journalism, and for months they chatted casually about the Syrian uprising. Then, after government troops stormed Hama, Moshen fled to Damascus, where he and Sara finally met face to face.
The proudest moment of Hans Massaquoi's boyhood was when his babysitter sewed a swastika on his sweater. He was a 7-year-old boy in Hamburg who wanted to be part of the excitement of the times he saw. But when his mother got home, she snipped off the swastika.
He also wanted to join the Hitler Youth. "They had cool uniforms," Massaquoi wrote years later, "and they did exciting things — camping, parades, playing drums."
In their first big party gathering since Election Day, Republican leaders from around the country met in Charlotte, N.C., this week.
The GOP is promising a great deal of change in advance of the next election, but one area where there will be no change for the party is in its leadership. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was elected to another two-year term.
In his acceptance speech, he cited a simple reason why Republicans failed to win the White House and lost seats in the House and Senate in November.
Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.
Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 4:47 pm
Fox News is not renewing Sarah Palin's contract, The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting.
After her failed vice presidential run in 2008, Palin resigned as Alaska's governor in 2009. When she took the job at Fox, she quickly became a staple on the cable news channel and one of the leading voices of the conservative movement in the United States.
We go now to Arizona, a magnet for retirees, and for some the answer to the question how should I spend my spare time is this: How about swinging a pick axe in the desert? NPR's Ted Robbins sent this postcard from Ironwood Forest National Monument.
TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: This must be Gary Borax's idea of a good time because he keeps coming back.
GARY BORAX: I've probably been out here 30, 40 times over the years and nearly half of those buffel grass-related.
The Obama administration is closely watching political developments in Israel. This week's elections there surprised many analysts in Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to build a new center-right coalition. His party lost some seats in parliament to a new centrist challenger. The White House has had a rough relationship with Netanyahu, and so Washington is looking for a new opportunity now to promote peace. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.
On the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution on Friday, liberal and secular opposition groups held protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The Muslim Brotherhood did not hold counter-demonstrations this time. Instead, its members did charitable work in poor districts of Cairo and other cities.
Detailed satellite images are helping to expose a system of huge prison camps in North Korea, camps that North Korea says don't even exist. Western governments and human rights groups estimate that as many as 200,000 political prisoners are held in these camps under horrific conditions. And a small contingent of Western bloggers is scrutinizing the satellite images, trying to map the camps and look for new detail.
Curtis Melvin is among them. He started the website North Korean Economy Watch. Thanks for coming in.
President Obama named Denis McDonough his fourth chief of staff on Friday, replacing Jack Lew, who has been nominated to be secretary of the Treasury. McDonough, 43, has been deputy national security adviser and a foreign policy advisor to Obama for six years.
In a bombshell decision on the limits of executive power, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., has invalidated President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
Legal experts say the court's reasoning upends decades of conventional wisdom and deals a big victory to Senate Republicans in an era of congressional gridlock.
A key federal panel Friday recommended placing new restrictions on Vicodin and similar prescription painkillers.
At the conclusion of an emotional two-day hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 19-10 to recommend the agency change how drugs that contain the opioid hydrocodone are classified as controlled substances.
Signs of 1963 are everywhere in Birmingham, Ala., these days. The city is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights events of that year: the children who marched until police turned fire hoses and dogs on them; Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"; and the September bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Planted by white supremacists, the bomb killed four young girls preparing to worship. It was an act of terrorism that shocked the country and propelled Congress to pass the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act.
When Sgt. Brandon McCoy returned from Iraq, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife, Alicia, remembers him being on edge in public.
"I'm watching him, and his trigger finger never stopped moving, constantly," says Alicia.
Four years later, after he returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, she says, she'd wake up with his hands wrapped around her throat. She told him: Get help or get a divorce. So he scheduled an appointment and — along with Alicia — trekked to the Fort Campbell hospital located on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 2:00 pm
Not many Americans are fans of the Electoral College. But trying to change the way electoral votes are allocated makes lots of people unhappy, too.
That's what Republicans in a number of states are finding just now. There are a half-dozen states that President Obama carried last November where both the legislature and the governor's office are controlled by the GOP — Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia.
In most of those states, there are efforts under way to change how electoral votes are distributed.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:26 pm
In the strictest terms, Jason Statham isn't the perfect candidate to play Parker, the single-minded career criminal created by the late Donald E. Westlake (working under the pseudonym Richard Stark). Statham, despite having built a career playing rough-and-tumble skull-busters, is just too much of a big pussycat.
As Westlake himself explained, Parker is angry: "Not hot angry — cold angry." Statham, with those inquisitive, cautious eyes and that slow-burning purr of a voice, can act cold, but he can never be cold. Even at his coolest, he's all heat.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 12:32 pm
Don't fear the haggis. Just think of it as a big, round sausage. That's what it is anyway.
Haggis is Scotland's national dish and every year on (or near) Jan. 25, it plays the starring role in Burns Suppers held around the world in celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns on his birthday.