Athletes aren't the only ones battling for supremacy on the World Cup pitch: Shoe brands are fighting for glory, too.
For the most part, it's the fluorescent Nike Vapors versus the Adidas Adizero Battle Pack cleats. But while those brands dominate the soccer market, Kyle Stock of Bloomberg Businessweek says Puma has a counterattack: the mismatched pink and blue soccer cleats called Tricks.
"You see a lot of yellows out there and oranges and reds, but in the blur of the feet, you notice [the Tricks]," Stock tells NPR's Arun Rath.
More than 25 years ago, Saroo Brierley was one of many poor children in rural India. At 4 years old, he couldn't read: He didn't even know the name of his hometown. His mother was raising four children on her own, and they were constantly hungry. Brierley's older brothers would hop trains to nearby towns to search for scraps to eat.
Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 10:33 am
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Iqbal al-Juboori is well acquainted with the ethnic tensions coming to a head in her home country of Iraq right now. In 2005, her family, who is Sunni, was attacked in their home and her brother was kidnapped simply because of his ethnicity, Juboori believes.
Film director David Wain's work has always been hard to describe. In some ways, it's straight-up spoof: His most famous film, Wet Hot American Summer, lampooned the summer camp films of the 1980s; and his more recent TV show, Childrens Hospital, sends up shows like Grey's Anatomy, where the female lead is living inside an inner monologue.
Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 12:39 pm
As part of a series called "My Big Break,"All Things Consideredis collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.
The Indian film industry produces more than the glitz of Bollywood musicals. It has a sordid underbelly, too: the underground world of sex horror films.
Director Ashim Ahluwalia wanted to capture that reality, but had to turn to fiction to do it.
The new film Miss Lovely follows two brothers who produce soft-core porn in the 1980s, shooting in one-hour hotels and racing to keep one step ahead of the cops who would shut them down. Pornography is illegal in India; getting caught means a minimum of three years in jail, with no option of bail.
The vibraphone is a special instrument. That spooky, smoky, sparkling sound â€” there's nothing like it. And there's nothing like hearing the vibes played by Bobby Hutcherson.
Hutcherson has covered a lot of ground on his instrument. In the 1950s he was already playing professional gigs, as a teenager. In the '60s, he was a leading light of jazz's avant garde, breaking new ground on some of the most revered LPs issued by Blue Note Records.
Originally published on Sat June 21, 2014 12:29 pm
Adam Brookes' new novel, Night Heron, starts with an act of almost impossible bravery.
A man named Peanut escapes from a prison camp in north-western China. Peanut is a a powerfully-built man â€” despite his nickname â€” who witnessed the Cultural Revolution as a small boy, and whose father was an intellectual savaged by the Chinese regime.
Itâ€™s being called the house call of the future: ambulance crews who rush when you call 9-1-1, but instead of taking you to the emergency room, they treat you at home.
Community paramedicine, as itâ€™s called, is a growing trend across the country. Itâ€™s aim is to bring down hospital costs, but there are concerns about whoâ€™s going to end up paying for the service.
The vast majority of debris in the ocean â€” about 75 percent of it â€” is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn't go away easily.
While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.
The British singer Sam Smith broke through with a dance song: His is the voice snaking through "Latch," by the electronic-music duo Disclosure. It became an international club anthem.
In the U.K, he's mentioned in the same breath as superstars Adele or Florence and the Machine. He already has a sold-out U.S. tour, and he has performed on Saturday Night Live. Smith, 22, is now releasing his debut album, In the Lonely Hour. His songs of love and loss are powered by his moody, soulful voice.
On a Wednesday night, just a few days before Fathers Day, a group of young men gather in a classroom on the fourth floor of Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. There's food â€” pizza, soda and cookies â€” and the men stack their paper plates high before settling into their seats around the table in the center of the room. The meeting is about to begin.
Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 11:32 am
Just over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, which connects the nation's capital to Virginia, lies a piece of sacred ground: 624 acres covered in rows and rows of headstones and American flags.
Sunday marks the 150th anniversary of the designation of Arlington National Cemetery. The military burial ground was created on land that was once the home of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee â€” and was established, in part, to accommodate the many Americans killed in the Civil War.
Today, more than 400,000 men and women are buried there.
In a region torn apart by violence, a leader who promises security above all else can be appealing. Three years after the chaos of the Arab Spring, these strongmen types are rising again in the Middle East.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is one of them, though he has yet to overcome the disaster now unfolding in Iraq. Iraqi lawyer Zaid al-Ali tells NPR's Arun Rath that Maliki is partly to blame for the crisis.
Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 10:14 am
Each line of work has its own cryptic code: words and phrases that would baffle any outsider. These terms may sound like nonsense to someone with untrained ears, but to those who operate in a certain world, their meanings are as clear as day.
To get a better handle on some of the stranger things people say at work, All Things Considered is kicking off a new series called "Trade Lingo." It's a quest to mine the jewels of meaning beneath the jargon.
Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 11:14 am
On June 18, 1964, black and white protesters jumped into the whites-only pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Fla. In an attempt to force them out, the owner of the hotel poured acid into the pool.
Martin Luther King Jr. had planned the sit-in during the St. Augustine Movement, a part of the larger civil rights movement. The protest â€” and the owner's acidic response â€” is largely forgotten today, but it played a role in the passing of the Civil Rights Act, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
So begins a new book by John Browne, former CEO of the energy giant BP. But that sentence could easily have read: "It was time to leave the closet."
During his 12 years as CEO, he never discussed his sexuality in the workplace. That changed in 2007, when his relationship with a male escort was exposed and Browne resigned amid an ensuing scandal. At the time, he said in a statement, "I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private."
On Wednesday, Rashema Melson will graduate at the top of her class as the valedictorian of Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C. She's headed to Georgetown University this fall on a full scholarship.
Anyone who has eaten many plates of blackened, mangy-looking jerk chicken might get the impression that Caribbean cooking is fairly limited. The cuisine of most of the English-speaking islands is often lumped under the umbrella of stews, dumplings and pineapple-strewn desserts.
But Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau say there's much more to island cooking. They're sisters and cooks based in Jamaica, and their cookbook Caribbean Potluck introduces a new way of thinking about food from their homeland.
In the spring of 2009, British author Tom Rob Smith received a disturbing phone call from his father. "And he was crying," Smith tells NPR's David Greene. "He never cries. And he said to me, 'You've got to come to Sweden. Your mom has suffered a psychotic episode, and she's in an asylum.' "
Then, Smith's mother called. She had just been released from the psychiatric hospital in Sweden, and she said everything his father had told him was a lie. "She wasn't mad. My dad was involved in a criminal conspiracy, and she was flying to London to tell me the truth."
On Friday, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Sean Burnett became the latest player this season to undergo "Tommy John" surgery. In this weekend's MLB draft, at least four players selected had already had the infamous elbow surgery as amateurs.
The operation is named after the first player to undergo the procedure to fix an injured elbow ligament, in 1974. Pitchers are particularly vulnerable to this injury.
The procedure involves taking a tendon from somewhere else in the body â€” or from a cadaver â€” and grafting it into place. Pitchers get it most often.
When she was a child, 22-year-old Ifetayo Harvey's father was sentenced to prison for cocaine trafficking.
"My dad went to prison when I was 4 years old, and he was released when I was 12," Harvey says.
Harvey is one of millions of young people who grew up with a parent in prison. A recent study from the National Academy of Sciences examined the growth of incarceration in the United States, and among the topics was the effect on kids and families when a parent goes to prison.