For the first time in nearly five decades, the president of Myanmar paid a visit to the White House. Thein Sein has overseen some dramatic changes in his country, long a pariah on the world stage. And the Obama administration has been trying to encourage those reforms by easing sanctions. President Obama himself went to Myanmar, also known as Burma, last year. But as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, there is still a lot of work to do.
Melissa Block talks to teacher Shelly Hoisington. Hoisington teaches fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade at McCormick Elementary School — a one-room school in Troy, Mont. Hoisington recently convinced Gov. Steve Bullock to speak at the graduation ceremony for the five students in eighth grade.
For the first time in years, the Obama administration appears to be focused on shuttering the Guantanamo Bay prison and – at a minimum — has redoubled its efforts to reduce the number of people held there.
The key, officials familiar with the administration's thinking say, may lie with 56 Yemeni detainees, a group of men who have been at the island facility for more than a decade though U.S. officials cleared them for transfer years ago.
"If we can send the Yemenis home," one official said, "that could get the ball rolling."
When movie stars become unbankable, they're no longer a slam dunk at the box office. When investments become unbankable, they're relegated to the Wall Street's junk pile. For ordinary Americans deemed unbankable — those who don't have a traditional checking or savings account — it can be hard to simply pay bills.
And that absence of a bank account is about to become a big problem for those who also lack health coverage — and for the health insurance companies trying to sell them coverage. After all, how do you sell a product to a customer who has no easy way to pay you?
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Population in America's big cities is surging, and more people are choosing to live alone. But where? As the demand for housing rises, some renters are opting to downsize their belongings and move to smaller spaces - much smaller. Imagine a single room no larger than many American closets and a community kitchen shared with multiple residents.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Non-unionized fast food workers walked off the job in Milwaukee last week, demanding, among other things, a raise to $15 an hour. Their actions follow those of workers in four other cities this spring, part of what some are calling the new face of the labor movement, that is collective action outside of traditional union membership.
Prominent women such as Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer are proving that women are finding their place at the table. But in an op-ed for The New York Times, former programmer Ellen Ullman argues that women in the field today face "a new, more virile and virulent sexism."
Asian-Americans have the highest income and education levels of any racial group in the country. So it might be surprising that they have a higher poverty rate than non-Hispanic whites. Michel Martin discusses the issue with Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute and Rosalind Chou, co-author of The Myth of the Model Minority.
When you think about poverty, you might picture dilapidated urban neighborhoods or rural areas. But a new book says the rate of poverty in the suburbs has grown by 64 percent in the past decade, and doesn't show signs of stopping. Host Michel Martin speaks with Elizabeth Kneebone, author of Confronting Suburban Poverty.
Protesters participate in a rally near the federal courthouse March 18 in New York. Lawyers for four men who say they were illegally stopped said many of the 5 million people stopped, questioned and sometimes frisked by police in the past decade were wrongly targeted because of their race.
Closing arguments are set to take place Monday in the federal class action trial involving New York City's stop-and-frisk policy. The trial has been going on for two months in Manhattan.
Plaintiffs in Floyd v. City of New York claim the New York Police Department, its supervisors and its union pressured police officers to stop, question and frisk hundreds of thousands of people each year, even establishing quotas. They argue that 88 percent of the stops involved blacks and Hispanics, mostly men, and were in fact a form of racial profiling.
The iconic Industrial Trust Tower, knows as the "Superman building," stands in downtown Providence, R.I. The art deco-style skyscraper, the tallest in the state, lost its last tenant when the bank's lease expired in April.
Rhode Island is home to beautiful beaches, top-notch universities and a thriving arts scene. Beneath the surface, however, the state faces challenges similar to other parts of the country: shrinking revenues, lost jobs and general economic malaise.
I'm sure if I asked him, Will Shortz would probably acknowledge that the same people who really love words and word play also have a special affinity for punctuation. I would put myself in this camp. I have a lot of respect for a well-placed semicolon. But it's really the ellipsis that captures my punctuation imagination. To be honest, I've never much cared for the apostrophe. Maybe it's just too utilitarian.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Earlier this month, three women held captive for nearly a decade came home. Amanda Barry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued from a Cleveland basement where they had been held captive since early 2002. The case has generated worldwide attention, some of it fell on the Cleveland Police Department. Officers there had searched in vain over the years for the missing women. Following a case like this for years demands an emotional investment from investigators.
There were countless sacrifices made during the Civil Rights movement, in Birmingham, Ala. And for African-American students graduating high school during a particularly turbulent year, one of those sacrifices was their prom. But this past Friday, hundreds of members of the Class of 1963 got to have their night, 50 years later. From Birmingham, Gigi Douban has the story.
GIGI DOUBAN, BYLINE: They arrived at the Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham, in stretch limos. Some came from Atlanta and Detroit.
One hundred and forty years ago this month, a German immigrant named Levi Strauss patented the first pair of jeans ever made. During the California gold rush, Strauss traveled across the country to set up a West Coast branch of his family's dry goods business. That business changed forever when Strauss got a letter from a tailor named Jacob Davis.
Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller (right) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are sworn before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.
The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year, is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit in January. Tesla's attempts to sell its cars without going through dealerships is meeting resistance.
Climate change is a stark reality in America's northernmost state. Nearly 90 percent of native Alaskan villages are on the coast, where dramatic erosion and floods have become a part of daily life.
Perched on the Ninglick River on the west coast of the state, the tiny town of Newtok may be the state's most vulnerable village. About 350 people live there, nearly all of them Yupik Eskimos. But the Ninglick is rapidly rising due to ice melt, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the highest point in the town — a school — could be underwater by 2017.
You can legally drink and drive in the United States, but there's a limit. In every state, drivers can't get behind the wheel if their blood alcohol content is .08 or higher, but the National Transportation Safety Board wants the states to lower the legal limit to .05 or even lower. Now, that would bring the United States into agreement with much of the rest of the world.
It's been a long slog already for the bipartisan immigration overhaul proposed by the Senate's Gang of Eight.
The legislation has been the target of more than 300 amendments during days of debate and votes by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But while the bill has largely held its own so far, its prospects for getting through Congress remain uncertain.
In Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's view, the immigration overhaul is "moving very well."
"It's moving a lot faster than people said it would," says Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
Six years ago, the FBI took on a challenge: To review what it called cold-case killings from the civil rights era. The investigation into 112 cases from the 1950s and 1960s is winding down, and civil rights activists are weighing the FBI's efforts.
The review comes with word this week of the death of a man who'd been named, by a newspaper investigation, as a possible suspect in one notorious case.
A University of New Hampshire professor announced this week he's come close to solving a centuries-old problem proving something called the twin prime conjecture. We asked our math guy - Keith Devlin, of Stanford University - to join us, as he does now from their studios. Keith, thanks very much for being with us.
KEITH DEVLIN: Thanks, Scott. Nice to be with you again.
The Cleveland story. The escape of three women who were kidnapped and held captive for 10 years has attracted notice around the world. Of course, it's also an all-consuming local story. And the Cleveland Plain Dealer provided continuous coverage along with in-depth profiles of the three women, the neighborhood where they were held captive, and the man who allegedly kidnapped them.
Two Metro-North Railroad trains have collided on a stretch of track near Fairfield, Conn., causing a "major derailment" and "preliminary reports of injuries," according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
[Update at 8:55 p.m. ET: The Associated Press quotes Connecticut officials as saying about 50 people have been hurt, four of them seriously.]
When the American Psychiatric Association releases its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-- DSM-5 -- this weekend, lots of journalists and commentators will refer to it as "psychiatry's bible."
That's a term that makes the manual's authors and other mental experts cringe.