French President Francois Hollande has vowed to improve his country's competitiveness. But to better compete, France has to overhaul its labor market, and some hard-earned workers' rights and privileges could be lost.
Venezuela is facing a political crisis. Longtime President Hugo Chavez is being treated in Cuba for a recurrence of cancer and resulting complications. He is supposed to be sworn in to a third term as president this week, but he might not be well enough to attend the inauguration. What then?
Syrian President Bashar Assad appeared before his people Sunday and delivered his first public address since early June. He remained defiant in the face of the uprising that has raged for two years, describing the rebels as al-Qaida terrorists. Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Kelly McEvers.
Protesters demonstrate outside a Starbucks coffee shop in London last month. Protests were held at Starbucks throughout the U.K. after it was revealed that the coffee chain had paid almost no corporate taxes for the last three years.
Credit Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
French actor Gerard Depardieu <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/world/europe/gerard-depardieu-in-russia-with-sights-on-citizenship.html?_r=0">arrived Saturday in Russia</a> to meet with President Vladimir Putin. Putin offered Depardieu citizenship after the actor said he was leaving France to protest a new tax rate of 75 percent on incomes of 1 million euros and higher.
Credit Jacques Brinon / AP
During his New Year's address last week, Pope Benedict XVI decried "unregulated financial capitalism" as a source of global conflict.
Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 8:17 am
As 2013 begins with wealthy Americans in line for bigger tax bills, they're not alone. Tax fairness takes the spotlight worldwide this year, as cash-strapped governments look to impose more of the burden on well-heeled companies, individuals and institutions, and to catch and punish tax cheaters.
This week, as the U.S. Congress averted a plunge off the fiscal precipice, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter to leaders of the Group of Eight countries that make up about half of the world's economic output.
In Mexico these days, the majority of babies are born in hospitals. That hasn't helped reduce the number of maternal deaths, though. So health officials are re-making the centuries-old tradition of midwifery. They are betting a new kind of midwife, one trained in a clinical setting, can offer a solution.
Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 6:55 am
Syrian President Bashar Assad addressed his country publicly for the first time in months on Sunday, maintaining his prior assertions that the violence estimated to have killed more than 60,000 of his citizens is the work of terrorists.
NPR's Peter Kenyon tells our Newscast Unit that Assad insisted he could win the battle. Kenyon reports:
In Pakistan, there's a cafe called the Second Floor. It's listed in a local Karachi social blog as one of the coolest cafes in town. Since it opened its doors five years ago, it's become a haven in a city more known for its violence than its civil discourse. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston paid a visit.
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: The artwork on the front stoop of the Second Floor Cafe in Karachi says it all.
SABEEN MAHMUD: I wanted something right at the entrance...
It's hard to tell whether the ongoing conflict in Eastern Congo is a battle between rival ethnic groups or a fight for resources. There are so many militant groups in Eastern Congo with so many shifting alliances and demands. But a tiny ethnic minority in Congo has been at the center of this conflict for the past 20 years. NPR's Gregory Warner tells their story from the Eastern Congoli city of Goma.
After the eurozone provided billions in bailout loans to Greece in December, the prime minister declared a new beginning for his country, despite a third year of wage cuts and tax hikes. But a scandal over a list of wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts is roiling the country's fragile government.
Few Western countries are as conservative about home ownership as Germany, where less than half the country's citizens own property.
German banks have tough lending rules. Would-be buyers are usually asked to provide hefty down payments to secure mortgages, meaning few Germans even think about buying a home until they are settled and financially secure.
But the European debt crisis appears to be changing the traditions around home ownership. The resulting surge in homebuying, some officials warn, is driving prices too high and threatens the nation's economy.
Foreign buyers are pushing the prices of prime London real estate through the roof. Neighborhoods such as West London, Kensington and Chelsea are particularly popular.
Credit Bloomberg via Getty Images
The apartments at One Hyde Park have been mostly purchased by foreign-registered buyers, according to <em>The Guardian. </em>It said the prices ranged from 3 million to 136 million British pounds ($4.9 million to $221 million).
Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 6:31 pm
For 15 years, an Icelandic teenager has been called her given name, Blaer Bjarkardottir, by everyone except government employees and other officials. That's because "Blaer" (reportedly Icelandic for "light breeze") isn't on a list of government-approved names for girls.
So, in school and at the bank, she is often addressed as "stulka" — "girl" — before she explains the situation.
Audie Cornish talks to Cindy Chang of the Los Angeles Times about the proliferation of so-called "birthing hotels" — homes in residential neighborhoods set up for foreign women, mostly Chinese, to come stay while they wait to give birth in the U.S. While it's not illegal to travel to the U.S. while pregnant, some of the "hotel" operators are breaking zoning and building ordinances, raising the ire of neighbors.
Now, evidence that size really doesn't matter - that is, size of audience. Al Gore sold the cable channel he started, Current TV, to al-Jazeera for $500 million. How many eyeballs does the Qatari-owned news channel get for that money? Well, here's some context. Here are some TV audience numbers. When NBC came in first among the broadcast networks for viewers last week, Neilson estimated they had 7.3 million viewers.
South Korean men play games at a downtown park in Seoul on Nov. 1. Recent data suggest that South Korea is now the fastest-aging country on Earth.
Credit Kim Jae-Hwan / AFP/Getty Images
The Gangseo District Center for Dementia is one of Seoul's 25 community-level centers helping families care for dementia patients. The rapid increase in dementia is just one consequence of South Korea's rapidly aging population.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
High school student Kim Dong-hyun undergoes a simulated experience as an incapacitated elderly person who is hoisted from his bed into a chair by means of a winch and sling. Training at the Seongnam Senior Complex outside Seoul is intended to help young people understand what the elderly are experiencing.
At a clean and sunny community center in Seoul, the South Korean capital, senior citizens make clay models of their own faces in an arts class. Some of the faces are vivid and lifelike. Others are expressionless and indistinct. The project is intended to help the seniors remember what they look like.
This is the Gangseo District Center for Dementia. Since 2006, Seoul has opened a dementia center in each of the city's 25 urban districts.
Burry Stander, one of the world's elite mountain bikers, was killed Thursday as he rode his bike in his native South Africa. Stander, 25, a two-time Olympian who placed fifth in his event at the London 2012 Olympics, was reportedly struck by a taxi van as he trained near his home in Shelley Beach, on South Africa's southeastern coast.
The close proximity of the accident to his childhood home apparently allowed Stander's family members, reportedly including his wife, mother and father, to arrive at the scene quickly.
Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:40 am
The holidays are finally wrapping up. So after you repack the twinkly lights, and the tinsel goes into the trash, what should you do with that once beautiful spruce standing in your living room? Why not drink it?
Well, not exactly as is. The needles, shoots, light-green tips and inner bark of the popular conifer have been used for centuries to brew forest-scented tea, soft drinks and beer. And it seems that fresh evergreen flavor may be making a comeback.
Following years of moving jobs overseas, some companies are deciding there are benefits to manufacturing products here at home. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the latest jobs numbers and the new trend called "insourcing." Headlee talks with Wall Street Journal reporter Sudeep Reddy and journalist Charles Fishman.
Children often show signs of trauma from their experiences inside Syria. A U.N. team interviewing Syrian children in a refugee camp found that most lost a loved one in the fighting, and almost half have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Let's go to West Africa, now, to explore one of the world's great centers of filmmaking. We hear more about Hollywood in California or Bollywood in India's Bombay - or Mumbai - then there's Nollywood, Nigeria's film industry which is one of the world's largest film industries. Nollywood DVDs are sold throughout Africa, Europe, North America and the Caribbean.