Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 10:37 am
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Our colleague David Greene has done so much distinguished work for NPR that we've decided to send him to Siberia - really. David is wrapping up two years in Russia with a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which crosses that gigantic country. He's head east from the capital, Moscow. We reached him about 150 miles into the journey in the city of Yaroslavl. Hi, David.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: Hey there, Steve.
INSKEEP: Why wrap up your time in Russia with this train ride?
Austin Mitchell walks away from an oil derrick outside Williston, N.D. With what many are calling the largest oil boom in recent North American history, temporary camps to house the huge influx of workers now dot the sparse North Dakota landscape.
Credit Gregory Bull / AP
The oil industry stages events like this energy festival parade in downtown Williston in an effort to maintain good relations with the community. Industry rigs and trucks of every description roar by as drivers throw candy to the kids.
The tough economy has taken its toll on most states, putting budgets deep in the red and putting people out of work.
But North Dakota has a low 3.5 percent unemployment rate and a state budget with a billion dollar surplus. That's because of a major oil boom in the western part of the state, a discovery of at least 2 billion barrels to be gained by fracking — the controversial process of injecting fluid deep into underground rock formations to force the oil out.
Producer Harvey Weinstein says Oscar wins can give film studios and financiers "the confidence to make daring movies and not do the same old you-know-what." He is shown above arriving at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles in February 2009.
If you think the presidential campaigns are heating up, visit Hollywood — where campaigns of a different sort are kicking into overdrive. It's Oscar season, and studios are orchestrating a blitz of interviews, ads and billboards in an attempt to influence academy voters.
If this season has a commander in chief, it's producer Harvey Weinstein. He is credited with inventing the modern Oscar campaign — famously beating out Saving Private Ryan for best picture with Shakespeare in Love.
Chris Whitney lived in San Francisco in the 1980s, when there wasn't much known about AIDS. But then he tested positive for HIV in 1985. He explains what happened next to his frien Erin Kuka.
"The first person I told was the person I was dating at the time, and that was pretty much the last conversation I had with him," Whitney says. "You know, the fear just took over. That kind of made me really wary about opening up to people.
AIDS activists haven't always been happy with Barack Obama. But many of them were on this Worlds AIDS Day.
The president used the occasion to pledge a 50 percent increase in the number of HIV-infected people getting treatment through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR — from around 4 million now to 6 million by the end of 2013.
The American electorate is getting more diverse, more educated and younger. These demographic trends seem to suggest that voters could, in theory at least, be more Obama-friendly in 2012, especially in some key states. But it's not clear whether these shifts can outweigh the dragging economy and the president's dismal approval ratings.
By one measure, the browser landscape was reshaped last month: According to data released today by StatCounter, which measures browser usage, Google's Chrome has taken over the No. 2 spot, sending Mozilla's Firefox to third place.
A Pew Hispanic Center study released today finds that two-thirds of undocumented immigrants in the United States have lived in the country for more than 10 years. The study also found that 46 percent of undocumented immigrants had minor children.
In its press release, Pew says this research is important because it comes on the heels of a hot debate on immigration during the Republican presidential debates.
Children in foster care are significantly more likely than other kids to be given mind-altering drugs, according to a study of five states released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office.
The report, which focused on children in the Medicaid program, also found that foster kids were more likely to be prescribed five or more psychotropic drugs at an age and at doses that exceed the maximum FDA-approved levels — both of which carry serious health risks.
Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 4:37 pm
This is just a guess, but the single part of America's food system that inspires the most horrified fascination is probably the slaughterhouse. One reason may be that these factories that turn cattle, hogs and chickens into packaged meat are generally off-limits to the public and photographers.
From left, GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney participate in the Fox News/Google GOP debate at the Orange County Convention Center in September. Since then, the candidates have gotten tougher on each other.
Despite boasting one of the highest per-capita incomes in the country, San Jose, Calif., is running large and growing deficits. And next Tuesday, the city council is expected to declare a state of "fiscal emergency." The main reason is pensions and other benefits for retired city workers, such as health insurance.
San Jose's problems are severe, but hardly unique. In recent years, pension costs have become a central concern both in the U.S. and in Europe.
The songs we turn to during winter months are as distinct from the light, joyous anthems of summer as tank tops and shorts are from the mittens and scarves we pull out of the closet when a chill creeps into the air. This season, we'll ask musicians, writers and listeners to tell us about a song that evokes winter for them, along with a memory or story that goes with it.
In this case, a photo taken today when Hillary Rodham Clinton had a private dinner in Myanmar with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi speaks volumes about the purpose and meaning of the first visit to the country by an American secretary of state in more than five decades.
When the iconic American punk band Fugazi started playing back in 1987, it started taping, too.
"Our friend Joey Picuri, who was a local sound man — or a fellow who helped do sound for bands — he recorded the shows," Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye tells NPR's Guy Raz. "He just gave us tapes of our first show, and he gave us a tape of our second show."
During a speech delivered Thursday in Toulon, France, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be announcing new measures to guarantee the future of Europe.
Yesterday, we reported about the tempest brewing about Carrier IQ, a secret software a researcher says has been installed on millions of phones and is capable of logging websites a user visits, the contents of voice and text messages and even the content of online searches.
Today Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat for Minnesotta, sent a letter to the company asking for a detailed explanation of the kind of information the company's software logs.
Park Jong-kun's Twitter profile picture — which shows him against a backdrop of the North Korean flag — may violate South Korea's strict National Security Law. The 24-year-old South Korean is also under investigation for retweeting North Korean propaganda.
Credit Courtesy Park Jong-kun
Park, a photographer, is shown in his studio, which was the subject of a 10-hour search on suspicion of violating the National Security Law.
Park Jong-kun's Twitter profile picture shows him inspecting a bottle of Johnnie Walker whisky against a backdrop of the North Korean flag.
The 24-year-old South Korean photographer thought it would be funny, a visual parody of North Korea's news programs. But it turns out this profile picture could violate South Korea's strict six-decade-old National Security Law, which punishes those who "praise, disseminate or cooperate with anti-state groups" if such acts endanger democracy and national security.
Richard Branson has built a global business empire around the philosophy "have fun and the money will come."
As the founder of Virgin Group, he grew a mail-order record company into a major record label and a chain of record stores; he started an airline; he created a space tourism company; and he has been actively involved in humanitarian efforts.
There are basically two solutions to the European debt crisis. One, someone can show up with really deep pockets and bail out all the countries. Or, two, the European Central Bank can create a bunch of money and loan it to the countries who need it. The problem is there's a barrier blocking both these potential solutions — a certain European country known for its beer and brats: Germany.
It seems two guys and a dog were out hunting on Sunday. One man was in their boat with the canine. A loaded shotgun was lying across the bow pointed toward the other guy, who was in the water. Fido got excited, stepped on the gun and ... a little while later doctors were plucking 27 pieces of birdshot out of a butt.
An Afghan woman who was sentenced to prison after being raped by a relative — because in the eyes of authorities she had committed adultery — has been pardoned by President Hamid Karzai.
But her freedom comes with a price, according to news reports: She must become the second wife of the man who attacked her. Karzai's office says the woman and her attacker both have agreed to the marriage.
If your doctor says you need an MRI, your health may not be the only thing on his mind. Doctors who have a financial interest in the imaging equipment are more likely to send patients for scans when they don't have anything wrong with them. That's the conclusion of a researcher who combed through hundreds of patient records to examine MRI referral patterns.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Wanted: a high-powered executive to run a nonprofit, far-flung public radio organization. Pluses include a trusted name, award-winning news and music programs, a growing audience and a talented staff. Minuses: some funding problems, a few self-inflicted controversies, the transition to digital media and staff who all think they're smarter than you.