After a week of market turmoil over the worsening eurozone crisis, hopes are high that the appointment of economist Mario Monti to head a technocratic government in Italy will reassure lenders that the country can speed economic overhaul. Monti could face obstruction from lawmakers of outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party.
Steve Inskeep talks to Shahidul Alam. The former chemist became a photographer because he was tired of seeing images of the developing world through the lens of Western photographers. He now runs an art gallery, a photo agency and a school of photojournalism in Bangladesh. He recently published a book of stunning photographs called, "My Life as a Witness."
OK, so you're overweight. So are two-thirds of all Americans. Maybe you need a nudge to get going on a diet and exercise plan. Maybe you've thought about talking with your doctor about weight-loss strategies. Well, a number of studies suggest you're probably not getting the advice you need.
Here's the problem with watching TV after 50 years of innovation in technology and storytelling: Sometimes, it takes an awful lot to get your attention.
How else to explain NBC's Grimm, which is a typical crime-of-the-week drama with a special twist: The hero cop can see fairy-tale villains disguised as ordinary people. Our hero, Det. Nick Burkhardt, learns about his new talent from his dying aunt, who tells him of "reapers," an organization that's dedicated to killing "Grimms" like him.
Earlier in the year when there was a paucity of great videogames, critics and players alike took time to savor games like L.A. Noire and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. That was then. In the fall, games come out with more alacrity than the speedy conveyor belt of chocolates in that iconic I Love Lucy Switching Jobs episode. More than two thirds of the year's games hit shelves between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Here are some of the best.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Activision for Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii Rated M for Mature
Some Americans are old enough to remember pulling up to the pump at gas stations advertising fuel in cents per gallon, not dollars. For many Libyans, that's the way it has always been and should continue to be in this sparsely populated oil-producing country.
At a Tripoli gas station on a recent afternoon, popular opinion among local Libyans appears to be that the government would keep the prices low, around 60 cents a gallon, or bring them down even further.
Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, sits in a Paris courtroom in 2000 with his French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who later became his wife. Carlos is already serving a life sentence, but is on trial again, charged with terrorist bombings in France in the 1980s.
Carlos the Jackal, the man who sowed fear during the Cold War with terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East, has now been in prison for close to two decades.
But he's once again on trial in France, and the case has riveted the country.
French television footage showed Carlos being taken to the Palais de Justice in an armored van guarded by policemen darting about with machine guns. In this case, Carlos is accused of masterminding four bomb attacks in France in the early 1980s that killed 11 people and wounded more than 100.
Rhode Island has dug its pension system into a big hole: It's $9 billion in the red.
The nation's smallest state doesn't even have half of the money it needs to pay future retirees. Lawmakers are debating a bill to overhaul the entire system. If they do nothing, it's predicted that in seven years, 20 percent of the state budget will be mailed out in pension checks.
There's a slate of reasons why the pension system is in such bad shape.
What haunts Carl Schuler about his two tours in Iraq is the fact that he came out of them largely unscathed.
This was not the case for his best friend, who was badly injured when his truck was hit by a roadside bomb.
"You start thinking about, well, how fair is that? You know, here's my best friend, this is how he ends up, 80 percent burns, two members in the vehicle were killed, and here I am in a similar situation, and all of us ended up being OK," Schuler says. "It's a tough thing to deal with."
Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, seen here at a news conference on Saturday, has much to smile about: He was rescued just two days after he was kidnapped. Not all Venezuelans are that lucky. The government's own statistics show that 895 kidnappings were reported last year.
Wilson Ramos came home to a hero's welcome in Valencia, Venezuela, to neighbors celebrating his rescue by commandoes just two days after the Washington Nationals catcher was abducted.
His mother wrapped her arms around him, crying, "How good God is."
It ended happily for Ramos, who was in the country to play in the Venezuelan winter league. But it's not uncommon for hostages to die in Venezuela, and the usual path to freedom involves paying a big ransom.
A good friend of mine is a Marcel Proust scholar and former milliner. She had just been to see fashion icon and brewery fortune heiress Daphne Guinness's exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology's Museum at FIT in New York when she sent me this email:
<strong>A Labor of Love:</strong> For his "I Hate Perfume" collection, Christopher Brosius blends and bottles all of his scents by hand in his workshops. The process may be labor-intensive, but it allows him to create singular scents that can't be mass-produced.
Would you wear a perfume that made you smell like "A Day at the Beach?" How about "Baby's Butt?" If so, scent inventor Christopher Brosius can help. His Brooklyn boutique is at the vanguard of the anti-perfume movement, as you might suspect by its name: I Hate Perfume.
"I'm not out to sell millions of bottles," Brosius tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden. "My work is really about things that really do smell wonderful, but don't have a lot of the properties that commercial perfumes do."
"I don't feel like I need to tell any lies," Betty Wright says. "You get to an age where you get tired of hiding behind whatever people think is correct. You just say what you have to say, and if they don't like it, it's OK."
Wright found fame in the 1970s as the voice behind the R&B hits "Clean Up Woman" and "Dance With Me." Today, Wright is much in demand as a vocalist, coach, writer, arranger and producer. Her first album out in 10 years is out this week; it's called Betty Wright: The Movie.
The Republican co-chair of a committee in charge of slashing the nation's deficit on Sunday called deliberations a "roller-coaster ride" and gave no indication that a deal could be struck before the panel's Thanksgiving deadline.
Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling said the panel will fail unless Democrats agree to significant "structural" changes to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. When asked whether that could be done in a matter of days, he said "we haven't given up hope."
Prices are about a third lower than they were in 2006, and they are continuing to drop in most cities. The National Association of Realtors says that this summer, prices fell nearly 5 percent compared with last year.
At this time five years ago, the white-hot U.S. housing market was starting to cool. Before long, it would slip into a deep freeze.
The thaw still hasn't come. The latest statistics show residential real estate prices are continuing to drop — a trend that could have a long-lasting impact on the net wealth of younger homeowners who bought property during the housing bubble.
Republican White House hopefuls criticized President Obama's handling of Iran, Afghanistan and the Arab Spring during a debate Saturday night in South Carolina. It was the first of this year's debates in which foreign policy was the dominant topic.
Although the candidates aimed most of their firepower at the sitting president, the forum did expose some fault lines within the Republican ranks.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: President Obama is in Honolulu this morning, where's hosting world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, or APEC. It's the first stop on a nine-day tour that will also take Mr. Obama to Australia and Indonesia. NPR's Ari Shapiro is traveling with the president.
ARI SHAPIRO: These are familiar stomping grounds for President Obama. He brings his family to Hawaii every Christmas, and as he told a friendly crowd of business leaders yesterday morning:
The Mexican government is launching an investigation into a helicopter crash that resulted in the death of one of the country's top officials. NPR's Mexico correspondent Jason Beaubien talks to host Audie Cornish about what prompted the probe.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. It's been a difficult and emotional week at Pennsylvania State University. The scandal involving child sexual abuse allegations and a potential cover-up is entering its second week. And yesterday, the school's football team played its game without long-time coach Joe Paterno, and lost to Nebraska. NPR's Jeff Brady was there.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: A political dynasty is emerging in Northern Iowa. This past week, Jeremy Minnier was elected mayor of Aredale, Iowa, like his father before him. Jeremy says his dad was happy but nervous about his Election Day victory.
MAYOR JEREMY MINNIER: He was supportive of it. He didn't know that. He said, I think you are taking something under your hands that you're not going to be able to handle, because he knew what it was like.
CORNISH: He thinks his dad and others are getting too caught up on a number. Jeremy Minnier is just 18 years old.
Until now, a 250-year-old encoded text titled the Copiale Cipher baffled cryptographers and historians with bizarre symbols and seemingly random letters. Computer scientist Kevin Knight and two Swedish researchers have broken the code to the 105-page manuscript, and NPR's Daniel Hajek reports on what the Cipher revealed.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi acknowledges applause before leaving parliament's lower chamber in Rome on Saturday. Berlusconi resigned after the lower chamber passed an austerity package.
Credit Filippo Monteforte / AFP/Getty Images
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi acknowledges applause before leaving parliament's lower chamber in Rome on Nov. 12. The lower chamber passed European-demanded reforms aimed at bringing Italy back from the brink of economic crisis. Berlusconi said he would resign once the reforms were passed.
Credit Pier Paolo Cito / AP
Berlusconi, then and still owner of football club AC Milan, is carried by Milan players after the team won the 1988 Italian soccer championship.
Credit Ferdinando Meazza / AP
Three months after the Forza Italia party was formed, Berlusconi claimed victory of the conservative alliance in Italy's general elections on March 29, 1994.
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Silvio Berlusconi casts his ballots in the national referendum in Milan in 1995. The outcome of the referendum was decisive in determining the fate of Berlusconi's TV empire.
Credit Luca Bruno / AP
In 2001, the media tycoon was under pressure to give up stake in his media companies to avoid conflict of interest issues heading into the election. He is still the owner of Italy's three major private television networks.
Credit Plinio Lepri / AP
U.S. President George W. Bush (R) walks with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi after Berlusconi's arrival for a meeting at Camp David in 2002. The two leaders met to discuss the situation in Iraq.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
Berlusconi (left) answers journalist Bruno Vespa's questions during a broadcast of "Porta a Porta," an Italian TV talk show in 2006.
Credit Andreas Solaro / Getty Images
This composite image shows Berlusconi at Villa Madama in Rome and Moroccan Karima El Mahroug in a nightclub. Italian prosecutors allege Berlusconi paid to have sex with Mahroug when she was underage.
Credit Filippo Monteforte / Getty Images
Berlusconi arrives at Milan's justice court before a legal hearing over allegations of fiscal fraud and breach of trust in his business interests, on May 2, 2011.
What Congress does, sometimes it later tries to undo. That's what happened a few days ago, when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
Under DOMA, the federal government is bound to recognize only those marriages between a man and a woman. When the law passed 15 years ago, not one state recognized same-sex marriage. Six do so now, as well as the District of Columbia. But the effort to overturn DOMA faces stiff resistance from congressional Republicans.
Billings, Mont., has a diverse economic base, as evidenced by the confluence of stockyards, oil refineries and natural beauty. The unemployment rate for Billings' Yellowstone County was 5.3 percent in September, far lower than the national average.
Credit Richard Gonzales / NPR
Billings Library Foundation Board President Evelyn Noennig (left) and Suzanne McKiernan arrive at a bar carrying signs to support an initiative for a library bond, as patrons gathered to watch election results.
Credit Casey Page / The Billings Gazette
The lobby of the Billings Clinic has an abundance of natural light, and even a piano player, to create a calming, healing ambiance. The center is a top-class health-care facility for cancer treatment.
In Billings, Mont., the land of the "Big Sky," there aren't many clouds. A city of about 100,000 people between Denver and Calgary, Billings is weathering the economic storm better than many other communities in this country.
In this sagging economy, homes can sit on the market for weeks or months. So, would-be sellers often move on, and instead of handing the keys over to new owners, they hand them to tenants. Sometimes that goes well — sometimes not.
"This is the new reality," says Chicago Realtor Frank Maguire. "Our market is, you might sell your home or you might not. There's a whole world of people who are unintentional landlords."
A man dressed as John Lennon holds a sign at the "Move Your Money" protest in Los Angeles. He and others protested bank fees and pushed for "good jobs," a common theme at protests seen nationwide as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the growing frustration among the Millenial generation.
The Occupy Wall Street protests in several cities around the country have turned a spotlight on the growing frustration among the millennial generation, a group that has suffered crushing student loan debt and high rates of unemployment.
Lindey Loftin is part of that generation, but the 27-year-old is not unemployed. In fact, she says she loves her job, is well paid and has no college loan debt. Her employer actually paid for a portion of her education.