Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Pakistan to urge the country's leadership to eliminate safe havens for terrorists, says that U.S. officials met with the Haqqani network this summer. She did not say who the participants were, or what was discussed.
As the BBC reports:
Reports about such a meeting circulated over the summer but the US refused to confirm them at the time.
Mrs Clinton said the US had reached out to the Taliban and to the Haqqani network to test their sincerity and willingness to engage in a peace process.
Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 1:45 pm
Unemployment rates across America didn't change much in September, says the Labor Department. But among the mostly small shifts that occurred, 25 states reported decreases in their unemployment rate. Of the remaining states, 14 saw a higher jobless rate, and 11 remained the same.
This weekend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Brussels with other European Union leaders. Their goal: to settle on a plan to pay the debts of struggling member nations.
Their meeting might go better if Alexander Hamilton's ghost could get a seat at the table.
Hamilton, one of the United States' Founding Fathers, was the fiscal genius who insisted that paying off debts of this union's member states would lead to economic greatness.
A few minutes ago, President Obama announced that the war in Iraq was over.
"After nearly nine years, the long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year," the president said. President Obama said he talked to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier today and they were both in complete agreement about how to proceed. Obama said that "as promised" by the end of the year all troops will withdraw from the country.
He said that this means the relationship between Iraq and the United States will now be a normal one between two sovereign countries.
A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from French Guiana this morning. It was the first time one of them has blasted off outside its old Soviet Union bases.
It also marked a more important first: The rocket was carrying the first piece of Europe's Galileo global positioning system, which aims to provide more accurate information than the United States' GPS system.
Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 12:20 pm
In China, an "outpouring of grief" is meeting the sad news that a toddler has died after being struck by two vans on a crowded street in the city of Foshan, according to state-run media.
The story became a national — and then international — sensation after a security camera's video revealed that more than a dozen passers-by had ignored the injured Wang Yue, 2, as she lay in the street, crying.
Only Chen Xianmei, 57, who was in the area collecting garbage, pulled the girl to safety and called for help. Police reportedly have the drivers of both vans in custody.
Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 5:00 am
Last fall at troubled strip mall in Phoenix, a few brave business owners opened in a virtually empty complex called Bethany East during a decidedly bad economy. In March of this year, the center fell into foreclosure and new buyers stepped in. It's been a turbulent year on this corner, but things are finally looking up for the tenants.
Citizens of the Scandinavian nation gets a unique ID number for life that can be used by researchers to pull together health records, including data from cancer registries, for just about anybody in the country.
In the fall of 1963, in the throes of the Cold War, Coral Way Elementary took in the children of political refugees fleeing Fidel Castro's Cuba. The goal was not just to teach them English, but to make sure they remained fluent in Spanish and held on to their culture. Cuban-Americans thrived in Miami, and so did Coral Way's bilingual immersion model.
With a book about Steve Jobs' life set to hit real and virtual shelves soon, his official biographer, Walter Isaacson, is appearing on 60 Minutes this Sunday. And as often happens in these cases, portions of the book have hit the web a little ahead of its Oct. 24 publish date.
The second game of the World Series came down to the ninth inning Thursday night, as the Texas Rangers used a string of base hits, sacrifices and a stolen base to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1. It was the second tight game of the series, which is now tied, 1-1.
NPR's Tom Goldman calls Ian Kinsler's steal of second in the ninth inning "a key moment" in the win. At that point in the game, the Rangers were down 1-0. But then Kinsler reached first base, on a bloop single to shallow left field. And he was determined to make it to second base.
Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 1:05 pm
The United States military has intervened and helped topple three autocratic leaders over the past decade, yet it remains far from clear whether any of these countries will be successful in the years to come.
Iraq and Afghanistan are still struggling to find stable footing years after U.S. invasions drove out Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar.
The death of Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday removes him as a force that could undermine the new, interim Libyan leadership. But the country still faces many obstacles to building a stable, prosperous and democratic future.
The funeral for former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi was to have taken place Friday, in keeping with Islamic tradition that bodies be buried as soon as possible. But a host of concerns have caused the body to be placed in temporary storage instead — and an inquiry may be launched into how he died.
The dictator was found and killed in his hometown of Sirte Thursday, after eight months of unrest and violence in Libya.
Here are some of the open questions concerning Libya:
President Obama's decision to send 100 U.S. troops into central Africa to help combat a rebel group may have struck many as a surprise, but there's a long precedent for such operations.
U.S. forces have worked collaboratively with numerous militaries around the globe in recent decades, whether to put down insurgencies in places like the Philippines and El Salvador, or to fight the drug trade in Colombia and Mexico.
At the same time that Gap is closing 20 percent of its stores, a big Japanese clothing retailer called Uniqlo plans to open hundreds of shops in the U.S. Uniqlo is sort of like the Gap of Japan: The low-priced casual clothing retailer has been around since the 1980s, but sales are flattening out in its home market so the company is looking overseas for growth.
The U.S. is at the heart of its strategy, according to the head of Uniqlo's U.S. operation, Shin Odake.
The Syrian government has barred most international journalists from the country, restricting coverage since an uprising began last spring. In response, Syrian activists have played a crucial role in providing information to the wider world.
One of the most prominent is Alexander Page — an alias that a young Syrian used for his safety. He was often cited by international media outlets, including NPR.
But he recently fled Syria after his identity was compromised and he was in danger of arrest.
President Obama said Moammar Gadhafi's death marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the Libyan people. The seven-month military campaign that toppled the Libyan leader also marks a high point for the kind of international cooperation that Obama has championed.
The White House was careful Thursday not to claim vindication for the president's policies, but the Libyan exercise does offer an example of what an "Obama Doctrine" might look like.
With the nation's student-loan debt climbing toward $1 trillion, it's taking many young people longer than ever to pay off their loans. Two-thirds of college students now graduate with debt, owing an average of $24,000. But some borrow far more and find this debt influencing major life decisions long after graduation.
"I was very naive, and I realize that now," says Stephanie Iachini, of Altoona, Pa. She was the first in her family to go to college and financed it herself. "Basically I was just signing papers because the education part meant a lot to me."
Although dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, there are still thought to be a few species left over from those days. Plants called cycads are among these rare "living fossils" — they have remained pretty much unchanged for more than 300 million years, but a study in Science magazine suggests that glamorous title may not be deserved.
There's no time machine in Washington, D.C., but Harvard botanist Sarah Mathews leads me to what's arguably the next best thing — a room made of glass in the U.S. Botanic Garden, just downhill from the U.S. Capitol.
Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 8:24 am
The Institute of Medicine sympathizes with us consumers and the confusion we suffer weighing health claims on food packaging at the grocery store. Our convoluted food labels might have something to do with why so many Americans aren't eating as healthfully as they could, and are shouldering too much weight and diet-related health problems, the IOM says.
Originally published on Thu October 20, 2011 10:46 pm
Early voting is underway in Ohio, where a fierce fight with political and economic implications is forcing voters to pick sides between Republican budget-cutters and public workers' unions. At issue is whether to keep or repeal SB 5, a controversial bill supported by Gov. John Kasich and passed by the GOP-dominated legislature this spring. Among other things, SB 5 dramatically restricts Ohio's public sector workers collective bargaining rights. Under SB 5, public employees cannot strike or negotiate for wages or working conditions.
Originally published on Thu October 20, 2011 6:18 pm
Teenage drivers have fewer crashes after they've been driving for a while, but new research suggests that a few months behind the wheel doesn't improve their driving skills all that much.
Researchers persuaded 42 newly licensed teen drivers to have data-recording systems installed in their cars — a camera, a GPS, and an accelerometer to measures rapid stops, sharp turns and swerves. They also checked up on how their parents did when driving the same cars.
The idea was to compare the driving habits of novices with those of more experienced drivers under similar conditions.
Moammar Gadhafi proved true to his word that he would remain in Libya and "die as a martyr," though his final hours were an ignominious end for a man who long ruled from a fortress-like compound in the heart of Tripoli.
His last moments were reportedly spent holed up in a culvert under a road in his hometown of Sirte as loyalist forces waged a losing battle to keep control of the city.
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice held a special place for Col. Moammar Gadhafi. We know that because he once referred to her her as "my darling black African woman," and said, "I love her very much."
This past summer, two assassinations paralyzed the southern Afghan city of Kandahar with fears of a power vacuum.
In the first incident, President Hamid Karzai's half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, considered the unofficial kingpin of the south, was gunned down in July by a close associate. Two weeks later, a Taliban assassin killed the city's mayor, Ghulam Hamidi, with a bomb concealed in his turban.