This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The president of France, Francois Hollande, has just passed 100 days in office. Mr. Hollande swept to victory in a wave of discontent aimed at former President Nicolas Sarkozy. But now, there are concerns that the new president's slow, cautious manner may not be suited to solving some of the challenges facing his country. Eleanor Beardsley sends us this report from Paris.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The last U.N. military observers are pulling out of Syria today. Their mission has been made near impossible by the heavy fighting gripping the country.
A former Algerian foreign minister is taking over as U.N. envoy on Syria, but he's not optimistic about a quick end to the fighting. And neighboring Lebanon remains on edge, after a spate of kidnappings this week related to the Syrian conflict. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from Beirut.
This week, Ecuador announced that it would grant Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, political asylum. He's been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since June facing extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims that he denies. But somehow he's got to get from London to Ecuador and he can't just buy a ticket, buy a canister of tea in duty-free and fly to Quito. The British government says that Julian Assange will be arrested if he sets a foot out of the embassy door.
Italy has a public debt of nearly 2 trillion euros, and it's cracking down on its notoriously wily tax evaders. Owners of luxury yachts are a prime target, with tax police launching dockside raids to see how individual tax files line up with owning and maintaining an expensive boat.
But yachts are mobile assets. In response, many boat owners are simply weighing anchor and setting course for more tax-friendly Mediterranean marinas.
Summertime is beach time in Southern California, even at night. Locals gather around bonfires, roast marshmallows and enjoy each other's company. On some very special nights, there's even sex — at least for the fish.
The grunion run happens only in the spring and summer months. Late at night, under the full and new moons, thousands of tiny, silvery fish swim to shore for a very peculiar mating ritual.
According to the BBC, Nikolay Alexeye, Russia's most prominent gay rights activist, challenged the city council's decision to ban any events that could be considered "gay parades" from March 2012 until May 2112.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Human rights groups are denouncing the sentence handed down today to members of the Russian feminist punk band, Pussy Riot. The group's crimes? It staged a protest in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox Cathedral last winter. A judge convicted the three women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced each of them to two years in a labor camp.
Brant "Boog" Torsen can't fix everyone's cars for cookies. Wouldn't have much of a business if he did. But he knows that when you've got a repair garage in a place like Homer, sometimes folks need a little help to make sure the town's nickname — "The End of the Road" — doesn't apply to them.
That's why Boog's done everything from "fixing engines to replacing turn signal bulbs," for nothing more than handshakes and once, a plate of double chocolate chip cookies.
Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 5:11 pm
A month ago the results of a successful cholera vaccine project in Haiti became available. Now the World Health Organization is calling for the establishment of a global stockpile of the vaccine to respond to outbreaks like Haiti's.
A recent Supreme Court decision striking down mandatory life terms for juveniles has touched off a flurry of activity across the country, especially in Pennsylvania,wherelawyers are advising about 500 prisoners to file requests for new sentencing hearings before the end of next week.
Bradley Bridge with the Defender Association of Philadelphia has received more than 200 letters from prisoners in the past two months asking about the Supreme Court ruling.
In the past two weeks, seven Afghans in uniform have opened fire on Western forces. The most recent incidents occurred Friday. First, a newly recruited policeman in western Afghanistan turned his gun on U.S. military trainers, killing two and wounding a third. A short time later in southern Kandahar province, an Afghan soldier shot and wounded two foreign troops.
The Treasury Department today changed the terms of its bailout agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As NPR's Chris Arnold reports, those terms were proving hopeless for the companies to keep up with.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Texas can't catch a break. First, a bitter drought, now officials in Dallas are fighting a nasty outbreak of West Nile virus. A quarter of the nation's current confirmed West Nile cases are in Dallas County. There, 10 people have died, and hundreds more have been sickened from mosquitoes carrying the virus.
For the first time in nearly half a century, much of the county has begun aerial spraying to control the pests. NPR's Wade Goodwyn has our story.
As communities, such as Dallas, Texas, contemplate doing aerial spraying to control mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus, many people are expressing concerns about how the pesticides will affect their health, and the health of their environments. Melissa Blocks speaks to Dr. Robert Peterson, professor of Entomology at Montana State University.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Now, a story about Supreme Court cases and how you pronounce their names. Some are easy enough, like Roe V. Wade, but others aren't so clear cut. Is it Bachy or Bachy, Padilla or Padilla? Many a case name has been mangled, so as we hear from NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, law professor Eugene Fidell set out to set the record straight.
It has become the deadliest protest in South Africa since the end of apartheid: 34 people dead and more than 78 wounded after police opened fire yesterday on striking workers at a platinum mine northwest of Johannesburg. The miners had walked off the job a week ago, demanding an increase in wages double to triple what they were making. Today, South Africa's National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said officers were acting in self-defense after armed miners charged their position.
Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 3:31 pm
A report made public today by the Department of Defense finally gives us details on what caused the downfall of Four-Star Gen. William "Kip" Ward.
More than a year ago, Ward gave up his post as leader of U.S. Africa Command and Stars and Stripes reported in May that he would be stripped of two of his stars, pending an investigation. But the reasons why were kept quiet, as Stars And Stripes reported.
A study released today by the Government Accountability Office says that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) used appropriate data and scientific methods in drafting new regulations aimed at limiting the amount of coal dust miners are exposed to at U.S. operations.
As NPR's Howard Berkes reported for us last month, some House Republicans had blocked implementation of the regulations until GAO issued its report.
Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:26 pm
The Friday offer from President Obama's campaign to Mitt Romney — that if the GOP presidential candidate releases his tax returns for the past five years, it won't attack him for not releasing more — was immediately rejected by the Romney campaign.
But the give-and-take keeps Romney on the defensive, and promises to keep the issue of Romney's taxes going for weeks to come.
Up next, math books get a makeover. You may remember my next guest from her acting roles on "The Wonder Years." Winnie Cooper may ring a bell or "The West Wing." But for thousands of girls today, she's the writer and personality behind a bestselling series of books that aim to teach girls about math. First, there was "Math Doesn't Suck," then "Hot X: Algebra Revealed," and now we're onto geometry.