The trial of the former police chief who ignited the worst political scandal in China in decades wrapped up today. Wang Lijun is accused of trying to defect to the U.S. and covering up a murder involving the wife of a one-time powerful Communist Party official. NPR's Frank Langfitt has been following the trial from Shanghai.
And first, Frank, remind us what this case is all about.
Space shuttle Endeavour begins a kind of farewell tour this week. The shuttle will set off on a cross-country trip to its retirement home, flying from Florida to Los Angeles on the back of a modified jumbo jet.
Along the way, the spaceship will stop off in Houston, home of NASA's Mission Control and, weather permitting, fly over NASA centers and various landmarks in cities that include San Francisco and Sacramento.
When it comes to healing the wounds of its troubled racial past, the United States is still in its "adolescent phase," says novelist Attica Locke. The 2008 presidential election changed everything she had been taught about race, she says — and, as an African-American writer, she felt compelled to write about that new reality. The result is The Cutting Season, a thrilling, century-spanning story of two murders.
Until recently, if you ordered Japanese beer, there weren't many to choose from. Before the industry was deregulated in the 1990s, four major brewers — Asahi, Suntory, Sapporo and Kirin – controlled the manufacture of Japanese beer.
But the major brands' domination is ebbing, for reasons that have as much to do with Japan's ancient history as with its evolving palates. And now some traditional sake brewers are ditching the tradition and trying their hand at craft beer brewing.
Details are still emerging about the people who made Innocence of Muslims, a purportedly feature-length film whose online trailer has ignited anti-U.S. protests and violence in Egypt, Libya and other nations. Some of the actors involved have publicly rejected the film — and that list now includes actress Anna Gurji, who asked writer Neil Gaiman for help in making her story public.
Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 6:53 pm
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears a man under siege.
His political strategists are feuding over the direction of the campaign. He bungled his "presidential moment" with an ill-timed and ill-informed response to violence in Libya that led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Now to a development surrounding Mitt Romney's campaign. After several days of stumbles on the trail and internal squabbling spilling into public view, Romney's campaign vowed to get back to substance today. Romney delivered a speech to a Latino group in Los Angeles today touting his economic plan and touching on immigration. But the spotlight was stolen by a report on the website Mother Jones.
Last week, Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told a meeting of the agency in Vienna that he is aggravated by Iran's unwillingness to show the IAEA what's going on at a base called Parchin.
"Iran should engage with us without further delay on the substance of our concerns," he said. "We need to stop going around in circles, discussing process."
Each week, All Things Considered and Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids, bring you "Another Thing," an on-air puzzle to test your cleverness skills. We take a trend in the news and challenge you to help us satirize it with a song title, a movie name or something else wacky.
This week's challenge: The owner of a 77-pound dachshund named Obie is blogging about her efforts to slim him down by 40 pounds. If she succeeds, we can probably expect a book.
Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 5:31 pm
The one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement brought rallies and arrests Monday, as protesters marched in New York and other cities. More than 100 arrests were reported in New York, where activists marched near the city's stock exchange.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. We begin this hour with President Obama on the campaign trail. He was in the battleground state of Ohio today, but he spent much of his time talking about China. President Obama even announced a new trade complaint against China during a campaign stop in Cincinnati.
For the past six years in a row, the World Bank has rated the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business. Drawn in part by this reputation, money and talent are pouring into the island nation's growing technology sector.
One of Facebook's co-founders recently renounced his American citizenship and relocated to Singapore, where he has been investing in tech startups.
The music starts up, masking the blare of the generator needed to power the stereo. The dancers begin, and almost like a relay, they take turns showing their moves. Their bodies shake and contort to the beat. Their eyes are fixed in a stare with a fierce look of anger as they lose themselves in the music.
Anthropologists believe early humans evolved in Africa and then moved out from there in successive waves. However, what drove their migrations has been a matter of conjecture.
One new explanation is climate change.
Anthropologist Anders Erikkson of Cambridge University in England says the first few hardy humans who left Africa might've gone earlier but couldn't. Northeastern Africa — the only route to Asia and beyond — was literally a no man's land.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:45 am
Canada's leaders have ended their country's longstanding resistance to asbestos being called a dangerous material under United Nations guidelines, a decision that reflects a shift in the leadership of Quebec province, home of Canada's asbestos industry.
Quebec's incoming premier, Pauline Marois, promised late in her campaign that she would shut down the region's asbestos mines for good. She says that she will use money that would have gone to restart the mines to diversify the local economy.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports for NPR's Newscast unit:
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but what do you do when there are no apples? It's a question western Michigan's apple growers are dealing with this season after strange weather earlier in the year decimated the state's apple cultivation.
Michigan is the third-largest apple producer in the U.S. after New York and Washington, but the state's apples will soon be in short supply. Now in the middle of harvest season, growers are picking only 10 percent to 15 percent of their normal crop.
Several colleges and universities have adopted a common read program, in which first year students read the same book during the summer, then discuss it when they get to campus.
NPR'S Neal Conan talks with Brooke Gladstone, co-host of On The Media, about her book, The Influencing Machine, a graphic novel that tries to decipher the rapidly changing media business and the ways people interact with it.
Jeanne Marie Laskas first came across "hidden America" 500 feet underground, traveling with miners through a narrow, dark coal mine in Ohio. There, she realized how dependent Americans are on the work of miners, yet most people know very little about their world or their work.
In a new book, Laskas chronicles her weeks spent following the lives of those whose jobs are nearly invisible to most of us, from air traffic controllers and truck drivers, to migrant workers and professional football cheerleaders.
Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 3:18 pm
There's nothing like a ready-made crowd to help a group get its message out. That's why a conservative political organization set up shop Sunday outside the St. Louis Rams-Washington Redskins NFL football game.
Why mix politics and football?
"People are here," explained Patrick Werner, Missouri state director for Americans for Prosperity.
Football fans are used to encountering promotional tents for sports-talk radio stations and brands of beer and mixed nuts on their way to the game. Not so many of them expect to discuss politics as part of the pregame festivities.
During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama ran on the platform of "change we can believe in" — but he has a different approach to the Supreme Court's interpretation of constitutional law.
"Obama is a great believer in stability — in the absence of change — when it comes to the work of the Supreme Court," Jeffrey Toobin, author and senior legal analyst for CNN, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "He is the one trying to hold onto the older decisions, and [Chief Justice John] Roberts is the one who wants to move the court in a dramatically new direction."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In Beirut today, American diplomats burned classified documents as a security precaution while Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made a rare public appearance to demand suppression of an Internet video that's triggered sometimes deadly protests since last week.
The world should know our anger will not be a passing outburst, Nasrallah told tens of thousands of his supporters. The world did not understand the level of insult to God's prophet.
You need one password to log in to your computer, another for your smartphone, one for your email, for your bank, your music collection, your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Experts tell us those passwords should be long, contain numbers, letters and symbols and not include personal information like birth dates. Oh, and you're supposed to remember them all, too.