Iran is preparing for a presidential election set for June. The last election back in 2009 was followed by massive protests after hard line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. Iran then brutally cracked down and thousands of Iranians fled into exile. NPR's Peter Kenyon met with many of them in neighboring Turkey. He found memories of the regime's crackdown still fresh and little hope things will improve with the next election.
Having overthrown their autocratic leaders, several Arab nations now face the question of how to govern themselves.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
One of the toughest questions is the role that Islam should play in crafting new laws. Secular or moderate groups hope to leave space for democratic debate rather than clerical rule. That's especially true in Egypt, which has a large Christian minority.
We've been closely tracking events in Mali since French forces led a military campaign to rid that country's vast northern desert of militants linked to al-Qaida. Those Islamists had taken over much of the region last spring and imposed a harsh form of Islamic law. But the fabled Timbuktu and other cities have been taken back with almost no fight. Now the French say it's time for them to step back and hand over to an African peacekeeping force.
If you're dismayed that people already talk of the presidential race in 2016, just be grateful we haven't said much yet about 2020. That year is already on the minds of the members of the International Olympic Committee. The committee decides in September among possible venues for the 2020 Olympics, including Istanbul, Madrid and the city we visit next. Tokyo is clean, safe and efficient, but has one problem.
Lucy Craft reports the cultural problem that gets in the way of closing the sale.
Netflix customers will soon have a new option: Along with the company's usual offerings, viewers will be able to watch a new show called House of Cards, a political drama adapted from a British show, and starring Kevin Spacey. David Fincher (known for The Social Network and Seven) will direct the first two episodes. But what's new about House of Cards is that all 13 episodes will be available at once — and they were financed by Netflix itself.
Friday marks the day that 100 years ago, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors for business for the very first time. The largest railroad terminal in the world, the magnificent Beaux-Arts building is in the heart of New York City on 42nd St. And while it no longer serves long-distance trains, it's still a vibrant part of the city's eco-system.
This week saw the end of a years-long, international, multi-billion-dollar battle over one of the most boring things in finance: savings accounts.
At the center of the battle was Iceland, a tiny country where the banks grew into international behemoths during the credit bubble.
The banks got so big partly by convincing foreigners to open up online savings accounts. In particular, lots of people in England and Netherlands opened up "ICESAVE accounts" with a bank called Landsbanki. During the financial crisis, the bank collapsed.
Competitors in a men's category race in the 2013 National Cyclo-cross Championships in Bradford, England, this month. The sport requires riders to traverse mud and sand on off-road courses peppered with obstacles.
Credit Oli Scarff / Getty Images
Helen Wyman nears the finish line in the women's race at the 2013 National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Bradford, England, this month. Popular in Europe, cyclo-cross is the fastest growing bicycle discipline in the U.S.
While many Americans will be tuning into the Super Bowl on Sunday, there's another big sports competition this weekend: the Cyclo-Cross World Championships. This weekend's event, in Louisville, Ky., marks the first time in its 60-year history that the world championships will be held outside of Europe.
Cyclo-cross, a grueling sport requiring riders to traverse mud, sand and other obstacles, is growing rapidly in the U.S. And the fans can be a bit crazy. At the 2012 Louisville Derby City Cup, hundreds of people — some in costumes — packed onto the course to cheer the riders on.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:56 pm
So what did we learn from Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel's sometimes rocky confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee?
1) We learned that the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska with the reputation for speaking his mind and not sticking to his party's talking points has through the years said lots of things that could be used against him in such a setting.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
Making a living in commercial fishing in the Northeast has gotten tougher with each passing year. Now, regulators have announced strict new limits on the amount of cod fishermen can haul in from Massachusetts to Maine. It's part of an effort to rebuild severely depleted fish stocks.
As Maine Public Radio's Jay Field reports, some fishermen worry the new restrictions may finally put them out of business for good.
In the U.S., farmers and farm workers alike say the current system to import temporary workers, especially in agriculture, is slow and fraught with abuses.
But the shape of a new guest-worker program is still being hashed out. Some say the U.S. should import temporary workers the same way Canada does. For nearly four decades, the governments of Canada and Mexico have cooperated to fill agriculture jobs that Canadian citizens won't do, and that Mexicans are clamoring to get.
In Egypt today, rival political factions met with the nation's highest religious official. They were searching for ways to end the violence of the past week that has left some 60 people dead. The Sheikh of Al-Azhar secured pledges of non-violence and a commitment to dialogue from Egypt's ruling party and key opposition groups.
As we hear from NPR's Leila Fadel, this news will come as a relief to some Egyptians who are exhausted and frustrated by the turmoil.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
The New York Times revealed today that it was the target of a month's long cyber attack. The paper believes the attack came from Chinese authorities in response to an expose of cronyism among China's ruling elite. The hackers were able to breach The Times entire system and swipe passwords for every employee.
Who should take over in Mali? That question is before the international community now that French and Malian government forces have retaken northern cities from Islamic insurgents. It's been three weeks since the French stepped in. Now they're looking for an exit, and getting out will not be as easy as dropping in.
Now to politics in the U.S. and one of those ethical storms that can blow over in a few weeks or end a career. This time, the storm clouds are hovering over Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. Tomorrow, he'll officially take on a prominent chairmanship in the Senate. So what's all the ethical fuss about?
NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith explains.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
President Obama's nominee to lead the Pentagon spent the day getting grilled by his former colleagues in the Senate. Chuck Hagel is a Republican and President Obama picked him in part as a gesture to the GOP. But today's hearing did not feature a lot of bipartisan warmth. As NPR's Tom Bowman reports, it was Hagel's stellar Republicans who gave him the toughest time and forced him to defend his record.
Melissa spent months looking for a job — any job. For days, the 25-year-old consistently visited her welfare-to-work program in downtown Brooklyn, resume in hand and an interview smile splashed across her face.
"Every day, Monday through Friday, 9 to 4," she explains. "That's dedication."
Melissa, who asked us to not reveal her last name, has plenty of job experience. She's a self-identified "people person" and says she aces every interview. But there's just one thing holding her back: the past.
Brazilian federal police patrol the Mamore River, which separates Brazil from Bolivia. The river is used by traffickers to ferry cocaine from Bolivia into Brazil, where cocaine consumption is rising rapidly.
Credit Juan Forero/NPR
An agent of Brazil's Forca Nacional, an agency made up of military policemen, stands guard in a largely abandoned border hamlet that is used by drug traffickers to ferry cocaine from neighboring Bolivia.
As cocaine consumption falls in the United States, South American drug traffickers have begun to pioneer a new soft target for their product: big and increasingly affluent Brazil.
And the source of the cocaine is increasingly Bolivia, a landlocked country that shares a 2,100-mile border with Brazil.
As Brazilian police officers and border agents can attest, the drug often finds its way to Brazil by crossing the Mamore River, which separates the state of Rondonia from Bolivia in the heart of South America.
The Italian art-house film Caesar Must Die and the teen zombie-comedy Warm Bodies do not, at first glance, appear to have much in common. But they share a bit of creative DNA, both being inventive riffs that turn Shakespearean tragedies into something else entirely.
On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation.This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common — and so are guns.
"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."
Dave Grohl has always been a joy to watch onscreen, whether bashing away at a drum kit like the heavy-footed, wild-haired spawn of John Bonham and the Muppets' Animal in Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, or flashing an endearingly goofy grin in the Mentos-spoof clip for the Foo Fighters' "Big Me." And a big part of that appeal is the sense that no matter how long he's been in the business, Grohl is still a guy who is acutely aware that he's living out a teenage daydream every day of his life.
Intended as a victory lap for three great stars of advancing age, Stand Up Guys is another entry in the "old folks doing stuff" subgenre, which offers comic affirmation that life is not strictly for the young.
Adapted from a French graphic novel and outfitted with an ethnically diverse cast, Bullet to the Head is an artifact of a newly internationalized Hollywood. But that doesn't mean it feels especially new.
Over the past year, small gnomes started springing up all around Oakland, Calif. The elfin creatures are hand-painted on wooden boards; each is about 6 inches tall, with red hat, brown boots and white beard. They're bits of urban folk art from an anonymous painter who surreptitiously screws them onto the base of utility poles.