A traveler stands at the check-in lobby at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport last year. On Jan. 14, Cuba scraps a much-reviled, decades-old exit permit requirement, easing most Cubans' exit and return.
For the first time in five decades, Cubans will no longer need an "exit permit" to travel. The change, which takes effect Monday, is part of a broader immigration reform by President Raul Castro making it easier for Cubans to go abroad — and also to return.
But critics say the communist government continues to treat travel as a privilege, not a right, and a useful tool to punish dissent.
The second season of HBO's critically acclaimed series Girls begins Sunday night, but the show about 20-something girls navigating their social and work lives in New York has itself been criticized for not being diverse enough.
By now, most of you have heard the buzz about Girls: It's written by 26-year-old Lena Dunham, and stars a quartet of young women whose plans sometimes crash face-first into life's nasty realities.
The show's smart dialogue attracted writer Allison Samuels, a cultural critic for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
As businesses face more complex regulations and heightened scrutiny by prosecutors, companies are turning to investigative firms to help keep watch over their employees.
The idea behind the "corporate monitoring" business is to nip misconduct in the bud before law enforcement catches a whiff of it. These corporate detectives-for-hire are seeing good business these days, and finding new ways to snoop.
We all know our employers have access to tons of data about us. They can see every person we email from our company email account, every phone number we dial from our desk.
When the rumored rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner's bid for a second term played out last week, the very first Republican to not vote for Boehner was Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., just three names into the alphabetical roll call.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:26 pm
The creators of The Thrilling Adventure Hour proudly call it "fake radio." It's less an homage to old-time radio and more of a clever update. A live monthly performance at Largo, a 200-seat, scruffy-chic Hollywood nightclub is also available as a popular podcast through Nerdist.
Decked out in impeccable suits and a fedora so crisply brimmed it could cut through drywall, Josh Brolin stars in Gangster Squad as a square-jawed policeman of the first order, an Eliot Ness type who would sooner burn a pile of dirty money than pocket a single dollar.
In 1949 Los Angeles, Brolin's Sgt. John O'Mara has been trusted with the task of rebuffing the threat posed by Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), an East Coast gangster working quickly and ruthlessly to set up shop.
During The Baytown Outlaws prologue — a bloody massacre scene that doubles as a credit sequence — director Barry Battles interrupts the carnage with comic-book-style panels. It's a gambit he uses again later, and an appropriate one. This Deep South odyssey is a pulp fantasy and knows it.
If Tolstoy was right about every unhappy family being unhappy in its own way, the cinema of domestic dysfunction will likely never die. But it has gotten awfully droopy, mired in familiar plotting, quasi-wise psychobabble, or — in the case of so many comedies — a knowing prankishness (I'm looking at you, Judd Apatow) that wearies the soul.
There isn't much to say about Struck by Lightning, except that it's one of those interchangeable teen movies that lands in theaters in early January, the morgue for films nobody knows what to do with. That it was released at all is likely due to the clout of Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt on Glee and who wrote the screenplay, along with a companion young adult novel, as a vehicle for what appears to be his own blossoming savior complex.
Barry Lopez is known for writing about the natural world. His books include Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men, where he explores the relationship between the physical landscape and human culture. But in a new essay in the January issue of Harper's Magazine, Lopez writes that he was sexually molested by a family friend when he was a boy, and says the man was never brought to justice.
Urooj Khan poses with a winning lottery ticket. He died after winning a $1 million lottery in Chicago. Forensic pathologists at first said Khan died of natural causes, but that ruling was later changed to death by cyanide poisoning.
When Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner travels to Asia and the Middle East this month, she won't be flying on the official presidential plane. That's because Argentina fears the Boeing 757 jet known as Tango 1 will be seized when it lands by creditors, bond holders who hold sovereign debt that Argentina has defaulted on. So, instead of taking that risk, President Fernandez will be flying on a rented charter plane at the cost of $880,000.
Three Kurdish women were killed this morning in downtown Paris, in what the French Interior Minister described as an execution. One of the women was a founder of the PKK, or Kurdish Workers Party. The group has been fighting for decades for an autonomous Kurdistan. The killings sent a shockwave through the large Kurdish Diaspora in Europe, and cast a shadow over peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish government.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Jury selection began today in the terrorism trial of a young Somali-American. He's accused of trying to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon two years ago. But the case is drawing attention for another reason: There was no bomb. The defendant was the target of an FBI sting operation.
And as NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports, his lawyers are expected to argue their client was entrapped.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block. And in this part of the program, what Washington can do to reduce gun violence. Vice President Biden says he'll have his recommendations to the president by Tuesday. He held a second day of meetings on the subject today, conferring with gun rights advocates.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remained in Cuba, where he's receiving treatment for cancer, and was not present for his planned inauguration in Caracas on Thursday. However, thousands of supporters gathered outside the presidential palace to show their backing.
Credit Juan Barreto / AFP/Getty Images
Chavez has been receiving cancer treatment since the middle of 2011. He's shown here at the presidential palace on Sept. 17, 2011, a few months after his treatment began.
Three Latin American presidents turned up, as did foreign diplomats. And thousands of President Hugo Chavez's supporters flooded the streets Thursday outside the presidential palace in Venezuela's capital, Caracas.
But Chavez himself didn't show — he remained in Cuba, incapacitated after his latest round of cancer surgery.
Still, the carefully choreographed show did go on, and Chavez's aides said he remains in charge.
Pakistani police officers and residents gather at the site of a bomb blast that targeted paramilitary soldiers in a commercial area in the city of Quetta, killing 11 people. Later in the day, twin blasts at a snooker club in the city killed at least 80 people.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:53 pm
Back-to-back bomb blasts in the Pakistani city of Quetta on Thursday have claimed the lives of at least 80 people.
"The death toll has risen to 81 so far," Mir Zubair Mehmood, a senior police official, said at a news conference. He said 121 people were wounded. His comments were reported by the privately owned Geo TV.
Florida and several other states are wrestling with a decision: whether to expand Medicaid.
When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act last year, the court said states could opt out of that part of the law. But it's key. It would provide coverage to millions of low-income Americans who currently have no health insurance.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he's concerned about how much expanding Medicaid would cost. But others charge the governor is exaggerating.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 10:34 am
A re-elected president who gets to choose a second-term Cabinet has much more knowledge of the kind of team he needs than he did the first time around.
That's one simple way to understand President Obama's decisions as he creates his Cabinet 2.0.
The choices are not those of a president-elect who hasn't moved into the White House, or of a green president who hasn't watched his first international crisis unfold from his leather seat in the White House Situation Room.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:05 am
Xiao Liwu made his public debut Thursday at the San Diego Zoo. Fans crowded around the exhibit, their camera lenses extended, hoping to catch a glimpse of the 5-month-old giant panda cub. If they're lucky and actually do see the 16-pound panda (his Chinese name means "Little Gift"), there'll be much oooing and aaahing.
You'd have to be heartless not to agree that pandas, especially the youngest of them, are as cute as all get-out. Right? But why?
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:42 pm
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton on All Songs Considered as they previewed some of the big upcoming releases of 2013. My pick was No Beginning, No End by the chameleonic vocalist Jose James.
Major League baseball will begin random regular-season blood tests for human growth hormone, seen here in an injector pen holding about one week's worth of HGH doses at the clinic of Dr. Mark Molitch of Northwestern University.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:47 am
Major League Baseball will expand its effort to fight performance enhancing drugs to include random blood tests for human growth hormone and other substances during the regular season, under the terms of an agreement with the players union that was first reported by
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:19 pm
Junior Seau, the former NFL linebacker whose suicide last May at age 43 shocked fans and former teammates, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease associated with repetitive head injuries, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:33 pm
There was a shooting incident at a high school in Taft, Calif., this morning. Now that many reports have come in from the scene, it appears that two people were injured and a shooter has been taken into custody.