This past Friday in Afghanistan, a handful of Taliban militants paralyzed Kabul during an eight-hour standoff with Afghan security forces. This spring, the Taliban's attacks have been intensifying, and this year's fighting season is a major test of Afghan government forces. One month from now, they're supposed to be leading all security operations in the country, as NPR's Sean Carberry reports.
Grilling is a pillar of the American summer and the world's oldest form of cooking. From Latin America to Africa, grilling is at the heart of many cultures. This summer All Things Considered is setting out to explore some of them with the "Global Grill" series.
Several productions in New York's smaller theaters aren't content with providing passive experiences — the audience is asked to participate. Here Lies Love, a new David Byrne musical about Imelda Marcos at the Public Theater, is set in a disco and the audience moves around, from scene to scene, dancing all the while. Natasha, Pierre and the Comet of 1812, is an electronic pop opera based on a portion of Tolstoy's War and Peace, and is set in a Russian restaurant where audiences are served a meal and vodka as part of the performance.
Arizona Sen. John McCain spent his Memorial Day in Syria. As NPR's Jonathan Blakley reports from Beirut, McCain's spokesman says the senator crossed into northern Syria from Turkey to meet with rebels in the country, ripped apart by the 2-year conflict turned civil war.
Israeli prison officials invited reporters last month on a first-ever tour of the Ofer prison, a concrete-and-barbed wire compound on the northern edge of Jerusalem. More than 700 Palestinians are detained here for alleged security violations in connection with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. From saying goodbye to the kids in the morning to leaving a job after 25 years to the end of life, exits are universal. Long or short, big or small, we've all left home or ended friendships or marriages.
The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.
This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Cathy, a fifth-grade teacher in Stryker, Ohio, wrote to tell us that she elicited giggles when she complemented a student's footwear and called them thongs. A self-described ex-hippie named Paul emailed that he catches himself using the phrase, that's heavy. Sooner or later, once common words or phrases take on new meanings or just seem way, way out of date. Call and tell us about the term you've used that dates you.
City officials in Paris are experimenting with an unconventional way to keep urban lawns trimmed.
Agnes Masson used to be simply the director of the Paris city archives. Now, she's also a shepherdess of sorts, responsible for four black sheep munching the lush grass surrounding the gray archives building at the eastern edge of the city.
Masson says the ewes are efficient and easy to care for.
Among the many thousands of men and women who chose to serve in the military, few volunteer for the duty of death notification. As the nation honors those killed in the line of duty, those who work intimately with the families of the fallen share their stories. (Originally broadcast May 29, 2006.)
Sometimes records have to steep. Four years after it was recorded live in Lucerne, Switzerland, an album of six standards called Somewhere is finally getting a proper release. Keith Jarrett and his trio, including bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, just weren't happy with the sound of the room or the circumstances at the time. Listen to Somewhere, however, and none of that comes across.
After a band breakup, musician Chris Snyder consoled himself with the challenge of what he called "the threesixfive project": a challenge to write a song every day for a year. This one-man band ended up with 10 songs that stuck, and those formed his debut album, Yearling.
The Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist eventually got a chance to revisit the recordings, which initially were little more than sketches, in an upstate New York studio. Listen to two songs from Yearling here.
Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who have died this year.
The Dirty Dozen was a Hollywood hit, but it was based — loosely — on a true-to-life WWII paratrooper regiment. Jake McNiece led the group, whose exploits inspired the 1967 movie and earned the nickname "The Filthy Thirteen." McNiece died in January at the age of 93.
At Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Michael Johnson exercises under a long, steel framework set on a wooden platform. It looks like a giant jungle gym. Above his head are pull-up bars and rings. A climbing rope is off to one side.
It's here where he and dozens of other soldiers and sailors will remember the fallen, just after sunrise, on Memorial Day. They'll all take part in a grueling exercise regimen, part of CrossFit, the popular high-intensity workout program.
This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 5, 2001.
Quincy Jones is one of those people to whom the word "legendary" is often attached. So it was no surprise when, on May 18, the 80-year-old Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Jones grew up poor on the south side of Chicago during the Depression, but moved to Seattle when he was 10. It was there, as a teenager, that Jones befriended and began collaborating with Ray Charles — a friendship that would remain strong until Charles' death in 2004.
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn appear here on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College. Although Washburn and Fleck have been on the show several times with numerous projects over the years, this was their first appearance anywhere as a duo.
In the fall of 1945, my father was honorably discharged from the Navy. He was one of the lucky ones. He'd served on a destroyer escort during the war, first in convoys dodging U-boats in the Atlantic and then in the Pacific where his ship, the USS Schmitt, shot down two kamikaze planes. My dad always kept a framed picture of the Schmitt above his dresser, but, like most men of his generation, he didn't talk a lot about his war years.
Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.
Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, 13.7. And her book, How Animals Grieve, makes a powerful case for the presence of love, affection and grief in animals — from a house cat mourning her lost sister to elephants who pay respects to the bones of their matriarchs.