Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 3:27 pm
When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Africa's record on democracy was abysmal. One stark fact summed it up: Not a single African leader had ever lost his job at the ballot box in the three decades since African countries began receiving independence around 1960.
But with Mandela leading the way, South Africa became the most prominent example of the emerging democracies and open elections that spread across the continent in the 1990s.
Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 10:47 pm
On the final leg of 10 days of mourning, Nelson Mandela's body was flown from the seat of government in Pretoria to his ancestral hometown of Quno on Saturday.
"A guard of honor carried his casket from the hearse onto the transport plane that flew the late South African statesman home to the Eastern Cape for burial on Sunday," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast unit from Johannesburg. "The two-hour flight was preceded by a moving memorial, organized by his governing ANC Party."
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 9:01 am
A Chinese spacecraft made a soft landing on the surface of the moon on Saturday, China's state television is reporting.
Televised images showed the control room at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing erupted into applause at about 8:10 a.m. ET. Almost immediately, the lander started to deploy its solar panels and began running a systems check.
Last week, the principal of Trumbull High School canceled a student production of Rent scheduled for next March.
Rent is Jonathan Larson's 1994 rock musical about a group of colorful young people living and loving in a colorful wreck of a brownstone on New York's Lower East Side, when struggling young artists could afford the rent there.
It's not big enough to be called a shakeup, but the new hire announced this week at the White House is important: John Podesta will come on board in January as a counselor to the president.
Podesta is a Democratic wise man, the founder of the Center for American Progress, a policy and personnel incubator for Democratic administrations, and he just started a new think tank on income inequality — the problem President Obama says will animate his second term.
The factory that makes and bottles Sriracha sauce is in trouble - for the second time this year. First, one of the company's Southern California plants faced a shutdown after neighbors complained about the pungent odor there, and now a California Department of Public Health has placed a 30-day hold on all new bottles of Sriracha, citing health concerns. NPR's Sam Sanders reports.
This week, Peter Higgs and Francois Englert received the Nobel Prize for developing the theory known as the Higgs-boson particle in 1964. But distinguished as they are, Higgs and Englert are just two of six scientists who developed the theory and because of the Nobel committees rule of three; that no single prize can go to more than three individuals, most of these scientists missed out on winning the Nobel, including Carl Hagen, a University of Rochester physics professor.
At 9:30 Eastern Time this morning, houses of worship across Connecticut will rang their bells 26 times.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS RINGING)
SIMON: These are the bells of the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Stamford. Churches, mosques and synagogues in Newtown are holding events today to mark the anniversary of the shooting. Not only prayer services, also some arts and crafts activities for children, even comfort dogs.
A Colorado high school student with an apparent grudge against a teacher wounded a classmate with a shotgun before killing himself, chilling a state that's still trying to make sense of mass shootings at Columbine High School and an Aurora movie theater.
Quick-thinking students at Arapahoe High School on Friday alerted the targeted teacher, who quickly left the building. Police immediately locked down the scene on the eve of the Newtown massacre anniversary — a somber reminder of how commonplace school violence has become.
Most parents of elementary school-age children say their schools boosted security following last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to a poll from NPR in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
You've probably never heard of painter Fred F. Scherer. If you've ever been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, though, you may have seen his paintings — probably without realizing it.
Scherer died at age 98 a few weeks ago. His art — those big murals you see behind taxidermic animals in museum dioramas — deserves a closer look.
We visited the AMNH to photograph some of the installations containing his paintings, and spoke with Stephen C. Quinn, who recently retired as an artist from the museum, and knew Scherer well.