A probe into the death of one of Brazil's most celebrated presidents has determined he was murdered. It was thought that the former leader died in a 1976 car crash but an investigation has found he was assassinated by the military junta that once ruled the country. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that the revelation is renewing calls for Brazil's amnesty law to be revised so that the killers can face justice.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
Iran's President Hasan Rouhani has presented his first budget to parliament. Economists say it's remarkably different from the free-spending plans of recent years. The budget comes as negotiators are hashing out the details of Iran's nuclear program. Limiting its uranium enrichment will ease sanctions, which will help lift Iran's economy.
Tens of thousands of South Africans and dozens of world leaders and dignitaries came to a rainy soccer stadium in Soweto, South Africa today to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. President Obama took the stand to laud him as the last great liberator of the 20th century. People danced, sang and cheered to mark this occasion. NPR's Gregory Warner was in the bleachers and sent this report.
French President Francois Hollande attended today's memorial service for Nelson Mandela. We're going to hear now about the next stop on his schedule. On his way home from South Africa, Hollande stopped in Central African Republic, or CAR. The former French colony has been descending into chaos since a coup in March. A French-backed African force is trying to re-establish order there, and two French soldiers were killed in fighting overnight. The U.S. is offering logistical support.
Mandela was celebrated for bringing reconciliation to South Africa. That theme was embodied today in a handshake. At the service, President Obama greeted Cuba's president, Raul Castro. The U.S. and Cuba have not had formal diplomatic relations in more than 50 years and some are seeing this as a small step towards a new relationship. NPR's Ari Shapiro has that story.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Song and dance were center stage today at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Persistent rain did little to dampen the spirits as tens of thousands of people paid homage to South Africa's former leader. Mandela died last Thursday at age 95. Among those present at today's service were four American presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The ice storm that's blanketed North Texas streets and highways has spawned a new name: cobblestone ice.
Cobblestone ice — sounds poetic, doesn't it?
Not if you've had to drive through it.
So what is it?
Ryan LaFontaine of the Texas Department of Transportation says cobblestone ice is a combination of ice accumulation and sand laid down by TxDOT and city trucks — which traffic compresses together to form a cobblestone-type surface, a thick layer of frozen ruts and potholes. In some places, it's several inches deep.
In Russia, organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympics have called on dozens of shamans to pray for snow. But the centerpiece of the Olympic snow strategy is man-made: a massive system that features more than 550 snow-making machines.
Sochi, Russia, which is hosting the Olympics, is a resort town on the relatively warm Black Sea. There are beaches and palm trees. The Alpine events will be held on a mountain just 30 minutes away, where last February it was raining, not snowing.
Snow is also critical for another winter sporting event, though this one has yet to qualify as an Olympic sport, that's snowball fighting. In January, St. Paul, Minnesota, hopes to set a new Guinness world record for the largest snowball fight. Seattle holds the title set this past January with 5,834 throwers. Joe Alton, the event organizer, joins me from St. Paul to talk about his snowball ambitions. Mr. Alton, welcome to the program.
JOE ALTON: Thank you so much for having me, Melissa.
Getting people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act remains an uphill battle in much of Florida.
Politicians in the state erected roadblocks to the law from the beginning — from joining in the 2010 lawsuit to thwart the law to placing restrictions on what insurance helpers called navigators can tell people seeking advice.
At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days?
STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular.
Sarah Jarosz makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. Now 22 years old, Jarosz was signed to Sugar Hill Records when she was just 16. She shifted gears in 2009 to enter the New England Conservatory of Music, and graduated this year.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 6:08 am
Gawker brings us this video posted on Monday of a herd of chamois goats that make a seemingly miraculous escape from an avalanche on an Alpine mountain face. It occurs in the Rhone-Alpes near Pralognan-la-Vanoise, not far from the border between France and Italy.
This story comes to us from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting project that focuses on agriculture and food production issues.You can see more photos and hear more audio from the series here. Wednesday, we'll have a story from a meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kan., which takes a proactive stance toward its newest immigrants.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:33 pm
The Volcker rule, a centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law aimed at stopping some of the risky banking practices that contributed to the economic meltdown, was approved by five key regulators on Tuesday, clearing the way for its implementation.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission became the fifth and final body to approve the rule. The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. were also among the agencies that gave the green light.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 11:23 am
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." — J.R.R. Tolkien
Each year, I swear I will never do this again.
And yet, for the third year in a row, I am preparing to host a day-long Lord of the Rings movie marathon – and cooking up a seven-course hobbit-themed feast, plus dessert, to serve my guests. Maybe it's because, like Tolkien, I too would like the world to be a merrier place.
Those who love indie singer-songwriter Bill Callahan's music no doubt have their favorites among his solo albums, if not from records he previously made under the name Smog. Callahan's music has been remarkably consistent and deeply meaningful; as a writer, he's truly invested in making every word count. Callahan's latest album, Dream River, is a classic illustration of his artistry.