The Chicago Public Schools system is again in the spotlight after announcing late Thursday that it will lay off more than 2,100 employees — nearly half of them teachers. The laid-off educators account for 4 percent of the system's faculty, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson and her late husband Nick Ashford formed one of the most powerful musical duos of the modern era. From the Motown staple "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman," along with their own smash "Solid," Ashford & Simpson are some of the master architects of soul and R&B. Forty years on, Valerie Simpson carries their songwriting legacy into the present day.
Former CIA officer Robert Seldon Lady is on his way back to the U.S. after being briefly detained in Panama. An Italian court had convicted the agent in the first trial anywhere involving the practice known as extraordinary rendition, in which a terrorist suspect is kidnapped and transferred to a country where torture is practiced.
Today, in cities across Egypt, supporters of the ousted President Mohammed Morsi filled streets and squares. They've been demanding his release from custody and his reinstatement as president. Opponents of Morsi also took to the streets, raising fears of fresh violence. NPR's Leila Fadel paid a visit to the headquarters of the pro-Morsi camp. She sent this report.
If you looked at a weather map today, you saw a whole lot of red. Temperatures are in the upper 90s across the country and states in New England and the mid-Atlantic are sweltering in record-high temperatures. In New York City, parks are keeping public fountains running a little longer and gates opened a little later. Sarah Gonzales of member station WNYC spent an evening in the Inwood neighborhood on the northern tip of Manhattan to see how residents are coping.
Of course, there is another American who worked for this country's intelligence gathering apparatus who's in legal limbo. The case of Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked classified information to the media, is being followed internationally. Currently, Snowden is holed up in a Moscow airport while he tries to get temporary asylum, as he figures out a way to get to one of several countries that have offered him shelter from U.S. charges of espionage.
President Obama gave an unexpected news conference Friday. He spoke for nearly 17 minutes about law enforcement, race and the African-American experience in the U.S. Audie Cornish speaks with Angelo Henderson, who speaks about things like that ever day as host of Your Voice with Angelo Henderson, a daily program on Radio One Detroit.
Today the Chicago Public School District began contacting more than 2,000 teachers and other employees to let them know they no longer have jobs. It's the second round of massive layoffs this year in Chicago. The teacher's union there calls it a bloodbath. Here's NPR's Cheryl Corley.
A county judge in Michigan has ruled that Detroit's bankruptcy filing must be withdrawn because it violates the state constitution. Quinn Klinefelter of member station WDET tells Melissa Block that the state is appealing the order.
Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen of failing to supervise two of his employees who have been charged with insider trading. Cohen is the founder of SAC Captial Advisors. Audie Cornish speaks with NPR's Chris Arnold.
And it's with the president's comments that we begin our conversation with our Friday political commentators, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and David Brooks of the New York Times. Good to see you both again.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. A surprise today in the White House briefing room. President Obama appeared unexpectedly to cries of whoa from journalists there. He took the podium to speak out publically in usually personal terms about the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman in that shooting. Obama didn't second-guess the jury's verdict, but he tried to suggest a broader context for the case.
Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank, on Friday. Shortly afterward, Kerry announced a "basis" for the Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace negotiations.
Nothing ever seems to come easy in the Middle East, but Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that there was "a basis" for a new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which would be the first such talks in several years.
Kerry made the announcement in Amman, Jordan, after a series of discussions with Palestinian and Arab leaders.
"We have reached an agreement that establishes the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis," Kerry said. "This is a significant and welcome step forward."
Dr. Langer is a chemical engineer who has pioneered the fields of drug delivery and tissue engineering. His lab at MIT receives roughly $10 Million in annual grants and has 100 researchers. Dr. Langer has helped to launch close to 30 start-ups, and his lab's innovations have been licensed or sublicensed by 250 companies. Dr. Langer is also a father of three children and a magician. Dr. Langer speaks with Jessica about how he has transformed the bio-materials landscape.
Responding to criticism of putting a photo of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine — a hallowed spot in American culture — the publication's editors posted an explanatory note on the website version of the story. It says: "The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism."
A helicopter carries VIPs to the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo in 2010. Politicians taking expensive helicopters and government planes have generated controversy in Brazil.
Credit Jefferson Bernardes / AFP/Getty Images
A helicopter is refueled at an airfield in Sao Paulo in 2009. The wealthy rely on helicopters in Brazil to avoid the gridlocked traffic. Politicians who frequently use helicopters, even for short commutes, are now coming under criticism.
Unlike New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often takes the subway to work, some prominent politicians in Brazil have a far more impressive way of getting around: private helicopters and government planes.
Perhaps the most over-the-top example of the trend is that of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral. A recent magazine expose showed that his commute to work is only about 6 miles.