UN inspectors have concluded that it was in fact a chemical weapons attack that occurred outside Damascus, Syria on August 23rd. The report does not assign blame for the attack. But according to Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director for Human Rights Watch, a careful read of the evidence laid out in the UN report shows the Syrian regime is most likely behind the attack. He talks with Robert Siegel about the UN findings and what they imply.
The northeastern part of Brazil used to be considered the backwards part of the country, far from the riches of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in the south. That's changed in recent years, and today, northeastern Brazil is experiencing an explosion of industry, propelling millions of people out of poverty and into the middle class. Melissa Block talks with businessman Alfredo Bezerra Leite, owner of a bus company and an engineering firm, and his daughter Rebeca Bezerra Leite, to learn about what's behind this growth in the Northeast.
In a slap to the United States, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced she is postponing her state visit to Washington. It was scheduled for Oct. 23 and would have been the first state visit of President Obama's second term. The postponement follows revelations that the National Security Agency spied on Rousseff, her top aides and Brazil's state-run oil company.
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:45 pm
When William M. Daley — son and brother of famous Chicago mayors, former Obama White House chief of staff and all-around Democratic pooh-bah — was President Clinton's commerce secretary, he kept in his office a framed passage from Theodore Roosevelt's "Citizenship in a Republic" speech.
"It's not the critic who counts. ... The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena."
A decision by a federal judge paves the way for the forfeiture of a 36-story Manhattan building that the U.S. alleges is secretly owned and controlled by the government of Iran.
The court agreed with the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York that the owners are a front for the Iranian government and therefore in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which restricts commerce with Iran.
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:17 pm
A gunman shoots up a military facility, kills a dozen people and puts a fair chunk of the nation's capital on lockdown.
The political response to Monday's massacre at the Navy Yard in Washington?
Measured, bordering on muted.
From the words of the president to those on both sides of the gun control debate, caution has been the rule, with even the sharpest partisans tending to hold their tongues in the hours still suffused with tragedy.
It all started out so promisingly. She was young, still in her teens, and she'd landed her first job. As is the custom in Brazil, to get your salary you have to open an account with the bank the company deals with — and with that new account came the woman's first credit card.
"The banks say, 'I want to help you,' " she says. "And if you have a credit card, it's a status symbol, you are well-regarded."
She switched jobs. That company dealt with another bank — which issued her another credit card. She got a store credit card, too.
In June, the NPR Audience and Community Relations team launched the NPR Ambassador Program, an ongoing volunteer opportunity based at our Washington, D.C. headquarters. Since the program's inception, 25 volunteer ambassadors have contributed more than 375 hours of service at NPR by leading the daily studio tours; working in our new retail outlet, The Commons; and helping during special events. Today's ProFile focuses on one of our ambassadors, Don Wells.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:29 pm
This medical case may give a whole new meaning to the phrase "beer gut."
A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. And sure enough, the man's blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.
There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol that day.
The members of CCR Headcleaner must be some kind of gutter mutants, spawned from the spores of an alternate-universe San Francisco psych scene that's less pop and more bong-ripped hedonism. But if the Geneva Jacuzzi-directed video for the sludgy "Steal the Light" is any indication, then maybe the band's destructively diverse debut, Lace the Earth With Arms Wide Open: 2013, was just formed out of bedroom burnouts.
At a ceremony and concert last night in Washington, D.C., the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz named Melissa Aldana, 24, the winner of its annual competition for young musicians. The highest-profile event of its kind, this year's competition was open to saxophonists.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 11:47 am
When actress Zooey Deschanel started recording with producer M. Ward as She & Him in 2006, it was easy to see it as a passing thing. With the duo releasing the third album-length installment of its ongoing collaboration this year — in addition to a holiday record titled A Very She & Him Christmas — it's now pretty clearly a long-haul project.
Armed drones have become a prominent feature of U.S. counterterrorism efforts around the globe. The unmanned aerial vehicles are regularly used to surveil and strike targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and are now being used in similar efforts in Yemen and Somalia.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:33 am
In one last snapshot before the Affordable Care Act's health exchanges open for business, the Census Bureau reported today on the state of health insurance in 2012. And the numbers were surprisingly not that bad.