Palestinian performer Mohammad Assaf is a finalist on Arab Idol, which is filmed in the Lebanese city of Jounieh north of the capital Beirut.
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Palestinians have rallied around Mohammad Assaf's success. Supporters say his victory would be a win for art, which has been long neglected in Gaza.
Credit Emily Harris / NPR
Posters of Arab Idol competitor Mohammad Assaf decorate his family's home. Both Mohammad's father, Jabar Assaf (right), and his best friend, Mohammad Abu Jabar, say a victory for the young singer from the Gaza Strip would be a win for all Palestinians.
In Palestinian territory, Mohammad Assaf's face is easy to find. Big posters of the dark-haired 23-year-old dreamboat smile at you along boulevards in Ramallah. And in Gaza, a giant banner of Assaf billows outside his family home.
Assaf's dad, Jabar Assaf, is bursting with pride.
"I'm very, very, very proud of my son. Besides singing so well, he is very polite, and he is studying at the university," Jabar Assaf says. "He's no street kid. I'm very proud."
So are many other Palestinians — including 16-year-old Abeer Ali.
On-air challenge: Categories are given based on the name "Homer," the name of a town in Alaska. Name something in the category beginning with each of the letters H-O-M-E-R. For example, if the category were "Chemical Elements," you might say Helium, Oxygen, Magnesium, Einsteinium, and Radon. You can give the answers in any order.
Most aquarium visitors are there to see sharks, sea turtles, fish and other marine life. But at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, there's another star attraction: Coral.
The Aquarium's Blacktip Reef exhibit will open later this summer, and give visitors a look at an Indo-Pacific coral reef. But curators can't just carve a chunk out of a wild reef to put in the vast tank, that would destroy the very ecosystem for which they hope to raise conservation awareness. And corals take hundreds of years to develop into a reef, so the aquarium can't grow its own in-house.
The love of his life had been married for five years before he met her, and dead for five days before he'd found out. Clandestine lovers weren't notified in the event of a tragedy. The police and medical examiners had waited days before releasing the names of those killed in the concert fire to the public.
The paper had published profiles of the victims, and that's where, halfway through his usual breakfast of a slice of toast and a banana, the news had found him.
Revelations this week that the National Security Agency has been running an extensive domestic surveillance program involving companies like Google, Facebook and Apple has caused many Americans to ask what's left of their privacy. Guest host Tess Vigeland speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic.
Authorities are still searching for a motive in yesterday's shooting rampage in Santa Monica, California. Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said the alleged shooter had weapons with the capacity to fire 1,300 rounds of ammunition.
Meanwhile, north of Los Angeles, fire officials say the so-called powerhouse fire in the Angeles National Forest is 90 percent contained. Twenty-four homes were destroyed, and state officials say the blaze cost some $16 million to knock down.
NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt of one of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. He reads Beyond the Fence by Matthew Campbell of Salem, Mass. You can read the full story below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.
Over the last 15 years, the South African writer Lauren Beukes has been a journalist, a screenwriter, a documentarian — and most recently, a novelist. Her newest book is called The Shining Girls, a summer thriller about a time-traveling serial killer and the victim who escapes to hunt him down.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Saturday said media reporting this week about government surveillance activities amounted to "reckless disclosures" that could hand terrorists a playbook to foil detection.
He said the surveillance measures are legal and said the reporting lacked full context:
Comedian George Carlin liked to say that art doesn't have a finish line. The trio behind Ghost Brothers of Darkland County are the embodiment of that idea. Each is a superstar in his chosen field: rock music legend, best-selling novelist, record producer — trades they could have been content to pursue to the grave. Instead, they went and wrote a musical together, 13 years in the making.
A "walk-through" enclosure at the London Zoo apparently allows visitors to get a little too close to resident squirrel monkeys and several people have the bite marks to prove it, according to details of a report published in a U.K. newspaper.
The Camden New Journal says 15 people suffered bites from the black-and-tan monkeys over a 12-month period last year.
News about data collection by the government sounds uncomfortably like prophetic novels of the past.
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In his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, British author George Orwell warned of the dangers of bureaucratic power run amok — but he also recognized that the protection of the state, while intrusive, is necessary.
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Author Franz Kafka's writings include The Metamorphosis, The Castle and The Trial.
President Obama says he's not Big Brother. The author who created the concept might disagree.
Addressing the controversy over widespread government surveillance of telephone records and Internet traffic Friday, Obama said, "In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we've struck the right balance."
Fans of writer/producer/director Joss Whedon don't just kinda like him. They REALLY LOVE him. He's responsible for shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, and movies like Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers, as well as the un-categorize-able Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. This weekend he has a modern, black and white movie adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in theaters. Whedon came in to talk to Morning Edition Host Renee Montagne about shooting the film in two weeks, entirely at his house.
Police in China said Saturday that a suicidal man was responsible for a fire that swept through a commuter bus in the country's eastern coastal city of Xiamen, killing 47 people including the arsonist and injuring dozens more.
Authorities say 59-year-old Chen Shuizong left a suicide note at his home before setting the fire aboard the bus during Friday's rush hour. The official Xinhua news agency says he was "unhappy and pessimistic about his life, and planned the arson to vent personal grievances."
The man was so beautiful. He appeared to be stepping out of the ad on the side of the bus, his hair illuminated in sun. Amelia saw the little slip of paper burst from his pocket when he pulled out his keys. It flipped in the air once, twice before it caught against the cement stairs right in front of her. She quickly shut her mailbox with the very tiny key that made her feel oversized and fumbling.