Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 2:22 pm
Japan's military held large-scale exercises at the foot of Mount Fuji on Tuesday as Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera cited "deepening uncertainties" in the region as justification for expanding the role of Japan's armed forces at home and abroad.
Onodera said Japan's military would increasingly be called upon to participate in international peacekeeping operations and bilateral activities with allies.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:12 pm
Every new generation of nouveaux riches has its vices.
Nineteenth-century American industrialists were fond of marrying European royalty. In the 1980s, Japanese millionaires got their kicks from buying Rockefeller Center. In recent decades, Emirati princes have shown a predilection for building vast indoor snow machines.
Now it's China's turn.
The country's newly minted millionaires are second to none in their unusual tastes. Here's a guide to some of the strangest vices preferred by China's new super-rich.
Marian McPartland, who gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation — died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 8:04 pm
The legendary minimalist short story writer Raymond Carver distilled the last decade of his life in his poem "Gravy." "Gravy, these past ten years," he writes. "Alive, sober, working, loving, and being loved by a good woman."
"Two Syrian pro-opposition groups are claiming that dozens of people were killed Wednesday in a poisonous gas attack near Damascus," NPR's Jean Cochran reported earlier this morning on our Newscast. The groups are blaming the attack on government forces, she said.
The crisis in Egypt has been devastating for that country's economy, and especially for businesses in Cairo. Shops that usually stay open late into the night are closing early because of a curfew imposed by the military. Many foreign companies have stopped operations altogether. For the time being, economists say that Egypt can avoid collapse with the help of a multi-billion dollar aid package from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries.
NPR's business news starts with some home improvement.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: Home Depot says it had one of the best quarters in recent history. The number behind that claim, a 17 percent jump in earnings this past quarter. The company credited the recovering housing market in the U.S. and said spending by both contractors and regular customers was up.
Some of America's biggest retailers announced new steps yesterday aimed at improving safety standards in Bangladesh's troubled garment industry. Wal-Mart and the Gap were among the companies that formed a group called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety after the deadliest accident ever in the garment industry.
Among the news organizations following every development in Egypt is Al Jazeera. And now they are making a bit of news of their own. Al Jazeera America went on air yesterday afternoon, entering the crowded and competitive world of cable TV news in the United States. The new network is available in about 45 million households.
But as NPR's David Folkenflik reports, there are many people inside the industry skeptical that its promise of thoughtful and serious news coverage will woo American audiences.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 1:06 pm
Basil is a mega-celebrity of the herb world and has some of the same problems that come with fame. Known mostly for its starring role in pesto, it's recognized by many people primarily as an ingredient in other Italian dishes such as pastas and caprese salads. But if it were up to basil, it might prefer to be recognized for its work in lesser-known cuisines and recipes (the indie films and off-Broadway plays, if you will), where it shines in a different way and brings a new dimension to food.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:22 am
The notion that sport shoes and inserts should keep the human arch stiffly supported is a decades-old assumption that could use some rethinking, according to a British gait analyst who has closely studied more than 25,000 footsteps of healthy people.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:22 pm
It's time for mom and Clary to have the talk.
No, not that talk. Jocelyn (Lena Headey) needs to tell teenage Clary (Lily Collins) about angels and demons, vampires and werewolves, magic chalices and sacred blood — not to mention hidden sanctuaries, interdimensional portals, the identity of her father and the existence of an unknown brother. Plus something nutty about J.S. Bach.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 6:32 pm
The 2013 wildfire season hit a milestone Tuesday: Preparedness Level 5, an officious way of saying resources are stretched thin and it could quickly get worse.
Preparedness Level 5 is the highest on the national wildfire preparedness scale, which the National Interagency Fire Center uses to chart wildfire activity, the deployment and availability of firefighters and equipment and the likelihood that more big fires are coming.
If Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) really wanted to put some positive spin on his birth in Canada, he could point out that none of the first seven presidents were born in the United States either.
Of course, that was because the U.S. didn't exist when presidents from George Washington through Andrew Jackson were born. They were all technically British subjects at birth. Martin Van Buren, born in 1782 in Kinderhook, N.Y., was the first president actually born in the U.S.
Audie Cornish talks to Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger. Rusbridger says he agreed to destroy hard drives containing information provided by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to be able to continue to report on the materials rather than surrender them to the courts. He says the newspaper has digital copies outside of the UK.
In Mexico, as students head back to the classroom this week, their teachers will have extra work ahead of them. They're going to have to correct more than a hundred errors found in the free textbooks handed out to millions of students.