U.S. sanctions mean that any citizen or business wanting to buy stuff from North Korea has to send a letter to the U.S. government asking for special permission. A few months back, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request, asking for those letters.
Our request was granted: We recently received a packet of 18 letters from Americans who wanted to do business with the most isolated nation on the planet. We've posted all of the letters online.
North Korea's most famous museum exhibit, the captured American spy ship USS Pueblo, has been painted and polished for display as part of Saturday's "Victory Day" ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean War.
Best-selling novelist Jonathan Franzen has fallen in love...with birds. Writing for the July issue of National Geographic magazine, Franzen describes how migrating songbirds are being hunted in high numbers in Egypt, Albania, and other places along the Mediterranean. Franzen tells SciFri about the songbirds' plight and how his passion for birds has evolved.
One of the biggest mysteries of the new detective novel The Cuckoo's Calling was the identity of the author. It was written by Robert Galbraith, which was revealed to be the pseudonym of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. Patrick Juola, professor of computer science at Duquesne University, discusses how he used computerized text analysis to uncover the mystery.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is an illness caused by a newly discovered virus in the same family as SARS. Most of the documented cases have come from Saudi Arabia, which has seen a 54 percent mortality rate in those patients. Martin Cetron, director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discusses the emerging virus.
Think moths are nothing more than drab, little brown fliers stalking your wool sweaters? The folks behind National Moth Week, happening now, want to change that perception. Rutgers University moth expert Elena Tartaglia describes the diversity of moths and the role that they play in nature, and gives some tips on how to become a "moth-er."
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. This next segment is specially dedicated to people for whom midsummer means lush greens, maybe a little sand and hopefully a lot of birdies. We're in the thick of golf season. The U.S. Open wrapped up last month, the British Open last weekend. And in just a few weeks, the PGA Championship begins. Up next, a look at the science of this sport. What sets the pros apart? Stroke mechanics, swing thoughts, physics, psychology?
Reporting in Science, researchers write of linking a mouse's innocuous memory of a room with a more fearful memory of getting an electric shock — causing the mouse to freeze in fear upon seeing the safe room. Study author Steve Ramirez of M.I.T. and memory researcher Mark Mayford of The Scripps Research Institute discuss the implications for modifying human memories.
Egyptian prosecutors have opened an investigation into ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who they suspect of conspiracy and murder, raising tensions as both Islamists and supporters of newly installed military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi turn out for street protests.
The surprise announcement of the investigation against Morsi, who was removed in a July 3 coup, stem from a 2011 prison break in which Morsi escaped and at least 14 guards were killed. Hamas gunmen are said to have led the attack at Wadi el-Natroun prison, an allegation the militant group has denied.
Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 12:00 pm
"The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States," Attorney General Eric Holder has told his Russian counterpart in a letter about the "NSA leaker" who remains in legal limbo at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.
Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 12:27 pm
The French are famous for their insults, but traditionally they haven't taken it well when the target is the president of the republic.
A vote in parliament on Thursday has changed that. For the first time in 130 years, it's now legal to say how you really feel about the French leader.
So, if you think that French President Francois Hollande is "a ridiculous little fat man who dyes his hair," as Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly said (in private) of his successor, you're free to say so — in public.
All good things must come to an end. NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving, for the final time, weigh in on the political news of the week. New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner is enbroiled in another sexting saga, President Obama delivers his most expansive comments on race and Mitch McConnell now has a Tea Party challenger. The guys also make 2014 and 2016 predictions, plus read farewell comments from The Listener.
The year 1963 saw the March on Washington, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Medgar Evers, the bombing of the Birmingham church that resulted in the deaths of four black girls and the passing of W.E.B. Du Bois. That same year, LeRoi Jones — a twentysomething, Newark, N.J.-born, African-American, Lower East Side-based Beat poet — published a book titled Blues People: a panoramic sociocultural history of African-American music.
"A Bosnian from the 'Pink Panther' gang of international jewel thieves escaped from a Swiss prison in a dramatic break-out involving a fellow inmate and two armed accomplices, police said Friday." (Agence France-Presse, via GlobalPost)