Claire Messud's cosmopolitan sensibilities infuse her fiction with a refreshing cultural fluidity. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady (1995), followed two midlife sisters in search of new beginnings, one in Bali and the other on the Isle of Skye. In her second novel, The Last Life (1999), a teenager reacting to a family crisis pondered her father's origins in Algeria and southern France, and her mother's New England roots.
Air travelers are growing less and less happy. Automatic budget cuts are now leading to hundreds of flight delays, about half of all delayed flights this week.
NPR's Tamara Keith reports.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Up until this point, the effects of the sequester have been scattered and hard to pin down: hiring freezes, delayed park openings. But then the furloughs of air traffic controllers the Federal Aviation Administration had been threatening for months hit and, bam, the sequester got real, real fast.
Auto executives got a grilling on Capitol Hill yesterday. Not the usual suspects from Detroit's Big Three. Think much, much smaller. Executives from the hybrid carmaker Fisker testified about hundreds of millions of dollars in loans Fisker got from the government. Today, the company is on the verge of collapse.
NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.
SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Fisker, the car company, isn't dead yet. But Congress has already begun the autopsy.
The lending arm of General Electric has stopped offering financing to retailers whose primary business is selling guns. Around 75 retailers are immediately affected. A company spokesman says this is a response to "industry changes, new legislation and tragic events."
Our last word in business is good news for the jet setting romantic, possibly bad news for most everyone else on board.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Virgin Airlines has announced a new service called seat-to-seat delivery, now available on all U.S. flights, which allows passengers to send unsolicited treats to fellow travelers at the touch of a button.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIR RICHARD BRANSON: Just order a drink, meal or snack, select his or her seat and don't forget to seal the deal with a suggestive seat-to-seat chat.
When Superstorm Sandy inundated lower Manhattan last year, thousands of lab animals drowned and many scientists lost months or even years of work. One of those scientists is Gordon Fishell, a brain researcher at New York University.
Just hours before Sandy reached New York, Fishell says, he began to worry that animals housed in a basement below his lab were in danger. "I realized Hurricane Sandy and high tide were going to coincide at Battery Park, which is right where my lab is," he says.
I spoke yesterday with Dan Sichel, a Wellesley economist and a Lady Gaga fan. Both of these facts are relevant for this story.
The U.S. government is about to tweak the way it measures the economy, and some of the biggest changes will affect the entertainment industry.
Under the current system, Sichel told me, Lady Gaga's sales of concert tickets, online songs and CDs all count toward gross domestic product. But the value of the time she spends in the studio working on new songs isn't counted. That's about to change.
Three women in coffee leading the way: Stephanie Backus of Portland Roasting, coffee farmer Miguelina Villatoro of Guatemala, and coffee exporter/processor Loyreth Sosa. Here they discuss coffee prices as they survey beans ready for milling.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Margaret Swallow co-founded the International Women's Coffee Alliance a decade ago.
The year is 1839, and two great empires — Great Britain and Russia — are treating the world map like a chessboard, trying to outmaneuver one another for territory. For no reason other than geography, Afghanistan gets caught in the middle.
Today, as the U.S. ends its war in Afghanistan, historian William Dalrymple recounts the first time a Western power fought in that country. In Return of a King, Dalrymple details Great Britain's attempt to control Afghanistan by putting an ousted king back on the throne — a plan that went famously wrong.
Ford, the No. 12 passenger-car seller in China, is showing off 23 vehicles at its exhibit at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition this week.
Chang'an Ford Mazda Automobile Co. Ltd. Executive Vice President Luo Minggang (left) and President Marin Burela unveil the new Ford Mondeo model at the Shanghai auto show this week. Ford's sales in China were up 30 percent last year.
General Motors has been the American car company in China. Even when GM was in bankruptcy, the Chinese continued to view Buick as a high-status, luxury brand.
But now Ford, an also-ran in the market for years, is making a push to change all that. Last year, Ford's sales were up more than 30 percent in China, and the Ford Focus was the best-selling car in both the world and China.
When Pippin opened in 1972, it was a sensation. Directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, who was coming off his Academy Award-winning film version of Cabaret, it was a showbiz triumph of jazz hands, sexy dancing and theatrical magic.
Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 7:31 pm
The opportunistic political sentiment of never letting a crisis go to waste (see: Rahm Emanuel, among others) has been reframed since the Boston bombings by those seizing on the attack as certain evidence of their positions.
Originally published on Sun April 28, 2013 9:53 am
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday tried to tone down Israeli claims that the Syrian government has been using chemical weapons.
Chemical weapons use is important, because the United Staes has repeatedly said their use marks a "red line" in the conflict. President Obama and the United Nations have warned President Bashar Assad not to use them.
The investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing continues. Investigators have spoken with the parents of the suspects in Russia. Audie Cornish talks to Dina Temple-Raston about the latest developments.
Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks last month at an event in La Paz to mark Sea Day, when the country lost access to the coast in a war with Chile more than 100 years ago. On Wednesday, Bolivia filed a lawsuit against Chile at the International Court of Justice to reclaim access to the Pacific Ocean.
Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 12:56 pm
During the steady stream of breaking news last week, NPR News staff were mid-move to our new headquarters. Divided between two buildings, the news desks and shows reported hours of live coverage without missing a beat. Their work helped inform people across the country not only on air but on television screens as well.