Over the past few weeks, Saudi Arabia has been sending unmistakable diplomatic signals that it is upset with the U.S. and its policies toward Syria and Iran.
The Saudis have canceled a speech at the United Nations and rejected a prestigious seat on the Security Council. They have called in European diplomats in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, so the intelligence chief could tell them he was cutting cooperation with the U.S.
In order to turn China into an urban nation, local governments have demolished tens of millions of homes over the past decade. Homeowners have often fought back, blocking heavy machinery and battling officials.
In recent years, resistance has taken a disturbing turn: Since 2009, at least 53 people across China have lit themselves on fire to protest the destruction of their homes, according to human rights and news reports.
Sony's new PlayStation 4 won't be on store shelves until next month, but the gaming console has already raised eyebrows in Brazil, after reports that it would cost 3,999 Brazilian real โ or about $1,845 at today's exchange rate.
The company says the steep cost isn't a case of price gouging, but instead a sign of Brazil's heavy taxes and fees on imported electronics.
The game system will be released in the United States on Nov. 15 and in countries including Brazil later that month. Large retailers in the U.S. will offer the PS4 at a base price of around $400.
This week's Sense of Place focus on Detroit calls for a resurrection of the very first installment of a World Cafe series called Producer Profiles. This archived session from 1992 features Don Was. In the profile, Was discusses the work he's done with a number of artists, including Bonnie Raitt (Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw).
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:59 pm
If you were one of those Americans who just can't wait to file your taxes because you're owed a handsome refund, the Internal Revenue Service has news for you: You're going to have to wait.
The IRS said today that the 16-day federal shutdown means it will delay the start of the 2014 filing season by one to two weeks. The shutdown delayed the updating and testing of some of the IRS' systems.
China's central and local governments are releasing a slew of new regulations aimed at cutting severe air pollution and mitigating its deadly effect on citizens. The seriousness of the problem is obvious in China's northeast, where smog in one city this week cut visibility down to a few yards, and particulate matter soared to 60 times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization.
Over the past year, Americans' support for legalizing pot has surged 10 percentage points.
That's according to Gallup, which has been asking the question since 1969. That means that 58 percent of Americans โ a clear majority for the first time in more than 40 years โ support legalizing marijuana and just 39 percent say the opposite.
To see the dramatic shift in public opinion, just look at this historical graph from Gallup:
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:09 pm
Cuba will end the two-currency system it has used for nearly 20 years. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has used either American currency or a peso that's pegged to the dollar alongside its national peso.
The monetary unification will phase out a system that has become a symbol of exclusivity and foreign wealth. Many products that are imported into the country can be bought only with the dollar-based convertible peso. But most Cubans are paid in the standard peso, which is worth just a fraction of the other currency.