On Aug. 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender to Allied forces, putting an end to World War II. With the peace deal, Japan was forced to demilitarize.
Now, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is suggesting it may be time for Japan to shake off its postwar identity. This past week, Abe sent senior officials to a shrine glorifying Japan's soldiers, including some who were prosecuted for war crimes. The government of China protested. South Korea, which also suffered under Japan during the war, is concerned as well.
China executes more people each year than the rest of the world put together. That's according to human rights groups. China's government doesn't release execution figures, but it appears that executions in China are declining. Last year, an estimated 3,000 people were put to death. That's down from an average of 15,000 per year in the 1990s. In the 1980s, 24,000 people were sentenced to death in one year alone.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In Egypt, an emergency cabinet meeting is scheduled for today and more anti-government marches are planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. The government says 173 people were killed in recent days, bringing the week's death toll to nearly 800, with more than a thousand arrested. As international criticism of the violence mounts, Egypt's stock market opened sharply lower and businesses are suspending operations out of security concerns.
You might recognize Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House - the brilliant, acerbic main character in the TV series "House."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SERIES, "HOUSE")
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (as character) How can you treat someone without meeting them?
HUGH LAURIE: (as Dr. Gregory House) It's easy if you don't give a crap about it. That's a good thing. If emotions made you act rationally, well, they wouldn't be called emotions, right? That's why we have this nice division of labor. You hold his hand, I get him better.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:48 am
Can there be any experience more kaleidoscopic in its emotions, more full of hopes and fears and just plain confusions, than that of coming to America? I'm no expert, certainly — but my research on immigration for my recent novel, as well as my own family history, points to a process of continual surprises, endless adjustments, and, at times, exhausting isolation. Old habits crash up against new ideas; the desire for a "clean slate" is betrayed by the inevitable baggage of a former life.
Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 6:20 pm
The raucous comedy Austenland, in theaters this week, pokes fun at Americans' reverence for what they have been taught to see as a gracious British heritage — muslin, bonnets, tea time at the stately home with the blue-bloods, good manners.
As well it might. For most of the English 99-percenters I grew up with, heritage meant feet up in front of the telly, watching Top of the Pops.
Japanese painter and sculptor Ushio Shinohara was the bad boy of the avant-garde when he came to the U.S. more than 50 years ago. He knew Andy Warhol, hung with Red Grooms and polarized audiences with his vivid work.
And Ushio met his wife, Noriko Shinohara, not long after arriving here. She's an artist, too, but she's spent most of her career living in his shadow.
Less so recently, though. Noriko is coming into her own. And now the story of their life together is the subject of an intimate new documentary called Cutie and the Boxer.
The Obama administration is in a difficult situation with its Egypt policy.
President Obama, who often talks about free speech and human rights, has cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt but has stopped short of cutting off aid to the Egyptian military. As the violence continues in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, all sides seem unhappy with the U.S. approach.
In 2009, on his first trip to the Middle East as president, in the same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama spoke of a new approach to relations with the Islamic world.
Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 12:27 pm
For two years, the conversation on Egypt centered on how to build a democracy. Suddenly the discussion has turned much darker, with some wondering aloud whether the largest Arab nation is hurtling toward civil war.
The bloody crackdown by Egypt's security forces has raised the specter of a protracted conflict pitting the military against the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's most powerful political force.
Egypt's escalating crisis is far too volatile for any declarative statements, analysts say. But here are three possible scenarios that could play out:
Tales of Jesse James's exploits have grown to almost mythological proportions since the actual man and his gang galloped over the plains stealing horses, holding up trains, and robbing banks in the years after the Civil War. Shot All To Hell: Jesse James, The Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape is a new book about the legendary man.
Amid violence in Egypt, there are reportedly calls for dismantling the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Guest host Don Gonyea speaks with Shadi Hamid, the director of research for the Brookings Doha Center, about political and security issues in the country.
Security forces cleared a central Cairo Mosque Saturday, where hundreds of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi had gathered overnight. Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been arrested, charged with murder and terrorism. Guest host Don Gonyea speaks with NPR's Peter Kenyon about the ongoing crisis.
Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 8:47 pm
Kansas City Royals infielder Miguel Tejada has been suspended by order of the commissioner of baseball after he was found to be in violation of Major League Baseball's drug program.
Marc Garber of member station WNYC says Tejada, 39, will get a 105-game suspension — one of the longest in major league history — after he reportedly tested positive on multiple occasions for Adderall, an amphetamine used to treat attention-deficit disorder.
If the past few months have taught us anything, it's that everything we do online leaves a digital trail. While it may seem like there's not much we can do about it, there are some tech companies that are working to obscure that trail a little bit, with a process known as encryption.
"There is no question that there is a civil war that is waging within the party."
That Republican conflict, political science professor David Cohen adds, isn't between just two sides, but among a number of factions, including libertarians.
One of the most public battles has involved national security and civil liberties. Leaks about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs raised alarms for libertarians about the government's reach.