Until two years ago, Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the longest-running military dictatorship in the world. In 2010, the military began to loosen its grip on the country, increasing civil freedoms and offering some political and economic opportunity for citizens.
But some are wondering whether the country can truly transition to democracy if it fails to reconcile with its brutal past.
This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club goes snooping in Nikki Maxwell's "private and confidential" Dork Diaries. But the secret's already gotten out; the series launched four years ago, and there are already 12 million books in print in 34 different languages. The sixth in the series — Tales From a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker — was just published in June.
Basil is growing thick and leafy in many backyard gardens throughout the U.S. right now, which means many people are thinking about pesto. It's one of the more basic sauces you can make — in addition to basil, all you need is Parmesan or Romano cheese, a little garlic, some extra virgin olive oil and Italian pine nuts.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the man at the center of the military takeover in Egypt, is the latest in a series of American-trained foreign officers to oust a civilian government.
Just seven years ago, he was a student at the Army War College in rural Pennsylvania. At a recent military graduation ceremony in Alexandria, Egypt, el-Sissi talked about his ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on July 3.
The army was forced to take that step, the general said, in the wake of mass protests against the elected government.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 4:54 pm
A U.S. radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth — from satellites to harmful debris — has been slated for shutdown, according to the Space News site. The ground-based network known as the "Space Fence" may cease to operate in October.
Pete Yorn has long had a way with hooky rock songs, so it was easy for him to connect with fellow L.A. musician J.D. King over a mutual love for '60s music. The two first started recording together just for fun, blending folk-rock and subtle psychedelia into a joint project they call The Olms.
Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 9:12 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the heavily taped packages that can't be opened without the aid of a utility knife and a blowtorch is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This week: an array of tips for anyone hoping to launch and sustain a career in music journalism.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. It is summer; and maybe you've already had your dash to the beach, or maybe you're just getting ready to go. If you're looking for something to pick up while you're lounging at the shore, you are in luck. We are kicking off our summer reading series. We're calling it "Island Reads." And for the next few weeks, we will be speaking with authors of Caribbean descent.
Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 6:16 am
One of this week's most-talked-about stories is The Daily Beast's report that "the crucial intercept that prompted the U.S. government to close embassies in 22 countries was a conference call between al Qaeda's senior leaders and representatives of several of the group's affiliates throughout the region."
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 3:05 pm
Our nearest star is about to pull a once-in-11-years move by swapping its north and south magnetic poles.
The sun's polarity switch is a natural part of "solar max" — the period of peak activity during what averages out to be roughly an 11-year cycle. According to NASA, this year will mark the fourth time since 1976 that scientists have observed the 180-degree pole flip.
In a sense, Alela Diane's new album About Farewell represents both a new beginning and a return to form. The Portland, Ore., singer-songwriter's fourth record is a candid collection that finds her adopting a contemplative tone, especially compared to the meatier full-band sounds of 2011's Alela Diane & Wild Divine.
The new record contains the most personal songs Diane has written, and with good reason: Her recent divorce from Wild Divine bandmate Tom Bevitori serves as a constant inspiration, though not always in a direct way.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:46 pm
We forget to listen closer, look closer. As a big-picture kind of guy, I do that myself, and that means missing details that make day-to-day life more vivid. Listening to High Aura'd, it's apparent that creator John Kolodij hears life with great clarity. Last year's Sanguine Features was a personal favorite of mine: a dark and buzzing LP that, when turned up loud, felt like a dark hallway with treasures tucked away in the corners.