Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 6:37 pm
For the sixth time since Saudi Arabia's founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, died in 1953, one of his sons has ascended to the throne, and it took place Friday without a hitch.
When King Abdullah died early Friday at age 90, his half-brother, Salman, was named the new monarch within an hour. There's also a new crown prince, Muqrin, who is the youngest surviving son of Abdulaziz and a relative youngster at 69.
The new King Salman quickly sent a message of stability and continuity. But the death of a Saudi monarch has brought the problems facing the country into sharper focus.
Greeks will elect a new government on Sunday, and the new prime minister could be a charismatic leftist named Alexis Tsipras, a boyish engineer-turned-protester.
He’s promised to end painful austerity measures while stimulating the country’s ravaged economy, but he may be on a collision course with the Europeans who have lent Greece billions in bailout loans. Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 2:15 pm
The number of new Ebola cases in Guinea is dropping steadily. According to the World Health Organization, there were a total of 20 confirmed cases this week, down from 45 last week, the lowest number since August of last year.
The government is shooting for zero Ebola cases by mid-March, and schools are back in session for the first time since July of last year.
Sony said Friday that it would push back its earnings report for the quarter that ended December 31, because of problems relating to the November hacking attack on Sony’s American film studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The company said in a filing in Japan today that Sony Pictures had to shut down its entire computer network in response to the hack, and that many programs were still not up and running. Mike Regan of Bloomberg News joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.
This Friday we go on stage, the ultimate stage perhaps, Broadway. January and February are usually considered the “zombie months” on Broadway, says New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley. However, this season is a “surprisingly good one,” he tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. Even better, tickets are still available for some of Brantley’s favorite shows this winter. He shares his four top picks.
Ukraine's Russian-backed separatists appear to have turned their backs on peace talks in the wake of recapturing a key airport in the country's east from government forces.
Reuters says there are signs of an impending rebel offensive against the few areas in the region still under government control and that "One separatist leader said his pro-Russian rebels have launched a multi-pronged offensive and won't join further peace talks - but left unclear whether they would respect this week's agreement to pull back heavy weapons from the front line."
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 2:20 pm
Coach Mike Krzyzewski leads the Duke University men’s basketball team into Madison Square Garden this weekend. The legendary “Coach K” is simply treating it as the 19th game of this season for his Blue Devils.
But Jeff Tiberii of Here & Now contributor North Carolina Public Radio, explains there is a milestone within reach: Krzyzewski’s 1,000th win.
New Orleans music didn't do as well in the 1960s, a few hits notwithstanding, as it had done. Musicians left town, major labels lost interest, and Motown and Memphis took over the black music charts. Nonetheless, the late Cosimo Matassa, who owned the only recording studio in town, kept busy. Fresh Air rock historian Ed Ward has the story today.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 9:31 am
Some people argue that we will one day reach a point when our machines, which will have become smarter than us, will be able themselves to make machines that are smarter than them. Superintelligence — an intelligence far-outreaching what we are in a position even to imagine — will come on the scene. We will have attained what is known, in futurist circles, as the "singularity." The singularity is coming. So some people say.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:41 pm
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez has done an about-face on her initial statements that prosecutor Alberto Nisman's death earlier this week was suicide.
Nisman, 51, had been investigating an alleged government cover-up of Iran's suspected role in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 1:19 pm
Each year for the past six years, Bill and Melinda Gates have written a letter about how their foundation is trying to make the world a better place, how they're trying to improve health and education and end poverty. Their 2015 letter was published Wednesday on the foundation's blog. (Note: The Gates Foundation is a supporter of NPR.)