World

Deceptive Cadence
9:27 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Marches Madness: Off With His Head!

In Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, he imagines his own march to the guillotine.
Rischgitz Getty Images

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The Two-Way
9:26 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Egypt's Locust Plague Threatens Israel

Locusts land on a sand dune in Negev Desert, southern Israel on Tuesday.
Ariel Schalit Associated Press

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 8:44 am

A swarm of locusts that began in Egypt and has crossed the border into Israel is inviting comparison to one of the Biblical plagues of Exodus.

The New York Times says the swarms are "like a vivid enactment of the eighth plague visited upon the obdurate Pharaoh. Others with a more modern sensibility said it felt more like Hitchcock."

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The Picture Show
8:57 am
Thu March 7, 2013

With These Abstract Portraits, Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Bill Brandt Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Here's a pretty weird, but kind of cool and completely random set of photos: Close-up portraits of artists' eyes. They were taken in the 1960s by British photographer Bill Brandt.

Born in Germany in 1904, Brandt photographed — both independently and on assignment — a wide range of subjects in varying styles: World War II-era social documentary, street scenes in England, where he lived, editorial portraits, abstract female nudes, etc.

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Mixed Signals: Jobless Claims Dip; Layoff Plans Rise

As we await Friday's much-anticipated report about the February unemployment rate and how many jobs were added to employers' payrolls last month, there are these new bits of economic data to chew over:

-- The Employment and Training Administration says there were 340,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week. That's down from 7,000 the previous week. Claims continue at a pace that's the lowest since first-quarter 2008.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:38 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Discuss: Is 'Humane Meat' An Oxymoron?

Visitors eat rostbratwurst sausages at the "Green Week" agriculture fair in Berlin in January 2011.
Wolfgang Kumm AFP/Getty Images

"There is no such thing as humane meat." This conclusion was drawn by Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, in an opinion piece published last week in The Huffington Post.

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Heavy Rotation
7:31 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Tame Impala.
Maciek Pozoga Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 9:57 am

Our panel of public-radio music obsessives has five more favorites to share. KCRW music director Jason Bentley can't get enough of the new Frightened Rabbit album. Alisa Ali, a DJ for New York's The Alternate Side indie-rock channel, picked a great new track by the promising Glasgow act CHVRCHES. Baltimore's Friday-night hip-hop show Strictly Hip Hop highlighted the new jam by Joey Bada$$.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Book News: Who's Afraid Of Sheryl Sandberg?

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg speaks in December 2011 in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 8:22 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu March 7, 2013

A New Focus On An Old Image In 'Mary Coin'

Do you remember those school assignments where you were asked to make up a story based on a picture? With Mary Coin, Marisa Silver looks long and hard at an image that has been seared into our nation's consciousness — Dorothea Lange's iconic Depression-era photograph "Migrant Mother" — and compassionately imagines the lives behind it. The result is a fresh angle on the Great Depression and a lesson in learning how to really look and see.

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Europe
4:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Bolshoi Dancer Confesses To Masterminding Attack

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:53 am

In Russia, a prominent dancer with the fabled Bolshoi Ballet has confessed to ordering an attack on the company's director. The director suffered third degree burns after acid was thrown onto his face. For more on the scandals at the Bolshoi, Renee Montagne talks to writer Christina Ezrahi, author of Swans of the Kremlin: Ballet and Power in Soviet Russia.

Religion
4:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Vatican Manages Pope Selection Process

U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan (right) chats with other cardinals as they arrive for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican on Thursday.
Alessandro Bianchi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 1:08 pm

As Roman Catholic cardinals prepare to elect the next pope, old-style Vatican secrecy has prevailed over American-style transparency.

Under pressure from Vatican-based cardinals, their American counterparts canceled their daily briefings that drew hundreds of news-starved journalists.

The clampdown was part of what is shaping up as a major confrontation over the future of the church between Vatican insiders and cardinals from the rest of the world.

Just an hour before the scheduled American briefing, an email announced it had been canceled.

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Business
4:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Pizza Hut To Test Social Media Manager Applicants

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 7:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Today's last word in business is - well, never mind. There's no time, Steve.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

No, no, no. Wait. Wait. You got time. You got time. You've got almost 140 seconds here.

MONTAGNE: I'm not so sure. I think it's a little less than that. But, OK. The pressure is on. Come on, Steve, what can you say about how wonderful you are in that little bit of time.

INSKEEP: How wonderful I am?

MONTAGNE: How wonderful you are.

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Africa
3:02 am
Thu March 7, 2013

In Post-Revolution Egypt, Fears Of Police Abuse Deepening

An Egyptian military police officer argues with protesters during a demonstration on June 14, 2012, outside the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo.
Marwan Naamani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:29 am

Egypt's police force was the underpinning of former President Hosni Mubarak's iron-fisted regime, and it quickly became the enemy of Egypt's 2011 revolution.

Yet there has been little to no reform of the police force to date. Human rights groups say the police have begun to act like armed gangs, laying down collective punishment in restive areas across the country. But the police say they are the victims, under constant attack by anti-government protesters.

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Planet Money
3:01 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Andrew Sullivan Is Doing Fine

Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 7:24 am

Two months ago, the popular political blogger Andrew Sullivan left the comfortable world of big media and struck out on his own. His bold new plan: Ask readers to pay $19.99 a year or more to subscribe to his blog.

"It was either quit blogging, or suck it up and become a businessman," he told me.

The usual way bloggers make money (if they make money at all) is to sell advertising. But Sullivan figured he could get his devoted reader base to pay. Within the first week, he'd raised half a million dollars. By the end of about two months, the total had crept up to $625,000.

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Author Interviews
3:00 am
Thu March 7, 2013

The 'Big Data' Revolution: How Number Crunchers Can Predict Our Lives

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 1:52 pm

When the streaming video service Netflix decided to begin producing its own TV content, it chose House of Cards as its first big project. Based on a BBC series, the show stars Kevin Spacey and is directed by David Fincher, and it has quickly become the most watched series ever on Netflix.

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The Salt
2:59 am
Thu March 7, 2013

In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods

Genetically modified to be enriched with beta-carotene, golden rice grains (left) are a deep yellow. At right, white rice grains.
Isagani Serrano International Rice Research Institute

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:44 am

There's a kind of rice growing in some test plots in the Philippines that's unlike any rice ever seen before. It's yellow. Its backers call it "golden rice." It's been genetically modified so that it contains beta-carotene, the source of vitamin A.

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The Two-Way
5:57 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

House Gives OK To $982 Billion Short-Term Spending Bill

The House has approved a bill to fund the federal government through the end of September. The $982 billion continuing resolution introduced by Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), who heads the Appropriations Committee, would avoid a potential government shutdown on March 27.

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The Two-Way
5:53 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

U.S. Spent Too Much In Iraq, Got Little In Return, Watchdog Report Says

Ten years and $60 billion in taxpayer funds later, Iraq is still so unstable and broken that even its leaders question whether U.S. efforts to rebuild it were worth the cost. That's the finding of a report to Congress by Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 6:13 pm

A decade and $60 billion later what does the U.S. have to show for the reconstruction efforts in Iraq? That's the question being answered by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction in his final report to Congress.

The report by Stuart Bowen was based upon audits and inspections, as well as interviews with Iraqi and U.S. officials and politicians. Here's the crux of what happened to that money, according to the report:

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The Salt
5:13 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Salami Suicide: Processed Meats Linked To Heart Disease And Cancer

Delicious. Also potentially deadly.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 6:32 pm

Bacon and bologna are hardly health food. But a huge new study offers the strongest evidence yet that eating processed meat boosts the risk of the two big killers, cancer and heart disease.

A multinational group of scientists tracked the health and eating habits of bacon-loving Brits, wurst-munching Germans, jamon aficionados in Spain, as well as residents of seven other European countries — almost a half-million people in all.

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Latin America
5:09 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Venezuela-U.S. Relations Could Thaw After Chavez

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:49 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We turn now to the last U.S. ambassador stationed in Venezuela. Patrick Duddy represented the U.S. first under the Bush administration then later under the Obama administration. He was once expelled from Caracas. Ambassador Duddy is now a visiting senior lecturer at Duke University's Center for International Studies. When we spoke today, I asked him what it was like for him to be an ambassador to Venezuela under Chavez.

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