When religious scholar Reza Aslan was 15, he went to an evangelical Christian camp. For the first time, he heard the gospel story — the story of Jesus. It was a profound experience for him, and he immediately converted. But later, when Aslan went to college and began working toward a degree in the New Testament, he found he had doubts.
Daughn Gibson is kind of the heir to the Johnny Cash throne: a deep-voiced country singer whose songs are filled with characters of questionable morality — or just pure evil. He worked as a long-haul truck driver, a cashier in an "adult book store," a drummer in a metal band, and all sorts of other odd jobs before he became a bit of an indie music darling last year. NPR's Jacki Lyden spoke with Gibson about his new album, Me Moan; click the audio link to hear their conversation.
That's the sound of telegrams being processed at the Telegraph office in Kolkata, India. The service has been running in India for 163 years, but today it will deliver India's last telegram. Here in the U.S., where the telegram was invented, Western Union abandoned its telegram service in 2006. If that seems surprisingly recent, then consider India, where cell phones are as ubiquitous as they are in the U.S., and telegrams are as irrelevant as they would be to you or me.
It reads like a Dan Brown novel: An indecipherable, cryptic medieval text, shrouded in mystery, filled with entrancing images, disappears for hundreds of years and then suddenly resurfaces at an Italian castle.
In chaotic situations, certain people rise to the top, and that is certainly the case for Mohammed al-Hariri, a former air conditioning repairman who commands enormous deference on the windblown streets of Zaatari refugee camp.
A short time ago, in a garage not so far away, Steve Leahy was having a problem with his armor. A tiny piece of plastic, maybe just a few millimeters wide, stuck out from the shin guard.
"I know it's a minor detail, and while you're wearing it, someone may never notice," Leahy says. "But I know it's there and I know it shouldn't be, so we like to put the effort in to make it as perfect as possible."
Even if passengers aren't eager to celebrate, airlines are. The fees, born in 2008, helped financially desperate carriers stay aloft as the U.S. economy was spiraling down.
"That was a watershed year that scared the bejeezus out of the airline industry," said Mark Gerchick, an aviation consultant who has just released a book, Full Upright and Locked Position. Even as ticket sales were sliding, jet fuel prices were shooting to historic highs.
The U.S. has been pushing the Taliban and the Afghan government to find a political solution for the past year and a half. But every time it seems the parties are close to starting peace talks, a new demand or controversy arises and nothing happens.
In the latest attempt, the Taliban finally opened a political office in Qatar, a move that was supposed to set the stage for negotiations. But when the Taliban envoys gave that office the trappings of an embassy, a furious Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, called off the talks, and they have yet to be re-scheduled.
Congress is setting up for a showdown this fall on the budget, the debt ceiling and possibly immigration.
But another item on the agenda hasn't been getting as much attention: changing tax policy. The chairmen of the two tax-writing committees have been working for years, holding hearings, releasing white papers, even hosting bipartisan tax chat lunches at a pub — often with little notice.
Dave Camp is a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Max Baucus is a Montana Democrat and leads the Senate Finance Committee.
Plantagenets, Tudors, Stuarts, Hanovers and now what?
There's been plenty of speculation about what name will be chosen for the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (better known as Will and Kate). Bets are being placed on Charlotte, Alice, Grace, Charles, George, James, etc. (see more possibilities below).
During Egypt's 2011 revolution, activist Dalia Ziada assumed all of the male protesters around her were fighting for her rights, too. But the following years told a different story. NPR's Host Jacki Lyden talks with Ziada about the evolution of women's rights in Egypt from the 2011 uprising to the current upheaval. We also hear from Rebecca Chiao, who discovered a tool for Egyptians to report sexual harassments.
In a new work of crime fiction from author Mukoma Wa Ngugi you still have the detective and his buddy, the mysterious body that turns up at the outset, and the crazy bar where the cops and criminals hang out together. Only this time, we're not in Scandinavia, or South Florida or on Mystic River. We're in a Nairobi beset with political violence, hotel bombings and ethnic warfare.
You have probably never tasted it, but you have likely heard of it: the cronut.
It rolled out in May at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. Since then, it has taken off. A black market has sprung up, with scalpers selling them for up to $100 a pop. Social and traditional media have lit up with coverage, and imitators around the world are trying to tap in on the success.
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed their version of the Farm Bill without the food stamp provision that's been a part of the bill for decades. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about why the two have been linked in the first place.
Unidentified attackers ambushed and killed seven United Nations peacekeepers in Sudan's southern Darfur region, the single-deadliest attack on the international force during its five years of deployment there.
The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, or UNAMID, force engaged in an "extended firefight" with the assailants near Khor Abeche in south Darfur, Reuters said, quoting the peacekeeping force.
The Associated Press reports quotes U.N. forces spokesman Chris Cycmanick as saying the fight involved gunfire and possibly rocket-propelled grenades.