And after years of economic stagnation, Japan is experiencing growing confidence. And voters in Japan handed a big victory yesterday to the ruling party in parliamentary elections. The election gives Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ambitious economic agenda known as Abenomics quite a boost. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
Pope Francis arrives Monday evening in Rio de Janeiro for a weeklong visit celebrating World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics have made the pilgrimage to see the Argentine-born pontiff, and he is expected to receive a rapturous welcome.
Still, Pope Francis's visit comes at a delicate time for the church in Brazil. Catholicism — the nation's main religion — is facing a huge challenge from evangelicals.
Not so long ago, most people thought that the only good microbe was a dead microbe.
But then scientists started to realize that even though some bugs can make us sick and even kill us, most don't.
In fact, in the past decade attitudes about the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes living all over our bodies has almost completely turned around. Now scientists say that not only are those microbes often not harmful, we can't live without them.
If not for his earlobes, Detective Mollel would cut a classic figure of the crime fiction genre: moody, obsessive and a widower estranged from his son. But Mollel is a Kenyan from the Maasai tribe and the flesh of his earlobes is long and looped, stretched since childhood to hang below his jawline.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is fighting for her bill to curb sexual assaults in the military. Her measure would give independent military prosecutors, rather than commanders, the power to decide which cases should be tried in military court.
Military leaders fiercely oppose moving that authority outside the chain of command, arguing that commanders are responsible for the health and welfare of their soldiers. Removing their authority would undermine their ability to lead, they say.
In the 1980's, few bands bridged the gap between hardcore punk and what would become alternative rock quite like Minnesota's Hüsker Dü.
The personalities in the trio, however, were not as harmonious, and their partnership dissolved before the decade's end. Guitarist Bob Mould went on to a successful recording career. Bassist Greg Norton dropped out of music and became a chef. And that leaves ... drummer Grant Hart.
As NPR reported in May, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple by 2050. But studies published in the last two weeks based in European countries show signs of declining dementia.
Meg Lukens Noonan's adventure began with a simple curiosity. She happened across a website belonging to a renowned, fourth-generation tailor, John H. Cutler, and noticed a photograph of a $50,000 coat.
It looked "like any old blue overcoat that you might find in Macy's," she tells NPR's Jacki Lyden. "I didn't recognize it as being special just by looking at it."
The former studio and home of artist Donald Judd is in what used to be called the Cast Iron District of Manhattan. He bought the five-story building in 1968, long before the Gucci store and Ivanka Trump Boutique moved into the neighborhood. When Judd died in 1994, the house stayed in the family, with much of his stuff exactly where he left it. Now, after a three-year renovation, the general public can tour the building and see firsthand how Judd thought art and architecture could work together.
Wednesday, Romanian officials said a pile of ashes had been discovered in the home of an art thief's mother. They are believed to be all that remains of seven masterpieces by Picasso, Matisse and others, stolen from a Rotterdam gallery last fall. Host Jacki Lyden talks with Robert Wittman, former director of the FBI Art Crimes Unit, about this theft and the profitability of art heists in the Internet age.
The City of Light is, in fact, lighting up for an evening showdown on the final day of the Tour de France. In a break with tradition, the 21-stage cycling race is starting later than usual from Versailles and ending 83 miles later in Paris with 10 laps of a circuit up and down the Champs-Elysees.
Yet the winners of the 100th Tour de France were pretty much set on Saturday at the end of the 20th stage. For the second year in a row, a Brit is taking the coveted yellow jersey grand prize.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition has won a decisive election victory, extending its control to the upper house of parliament and setting the stage for the country's first stable government in years.
Based on exit polls, national broadcaster NHK predicts that Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, New Komeito, will take 71 seats, giving them a total of 130 seats, eight more than needed for a majority in the chamber.
Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe has been sworn in as the country's seventh monarch, succeeding his father, Albert II, who abdicated on Sunday after a 20-year reign.
Albert, 79, resigned the throne on Sunday, citing ill health. He officially signed away his rights to the largely ceremonial post in the presence of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, who holds the real political party in Belgium, a 183-year-old constitutional monarchy.