Hey, Mississippi can righteously proud of the part it played as the cradle of America's quintessential music, the blues. American music by way of Africa. One place in particular, Mali, has long laid claim to giving birth to the blues.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: Here the legendary Ali Farka Toure.
Mali's musical tradition was threatened this past year when Islamist militants took over the vast deserts of Northern Mali and immediately banned music - an incredibly painful experience for Malians.
NPR's business news starts with begins with a corruption case in India.
India has dispatched investigators to Italy to examine allegations of kickbacks, kickbacks involving a $700 million defense deal. The case involves the sale of a dozen helicopters to India from one of Italy's largest industrial groups.
From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy has more on a case that's rattling the Indian government.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer. In Italy, elections begin this coming Sunday and voters appear disoriented by a motley array of parties. Even political analysts are finding it difficult to explain how the disgraced former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has managed to resurrect himself.
NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports that he's pulled his rightist coalition into second place, just behind the center-left Democratic Party.
Cyberattacks on dozens of American companies have been traced to an area on the outskirts of Shanghai that houses a Chinese military unit, according to a report out Tuesday by Mandiant, a U.S. cybersecurity company.
The 60-page document, first reported by The New York Times, says the group behind the attacks — nicknamed "Comment Crew" — is the most prolific the company has ever tracked and has been hacking U.S. companies since at least 2006.
Mandiant says the hackers' real identity is Unit 61398 of China's People's Liberation Army, or PLA.
There's been a debate raging in academic circles for years. Does having children really make one happier? Most parents say their kids absolutely make them happy, but some researchers have come to question that.
NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam sat down with MORNING EDITION's Steve Inskeep to take on this question.
Kenyan graffiti artists received permission from the Rift Valley Railway to spray-paint a 10-car commuter train with peace messages and icons. It may be the first train in Africa with officially authorized graffiti.
The train will travel through the massive Nairobi slum of Kibera, one of the largest in Africa, where young gangs torched, looted and killed in the spasms of violence that followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election.
Reginald Hudlin produced one of this year's most talked-about films, Django Unchained. He is also one of just a handful of African-Americans among nearly 6,000 voting members of the Academy Awards, the group that decides who gets an Oscar.
Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 8:49 am
Last week we told you about "Prisoner X," the mysterious Israeli-Australian citizen who worked for Israel's spy agency Mossad. Australian media broke the story of how the man identified as Ben Zygier languished for months in an Israeli prison until he was found dead of an apparent suicide. Now we have new details on the case.
Melissa Block speaks with Dr. Story Landis, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about the Brain Activity Map project written about in today's New York Times. If it goes forward, the project would seek to find treatments for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, autism, psychiatric disorders and more.
President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return to Venezuela on Monday after more than two months of cancer treatment in Cuba. He immediately was taken to a military hospital and has not been seen publicly. Venezuela has been in a leadership vacuum in his absence. Melissa Block speaks with NPR's Juan Forero for the latest on Chavez' ability to rule, and how Venezuelans are reacting.
Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:03 pm
Scores of "baby boxes," where mothers can anonymously and safely "post" newborns they cannot care for, have appeared in houses and hospitals across Europe in the past decade. The boxes are extremely controversial. Advocates say they save babies' lives, while the U.N. is alarmed at their rising numbers.
If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.
The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.
Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.
Regulators in Mexico are struggling to rein in what they say are grave and repeat monopolistic practices by the richest man in the world. Carlos Slim Helu, the owner of Mexico's telephone company, just received another multimillion-dollar fine from the country's fledgling anti-corruption regulatory agency. Slim has successfully appealed or fought previous fines. But lawmakers say they are determined to make him play fairly and by the rules.
A new surge of Syrian refugees is swamping humanitarian aid agencies in southern Turkey, where official refugee camps are full.
But the newcomers may be just the tip of the iceberg. In central Syria, civilians under attack by combat jets, tanks and artillery have fled towns and villages north of the city of Hama, and thousands are on the move.
"What they do now, they burn everything ahead of them. They bomb this area with everything they've got," says Hossan Hamadah, a Syrian-American from Texas.
Quvenzhane Wallis was just 5 years old when she auditioned for a role in the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild, and 6 when she shot the movie. Now, at age 9, she is the youngest ever to receive a best actress Oscar nomination.
In the film, Quvenzhane plays a wild child named Hushpuppy, who lives with her sick father in a ramshackle, isolated community called the Bathtub, on the fringes of the Louisiana coast.
An update now to a story we reported last week, a story about a dramatic change in the lives of whiskey drinkers. Well, some of them at least - the ones who drink Maker's Mark bourbon, because Maker's Mark cut its alcohol content, watered it down from 90-proof to just 84. They said it was because they had to meet bigger demand.
JERRY RODGERS: People just went bananas.
BLOCK: This is Jerry Rodgers, who knows his Maker's.
The basketball world lost both a huge fan and one of its most innovative team owners today. Jerry Buss turned the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA's glamour franchise and won 10 championships. Buss died early this morning at the age of 80. NPR's Ted Robbins has this remembrance.
TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Jerry Buss once said: I don't just want winners, I want champions. And, boy, did he get them. Yet when Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he remembered feeling humbled back in 1979 when he bought the Lakers.
Three years of spiraling economic crisis in Greece have devastated every sector of the economy. The Greek media are among the hardest hit. Many newspapers and TV outlets have closed or are on the verge, and some 4,000 journalists have lost their jobs.
Many people believe the country's news media have failed to cover the crisis — and lost credibility along the way. And many Greek journalists acknowledge that a massive conflict of interest sooner or later had to explode.