We'll begin NPR's business news starts with strong winds in Spain.
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GREENE: Spain has a pretty good location in the south of Europe. They are accustomed to good weather, plenty of sunshine, clear skies and wind - which the country is putting to good use. Spain has become a leader in renewable energy.
In fact, the countries wind farms have broken a new record, as Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.
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All right. And our last word in business today is snakebite.
Over the next couple of weeks skies in many parts of Asia will be lit up with fireworks to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The Year of the Dragon is ending and Sunday marks the start of, yes, the Year of the Snake.
It began as an innocent Sunday outing to see the movie The Life of Pi. By the time the night was over, it had become a grisly gang rape that shocked the world.
Five men went on trial this week, charged with the rape and killing of a 23-year-old woman who died of the injuries she suffered when she was attacked on a bus as it moved through the streets of Delhi — an assault that ignited public outrage over the violence against women in the Indian capital.
The Great Recession touched a vast majority of Americans personally, a new study from Rutgers' Heldrich Center finds.
The most stunning number in the study: "Some 73 percent [of Americans] either lost a job themselves, or had a member of their household, a close relative, or a friend lose a job at some point in the past four years."
The report is pretty depressing. A few more findings:
Fried chicken washed down with sweet tea — it's a classic Southern lunch. That fat/sweet nexus is also a recipe for a stroke, according to a recent study.
Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, have been trying to nail down how diet relates to stroke, particularly in the "Stroke Belt" — the Southeastern states that have the dubious distinction of hosting the nation's highest stroke rates.
We all know news can sometimes be a downer. Which is why this week we're featuring a listener letter that doesn't quite fall in the 'fan mail' category. It's from Danielle, a young Curious Listener who was pretty bummed out by some news reports that introduced her to NPR.
We appreciate hearing all perspectives on our work – even if they make us wince a little. Luckily, with over two dozen programs, NPR's got something to pique everyone's interest in one way or another. And that goes for listeners of all ages – and moods!
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 2:50 pm
Before they end up filleted and sautéed on your dinner plate, salmon lead some pretty extraordinary, globe-trotting lives.
After hatching in a freshwater stream, young salmon make a break for the ocean, where they hang out for years, covering thousands of miles before deciding its time to settle down and lay eggs in their natal stream.
So how do these fish find their way back to their home river?
Iran's government on Thursday made clear it has no interest in direct talks until the U.S. eases sanctions that have been squeezing Iran's economy. But the Obama administration isn't budging and says the ball is in the Iranians' court.
The suspicion that Iran wants to make a nuclear weapon is the rationale for the sanctions as well as for veiled threats of U.S. or Israeli military action if those sanctions fail.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified before a Senate committee Thursday about the September attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Panetta was questioned about whether the U.S. response was fast enough and about why the U.S. military had not been better prepared for the possibility of an attack.
There was another U.S. drone strike in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday. At least three people were killed when missiles struck a compound in North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan. The strike comes as Washington debates the use of drones and not long after Ambassador Sherry Rehman said the use of drones was a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and international law. Throughout Pakistan, popular reaction to the drone strikes continues to be vociferously negative. Robert Siegel talks to Jackie Northam.
In a tiny village in Brittany, France, the mayor is also the local Catholic priest. As a mayor, Elie Geffray will soon be officiating over same-sex unions even though the Catholic Church opposes gay marriage and adoption. He notes that France is a secular democracy and that allows Muslims, Catholics, Protestants and atheists to live together. And says he believes the Catholic Church made a mistake by getting involved in the gay marriage debate.
There's a sequence early in the laughable drama The Playroom that epitomizes everything wrong with it: With her parents out of the house, 16-year-old Maggie Cantwell (Olivia Harris), the eldest of four latchkey kids, sneaks into the garage with her boyfriend on a determined quest to lose her virginity. While the two fumble around clumsily on the floor, Maggie's youngest brother, Sam (Ian Veteto), sits outside the garage door, trying to sew a merit badge onto his shirt but struggling to thread the needle.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 8:14 pm
In the opening sequence of The Sorcerer and the White Snake, two monks step through a giant gate and find themselves in a new world — one made entirely of computer-generated images. Only Fahai (Jet Li) and his disciple Neng Ren (Zhang Wen) are human.
"Don't believe everything you see," the older man warns.
The new road-trip comedy Identity Thief — about a guy who confronts a woman who's wrecking his credit rating — is such a catalog of missed opportunities, it probably makes sense just to list them.
The setup: Sandy Patterson, who works in a Denver financial firm (and is not supposed to be mentally challenged), blithely hands over his Social Security number to a stranger on the phone who says his accounts have been compromised, at which point his accounts get compromised. No tricks, no subterfuge, no laughs — he's just stupid.
It took years for our fictions to consider the Holocaust narrative. And for an even longer time, a stunned silence hovered over the fate of "Hitler's children" — ordinary Germans during and after World War II. That embargo, too, is lifting, with a significant trickle of novels, movies and television dramas that imagine what it felt like to be the inheritors of the worst that humans can do to other humans.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 5:40 pm
There's no separating Charlie Sheen from Charles Swan, the titular representation of the male id at its most self-obsessed in Roman Coppola's uneven A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. But for better and decidedly worse, that's the point.
It's the drug's fault, man. That's the defense offered by the perpetrator brought to trial in Side Effects, a stylish, vaguely Hitchcockian dud. But what excuse does this fatally silly movie have?
The film, reportedly the final big-screen effort for prolific director Steven Soderbergh, begins in a New York apartment where something bad has happened. Blood on the floor, smeared and tracked by footprints, suggests murder, suicide or extreme clumsiness.