World

The Salt
6:00 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Why Humans Took Up Farming: They Like To Own Stuff

Prehistoric "pantries": This illustration is based on archaeological findings in Jordan of structures built to store extra grain some 11,000-12,000 years ago.
Illustration by E. Carlson Courtesy of Dr. Ian Kuijt/University of Notre Dame

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 11:06 am

For decades, scientists have believed our ancestors took up farming some 12,000 years ago because it was a more efficient way of getting food. But a growing body of research suggests that wasn't the case at all.

"We know that the first farmers were shorter, they were more prone to disease than the hunter-gatherers," says Samuel Bowles, the director of the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, describing recent archaeological research.

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The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Poll: Americans Split Over Benghazi Issue

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 7:17 pm

Americans appear to be split over the Obama administration's handling of the aftermath from the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

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Parallels
5:41 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

A Pricey In-Flight Bed Gives Netanyahu Political Nightmare

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly Cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem on Monday. He's facing criticism for spending $127,000 of public money to outfit an El Al jet with a double bed plus a wall around it so he and his wife could rest well (and privately) on a flight to London last month.
Uriel Sinai AP

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 10:37 am

First it was ice cream, now a good night's sleep.

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Parallels
5:15 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

As Stigma Eases, Single Motherhood In Mexico Is On The Rise

Maria Carlotta Santa Maria is a single mother in Mexico and is the sole wage earner in her household. Women like her are becoming more common there, and the stigma once associated with having children out of wedlock is fading.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 7:25 pm

On her daily route delivering laundry in her working-class neighborhood in southern Mexico City, Maria Carlotta Santa Maria, or Mari, as she is known, seems to know everyone: the mailman, the woman on the corner selling salty nuts, and her favorite greetings are for the guys at the corner gas station.

Mari is the kind of person that can make this inhospitable and overwhelming megacity seem almost small and friendly. But as a single mother, she says raising her 10-year-old daughter Jimena alone hasn't been easy.

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Card-Carrying Cajuns? Louisiana Lawmakers Weigh ID Change

Louisiana drivers would be able to add the message "I'm a Cajun" on their licenses, under a bill making its way through the statehouse. Here, shrimp fisherman Merlin Boudreaux holds up part of his catch in Morgan City, St. Mary Parish, La.
Sean Gardner Getty Images

A bill making its way through the Louisiana Legislature would let Cajun citizens celebrate their ancestry by customizing their driver's license, adding the phrase "I'm a Cajun" below their photograph.

It would cost $5 to add the message; the money would go toward "scholarships distributed by the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, a program promoting French language and culture in the state," reports NOLA.com.

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The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Western Retailers To Fund Upgrades At Bangladesh Factories

Relatives on Sunday attempt to identify the bodies of loved ones following from the collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 11:37 pm

Four retailers who represent the largest purchasers of clothes produced in Bangladesh announced Monday that they have will help finance safety upgrades at apparel factories in the South Asia country after the collapse of a garment complex killed more than 1,000 workers.

The news comes as the death toll in the April 24 collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza near Dhaka rose to at least 1,127, according to officials.

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The Salt
4:32 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Tamale Spaceship

Object larger than it appears (Ian has giant hands).
NPR

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 7:21 pm

Chicago's Tamale Spaceship food truck happened to land near our office this Sandwich Monday. We considered it our duty as hungry earthlings to eat as many tamales as it takes to ensure we're never called up for NASA's astronaut program.

The tamale heroes who run Tamale Spaceship wear Mexican wrestling masks. They do this to intimidate you into spending $4 on a single tamale and to protect themselves from flying tamale debris.

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Business
4:24 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Fashion Retailers Agree To Safety Plan After Factory Collapse

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:42 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's been three weeks since a factory collapsed in Bangladesh's garment sector, killing more than 1,000 people. Today, several major retailers that buy clothing made in the country signed onto an ambitious safety plan meant to prevent future tragedies. The agreement is being applauded by worker advocates around the world.

To tell us what's in it, we're joined by NPR's Jim Zarroli. And Jim, give us the details. What does the agreement say, and what does it actually commit retailers to do?

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Parallels
4:06 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

After The Quake In China: A Survivor's Story

Zhang Ming lost her 5-year-old daughter, her parents and her home in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. She now operates a stall selling food and drinks, and she and her husband have another daughter. But life is difficult. "We are facing the problem of how to survive, so we don't have time to think of anything else. If you have too much free time, you think about things too much."
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 6:25 pm

Zhang Ming lost her 5-year-old daughter, her parents and her home in the powerful earthquake that hit Sichuan province five years ago. She now operates a stall selling soft drinks, homemade tofu, popsicles and souvenirs. She and her husband had another child, a daughter who is now 4.

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Book Reviews
3:18 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Camus' 'Chronicles': A History Of The Past, A Guide For The Future

Keystone Getty Images

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Albert Camus, the great novelist of existentialism. It's a movement that many Americans think of as quintessentially Parisian, born of cafe-table philosophizing and fueled by packs of Gauloises. But Camus wasn't a native of metropolitan France. He was born and raised in Algeria into a pied-noir family ("black foot," the phrase used to describe descendants of French settlers), grew up in working-class Algiers, and pined for north Africa long after he moved to the French capital in 1942.

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All Tech Considered
3:14 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Facebook Users Question $20 Million Settlement Over Ads

Dado Ruvic Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:42 pm

A San Francisco judge will decide this month whether to approve a settlement in a class-action lawsuit that could affect more than 70 million Facebook users. The $20 million deal would mark the end of a years-long battle over the social network's "Sponsored Stories" advertising.

But Facebook users' images could still appear in ads if they don't change their settings. And many users say the deal before the judge doesn't go far enough to protect their privacy.

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The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

North Korea Replaces Hard-Line Defense Chief

Demoted Defense Chief Kim Kyok Sik (right) with the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in a 2007 file photo released by Korean Central News Agency.
AP

North Korea's hard-line army general, who is believed to have been responsible for attacks on South Korea in 2010 that killed 50 people, has been replaced by a relative unknown.

The move has analysts reading the tea leaves. The consensus is that the reshuffle at the top of the People's Armed Forces is part of a larger effort by leader Kim Jong Un to consolidate power over the military.

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Parallels
3:05 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Vietnam's Appetite For Rhino Horn Drives Poaching In Africa

A Vietnamese rhino horn user displays her horn, which was a gift from her well-to-do sister. Last year, rhino horn sold for up to $1,400 an ounce in Vietnam, about the price of gold these days.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:42 pm

Africa is facing a growing epidemic: the slaughter of rhinos.

So far this year, South Africa has lost more than 290 rhinos — an average of at least two a day. That puts the country on track to set yet another record after poachers killed 668 rhinos in 2012.

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Parallels
3:05 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Five Years After A Quake, Chinese Cite Shoddy Reconstruction

The wife of Li Yiqian, Yang Liming, sits in their house, which is plastered with pictures of China's leaders, an attempt to help prevent local authorities from demolishing it. Her husband has been sentenced to three years in prison for organizing a crowd to create a disturbance; she believes it's for his work in helping dispossessed villagers petition.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:42 pm

Five years after the massive Wenchuan quake in China's Sichuan province left about 90,000 dead and missing, allegations are surfacing that corruption and official wrongdoing have plagued the five-year-long quake reconstruction effort.

The official press is full of praise for how "all Chinese have a reason to be proud of what the concerted efforts of the entire nation achieved in creating a new life for the survivors."

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Parallels
3:04 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Welcome to 'Parallels,' NPR's International News Blog

NASA

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 10:39 am

Here's the paradox with international news.

In our wired and rapidly shrinking world, there is no distant war, no isolated economic crisis and no social trend that observes national borders.

When a building collapses in Bangladesh, photos of the dead and grieving appear instantly. When a battle takes place in Syria, YouTube videos surface in real time. You can even get tweets from North Korea.

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Mountain Stage
2:56 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Robben Ford On Mountain Stage

Robben Ford.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 4:10 pm

Robben Ford makes his third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Host Larry Groce is effusive in his praise: "If you see a list of the greatest guitar players of the last 50 years that doesn't include Robben Ford on it," he says, "be suspicious."

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World
2:33 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Drawing Security Lessons From Benghazi Mission Attack

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

The disclosure White House emails is the latest twist in the controversy of how the Obama administration handled the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi last September. Much of the debate here in Washington is over what happened afterwards and the roles of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

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Business
2:21 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Bangladesh Reveals Uphill Battle For Fair Trade Clothes

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 3:24 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. More than two weeks after a building collapse in Bangladesh, the number of bodies recovered stands at over 1,100. The building housed four factories that manufactured clothing. Bangladesh is the world's second-largest clothing exporter, in part because of a minimum wage of $37 a month, and in part because already lax fire and safety regulations were rarely enforced.

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Shots - Health News
2:06 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Middle East Virus Spreads Between Hospitalized Patients

The new coronavirus has a crown of tentacles on its surface when viewed under the microscope.
NIAID/RML

It's been eight months since a Saudi Arabian doctor described a previously unknown virus related to SARS. And for most of that time only germ geeks paid much attention.

But in the past few days the new virus — which some would like to call MERS-CoV, for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus — has been making up for lost time.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:03 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale: Tiny Desk Concert

Buddy Miller and Jimmy Lauderdale perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2013.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:32 pm

There's something endearing, old-timey and almost vaudevillian about Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale — even the way they bill themselves as "Buddy and Jim." Both veteran musicians are in love with country music in all its many forms and influences; their music incorporates the blues and bluegrass, rock 'n' roll and a good deal of craft.

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