Amnesty International offered new evidence today of what it said was the Syrian regime's brutal crackdown on protesters. The human rights organization said the mutilated body of 18-year-old Zainab al-Hosni, the first woman known to have died in custody during Syria's recent unrest, was discovered by her family in "horrific circumstances."
That anyone with bedbugs in their home would resort to desperate measures to get rid of them comes as no surprise. The insects are some of the most aggravating and entrenched of any bug that bites or buzzes around us. But a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the DIY approach to bedbug control is a pretty risky enterprise.
Mexican journalists march in a protest against violence directed against the media on Sept. 11, in Mexico City. Drug cartels, which have been responsible for many of the deaths, are now intimidating social media sites.
The Mexican drug cartels silenced the mainstream media by threatening and killing journalists. Now they seem to be extending the practice to social media.
Many Mexicans have had to rely on social media to find out what's going on in their cities after newspapers, TV and radio stations stopped reporting on drug-related violence.
But last week, the mangled bodies of a young man and woman were hung from a highway bridge in Nuevo Laredo along with a sign that read: "This is what happens to people who post funny things on the internet. Pay attention."
Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 5:01 pm
Debate over the constitutionality and morality of the death penalty has long been an under-the-radar skirmish that occasionally emerges as part of a larger national conversation.
These past few weeks it has emerged in a big way.
It was first roused at a GOP presidential debate during which the record number of state-sponsored executions overseen by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (234 at the time; 235 as of this writing) was a surprisingly enthusiastic applause line for the candidate.
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley found that by looking at brain activity, they could get a fairly good picture of a human's visual experiences. The study is published in the current issue of Current Biology.
Ten years ago today, as a horrified America struggled to respond to the September 11 attacks, 13 coal miners died in multiple explosions at the Jim Walter Resources coal mine in Brookwood, Alabama.
The overwhelming and justifiable attention to the thousands of deaths in New York, The Pentagon and Pennsylvania 12 days before kept the Jim Walter mine disaster in the shadows. It was the nation's worst mine disaster in nearly two decades and it involved a methane gas explosion, a familiar danger underground.
Libyans flee on foot along the main road heading west, away from Sirte, on Tuesday. Sirte, cut off from the rest of the country, is the last major town controlled by forces loyal to toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Credit Gaia Anderson / AP
Revolutionary fighters drive up the western road entering Sirte on Thursday. The rebels are playing a waiting game; they are set up outside the city but are not yet trying to advance.
In Libya, civilians are fleeing from Sirte, the last major town that is still in the hands of forces loyal to ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Many say they were cut off from the rest of the country, without electricity and with dwindling food supplies. Some say they knew nothing of the rebel advances in the past month, including the capture of the capital, Tripoli.
They didn't know that they would be emerging into a new country.
A resident speaks to a Federal Emergency Management Agency agent atop his destroyed house in the devastated town of Hueytown, Ala., on May 1. FEMA will run out of money to help disaster victims by early next week unless Congress acts.
Congress is at odds over a measure needed to keep the government operating past the end of the month.
While lawmakers have a week to work out their differences before the government faces another partial shutdown, one agency faces a much earlier deadline.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will run out of money early next week, putting a halt to projects in communities around the country still struggling to recover from this year's spate of hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires.
Decrying the state of American education, President Obama announced Friday that his administration is allowing states to be exempt from basic elements of the No Child Left Behind law if they meet certain conditions.
States can now apply for waivers so that they won't face federal sanctions under the sweeping Bush-era legislation.
A fundamental rule of nature is that nothing travels faster than the speed of light. Now, physicists working in Europe say they may have discovered a sub-atomic particle that breaks that speed limit. But that extraordinary claim is being greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism.
We all know too much sodium in our diet can be bad for our health. It can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and more. The U.S. dietary guidelines made specific recommendations last year for African Americans to reduce their intake. But why is it so hard to cut back?
Speaker John Boehner didn't provide much reason Friday to hope that efforts to avert a federal government shutdown next week wouldn't go to the 11th hour like all congressional spending negotiations since last November's election.
Asked at a brief availability with journalists in the House Press Gallery if he had talked with Sen. Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who sets the Senate's agenda, Boehner said:
"I had a conversation with the Senate majority leader before I came down. There wasn't much progress made."
Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 2:11 pm
The perennial presidential candidate: Like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps going and going. Like Old Man River, he keeps on rolling along. And he is held up as a pure example from the high school civics class in which we were taught that in America anyone can run for president.
He is also, like the majority of people who seek office, an also-ran.
NASA has updated its news on the pending descent of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, and here's the headline: the satellite's re-entry has been pushed back. The UARS is now expected to plunge towards Earth late today or early Saturday, EDT.
The main drag on the satellite's speed - solar activity - is no longer the main reason why the spacecraft is slowing down. Its path, speed and spin are now so unpredictable that scientists say they cannot estimate when it will fall.
Lead singer of the fake rock band Spinal Tap, David St. Hubbins, famously uttered these words in the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap: "Dozens of people spontaneously combust every year. It's just not widely reported."
And so an obscure phenomenon exploded into pop culture's collective consciousness.
Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 11:48 am
The president of the Palestinian Authority handed United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon an application that asks the world body to recognize Palestine as a member state. The dramatic move caps months of diplomatic wrangling in which the United States and Israel tried to dissuade Mahmoud Abbas from reaching this point.
Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson made it official on Twitter, saying:
President Abbas just handed the Palestinian application to the Secretary-General.
Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 9:29 am
In two reports released today, regulators say the federal mortagage-financing giant Fannie Mae knew as early as 2006 that lawyers were illegally signing foreclosure documents, but it failed to stop the practice.
I'll never forget the taste of a particular glass of milk offered to me at my friend's house when we were in the fourth grade: Sour grass. After I tried it, my friend's hippie mom proudly informed me it was goat's milk. Gross, I thought.
I had a pretty typical East Coast 1980s childhood diet of sugary cereals and processed dinners, and so my palate was completely unprepared for the funky flavor of goat.
But now, some 30 years later, I've often pulled goat cheese out of the fridge to bolster a quick dinner or to serve unexpected visitors.
True North Health Center in Falmouth, Maine, accepts "time dollars," in addition to real dollars. Patients perform services in the community, like raking leaves, to earn the currency, and they can spend it for care at True North.
Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 7:53 am
The huge meal that white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer ordered and then left untouched before his execution Wednesday has convinced Texas officials to end the state's traditional practice of giving death row inmates a "last meal" of their choice.
There are "vehement denials and also ... a good degree of indignation" from Pakistan today, Los Angeles Times correspondent Alex Rodriguez tells NPR from Islamabad. Officials there are responding to comments from the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff — who said Thursday that "extremist organizations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan are attacking Afghan troops and civilians as well as U.S. soldiers."
Read and listen to the reaction from some in the audience at last night's Republican presidential debate after a video question from Stephen Hill, a gay soldier who Fox News said is serving in Iraq. The question was directed to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and here is Fox News' transcript:
Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 7:28 am
Accepting the premise that the race for the Republican presidential nomination has come down to a two-man contest between the frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the question is which of those two candidates helped himself the most in Thursday evening's debate in Orlando, Fla.?
Austin Bruns stands on land owned by a contractor for Monsanto, an agriculture corporation. Bruns helps with seed corn production there, and also rents 150 acres elsewhere.
Credit Clay Masters for NPR
Austin Bruns, 25, watches as harvesters bring in corn crops on fields near his hometown of Beaver Crossing, Neb. Bruns currently rents land and would prefer to own, but banks aren't lending to high-risk new farmers.
In farm country, business is still booming. Commodity prices remain high, and investors are funneling millions of dollars into buying farmland, making it quite enticing for the would-be farmer who wants to leave the rat race.
But surprisingly, these factors make it that much harder for the next generation of farmers to secure the financing they need to get on the tractor.
President Obama on Thursday visited the Brent Spence Bridge, which has been called "functionally obsolete." The president pressed Congress to pass his jobs act, arguing that if the country doesn't invest in restoring the bridge and other infrastructure now, it will pay for it later.
U.S Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (left) speaks to French Finance Minister Francois Baroin (right) during talks in Marseille earlier this month. The U.S. is increasingly concerned that the European debt crisis will have an impact on the U.S. economy.
With all the worry over the ailing U.S. economy, Europe's debt crisis may have seemed a long way off.
But not anymore. The faint tinkle of alarm bells a few months ago are now clanging loudly. What began as a crisis in smaller countries, like Greece, Portugal and Ireland, is now creating serious issues in much larger economies like Italy, France and Germany.