With its white sand beaches and tropical weather, for visitors, Puerto Rico is close to paradise. But for those who live there, the past decade has been difficult. For most of that time, Puerto Rico has been in a recession.
To see Puerto Rico's economy up close, a good place to start is Rio Piedras. It's a former suburb, now a bustling neighborhood in Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan.
Kenya's Patrick Makau ran the Berlin Marathon on Sunday in a new world record time — 2 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds. He shaved 21 seconds off the previous record, set by Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie on the same course in 2008.
Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 3:00 am
Gen. Abdul Raziq is the acting police chief of Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Just 33 years old, he's a former warlord on whom the United States relied during its 2010 "surge" operation. But Raziq is also accused of brutal abuses of power, even massacring his tribal rivals, according to a new article in The Atlantic.
And, sure enough, as the new week begins lawmakers in Washington are still at odds over how to put some more money into the coffers of the stretched-thin Federal Emergency Management Agency. And if the dispute isn't settled by the end of the week, part of the federal government might be forced to shut down.
An Afghan employed by the U.S. government killed one American and wounded another in an attack on a CIA office in Kabul, officials said Monday.
Sunday's shooting is the latest in a growing number of attacks this year by Afghans working for international forces. Some assailants have turned out to be Taliban sleeper agents, while others have been motivated by private grievances.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been generating international attention recently with sharp criticism of three countries that have had close relations with his country: Israel, Syria and the United States.
In an interview with Morning Edition's David Greene, Erdogan said the Syrians have a right to determine their future. Instead of bringing about reforms, President Bashar Assad has been "turning guns toward his own people."
Sakina sits with her 18-month-old son, Shafiq, at a women's shelter in Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, last October. Sakina spent seven months in prison for leaving a forced marriage. The Afghan government recently backed down from a plan to take control of women's shelters, and women's groups are hailing it as a victory.
In Afghanistan, women's groups are claiming a rare victory.
Last winter, the government was planning to bring battered women's shelters under government control.
Women's rights advocates sprang into action, complaining that the new rules would turn shelters into virtual prisons for women who had run away from home because of abuse. But after a flurry of media attention, the Afghan government agreed to re-examine the issue. And this month, President Hamid Karzai's Cabinet quietly approved a new draft that has support from women's groups.
Egyptian demonstrators protest against the emergency law in front of the Interior Ministry in Cairo on Friday. The country's military rulers announced last week that the Hosni Mubarak-era measure would remain in effect until at least next June.
Egypt's military rulers announced that a decades-old emergency law curtailing civil rights will continue until at least next June.
Ending the controversial law was a key demand of Egyptian protesters who forced former President Hosni Mubarak from power in February. But the military, which planned to lift the emergency law before parliamentary elections scheduled in November, said last week it had no choice but to employ the draconian measure after a mob attack on the Israeli Embassy earlier this month.
One year ago, German cybersecurity expert Ralph Langner announced that he had found a computer worm designed to sabotage a nuclear facility in Iran. It's called Stuxnet, and it was the most sophisticated worm Langner had ever seen.
In the year since, Stuxnet has been analyzed as a cyber-superweapon, one so dangerous it might even harm those who created it.
The fragile and troubled relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan is on a deep, downward spiral. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that Pakistan's intelligence agency had a role in several high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including the attack earlier this month on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
Ask a child if they like sweets and the answer is almost universally a resounding "Yes!" It's no surprise to most parents that kids love candy, cookies, sweetened drinks, and some kids have even been known to add sugar to a bowl of Frosted Flakes. But don't blame the kids, say researchers, it's biology.
When you get a headache or suffer joint pain, perhaps ibuprofen works to relieve your pain. Or maybe you take acetaminophen. Or aspirin. Researchers now confirm what many pain specialists and patients already knew: Pain relief differs from person to person.
A couple months ago, Jake Featheringill and his wife got robbed.
It wasn't serious. No one was home at the time, and no one got hurt. But for Featheringill, it was just the latest in a string of bad luck.
"We made a decision," he says. "We decided to pick up and move in about three days. Packed all our stuff up in storage. Drove 24 straight hours on I-29, and made it to Williston with no place to live."
That's Williston, ND. Population — until just a few years ago — 12,000. Jake was born there, but moved away when he was a kid. He hadn't been back since.
Take the press kit NASA prepared for the GRAIL mission. GRAIL consists of two nearly identical spacecraft that are on their way to the moon. Once there, they will make a precise map of the moon's gravitational field. Such a map will help scientists refine their theories about how the moon formed and what the interior is made of.
Six months ago, Michel Martelly was "Sweet Mickey" — a pop star known for his bald head and big parties. Now, he's the president of Haiti. He spent the last week in New York, mingling with world leaders and wooing new investors. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with President Martelly about his new job, and where billions of relief dollars have gone in the earthquake-stricken nation.
The AP is reporting that Diana Nyad, the 62-year-old endurance swimmer, has given up her attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. The cause? Painful man o' war stings, which medics warned her could be life-threatening. CNN says:
Nyad was pulled out of the water shortly after 11 a.m. following injuries sustained Saturday evening and strong cross-currents that were pushing her off course, her team Captain Mark Sollinger said. The 62-year-old swam more than 67 nautical miles — about two-thirds of the distance.
Saudi King Abdullah said Sunday women in his country will be allowed to vote for the first time ever in nationwide elections scheduled four years from now.
The king in a televised speech to his advisory council said women will be able to run as candidates and cast ballots in the next municipal elections scheduled for 2015. He also pledged to appoint women to his advisory council.
The Palestinian push for statehood recognition has sparked fears of new violence in the West Bank. Neither Palestinians nor Israelis appear content with the security provided by their own governments, and "Neighborhood Security Watch" groups have been formed by both groups. While settlers are trained by the Israeli Defense Forces, Palestinians are forming teams to monitor, document and detain settlers they believe will seek out attacks. Sheera Frenkel reports.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry's campaign speeches often note that he's from Paint Creek, Texas, a place in the flat, dusty, west-central part of the state that's so small it's barely on the map. NPR National Political Correspondent Don Gonyea headed there this week, and along the way watched Perry's old high school play a football game.
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, a seasoned dealmaker in the Senate, announced his intention to step down from a key leadership role this week. It's prompted a question going around Washington: Are the best deal-brokers giving up? If so, what does that mean for the future of political compromise? Host Audie Cornish speaks with Rutgers University Political Science Professor Ross Baker, former Republican Utah Sen. Bob Bennett and former Democratic North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan.
Syria's government is quashing protest online as well as in the streets. Host Audie Cornish talks to NPR's Deb Amos in Beirut to expand on what the success of the Syrian Electronic Army means for the momentum of the opposition protests and the state of play inside Syria.
Three years ago this month, chaos ruled in financial markets.
Huge financial companies, such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG were stumbling, and government officials were scrambling to prevent a global financial meltdown. They threw together bailouts and pushed weak companies to merge with stronger ones.
The central bankers, Treasury officials and lawmakers eventually did manage to reassure investors enough to restore order in the financial system. However, the aftershocks of the crisis are still being felt today.
When President Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he held up the example of South Sudan as the right way to join the world body — through a peace process and an independence vote.
"One year ago, when we met here in New York, the prospect of a successful referendum in South Sudan was in doubt," he said, "but the international community overcame old divisions to support the agreement that had been negotiated to give South Sudan self-determination."
As a middle-school student in the '80s, Lee Buono stayed after school one day to remove the brain and spinal cord from a frog. He did such a good job that his science teacher told him he might be a neurosurgeon someday.
That's exactly what Buono did.
Years later, a patient with a tumor came to see Buono. The growth was benign, but interfered with the patient's speech. "He can get some words out," Buono recalls, "but it's almost unintelligible. It's almost like someone's sewing your mouth closed."
You may have already heard of StoryCorps, the American oral history project on NPR. Two people sit down in a studio and talk, telling stories about their lives, and the people at StoryCorps record and archive the conversation.
StoryCorps is honing in on lessons about learning with a new project for the academic year, called the National Teachers Initiative. It'll feature conversations with teachers across the country — teachers talking to each other, students interviewing the teachers who changed their lives, and more.
A group of semi-nomadic Irish known as Irish travellers has been ordered to leave the former scrap yard east of London where they've been living.
The local government has been trying to evict most of the group since it started living on the land 10 years ago, an eviction that has long been delayed due to legal wrangling. But on Monday, a judge will finally rule on the plea of the travellers to remain on land that's been their home for a decade.