Protesters in Kabul, Afghanistan, demonstrate against the results of last September's parliamentary poll, Jan. 23, 2011. A year after the elections were held, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and lawmakers are still fighting over the results, and the Parliament has accomplished very little.
Last weekend marked a milestone for Afghanistan's Parliament that should have been cause for celebration: It's been a year since Afghans braved the threat of insurgent violence to go to the polls to pick a new legislature.
But a dispute over election results has smoldered between President Hamid Karzai and lawmakers ever since. And the resulting gridlock has prevented the new parliament from passing a single notable law, confirming any of the president's ministers, or giving any oversight to the president or his cabinet.
Bird watchers, and other nature lovers, take note:
"Scientists in Norway say they have conclusive genetic evidence that sparrows recently evolved a third species," the BBC reports. "The Italian sparrow, they argue, is a cross between the ubiquitous house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow."
The Swiss bank UBS announced last night that a rogue trader lost more money than it originally announced. UBS said the total loss is $2.3 billion. In a statement, the bank also gave some detail about the alleged actions of Kwaku Adoboli, who was arrested and charged in London on Friday.
Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 11:45 am
President Obama's re-election may all come down to whether voters mainly view the 2012 race seen as a referendum on his presidency or a choice between competing Democratic and Republican prescriptions for how to best address the nation's economic and fiscal challenges.
If it's a referendum, it could well be curtains for his hopes of a second term because the economy is clearly making too many voters unhappy and scared.
On Monday, the president released a plan on how to pay for his $447 billion jobs bill and reduce the nation's deficit. The plan aims to slash $3 trillion from the debt over the next decade, which involves Medicare and Social Security cuts and tax increases for the wealthy. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR's Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving about the plan.
Valerie Jarrett discusses the viability of President Obama's new debt plan, including cuts to entitlement spending and proposed tax increases to Americans who make more than $1 million. She speaks with host Michel Martin.
Saying that "Washington has to live within its means" and that lawmakers must "cut what we can't afford to pay for what really matters," President Obama just introduced what he says is a plan to cut an additional $3 trillion from budget deficits over the next decade.
And he vowed to veto any legislation that puts all the burden of deficit reduction on those who rely on Medicare and other social programs. "It will not happen on my watch," declared Obama, in making the case that the wealthy and corporations must also be asked to pay more in taxes.
(Note at 12:10 p.m. ET: A 10th person has died, according to officials in Washoe County, Nev. We've updated the post to reflect that news.)
As investigators search for clues into the cause of Friday's deadly accident at a Reno air race, in which 10 people were killed and dozens more injured when a plane crashed into a V.I.P. tent, there are reports that some who were there think 74-year-old pilot Jimmy Leeward did his best to prevent an even worse tragedy.
Saying that "I messed up," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced late Sunday evening that after many complaints from its customers about a 60 percent increase in its fees, the company is splitting its services.
Soon, if you just want DVDs-by-mail, you'll be dealing with Qwikster (Hastings says the name "refers to quick delivery).
If you want to stream movies and other content, the company you'll be using will still be called Netflix.
Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 11:37 am
Netflix has figured out that people are very upset about its decision to split streaming video and DVD delivery — a decision that got it in huge hot water earlier this year. Customers who had previously gotten both streaming and DVDs for a single price would now have to pay separately. If you only use one or the other, you could pay less, but if you still wanted both, you'd pay more.
While saying there was no violence involved in the May incident at a New York City hotel that led to his arrest on a sexual assault charge, former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has admitted making a "grave moral mistake" during what he says was a consensual encounter with a maid.
Watching Sunday night's Emmy Awards was a little bit like going to the very bad wedding of people you really love: the happiness you feel for the people involved almost makes up for how otherwise unremarkable the experience is.
A woman walks past an advertisement of the national lottery in Athens. Public outrage over austerity measures is intense, and a new levy on real estate has been dubbed the "monster tax."
Credit Sylvia Poggioli / NPR
Stella Kasdagli and Alexandros Karamalikis live with their 13-month-old daughter, Stefania, in a middle-class neighborhood in Athens. They say Greece's latest emergency tax measure will force them to dip into their savings.
It's a critical period for Greece: It has to convince international lenders that it can slash its budget deficit before getting a vital $11 billion installment of last year's $150 billion bailout deal.
Prime Minister George Papandreou canceled a trip to the U.S. to hold an emergency Cabinet meeting Sunday on finding more cuts to plug this year's budget shortfall. Greece has blamed the shortfall on a deeper-than-expected recession — the unintended effect of a year and a half of draconian austerity measures.
The first vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, came out five years ago. But now it's become a hot political topic, thanks to a Republican presidential debate in which candidate Michelle Bachmann inveighed against "innocent little 12-year-old girls" being "forced to have a government injection."
Behind the political fireworks is a quieter backlash against a public health strategy that's won powerful advocates in the medical and public health community.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this summer has been the second-hottest ever recorded in the United States, helping to push power demand in homes to record levels. As some worry that the growing use of fossil fuels to produce electricity for cooling is unsustainable, one man is urging Americans to live without air conditioning.
Political experts are keeping a close eye on Texas because it will pick up four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives next year, thanks to a soaring Latino population. But civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department are signaling they may have some concerns about the redistricting process in Texas and whether it could put Latino voters at a disadvantage.
European governments seem to be having a hard time deciding whether to come together or drift apart at a time of economic uncertainty.
Years from now, historians will no doubt say this was a crisis waiting to happen. The people who came up with the idea of a eurozone stopped halfway. The participating countries would use a common currency, but they wouldn't have common tax and spending policies — a monetary union but not a fiscal union.
Parents used to think that once their kids were out of elementary school, they were done with vaccines. But the rules are changing.
In California, middle schoolers and high schoolers now have to prove that they're immunized against pertussis, or whooping cough, in order to attend school. It's one of dozens of states that have recently passed laws requiring vaccines for teens and tweens.
In 1948, President Truman endorsed the creation of an Israeli state. Nearly three decades later, before finalizing the Camp David accords, Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president to call for the creation of a Palestinian "homeland." Presidents have put their own spins on that effort ever since. Here's a sampling:
March 16, 1977 — Carter, at a town hall meeting in Massachusetts, said that after Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist, "There has to be a homeland provided for the Palestinian refugees who have suffered for many, many years."
AMC's Mad Men is one of the big favorites at Sunday night's Emmy Awards — and this past season's most memorable character may have been Don Draper's new secretary, Miss Ida Blankenship.
Played by Randee Heller, Miss Blankenship was a departure from the attractive, attentive young girls that usually wait on Draper. She stole every scene she was in, even in death. Her passing was both shocking and comical and became one of the most talked-about moments of the TV season.
Former President Jimmy Carter urges the United States to not veto the Security Council vote for Palestinian statehood anticipated to take place next week.
"If I were president, I'd be very glad to see the Palestinians have a nation recognized by the United Nations," Carter tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. "There's no downside to it."
Carter admits that for President Obama, failure to veto "would have some adverse effects perhaps on his political future."
Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman looks on from the sideline during the Cotton Bowl last fall. Texas A&M has been approved to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference but is still at risk of lawsuits from Big 12 members.
The Big 12, an athletic conference composed of 10 colleges from the Central U.S., may soon need to rebrand itself as the Big 8. The possible departure of two of its members — Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma — may destabilize not only the Big 12, but also the college football landscape.
The Republican presidential hopefuls will meet in Orlando on Thursday for their next debate. It's an additional opportunity for the candidates to try to set themselves apart in a crowded field. It's also a chance to take stock of the debate moderators.
NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik has this tip for the moderators: Don't get distracted.
He tells Weekend Edition host Audie Cornish that the "theatricality" of some debates can make people forget their purpose.
There was a bit of a dust-up at last week's Republican candidate debate. It had to do with Texas governor Rick Perry's 2007 mandate that middle school girls in his state receive the HPV vaccine. Host Audie Cornish gets the facts on that vaccine from Dr. Jessica Kahn of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital.