In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.
The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village's collective farm; there was no personal property.
"Back then, even one straw belonged to the group," says Yen Jingchang, who was a farmer in Xiaogang in 1978. "No one owned anything."
"Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as The Wallflower, Something's Got a Hold on Me, and the wedding favorite At Last, has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73 and had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2010."
A plan for how to redraw Texas' congressional and state legislative districts that was put together by a three-judge federal court in San Antonio was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court this morning because, the justices ruled, the lower court should not have disregarded the Texas state legislature's wishes and should not have stepped into that legislature's shoes.
Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 10:58 am
It's no longer just Whole Foods shoppers seeking out certified, sustainable seafood.
Increasingly, those of us who shop the big-box retailers including Costco, Target and Walmart are finding a blue label on seafood packages. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label signifies that the seafood comes from a fishery that's met a rigorous set of standards aimed at promoting responsible, sustainable catches.
The individuals who participated in the first Inquisition 800 years ago kept detailed records of their activities. Vast archival collections at the Vatican, in France and in Spain contain accounts of torture victims' cries, descriptions of funeral pyres and even meticulous financial records about the price of torture equipment.
"[There are] expense accounts [for things] like how much did the rope cost to tie the hands of the person you burnt at the stake," says writer Cullen Murphy. "The people who were doing interrogations were meticulous."
The past two years have been good for pecans — so good, in fact, that there's been a spike in pecan theft from California to Georgia. And it's not people swiping a few nuts from a tree in someone else's backyard, but theft in amounts that could land someone in jail.
Greg Daviet's century-old family farm has harvested pecans in Las Cruces, New Mexico, since 1965. This year, Daviet tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, an increase in demand from Europe, the Middle East and India has led to a price hike, with China as the top importer.
Saying that "recent events" have raised questions, but that "there is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that there won't be a vote in his chamber next Tuesday on the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
That's the Senate's version of controversial legislation that supporters say would cut down on Internet piracy — but that opponents say would amount to censorship.
While others analyze what Thursday's GOP presidential debate does or doesn't tell us about what may or may not happen Saturday when South Carolina Republicans hold their primary, here's the top news from that four-man clash in Charleston:
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement faced accusations that a breathalyzer was giving inaccurate readings. So it commissioned a study. Fifteen employees consumed more than $300 worth of whiskey, mixers and Doritos, and then used the breathalyzer. Judges are considering whether the study was legitimate.
(POST-BROADCAST CLARIFICATION: This story takes place in London, Ontario.] Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Londoners hoping to avoid jury duty ought not to walk too close to the courthouse. A frustrated judge there recently exercised a little-known power: sending police into the street to rustle up jurors.
NPR's business news starts with IKEA's success building.
The largest furniture maker in the world is ending the week with a bang. Sweden's IKEA posted, today, a record profit for its 2010, 2011 fiscal year. Net profit was up more than 10 percent to $3.8 billion. The company saw its biggest gains in China, in Russia and in Poland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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We're waking up on a morning before a key Republican primary in South Carolina, and after a day when the field of Republican candidates went up, down, and up again. Rick Perry went down and bowed out of the race. Newt Gingrich rode a surge in the polls. And Rick Santorum went up, when it was revealed that he got the most votes in the Iowa caucuses, not Mitt Romney.
With those stakes high in South Carolina, the political ads are getting more pointed.
As NPR's Brian Naylor reports, the candidates themselves are taking aim less at each other and more at the White House.
BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: The day before the South Carolina primary, the remaining Republican candidates are making their final TV pitches to voters. Here's part of what the Mitt Romney campaign bills as its closing argument.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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You may have thought Iowa was done counting its votes a few weeks ago. Well, then came the news this week that based on further review, Rick Santorum actually won more certified votes than the declared winner, Mitt Romney. The problem is the tallies from some precincts remain lost. And yesterday, Iowa's GOP chairman called the overall results inconclusive.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne. The four Republicans still running for president met last night for their last debate before the South Carolina primary. They sparred over health care, abortion and tax returns. The race in South Carolina is now a dead heat, with Mitt Romney's earlier lead wiped out by a late surge by Newt Gingrich.
Escorting a squadron of bombers, Andrew "Smokey" Salem (Ne-Yo) signals fellow pilots on the way into combat with German forces in the new film Red Tails, based on the experiences of the famed Tuskegee Airmen fighter group.
Cuba Gooding Jr. plays pipe-smoking, swaggering Maj. Emmanuel Stance in Red Tails.
It took George Lucas more than two decades to bring the movie Red Tails to the screen. It was all the way back in the late '80s that the man behind Star Wars and Indiana Jones fell under the spell of another story of adventure, this one with real-life heroes — the African-American fighter pilots of World War II.
As Mara just mentioned, the debate last night opened with a question about a claim made by Gingrich's ex-wife. Well, Marianne Gingrich gave her exclusive interview to ABC's "Nightline," putting the candidate's personal life in the spotlight once again. NPR's Tamara Keith has more.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The interview was incredibly hyped, in part because Marianne Gingrich has been silent so far on her ex-husband's presidential candidacy. This was her first television interview since their 1999 divorce.
Dozens of televisions display a political advertisement with the image of GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich at a store in Urbandale, Iowa, on Dec. 27. Republican candidates and their superPACs have spent millions on television and radio ads.
Saturday is South Carolina's Republican presidential primary. It's also the second anniversary of the Supreme Court's famous Citizens United decision.
That's the case that allows corporations to explicitly support or attack specific candidates. The day will be marked with attack ads — and protests.
The Republican presidential race has covered just three states so far. And superPACs linked to candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have spent a total of $20 million. They're feeding voters a heavy diet of negativity.
Republican presidential candidates (from left) Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul participate in the GOP presidential candidate debate at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday.
The last Republican presidential debate before Saturday's South Carolina primary was expected to be lively. It didn't disappoint.
It was clear, even before the four remaining candidates met on the stage in Charleston, SC, that at least three of them would face some fairly high-stakes moments that could change the course of the contest. The question going into the debate was would they be able to master those moments?
Comedian Stephen Colbert appears before the Federal Election Commision in Washington, June 30, 2011. The FEC granted Colbert's request to form a political action committee.
Kinky Friedman trims the ivy growing as hair on a 6-foot bust of Gov. Rick Perry. In 2006, Friedman came in fourth in his bid to be governor of Texas, drawing in part on his fame as a country musician. He has also written several mystery novels.
To prove that he thought all campaigning was bunk, actor and satirist Will Rogers created a mock presidential campaign in 1928, running as the "bunkless candidate" of the Anti-Bunk Party. Here, he's seen with actress Anne Shirley.
In 1940, Gracie Allen, the female half of the comedy team Burns and Allen, announced her intention to run for president on the Surprise Party ticket. The party's mascot was a kangaroo; the slogan was "It's in the bag."
Dick Gregory, a social and political comedian, ran for president on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. Here, he clears his way before speaking in Norfolk's Liberty Park, on Oct. 18, 1968.
Comedian Pat Paulsen announces his candidacy to be president in Universal City, Calif., in 1996 — his eighth run for the slot. Paulsen's earliest bid for the presidency was announced in 1968 on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
Credit Photo by Kevin Winter / Tonight Show/Getty Images for The Tonight Show
Roseanne Barr announces she is a candidate for president on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at the NBC Studios in 2011. Barr says she is the candidate of the Green Tea Party.
Credit AP / Comedy Central, Kristopher Long
Stephen Colbert's flirtation with running for president has evolved from the formation of a superPAC to an appeal to voters in the primary held in his home state of South Carolina. The comedian mounted a short-lived campaign very early in the 2008 race, as well.
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert is running for president. He's parodying the process — including, now, superPACS — in the same way he has parodied cable news. He's getting plenty of attention, but to really look into his political practical joke, I needed to go upstairs and find Peter Overby, NPR's man on campaign finance. I warned him it would seem like a dumb question, but I needed his help. What, exactly, is a superPAC?
Morocco's King Mohammed VI introduced reforms after protests began last February. But activists say the measures didn't go far enough and they are still taking to the streets. Here, the king is shown in his palace in Rabat on June 17.
Millions of homeowners are finding out that their property taxes are either holding steady or climbing, even as their house may be worth much less. There may not be much they can do about it.
In Ohio, Cuyahoga County's fiscal officer, Wade Steen, has been taking many calls from unhappy homeowners. He says they most often live in a community where voters passed a recent levy. That's a property tax measure that boosts funding for things such as schools and libraries.
If you listen to commercial radio, this is not news: Katy Perry had a huge year. She went No.1 five times. She was the most played artist on the radio. But the record industry is so weird, it's hard to know whether this kind of success translates into huge amounts of money.
So we asked.
I walked over to Katy Perry's record label. She's on Capital, which is under EMI. I met Greg Thompson, executive vice president of marketing and promotion at EMI.