A couple of months ago, I visited Beijing, and like so many before me, I was stunned by how hypercapitalist Communist China has become — the hundreds of glossy highrises, the countless shops selling Prada and Apple, the traffic jams filled with brand new Audis. You felt you could be in L.A. or Tokyo — until you wanted some information. Then you discovered that Facebook was permanently blocked, certain words in Google searches always crashed your browser, and, as my wife joked, it was easier to buy a Rolls-Royce than a real newspaper. Here was a country at once booming — and repressive.
Y'know your local mall? The one you drive to whenever, or just as easily drive past? What would happen if you didn't have a choice — if you couldn't avoid going there? Would you walk right through without stopping and shopping? Or, a darker question: What if you could never get out?
The Justice Department inspector general has uncovered what he calls illegal hiring practices at the federal agency. In a new report he cites eight employees for trying to find jobs for their children and other relatives.
Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:48 am
"A major portion of Oakland's troubled police radio system failed shortly after President Obama's visit on Monday, leaving many of the 100 officers assigned to handle presidential security unable to communicate as protesters roamed the streets, police said Wednesday,"
China announced today that it is prosecuting the wife of a disgraced party official for the murder of a British man. It's the latest sensational twist in the country's biggest political scandal in decades. NPR's Louisa Lim joins us now from Beijing. Louisa, could you bring us up to speed on this scandal and what the latest news is?
Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 9:06 am
Photographer David Binder began documenting stories about AIDS in the late 1980s and became well known for humanizing the epidemic for various publications, including Life magazine and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Good morning, and welcome to "Day -1" of the 2012 Summer Olympics. That NASA-like designation is due to events already having begun in the soccer competition, before Friday's Opening Ceremony. Men's soccer begins play today.
It didn't take long for politics to enter the fray of Olympic sports. On Day One of preliminary competition, members of the North Korean women's soccer team staged a short protest after a mix-up with their national flag.
A "suspicious package" that the University of Colorado's medical school in Aurora says was delivered to the school on Monday was "a notebook sent through the mail by suspected killer James Eagan Holmes before [last] Friday morning's massacre," The Denver Post reports.
It's the start of state fair season, which means lots of weird and fried food. The Indiana State Fair decided on spaghetti and meatballs ice cream as the fair's official food. The noodles are made of gelato, the sauce is strawberry tomato, and the meatballs are chocolate. It's topped with shredded white chocolate cheese. Yummy. At the Iowa State Fair you can try a double bacon corndog. Last year, Iowa featured deep fried butter. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Lucky Larry is a 17-pound lobster estimated to be at least 70 years old. He was not so lucky when he was trapped and sold to a restaurant in Connecticut. But Don MacKenzie stepped in. He bought Lucky Larry, but not for a dinner date. He sent him back out to sea. For a lobster to live this long and avoid traps, MacKenzie said, he does not deserve a bib and butter. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
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And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
In the Midwest, the drought is doing a number on the nation's biggest agricultural crop, corn. The USDA says half of the country's cornfields are in poor or very poor condition, and the short supply is driving up the price. Now, a fight between livestock farmers and ethanol producers over the high priced corn crop. Farmers say ethanol factories have an unfair advantage.
In China, authorities are still counting the cost of heavy weekend flooding in Beijing. Officials now say 37 people died and more than 60,000 homes were damaged. Loses are estimated at nearly two billion dollars, but as NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing, some of the damage is to the government's credibility.
Outrage in China about the dozens of deaths last weekend when Beijing's drainage system couldn't cope with heavy rains and much of the city was flooded has been followed by more frustration and anger today.
While the job market remains sluggish, temporary work is one area that's done very well in the economic recovery. Companies are keeping their temps longer and are even using them to fill professional and high-ranking positions.
The average daily number of temporary workers employed during the first quarter of 2012 was more than 2.5 million. That's up from a low of 2.1 million in early 2009, according to the American Staffing Association.
Bagpipes and Scotland? Aye, it's a natural association: Played for centuries, the instrument is especially identified with the Scottish military and traditional Scottish dress, tartan kilts and shawls.
But bagpipes and Pakistan? Nae, you say? Think again.
Turns out no place in the world manufactures more bagpipes than Pakistan. And no city in Pakistan makes more of them than Sialkot.
A brutal crime more commonly associated with Pakistan or India is now on the rise in South America: Jealous husbands, spurned lovers and, in a few cases, even perfect strangers are dousing women with sulfuric or nitric acids, literally burning off their faces.
In Colombia, the horrific trend is terrorizing women and alarming officials.
Among those disfigured by such an attack is Consuelo Cordoba, 51, who was assaulted a decade ago by her former partner and lives a life of endless physical and psychological pain.
At least 100 people were killed earlier this month in a Syrian village called Tremseh. Activists called the deaths a massacre of innocent civilians by government forces, but later reports suggested it was something different. After spending a week with rebel fighters in the country, I discovered some previously untold details about the killings.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued its first stop-sale order in 11 years, saying the magnetic toys called Buckyballs "pose a substantial risk of injury to the public," Reuters is reporting.
The CPSC has been trying to curb injuries with this toy since 2010, when it issued a recall of Buckyballs intended for those 14 years and younger. But those efforts haven't helped, the agency said when it announced that it has filed a complaint seeking to stop the company from selling the product.