New Orleans has long been known as one of America's hardest luck cities, struggling over the years with poverty, crime, corruption and tragic disaster. But the city's darkest days have sparked a surprising new entrepreneurial spirit.
Residents Billy Bosch and Matt Mouras, for example, are trying to launch a nutritional beverage company and are getting a leg up from Idea Village, a nonprofit that helps nurture the city's entrepreneurs.
No mountain captures the popular imagination like Everest. The world's highest peak, towering out of the Himalayas, has frequently proved deadly to those who have tried to reach its summit. The most famous of its victims was the first Englishman to attempt a climb: George Mallory. In the early 1920s Mallory took part in the first three expeditions up Everest, dying on his third attempt.
In the TV drama The Good Wife, a political spouse forges her own path after her husband is disgraced by corruption and scandal. Real-life married couple Robert and Michelle King are the creators of the Emmy Award-winning CBS series. And the Kings are the latest Hollywood insiders to share their TV and movie recommendations with Morning Edition in our series, Watch This.
By and large, it's a lighthearted list. "We don't really watch too much tragic Ibsen drama," Robert tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "Everything has to have a bit of bitter humor in it."
Tourists visit the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza near Cairo. Tourist numbers have plummeted this year with the political turmoil in Egypt. Now, some Islamist politicians are proposing rules that could discourage visitors.
Credit Khalil Hamra / AP
Foreign tourists stroll through the Khan el-Khalili market in Cairo.
Another Friday night at this tiny neighborhood watering hole in Tokyo: By 7:30, the bar stools and tables in this cozy joint are filling up; office workers settle in with their cocktails and Kirin beers. And by a little after 8, it's time for the main act.
Vow's Bar in the Yotsuya neighborhood has no house band, no widescreen TV, no jukebox. But it does have a chanting Buddhist monk so tipplers can get a side of sutras with their Singapore Slings or something even more exotic.
Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 5:18 pm
NASA is hoping that two probes scheduled to arrive on the moon New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will shed new light on our closest celestial neighbor.
The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (Grail A, and Grail B) probes will study the moon's uneven gravitational field. One quote from the AP's story about the probe caught our attention. The AP spoke to Maria Zuber, the mission's chief scientist, who said:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took a swipe at GOP rival Ron Paul and his isolationist foreign policy positions while campaigning in Iowa Wednesday, but he later told reporters he would support the outspoken Texas congressman if he were the Republican Party nominee for president.
Will the Iowa Republican caucuses next Tuesday be flooded with the state's version of Occupy Wall Street activists?
The rumor has been out there for weeks, and the state's voting laws suggest it could be possible: though only registered Republicans may participate, anyone can register for the party on caucus night and vote.
Wallace Kuralt (left), the head of the Mecklenburg County welfare program in North Carolina, speaks to the Welfare Board in 1962. The county sterilized 485 people — about three times more than any other in the state. More than 7,000 people were sterilized in North Carolina.
North Carolina is trying to make amends for an ugly chapter in its history during which more than 7,000 people were sterilized — many against their will. At least half of the states had eugenics laws, but only a handful kept their forced sterilization programs active after World War II.
People who ate a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which are commonly found in fish, and in vitamins C, E and B, which are often found in vegetables, were less likely to have their brains shrink, and were more likely to score higher on the memory and thinking tests, a study found.
Sheila Royeras, her husband, her mother and two young daughters live in a single-room cement apartment in a poor neighborhood in Manila, Philippines. Like many such homes, it's mostly dark during the day, except for a small ray of sunlight that enters through an open front door.
But this is about to change.
On this morning, volunteers and local government workers arrive to hang low-tech solar light bulbs from the corrugated metal roof. The bulbs are very simple, very effective and the ambitious plan is to put them in 1 million homes this year.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Wednesday renewed his pledge not to run any negative ads in the closing days of the campaign for the Iowa caucuses. But campaigning in Mason City, Gingrich said that won't stop him from personally attacking the record of his opponents.
Gingrich spoke at a mall in Mason City and afterward grabbed a skim milk café au lait from the Jitters coffee bar.
It may be hard to remember, but 2011 began with a bang on the jobs front. The White House seemed ready to break out the champagne when February's job growth report came out showing unemployment at the lowest in nearly two years.
Visiting a metal fabrication plant in Sioux City this December, Mitt Romney touted his successful business background, saying those qualifications are what America needs right now.
"I want to use the experience I have in the world of the free enterprise system to make sure that America gets working again. ... These are tough times," said the Republican presidential candidate. "You guys have jobs. Hope your spouses do. But I know these are tough times."
But not as tough in Iowa as in many other parts of the country.
A homeless man begs for money during the launch of Christmas celebrations in Athens' central Syntagma Square, Dec. 9. Difficult economic times have meant subdued holiday activities — and even carolers, who traditionally receive money for their songs, are feeling the pinch.
In Greece, caroling season runs through the Orthodox Christian holiday known as the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6. Traditionally, children go door-to-door, playing the triangle and singing songs of the season. In return, people give them a few euros for presents.
But this Christmas, Greek retailers say sales fell 30 percent from last year. The unemployment rate is at record levels, crime is rising and austerity is dampening everyone's spirits.
If you're a fresh vegetable lover, it's hard to get excited about what's available in the supermarket produce section in the dead of winter. Whatever is there often has made a long journey from a field in a distant, sunny locale and been sprayed with something to keep it looking fresh. It's usually a little worse for the wear.
Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 12:26 pm
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has told her Cabinet agencies that all employees should answer their phones with this greeting:
"It's a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?"
But two Democratic members of the state House are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit any agency from ordering its staff to say that unless it truly is a "great day in South Carolina" (according to those legislators).
The Iowa caucuses will be critical for Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum, or a chance for Rep. Ron Paul to steal the national spotlight from Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The Department of Labor has proposed regulations that would limit the kinds of work children can do on farms. Opponents feel the rules would hurt family farms and fundamentally alter farming life, while proponents say the changes would help keep kids safe.
Failing to disclose positive HIV status to sexual partners is a crime in more than 30 states. In Iowa, it can carry a 25-year jail term. Advocates say the rules are discriminatory, and are urging state governments to reword laws that solely target HIV, but not other transmittable diseases.
National media are catching up on a harrowing story from Utah, where police say a woman who had been kidnapped, raped and beaten for days was able to post a Christmas Eve message for help on Facebook that led to the rescue of her and her 17-month-old son, and the arrest of a man now being held on $1 million bail.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man (l) and a secular man argue during a protest against the strict religious codes favored by the ultra-Orthodox in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh.
Credit Menahem Kahana / AFP/Getty Images
Hundreds protest against gender segregation and violence towards women by ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. The demonstrations come after a young girl was harassed due to her "immodest" dress.
According to Israel's President Shimon Peres, a fight is underway, for "the soul of the nation and the essence of the state." But the threat isn't coming from outside of Israel. It's over differing interpretations of Judaism.
Recently, a bespectacled eight year-old girl was filmed by a local TV station being harassed by ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi Jews, for, in their view, not dressing modestly enough. The episode took place in Beit Shemesh, a city between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that has become a symbol of this growing battle in Israel.