In the 1980s, this dome from the 13th century was stolen out of the church of St. Evphemianos in Lysi in the Turkish occupied section of Cyprus. The fresco portrays Christ in heaven, surrounded by 12 angels. The Archangels Michael and Gabriel flank the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist as a medallion illustrates the throne that's been prepared for the Lord.
A set of 13th-century Byzantine frescoes — plundered after Turkey invaded Cyprus and on display in Houston for the last 15 years — is headed home at last. It's the closing chapter in what turns out to be a remarkable odyssey.
It all started in the summer of 1974, when the Turkish army invaded Cyprus and nearly 200,000 Greek Cypriots became refugees fleeing south.
"And so all the churches and homes and art was left behind," says Josef Helfenstein, director of the Menil Collection in Houston. "And after years, some of these churches began to be looted."
While reading over an analysis of decades-old studies of LSD as a treatment for alcoholism last week, I found that the so-called number needed to treat was 6 to prevent alcohol misuse. In other words, treat six people and one would benefit.
A day before he begins serving his prison sentence, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich will give one final press conference. As The Chicago Tribune puts it, talking into a microphone was, after all, one of his favorite things to do as governor.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Time is of the essence. Those words about Syria today from a United Nations spokesman as tanks and armored vehicles launched new attacks on the city of Daraa. Syrian forces are also bombarding the city of Idlib. The U.N. says nearly 8,000 people have been killed so far during the uprising against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Goldman Sachs is once again defending itself against allegations that the company makes money by putting its own interests ahead of clients. This time, the accusation comes from one of Goldman Sachs' own.
Greg Smith, a Goldman employee in London, resigned publicly today on the op ed page of the New York Times. He wrote that the bank's culture is toxic and its employees talk callously about ripping off clients.
I think everyone can agree that the Republican Party's search for its presidential nominee has been a long, strange trip. For me, one of the strangest things about it is that, after all this time, I barely know who's running Mitt Romney's, Rick Santorum's and Newt Gingrich's campaigns. You see, over the past 30 years, political strategists have gone from being shadowy figures to being celebrities in their own right.
The cacophony of hoots being directed at Mitt Romney Wednesday for his poor performances in Alabama and Mississippi primaries is somewhat curious, especially since it was the conventional wisdom as recently as last week that the Deep South was likely to be very tough going for him.
The Afghan response to Sunday's shooting deaths of 16 Afghan civilians has been limited compared with the recent outrage over the burning of Qurans. In one of the few protests, demonstrators chanted anti-U.S. slogans in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Tuesday.
Credit Rahmat Gul / AP
After U.S. troops burned Qurans last month, Afghans staged protests throughout the country. Here a demonstrator holds a Quran in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Feb. 22.
Credit Chris Ware / Keystone Features/Getty Images
Politeness seems to be falling by the wayside these days, with phrases like "you're welcome" replaced by the more casual "you bet" or "no problem." Good manners were more the norm in 1960, when these kids at a junior theatrical school learned how to curtsy and bow.
Words such as "yes," "please" and no thanks" are vanishing from many of our conversations.
Listen to the conversations around you — colleagues at the office, customers in the coffeehouse line, those who serve you, those you serve, the people you meet each day. "Give me a tall latte." "Hand me that hammer." "Have a good one."
Notice anything missing? The traditional magic words "please" and "thank you" that many people learn as children appear to be disappearing.
Rick Santorum swept the Mississippi and Alabama primaries on Tuesday, leaving Mitt Romney a distant third. Newt Gingrich maintains he'll carry on, and third-place finisher Mitt Romney faces renewed doubts about his ability to win over conservative Republicans, though he's leading the delegate race.
For many fourth-year medical students, the future arrives, sealed in an envelope, during the third week of March. On what's known as Match Day, med students find out where they'll spend their residencies. It's a nerve-wracking wait for many that has played out on med school campuses since 1952.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last October, Terry Thompson released 50 exotic animals on his farm in Ohio and then shot himself in the head. Neighbors soon reported lions, tigers, bears, leopards, monkeys and wolves on the loose, and sheriff's deputies from the city of Zanesville nearby hunted them down in the gathering darkness.
President Bashar Assad and his opposition continue to crack down on rebels in Syria. U.N. envoy Kofi Annan met with Assad to try to broker a cease fire, but failed. The U.N. Security Council is drafting another resolution to support the Arab League request to have Assad step down from power.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, center, is greeted by Col. John Shafer, left, with RTC 6 Wednesday at Foward Operating Base Shukvani, Afghanistan. As Panetta was landing at another base, an Afghan drove a truck onto the airfield until it crashed and exploded.
Cooling a person's hands while exercising can make for a better workout, especially for people who hate to exercise because it makes them all hot and sweaty.
This might help the many, many people who have a hard time keeping up with exercise because it's just plain uncomfortable.
Researchers tested the idea with obese women in their 30s and 40s who worked out on a treadmill. The women whose palms were cooled with a device that circulated ice water were able to exercise longer than the women whose palms were exposed to room temperature water.
There's a new record in the Iditarod: A 25 year old has become the youngest musher to win the approximately thousand-mile trans-Alaskan sled dog race.
Dallas Seavey slid into Nome, Alaska, at 7:29 p.m. yesterday with nine dogs, finishing the race in nine days, four hours, 29 minutes and 26 seconds.
"We went into this race with a dog team that I knew had the ability to win the Iditarod," Seavey said in a post-race press conference in Nome. "We spent most of the race building a monster – a dog team that couldn't be stopped."
Campaigners from the international advocacy group Avaaz protest Russian arms sales to the Syrian government during a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin on Nov. 2.
Credit Reuters TV / Reuters /Landov
British photographer Paul Conroy lies on a stretcher as he is treated by a doctor in Homs on Feb. 22. Avaaz coordinated Conroy's rescue from the embattled city, an operation that left 13 Syrian activists dead.
Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 12:07 pm
A year into the Syrian uprising, with the world community reluctant to intervene, one international group has taken a direct and risky role in Syria — even taking part in the high-profile rescue of Western journalists from the besieged city of Homs.
Avaaz, a global online pressure group based in New York, has given crucial support to the uprising and the Syrian activist networks that aim to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.
When it comes to reality TV — and competitive cooking shows in particular — there are many reliable ways to create drama: menacing judges, preternaturally ticking clocks, the threat of elimination, and, of course, clever editing.
Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 12:16 pm
The U.S., Britain and their NATO allies cannot accelerate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan because it's critical that they not leave until that nation's security forces can stand on their own and ensure that al-Qaida never has a safe haven there again, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a joint news conference this afternoon at the White House.
"We will not give up on this mission," Cameron said at one point. The plan, he and Obama said, remains to have most troops withdrawn by the end of 2014.
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron were courtside in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday at the "play in" game between Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State. Western Kentucky won, 59-58.
Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 10:03 am
After two years of going with the wrong team to win it all, President Obama is counting on North Carolina — the team he correctly picked to win the 2009 NCAA men's basketball championship — to end up No. 1 this year.
Some years ago I was visiting Disneyland and had a culture-clash encounter there with my one of fellow Americans. I was standing with my daughter on the miles-long meandering line for "It's a Small World After All" and I fell into a conversation with another mom; when this woman found out I was a native New Yorker, she treated me to her verdict on the city: "It's so dirty there!"
I was in my local independent bookstore last week, enjoying the endangered pleasure of wandering around and snuffling through interesting-looking books, when I overheard two women talking in front of the new releases section. "I need a new British novelist," one of them said. Ladies, I should have spoken up, but the moment passed and, besides, it was too awkward to explain that one of the best British novelists writing today was born in New Jersey.
Iran said Tuesday that it is unwilling to allow international nuclear inspectors to have complete access to a restricted military complex, called Parchin, which is near the capital Tehran. There are concerns that the complex may contain a facility designed to test explosives meant to trigger a nuclear chain reaction.
Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 12:50 pm
Rick Santorum won two Southern state GOP presidential primaries Tuesday, embarrassing Mitt Romney who had predicted he'd take one.
Second-place finisher Newt Gingrich vowed to fight on to Tampa, tag-teaming Romney along with Santorum. The "three-way dynamic," as he put it, is a winner for Gingrich and, perhaps, his dream of deal-making at the convention, and for Romney, too, whose Southern result could have been much worse if he'd been posting up against Santorum alone.