Letters written in a time of war reflect almost universal longing and loss, no matter the century or the enemy. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Andrew Carroll, the director of the Center for American War Letters, about his personal collection of wartime correspondence from every American conflict, going back to 1776.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR NEW. I'm Rachel Martin.
This past week, France became the first European country to destroy illegal ivory in a high profile public demonstration. It did so underneath the Eiffel Tower as part of a global effort to call attention to the illicit ivory trade. Officials say the trade not only wipes out the world's population of elephants, it also funds terrorism.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The Obama administration is now urging some criminals in U.S. prisons to plead for clemency. Many of these prisoners were sentenced under tough drug laws from the days of the crack epidemic. And now, the Justice Department says that low level, non-violent drug offenders should ask for early release. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, is pushing a bill that advocates are calling the biggest sentencing reform in decades.
Humanitarian workers continue to try to evacuate civilians from the besieged Syrian city of Homs as negotiators in Geneva prepare for the next round of peace talks. NPR's Rachel Martin gets the latest from reporter Alice Fordham in Geneva.
Much has been written about Jean-Michel Basquiat, the childlike savant and startlingly brilliant neo-expressionist who went down in a ball of heroin, cocaine and rage before his prime — before he could see his paintings sell at Christie's for $49 million, before he was compared to Picasso and de Kooning. Since his death in 1988, he has been immortalized in countless museum catalogues and even more Ph.D theses, and rendered larger than life on the silver screen by none other than the king of the eighties art world himself, Julian Schnabel.
This past week, the bassist and vocalist Mimi Jones released three albums at once. They weren't all her music, but they were her work: As the founder and producer of the record label Hot Tone Music, she brought all three albums to fruition.
In an open dump, in a village outside of Tacloban in the central Philippines, we're sloshing through rainwater and leachate — that's the goo that comes out of rotting trash — while Tim Walsh surveys the site.
"Just walk on the dry bit," he says. "I've got used to the smell over the years and you get immune to it. But for most people the smell of decaying rubbish is not really very pleasant."
Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 6:11 am
It's one of the most dangerous sports at the Olympic Games. And when Indian slider Shiva Keshavan crashed from his sled during a training run at the luge track Friday, his miraculous recovery went viral.
Flying through icy curves feet first, Keshavan thundered down the frozen tunnel, the scraping blades or "steels" of his small sled sounding like a runaway train.
During the reporting of our story about the legacy of Comin' Out Hard in Memphis rap, we spent time in the city with MJG, Young Dolph and Drumma Boy. We met Yo Gotti in New York and got Eightball in a studio in Atlanta. We didn't have enough time to talk to everybody who's made Memphis rap what it is, like Gangsta Boo, or DJ Paul, Juicy J, Project Pat, or even Gangsta Pat.
Wikipedia has become a go-to source for definitions, celebrity facts, and now, medical information. A study by the IMS Health Institute published in January names Wikipedia as the "single leading source" of health care information for both patients and health care professionals.
Writer and comedian Hari Kondabolu speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about India being excluded from the Olympics, a controversial Coke commercial, and comments from Sen. Pat Roberts from Kansas during the confirmation hearings for surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died last weekend from an apparent heroin overdose. Since then, many of his fans have been trying to make sense of it. Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon turned to the work of a journalist who investigated his own effort to escape what he calls the death grip from Satan. Bazelon recommends David Carr's "The Night of the Gun."
Marilyn Nelson is one of America's most celebrated poets. She is a three-time finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Newbery and Printz and Coretta Scott King awards. Many of her most famous collections are for children.
Her latest work, How I Discovered Poetry, is a memoir about her own childhood. It's a series of 50 poems about growing up, traveling all over America in the 1950s to follow her father's job in the Air Force. Each of the poems is identified with a place and a date.
The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest feature stories.
This week, Watson talks with host Arun Rath about a Tunisian inventor with a new design for wind turbines and why HBO's True Detective is so "seductive." They also discuss how Square, a device that enables smartphones and tablets to easily process credit cards, is changing the way people tip.
In the 1950s, Philomena Lee was a naive Irish teenager who got pregnant, gave birth in a convent, and was forced by the nuns to sign away her parental rights. The 2013 film Philomena is based on what happened five decades later, when Lee went looking for her son with the help of a journalist. Directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, Philomena is up for several Academy Awards, including one in an unlikely category.
Pretty soon, going to community college in Tennessee may become absolutely free. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled the proposal in his annual State of the State address this week.
Haslam is trying to lift Tennessee's ranking as one of the least-educated states. Less than a third of residents have even a two-year degree. But a community college free-for-all has been tried elsewhere, though not sustained, and there's always a nagging question.
"So I know you're wondering," Haslam said. "How do we pay for this?"
Attorney General Eric Holder has directed the Justice Department to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition." This means they will now have spousal privileges in federal courts. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with justice correspondent Carrie Johnson about the policy shift and what it means for same-sex couples.
Aid workers trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to the besieged, rebel-held district of Homs, were wounded on Saturday after reportedly coming under fire from "armed terrorist groups," the label authorities give to rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
Four Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers were hurt in the reported attack, according to Syrian state television. Opposition groups did not immediately respond to the allegations.
As NPR's Alice Fordham reports, it's the latest sign that a hard-won ceasefire is fraying.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 1:04 pm
Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 11:36 am
A court in France has ordered a most public shaming for Google, telling the Internet giant it must display a notice on its French search page acknowledging it's been fined over how it tracked and stored user information.
The $200,000 fine was imposed in January by the French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) for violating consumer privacy.
According to Google Translate, the above notice reads:
Truth be told, I was scared. We've stuffed a lot of musicians behind the Tiny Desk, but when I saw Fanfare Ciocarlia (pronounced "fan-FAR-eh cho-car-LEE-ah") at Globalfest the week before the band arrived at NPR, I couldn't fathom how we'd corral these 12 musicians and their various assorted horns and drums into that truly tiny space.
The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are certifiably the most expensive and allegedly staggeringly corrupt.
Upwards of $50 billion has been spent to turn a place that's been best known as a Black Sea beach resort, where rich Russians could warm themselves under palm trees during long Moscow winters, into a winter sports capital with ski slopes and bobsled runs.