National & World News from NPR

Pages

Parallels
10:59 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Nelson Mandela's Prison Adventures

Near the end of his 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela was taken to secret meetings with government officials and for drives around Cape Town. Here, he returned to his Robben Island prison cell for a visit in 1994, shortly before he became South Africa's first black president.
Louise Gubb Corbis

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:15 pm

On Christmas Eve 1986, a South Africa prison commander responsible for watching over Nelson Mandela casually asked the world's most famous prisoner, "Mandela, would you like to see the city?"

Mandela was completely surprised, but agreed. The prison commander, Lt. Col. Gawie Marx, promptly put Mandela in his car for a leisurely drive around Cape Town, one of the world's most scenic cities.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:51 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Jailed Tunisian Rapper Is Freed; Song Called Police 'Dogs'

Tunisian rapper Ala Yaacoubi, also known by his rap name Weld El 15, left, speaks alongside his lawyer, Ghazi Mrabet, before his trial last month.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 2:29 pm

A Tunisian appeals court has freed rapper Ala Yaacoubi, who last month was sentenced to two years in prison for insulting police officers with his song "The Police Are Dogs."

Critics had said the arrest of Yaacoubi, 25, who performs under the name Weld El 15, was a sign of repression in Tunisia, where mass rallies overthrew former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011. As NPR reported that summer, several rap songs became anthems for that shift.

Read more
Monkey See
10:32 am
Tue July 2, 2013

'Big Brother' Isn't Just A Terrible Show, It's A Wasted Opportunity

Houseguest Judd makes a toast during the season premiere of Big Brother.
Cliff Lipson CBS

Here's how Big Brother works.

Producers throw a bunch of people into a house, where they're stuck for about three months. All day and all night, they're watched by cameras, and they can be watched online — these are the so-called "live feeds," which are sort of like watching the security cameras in the most boring juice bar in Los Angeles. (I wrote about touring the house in 2010; it's very creepy.)

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:10 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Savory And Sweet: A Taste For Infertility

Humans have long relied on the sense of taste in the struggle to survive and multiply. A bitter taste alerts us to a plant that may be poisonous. A sweet taste tells us that a plant is likely high in calories and can help sustain us.

Read more
Movie Reviews
10:09 am
Tue July 2, 2013

A Familiar Wild West, But The Guy In The Mask? Who's He?

There's a backstory for just about everything in Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger, including what drives the title character (Armie Hammer) to don the mask — and what's up with that dead crow Tonto (Johnny Depp) wears on his head.
Peter Mountain Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 6:25 pm

There's never been anything very lone about the Lone Ranger. He's always been accompanied by Tonto, his Native American sidekick; Silver his snow-white steed; and the William Tell Overture.

Read more
Monkey See
8:02 am
Tue July 2, 2013

To The Dump, To The Dump, To The Dump Dump Dump: Write Us A Lone Ranger Joke

Milos Luzanin iStockphoto.com

This morning, as I perused the headlines, I saw a few items about the new Lone Ranger movie, and rather than being struck by interesting thoughts about the racial politics of Johnny Depp's Tonto, I abruptly remembered this joke: "Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?" "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump." You know, because of the music?

And then I thought, "Who built the Lone Ranger's luxury apartment building?"

"Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Trump Trump."

Read more
The Two-Way
7:45 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Top Stories: Fallen Firefighters Honored; Heat Wave Continues

Oh, baby it's hot: The sun shines down on people standing atop the roof of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, one of the cities in the grips of a dangerous heat wave.
Jonathan Alcorn Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:44 am

Read more
The Two-Way
7:45 am
Tue July 2, 2013

VIDEOS: Solemn Salutes To Fallen Firefighters In Arizona

Holding on to each other: Firefighters hug during a memorial service Monday in Prescott, Ariz. They were honoring 19 others who died Sunday.
Michael Nelson EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:43 am

The simple, sobering sound of a bell ringing as each firefighter's name and age was read brings home the sad story from Prescott, Ariz., where 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died Sunday fighting a wildfire were remembered Monday.

Read more
Books
7:42 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Chronicle of 'Gettysburg' Refuses Easy Answers

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:50 pm

For historians, and for much more casual students of the Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg 150 years ago holds seemingly limitless fascination — a search for "Gettysburg" on Amazon turns up over 7,500 books — and similarly limitless opportunity for debate. Did the Confederacy's iconic commander, Gen. Robert E. Lee, bring defeat to his own army by reaching too far in ordering Pickett's fateful — and disastrous — charge? Did Gen.

Read more
Around the Nation
7:36 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Sign Maker Misspells Florida, Twice

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene. Florida's Department of Transportation ordered a new sign for Interstate 95. It read: Exit 344, University of Florida, Florida State College South Campus. Only one issue. Both times, Florida was spelled wrong. It read: Flordia. The sign manufacturer in Arkansas made that mistake. According to First Coast News, the company has agreed to fix the sign for free. They also might want to get off at that exit and head back to school.

Europe
7:36 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Imagine 'Star Wars' Taking Place In Elizabethan England

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

Imagine if "Star Wars" took place not in a galaxy far, far away, but in Elizabethan England. Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi's final exchange might sound like...

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In time, thy powers have weak become, old man.

MONTAGNE: And yes, thou canst not win all warrant, Darth.

Out today, "William Shakespeare's Star Wars," as told by the Bard. And author Ian Doescher aims for a sequel: "The Empire Striketh Back."

The Two-Way
6:34 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Pressure Builds On Egypt's Morsi To Compromise Or Step Down

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square again Monday during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.
Mohamed El-Shahed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:37 am

With about 24 hours to go before the deadline set by Egypt's military to work with opponents and craft a roadmap that moves the country past its political problems or have one created for him by the army, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is under intense pressure. He must either "reach some kind of compromise" with those protesting against his government "or step aside," NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells our Newscast Desk.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:10 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Book News: Neil Gaiman Revives 'Sandman' Comic Series

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:13 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Read more
First Reads
6:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish'

David Rakoff, seen here in 2010, worked on Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish for a decade, finishing shortly before his death in 2012.
Larry Busacca Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 9:03 am

  • Listen to the Excerpt

David Rakoff was a mainstay on public radio's This American Life, and the best-selling author of Fraud, Don't Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty. He died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47, shortly after finishing Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, a short novel in verse that jumps from decade to decade, tracking a panoply of American characters across the 20th century: 1920s slaughterhouse workers, 1950s office girls, AIDS victims and '80s yuppies.

Read more
Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations'

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 4:34 pm

A country girl from Grabtown, N.C., Ava Gardner arrived in Hollywood in 1941 knowing she couldn't act but, gorgeous as she was, she never had to let that slow her down. Her beauty — which reportedly intimidated Elizabeth Taylor — won her not just film roles and studio-paid acting lessons, but the attentions of all-American boy Mickey Rooney, whom she married and divorced before she turned 21. She had a similarly brief union with bandleader Artie Shaw — she called those two her "starter husbands" — before a tempestuous, headline-making marriage to Frank Sinatra.

Read more

Pages