Jacques Barzun, one of the most influential historians, educators and thinkers of the 20th century, died Thursday, just one month shy of his 105th birthday. Barzun seemed to have a limitless capacity to understand and translate complex ideas — about the evolution of Western culture, what it means to be free, and even the value of American baseball. He shared his observations in numerous books and magazine articles and at Columbia University, where he held forth for half a century.
An explosive report from the New York Times today spelled out just how wealthy the relatives of Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao are. Try $2.7 billion dollars in assets. This startling news so angered Chinese officials that the Times' website was quickly shut down in China.
"We're not trying to hype it," National Weather Service meterologist Paul Kocin tells Bloomberg News. "What we're seeing in some of our models is a storm at an intensity that we have not seen in this part of the country in the past century."
A boat skims through the melting ice in the Ilulissat fiord, on the western coast of Greenland, in 2008. The glacier is the most active in the Northern Hemisphere, producing 10 percent of Greenland's icebergs, or some 20 million tons of ice per day. But experts say the glacier is in bad shape because of climate change.
Two states, Oregon and Washington, have legalized physician-assisted suicide through voter-approved ballot initiatives. Massachusetts will become the third if voters approve the so-called Death With Dignity ballot question. The measure would let terminally ill patients with six months or less to live get a lethal prescription. The outcome of that vote could change the landscape for legalized suicide nationwide.
Beef heart — it's what's for dinner! Well, if you're not a vegetarian. Stick with us on this.
All Things Considered is launching a Found Recipe series Thursday, asking cookbook authors, chefs and bloggers to tell us about the dishes that surprise and delight. These are recipes stumbled upon or created by accident or by necessity.
An insatiable demand for ivory in Asia is fueling a massive slaughter of elephants across Africa. As NPR's John Burnett reports, one of the worst poaching hot spots is Tanzania. In this story, he visits an ivory poacher's town that sits next to a major game reserve.
The Basque region has a long and rich industrial tradition. Here is a CAF factory in Beasain, Spain.
Credit Lauren Frayer for NPR
The Basque region has a long and rich industrial tradition. CAF is growing by 10 percent a year.
Credit Lauren Frayer for NPR
Train cars are built at the CAF factory in Beasain, Spain. One of the Basque region's most successful companies, CAF, makes trains for Amtrak, the Washington, D.C., metro system and light rails in Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Houston.
For decades, most of the news out of Basque country was horrible. Since the late 1960s, this region in northern Spain has been infamous as home to the ETA separatist group, which killed more than 800 people while fighting for Basque independence from Madrid.
But two years ago, the separatist group declared a final cease-fire and the attacks have stopped. Now the country is becoming known for something else: its booming economy.
There is a remarkable change going on in Mogadishu, Somalia — often dubbed the world's most dangerous city. For starters, it may not deserve that title anymore.
Last year, African Union forces drove the Islamist militant group al-Shabab out of Mogadishu. Now, Somalia has a new president and prime minister who have replaced the corrupt and unpopular transitional government.
Hope is edging aside despair, and Mogadishu is coming back to life.
In Detroit, Tigers fans are preparing for the return of their beloved team to the grand stage of the World Series. In a city largely known for hard times these days, the World Series means far more than just a chance at a championship.
Facing high unemployment and crime rates and teetering on the edge of financial collapse, Detroit needs something to celebrate. Maybe something along the lines of the celebration that broke out after the Tigers won the World Series again in 1968.