Omm Ahmed, a refugee from Daraa, Syria, carries her infant near her tent at Zaatari Refugee Camp in Mafraq, Jordan, on Sunday. Syrian civilians have borne the greatest brunt of the conflict in their country.
The conflict in Syria is now nearly a year and a half old, and there appears to be no end in sight.
August was the deadliest month yet, with thousands of people, mostly civilians, killed in fighting around the country. While anti-government rebels are making advances, government troops are digging in their heels.
It started as a protest movement. Now, analysts in the U.S. and the region agree, the conflict in Syria is a civil war.
A Civil War
Even Syrian President Bashar Assad came close to acknowledging as much in a speech last week.
In 2010, NPR reported that some Army commanders refused to award the Purple Heart to many troops who got concussions in combat because they didn't consider these "real" injuries. As a result of our story, the Army did its own investigation and put out new guidelines on Purple Hearts. Last week, the Army told NPR that under the new rules, they've finally awarded the medal to almost 1,000 soldiers, including Michelle Dyarman, whom we profiled in our original 2010 reports.
Democrats today, for the most part, balance between two slightly competing ideas: that government is part of the solution, while still acknowledging that it can be part of the problem. Meanwhile, they're up against a long-running Republican messaging campaign against "big government."
The concept of big government goes back to around the beginning of the 20th century. Princeton historian Julian Zelizer traces the idea to the Wilson administration and its initiatives, including the creation of the Federal Reserve.
Many people in Missouri are still backing GOP Rep. Todd Akin — some more strongly than before — after his controversial remarks about rape and pregnancy.
Akin was polling ahead of the incumbent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, but his support fractured into several distinct camps after his comment that women's bodies can block pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." (He has since apologized.)
Occupy Wall Street activist Jason Woody listens to a speaker during a rally before the start of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 27.
Credit Becky Lettenberger / NPR
From left, Mike Garcia, Terri Schultz-Rivers, Tim Rivers and Alissah Depiro, all of Tampa, attend a rally and march organized by the Occupy movement in downtown Tampa on Monday. Turnout was much lower than expected, and rain drenched the crowd.
Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 12:07 pm
As President Obama reintroduces himself to America at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., next week, the Occupy movement will be there trying to do the same.
Remember Occupy Wall Street, originator of the "We are the 99 percent" slogan?
The group, which helped reshape the nation's political discourse last year before falling into disarray and uncertainty, plans to hold a demonstration outside the convention hall in an effort to recapture the spotlight. A Tampa, Fla., Occupy group protested at the Republican convention in there last week.
U.S. soldiers still patrol in Afghanistan, like this one speaking with a young man in the eastern province of Khost in August. However, Afghan forces are taking on increased responsibility as the U.S. draws down and prepares for its troops to leave by the end of 2014.
Credit Jose Cabezas / AFP/Getty Images
Afghan security forces are already playing a more prominent role, though questions remain about the quality of the forces. Here, an Afghan policeman talks with an elderly man in the eastern province of Khost in August.
Tens of thousands of American troops will be leaving Afghanistan as the NATO-led coalition enters its final two years in the country. Already, more security responsibility is being placed in the hands of the Afghan security forces, says U.S. Gen. John Allen, who heads the NATO-led coalition here.
"The insurgency is today confronted by a rapidly transforming and increasingly capable [Afghan army], which is bearing a larger share of the burden and a larger share of the sacrifice," Allen says.
Barack Obama won more than 95 percent of the black vote in the last presidential election, and Democrats are expected to have a huge advantage this November. Even so, Republicans looked for ways to appeal to those voters at their convention in Tampa, Fla.
Though the convention hall was packed with delegates this week, it wasn't until gospel star Bebe Winans and the Tampa Bay City Life Church Chorus came on stage that there was any sizable number of African-Americans around.
Along the shore of Lake Erie, the rusting relics of Buffalo, N.Y.'s industrial days have long blocked access to the water and posed risks to residents. Now, after decades of inaction, the city is finally clearing a path for the public to return to the waterfront.
Buffalo's approach has been dubbed "lighter, faster, cheaper." Tom Dee has led this effort as president of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., a special state agency in charge of city waterfront property. He says years were wasted chasing grand redevelopment projects, but now the strategy is more homegrown.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 11:10 am
Throughout the week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., NPR digital journalists asked delegates, politicians and other attendees to react to the statement: "Why I'm a Republican." Here are some of those responses. (And here's what we heard from Democrats in Charlotte.)
Lawyers for 270 miners in South Africa are threatening legal action if their clients are not released from prison today. The mine workers were charged with murdering their own colleagues after police opened fire on a crowd of about 3,000 striking workers two weeks ago, killing 34 people.
NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells us the government charged the miners with murder using an obscure legal doctrine employed by the apartheid government.
Blindsided is what North Carolina Republicans felt four years ago when President Obama won the state, though by the slightest of margins — a mere 14,177 votes out of 4.3 million cast.
Republicans admit they had taken as a given a 2008 North Carolina victory by Sen. John McCain. And who could blame them? No Democratic presidential candidate had won the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
But as McCain learned to his grief, history isn't always destiny. Obama's campaign had an effective strategy to win the state, and did.