NPR's Back Seat Book Club
3:23 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Kids' Book Club Takes 'Tollbooth' To Lands Beyond

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:14 am

Welcome to the second installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! Every month, we invite kids to read a book along with us, and then send in their questions for the author.

Our book club selection for November is a classic that's celebrating a big anniversary. The Phantom Tollbooth — written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer — was published 50 years ago. Juster tells NPR's Michele Norris that the story sprang from his own childhood.

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Joseph Shapiro is a NPR News Investigations correspondent.

In this role, Shapiro takes on long-term reporting projects and covers breaking news stories for NPR's news shows.

Shapiro's major investigative stories include his reports on the failure of colleges and universities to punish for on-campus sexual assaults; the inadequacy of civil rights laws designed to get the elderly and people with disabilities out of nursing homes, and the little-known profits involved in the production of medical products from donated human cadavers.

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Obama Pushes Payroll Tax Cut

President Obama is ramping up his campaign for continuation of a payroll tax cut, which only affects the first $106,000 in individual income. Republicans object, in part because they don't even consider it a tax since the money goes to the Social Security Trust Fund. Democrats see it a progressive tax cut. "Spreading the wealth" is a theme Obama campaigned on four years ago.

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Will Sanctions Help Syrians?

A package of tough new economic sanctions imposed this week by the Arab League is another blow to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But will international pressure really help the people of Syria? Melissa Block talks with Kimberly Ann Elliott, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Elliott co-authored a case study on sanctions against Syria that was published by the Peterson Institute.

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Romney Picks Up Key Endorsements In Florida

Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney campaigned in Florida Tuesday — and picked up a few endorsements from Cuban-American lawmakers.

The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Book Award Winner's Tale Echoes Those Told By Other Vietnamese Refugees

Thanhha Lai.
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Thanhha Lai was 10 years old the day in 1975 that North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon and fear spread through the city on rumors that Communist troops were about to begin a massacre. Lai recalls fleeing with her eight older siblings and her mother to the nearby port and boarding a crowded South Vietnamese Navy ship that then headed to sea.

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Hard Times: A Journey Across America
2:59 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Hard Times Inspire Ky. College Students To Action

Sophomore Emily Nugent is among Berea College's 1,600 students who receive free tuition. On average, Berea's students come from families with household incomes of about $25,000.
Noah Adams NPR

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 8:22 pm

Part of a monthlong series

NPR's Hard Times series features stories of economic hardship and also stories of hope. We asked for ideas from listeners, and Emily Nugent of Berea College in Kentucky responded, writing: "With a student body composed entirely of students from low socio-economic backgrounds, Berea students know about the challenges Americans are facing." Noah Adams went in search of Emily and the Berea College story.

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Environment
2:51 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

What Will Become Of The Kyoto Climate Treaty?

Key provisions of the Kyoto Protocol expire in December of 2012, and experts say there's no real global framework in place to replace the treaty that was supposed to be the first step toward ambitious actions on climate change. Above, a coal-fired power plant in eastern China. China is now the leading carbon dioxide emitter in the world.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 2:45 pm

As diplomats from around the world gather in Durban, South Africa, for talks about climate change, a big question looms: What will become of the Kyoto climate treaty, which was negotiated with much fanfare in 1997. The treaty was supposed to be a first step toward much more ambitious actions on climate change, but it is now on the brink of fading into irrelevance. That could have major implications for the future of United Nations climate talks.

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The Two-Way
2:49 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Accident Spill, Or How 'You Set Out With Marmite And End Up With A Jam'

Michele Kayal for NPR

Twitter already beat us to all the good puns, including the one in the headline. But, yes, it is true, you will either love or hate this news story from England: A tanker carrying 20 tons of yeast extract — the main ingredient in the loved-or-reviled Marmite — was involved in a late night accident, yesterday, spilling its contents and shutting down the M1, which connects London to the northern part of England.

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The Salt
1:34 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Nestle To Investigate Child Labor On Its Cocoa Farms

A worker shovels cocoa beans drying in the sun for export, in Guiglo in western Ivory Coast.
Ben Curtis ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 2:40 pm

Politicians and food executives have been talking about ending the problem of child labor in the West African cocoa industry for the last decade. After shocking revelations that hundreds of thousands of children were forced to harvest cacao beans under abusive conditions, companies pledged to address the practice as "fair trade" entered their lexicon.

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