Alain de Botton is the author of Religion for Atheists.
A survey published in the U.K. in January predicted that within 20 years, the majority of the British population will define themselves as having no religion. In the British isles, religion has become something of a sideshow, even a joke. Remember that this is the land that gave us The Life of Brian. Even the BBC has caught on with a satirical series called Rev., about a hapless comedic clergyman who has no faith but has a strong inclination to be good.
Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 3:31 pm
Some of the documents seized last May after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan show that the al-Qaida leader "boldly commanded his network to organize special cells in Afghanistan and Pakistan to attack the aircraft of President Barack Obama and Gen.
Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student "accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in a case that exploded into the headlines when the victim of the snooping committed suicide" in September, 2010, The Associated Press writes.
The 20-year-old "could face 10 years in prison when he's sentenced," the AP adds.
Is the battle for the GOP presidential nomination about history? Or is it about math? Santorum may be getting big headlines with his primary wins, but it's Romney who is advancing further to the magic 1,144 number. And more defeats mean more pressure on Gingrich to pull out. Plus: a tribute to the late Peter Bergman of Firesign Theater. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin have the latest in this week's political roundup.
Scientists on the trail of "pine nut mouth," a nasty metallic aftertaste that some people get after eating the tender little nuts, have been stumped in their latest effort to zero in on the cause of the mysterious affliction.
Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 2:03 pm
Two Senate Democrats want the Justice Department to share more details about how it interprets a key provision of the Patriot Act. The lawmakers say the public has a right to know about a sensitive intelligence gathering program.
So Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Colorado Democrat Mark Udall have sent a letter of complaint to the attorney general. The senators say people would be stunned to know how the government is going about getting business records and other information under the U.S. Patriot Act.
The student government at the University of California, Irvine voted Thursday night to call for the resignation of Dr. Hazem Chehabi, who is the chairman of its school's foundation. He also serves as the Syrian consul general in California. He is a personal friend of Syria's dictator Bashar Assad.
If you're trying to determine whether the ground chuck you buy in the grocery store contains so-called pink slime, or lean beef trimmings, you won't find it on the ingredient list. "It's not required to be labeled," explains Don Schaffner, a food scientist at Rutgers University.
Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 10:43 am
If you had defending national champions Connecticut making it out of the first round in your NCAA men's basketball championship bracket, we're sorry to say that the Huskies lost on Thursday to Iowa State by a score of 77-64.
It's not a huge upset, since Iowa State was seeded No. 8 in the South region and Connecticut was seeded No. 9. But still, it's a quick exit for last year's top team.
Rowan Williams, who as archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader for more than 70 million Anglicans around the world, announced today that he will step down at the end of the year to become Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University.
Jiro Ono, 85, owns a small sushi restaurant in a Tokyo subway station. The 10 seats at the sushi bar require reservations months in advance. In the new movie, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, director David Gelb explores the chef's relationships with his sons and the art of sushi-making. Gelb talks to Renee Montagne about Ono's story.
The Department of Agriculture has announced it would give schools the choice to order ground beef that does not contain Pink Slime — otherwise known as lean beef trimmings. But beef trimmings aren't just found in school lunches.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
We're learning more about the American staff sergeant accused of killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan. Last night, his lawyer said the soldier did not want to go to Afghanistan, his fourth deployment for the Army. He had been wounded twice and he didn't think he was healthy enough to deploy. The attorney didn't release the soldier's name, but did say he was the father of two young children and added that the soldier's family was totally shocked by the allegations against him.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne with Steve Inskeep.
The heirs to one Latin America's biggest media conglomerates, a brother and a sister, spent years with their real identities in question. They've long been thought to be part of a group of children stolen from their birth parents more than 30 years ago. That was during Argentina's Dirty War, the terror campaign waged by the military junta then ruling Argentina against members of the opposition.
Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:14 am
The United Nations estimates some 8,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began one year ago. One of them was Abdulrahman Abu Lebdeh, 24, who was killed in the town of Tal Kalakh last fall. His parents, his brother and one of his friends, who was also an activist, told the story of his life and death to NPR's Kelly McEvers and Lava Selo.