Take the press kit NASA prepared for the GRAIL mission. GRAIL consists of two nearly identical spacecraft that are on their way to the moon. Once there, they will make a precise map of the moon's gravitational field. Such a map will help scientists refine their theories about how the moon formed and what the interior is made of.
Six months ago, Michel Martelly was "Sweet Mickey" — a pop star known for his bald head and big parties. Now, he's the president of Haiti. He spent the last week in New York, mingling with world leaders and wooing new investors. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with President Martelly about his new job, and where billions of relief dollars have gone in the earthquake-stricken nation.
The AP is reporting that Diana Nyad, the 62-year-old endurance swimmer, has given up her attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. The cause? Painful man o' war stings, which medics warned her could be life-threatening. CNN says:
Nyad was pulled out of the water shortly after 11 a.m. following injuries sustained Saturday evening and strong cross-currents that were pushing her off course, her team Captain Mark Sollinger said. The 62-year-old swam more than 67 nautical miles — about two-thirds of the distance.
Saudi King Abdullah said Sunday women in his country will be allowed to vote for the first time ever in nationwide elections scheduled four years from now.
The king in a televised speech to his advisory council said women will be able to run as candidates and cast ballots in the next municipal elections scheduled for 2015. He also pledged to appoint women to his advisory council.
Syria's government is quashing protest online as well as in the streets. Host Audie Cornish talks to NPR's Deb Amos in Beirut to expand on what the success of the Syrian Electronic Army means for the momentum of the opposition protests and the state of play inside Syria.
The Palestinian push for statehood recognition has sparked fears of new violence in the West Bank. Neither Palestinians nor Israelis appear content with the security provided by their own governments, and "Neighborhood Security Watch" groups have been formed by both groups. While settlers are trained by the Israeli Defense Forces, Palestinians are forming teams to monitor, document and detain settlers they believe will seek out attacks. Sheera Frenkel reports.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry's campaign speeches often note that he's from Paint Creek, Texas, a place in the flat, dusty, west-central part of the state that's so small it's barely on the map. NPR National Political Correspondent Don Gonyea headed there this week, and along the way watched Perry's old high school play a football game.
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, a seasoned dealmaker in the Senate, announced his intention to step down from a key leadership role this week. It's prompted a question going around Washington: Are the best deal-brokers giving up? If so, what does that mean for the future of political compromise? Host Audie Cornish speaks with Rutgers University Political Science Professor Ross Baker, former Republican Utah Sen. Bob Bennett and former Democratic North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan.
Three years ago this month, chaos ruled in financial markets.
Huge financial companies, such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG were stumbling, and government officials were scrambling to prevent a global financial meltdown. They threw together bailouts and pushed weak companies to merge with stronger ones.
The central bankers, Treasury officials and lawmakers eventually did manage to reassure investors enough to restore order in the financial system. However, the aftershocks of the crisis are still being felt today.
When President Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he held up the example of South Sudan as the right way to join the world body — through a peace process and an independence vote.
"One year ago, when we met here in New York, the prospect of a successful referendum in South Sudan was in doubt," he said, "but the international community overcame old divisions to support the agreement that had been negotiated to give South Sudan self-determination."
As a middle-school student in the '80s, Lee Buono stayed after school one day to remove the brain and spinal cord from a frog. He did such a good job that his science teacher told him he might be a neurosurgeon someday.
That's exactly what Buono did.
Years later, a patient with a tumor came to see Buono. The growth was benign, but interfered with the patient's speech. "He can get some words out," Buono recalls, "but it's almost unintelligible. It's almost like someone's sewing your mouth closed."
You may have already heard of StoryCorps, the American oral history project on NPR. Two people sit down in a studio and talk, telling stories about their lives, and the people at StoryCorps record and archive the conversation.
StoryCorps is honing in on lessons about learning with a new project for the academic year, called the National Teachers Initiative. It'll feature conversations with teachers across the country — teachers talking to each other, students interviewing the teachers who changed their lives, and more.
A group of semi-nomadic Irish known as Irish travellers has been ordered to leave the former scrap yard east of London where they've been living.
The local government has been trying to evict most of the group since it started living on the land 10 years ago, an eviction that has long been delayed due to legal wrangling. But on Monday, a judge will finally rule on the plea of the travellers to remain on land that's been their home for a decade.
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad carry a giant flag with his image on it during a pro-regime protest in Damascus, Syria, in August. Pro-government forces are now taking their message to a new arena: cyberspace.
Struggling to put down a rebellion now in its seventh month, the Syrian government has turned the Internet into another battleground.
Sophisticated Web surveillance of the anti-government movement has led to arrests, while pro-government hackers use the Internet to attack activists and their cause. It appears to be part of a coordinated campaign by the embattled government.
Syria's leadership insists there is no uprising in the country. Syria's official news media reports that the unrest is a fabrication, part of an international plot.
Originally published on Sun September 25, 2011 1:58 am
Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain pulled off an upset Saturday in the Florida straw poll: He took 37 percent of the 2,657 votes cast, easily beating Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Perry came in second with 15 percent of the vote; and Romney took third, with 14 percent.
The economic news has been nothing but grim lately: weak expansion, sluggish consumer spending and unemployment holding steady at just over 9 percent.
Overseas, the picture isn't any rosier, with Greece expected to default on its debts — possibly followed by Portugal and Ireland — and the International Monetary Fund predicting a global economic slowdown.
So is the U.S. heading for a double-dip recession? Or are we there already? And what can we do about it?
Troy Davis was executed in Georgia on Wednesday night. He'd been convicted of killing an off-duty police officer 22 years ago in Savannah. Amnesty International's Laura Moye talks with weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about the campaign she led that transformed Davis from a nameless convict on death row to a household name.
Another government shutdown could be looming, the state of Georgia goes ahead with the controversial execution of Troy Davis and overseas, Vladimir Putin announces he's taking another run at the Russian presidency. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz and the Atlantic's James Fallows get behind the headlines of the week's biggest news.
Two years ago, the Obama Administration secretly authorized the sale of 55 deep-penetrating bombs — or bunker busters — to Israel. That's according to an investigation by Newsweek magazine. The bombs could potentially be used in Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with Eli Lake, the reporter who broke the story.
World stock markets tumbled this week amid fears about Europe's debt crisis, and the subject dominated the discussions at the fall meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund held this weekend.
Europe's sovereign debt problems, including the growing possibility of a default by Greece, have been festering now for more than a year. Investors in the financial markets are questioning the will and capacity of European governments to solve the problem. In the seminars and salons surrounding the meetings, financial heavyweights sounded the alarm.
The UN Security Council now has before it an application from the Palestinians to join the United Nations as a full member. The U.S. is promising to veto the bid as diplomats try to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the parties sound very far apart.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank took to the streets Friday night to celebrate their formal bid for statehood at the United Nations. Watching on large television screens set up in city squares, Palestinians reacted with joy at the uncharacteristically impassioned speech given by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. From Ramallah, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro talks with host Scott Simon.
It decides nothing, and may be totally meaningless, but like many other political events, the Florida straw poll gets a lot of attention from candidates and the media. This year, the poll is expected to draw 3,500 party activists to take part in Orlando, where NPR's Greg Allen reports from the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The trial of seven Italian scientists began this week. They are charged with manslaughter for failing to adequately warn the residents of L'Aquila, Italy, about the risk of an earthquake in 2009. Host Scott Simon speaks with Rick Aster, president of the Seismological Society of America, about the trial.