An employee sells products in a religious articles store in Havana, Cuba, in this file photo from January. After Cuban President Raul Castro authorized private businesses as part of economic reforms, Cubans are making their debut as small business owners.
Credit Adalberto Roque / AFP/Getty Images
The Perfect Play, a baseball-themed snack bar, is quickly becoming famous among fans of Havana's beloved team, the Industriales. On the menu: coffee, milkshakes and sandwiches such as "The Deadball" (tuna).
Since Cuba's communist government loosened its grip on the economy, thousands of small private businesses have sprung up.
It's a new frontier for budding capitalists, but competition is fierce and advertising is still tightly restricted.
Snack bars and food stalls are now all over Havana, but there aren't many as distinctive as Tio Tito, or Uncle Tito. The first thing you notice is the uniformed employees, scrambling to serve up Hawaiian pizzas and fruit drinks as music videos play on a monitor behind the counter.
Two of this week's most talked-about TV premieres have very similar settings: Pan Am, first airing on Sunday, is about attractive young women working as Pan Am flight attendants in the 1960s. The Playboy Club, which premiered Monday night, is about — well, attractive young women working as Playboy bunnies in the 1960s. Both shows are trying to imitate the success of another show set in the '60s: Mad Men.
Stacy Vasquez was discharged from the military under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Now that the ban has been lifted, she says she is applying to re-enter the military. Vasquez is seen here in 2010 with other former service members (from left) Anthony Woods, David Hall and Todd Belok.
The ban against gays serving openly in the military has been repealed. Starting Tuesday, gay service members cannot be discriminated against for their sexual identity. But the policy has affected the lives of thousands of people during the 18 years it was in place. NPR spoke with two of them: one who was discharged from the military under the law eight years ago; the other a gay Marine who has been keeping his sexual identity a secret for 14 years.
Former Wisconsin governor and Bush Cabinet secretary Tommy Thompson is laying the groundwork for a run at his state's open U.S. Senate seat. But as Thompson prepares for his return to politics, the one-time standard bearer for Wisconsin Republicans appears to be facing a conservative backlash.
Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 7:00 pm
Since Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh left for Saudi Arabia to seek medical treatment after an assassination attempt in June, things had been relatively quiet in Yemen. Saleh remained in power, but there were talks about a transition.
Surely, it's not an extinction that will cause many tears: This afternoon Department of Transportation crews ripped out the last single-space parking meter in Manhattan. You know, the kind of meter that sits atop poll and takes quarters.
More than 300 Syrian dissidents met near Damascus on Sunday, and afterward they held a news conference and called for more protests to oust President Bashar Assad's government. From left: Rajaa Nasser, Hussein Awdat, Hassan Abdul Azim, Saleh Mohammed and Samir Aita.
Credit Louai Beshara / AFP/Getty Images
Footage from a YouTube video shows what Syrian activists said was a protest against President Assad's government in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Friday.
Republican presidential candidates (from left) Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry cover their hearts during the playing of the national anthem before a Republican presidential debate on Sept. 12.
Wherever he goes, GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry proudly waves the flag of conservatism, often introducing himself with, "I simply want to get America working again and make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can."
But the Texas governor, a favorite of conservatives overall, is taking criticism for being too moderate when it comes to immigration. The reason: In 2001, his first full year in office, he signed legislation that grants in-state tuition rates at Texas colleges and universities to some illegal immigrants.
Specialists on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange watch President Obama's televised speech on debt reduction Monday. Obama wants to require investment fund managers to pay at least the same percentage in taxes as middle-income Americans.
Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 9:20 pm
If enacted, President Obama's deficit-reduction plan would increase tax revenues by about $1.5 trillion over the coming decade. The wealthiest taxpayers could see significantly higher taxes, but the vast majority of Americans would pay less, at least through 2012.
These are some of the groups that could see higher tax bills starting in 2013:
An online group of gamers has correctly deduced the structure of an enzyme that AIDS-like viruses use for reproduction. By playing the online-game Foldit, the group figured out the structure of an important viral protein that has baffled scientists for more than a decade.
Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 5:02 pm
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera earned his 602nd career save, today, making him the top closer in baseball history. In a drama-free, 1-2-3 inning, Rivera surpassed Trevor Hoffman as the new record holder for most saves.
The United States Justice Department expressed concern Monday about whether new Texas redistricting plans for four U.S. House seats comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects the interests of minority voters.
In a filing with a special three-judge court panel in Washington D.C., civil rights lawyers at Justice wrote that they doubted new boundaries for the House seats "maintain or increase the ability of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice."
Martin Rosenthal, a parent in Brookline, Mass., says he willingly pledges allegiance to the flag but has filed a measure that he says would protect public school students from being pressured into saying the pledge in their classrooms.
Credit Tovia Smith / NPR
Brookline parent Sandra Maloney is calling on other residents to hang flags outside to show support for keeping the Pledge of Allegiance in public school classrooms.
Deputies of the Pirate Party pose in the House of Representatives in Berlin today. Free wireless Internet and public transport; voting rights for over-14s are just some of the policies of the "Pirate Party."
Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 4:01 pm
Germany's state parliament now has representatives from a brand new political party that focuses heavily on Internet freedoms. The Pirate Party won 8.5 percent of the vote for the Berlin state parliament and ousted the Free Democrats, which is part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition.
"A painting considered beyond repair after being submerged in filthy floodwater when the Thames breached its banks in 1928 will be seen in something approaching its wild and lurid former glory on Tuesday when it goes on public display for the first time in a century," The Guardian writes.
President Obama's plan to cut the deficit doesn't exactly spare Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health programs. But he also doesn't propose the sweeping sorts of changes envisioned by House Republicans earlier this year.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this summer has been the second-hottest ever recorded in the United States, helping to push power demand in homes to record levels. As some worry that the growing use of fossil fuels to produce electricity for cooling is unsustainable, one man is urging Americans to live without air conditioning.
When I was a kid, I assumed that in the future things would get better and better until we were all driving flying cars and playing badminton with space aliens on top of 500-story buildings. Frankly, I kind of counted on this happening. But now I don't assume that we'll just keep going up anymore.