For nearly three weeks, the benches at the back of a federal courtroom in Minneapolis were filled with local Somalis. The man on trial, Mahamud Said Omar, was accused of conspiring to help a terrorist group recruit some two dozen young Minnesota men to fight a holy war in Somalia.
It took a federal jury just eight hours to convict him of all of the five terrorism charges leveled against him, but the verdict is only the beginning for the Somali community in the Twin Cities.
That's certainly the thinking of the Ukrainian feminist movement Femen, best known for its bare-breasted protests in its home country. Now it has brought its self-described "sextremism" to Paris, opening its first international training camp and wasting no time attracting new recruits, causes and attention.
On a recent sunny morning, seven young women stride purposefully toward the stone facade of France's Justice Ministry. Suddenly they throw their coats to the ground. Slogans are painted across their bare bosoms; garlands decorate their hair.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:54 pm
After President Obama's self-described somnolent first debate performance, his female supporters lit up social media and tagged the campaign with complaints about his failure to talk about their issues, from pay equity to health and reproductive rights.
He's been playing catch-up ever since, focusing on shoring up his party's two-decade-long domination with female voters who are key to Obama's hold on the White House.
In Colorado, the presidential race is a statistical dead heat. The state went heavily for candidate Barack Obama in 2008 — but the president is now facing fierce headwinds.
Obama won last time by 9 points, an astounding margin in a state that hadn't gone Democratic since 1992. One Democratic strategist calls 2008 a one-time case of "irrational exuberance," especially among Colorado's large contingent of swing voters.
Tonight in Austin, Livestrong, the cancer organization founded by Lance Armstrong, is holding its 15th anniversary gala and Armstrong is scheduled to speak at the event. But it's been a bad stretch for the champion cyclist. In the face of a scathing report linking him to doping, he stepped down as chairman of Livestrong and he lost major sponsors, including Nike.
A federal appeals court ruling on Thursday has catapulted a New York case to the head of the line, as the Supreme Court considers which of many cases it should use to decide whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional.
By now, it's no surprise that most Latinos plan to vote for President Obama. They are the nation's largest minority group, often likened to a sleeping giant that could decide the outcome in key swing states.
But will enough Latinos show up on Election Day to make good on the prediction?
As many as 60,000 Hispanics reach voting age every month, but Latinos overall have yet to bring their full force to the voting booth. Two-thirds of eligible whites and African-Americans voted in the 2008 presidential election, while barely half of Hispanics cast ballots.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm
The spread of formal jazz education has created a new breed of global musician: one who uses improvisation, and other devices associated with jazz, to transform folk and traditional music. The Albanian singer Elina Duni is part of this rising class. Her latest release, Matane Malit ("Beyond the Mountain"), offers a transfixing balance of old and new.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 3:11 pm
As Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois was courting controversy last night by saying during a debate that the "health of the mother" isn't a reason for an abortion anymore, out in Arizona a Democratic candidate for Senate was stepping in it by telling a male debate moderator that "you're prettier" than CNN's Candy Crowley.
The story so far: A panel of economists from across the political spectrum came up with a presidential platform they could all support. It was a platform that would doom any real candidate. So we created a fake one.
We tested out one of our key ideas — eliminating the mortgage-interest tax deduction — on a focus group. They hated it.
Presidential debate No. 2 is in the books, and the consensus is that — unlike debate No. 1 — President Obama came prepared for battle. For all the talk about "binders full of women," and what was said when after the events in Benghazi, Libya, Obama and Mitt Romney both made their cases. Now, they prepare for the third and final debate on Monday. We also bid farewell to former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter.
Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for the latest political roundup.
"How long can this situation continue? I mean in Bosnia, now we have Ban Ki-moon [the UN secretary general] apologizing 20 years after. Who will apologise for Syria in 20 years' time? How can we stay idle?"
Earlier this year, Twitter announced a new device and a policy of weeding out and removing offensive content from its site if a foreign government requested it.
Thursday, the company tweeted that it's done so for the first time — blocking a neo-Nazi group's account in Germany. Today, Twitter withheld another account — this one in Britain, belonging to a right-wing member of the European Parliament who tweeted support for discrimination against gays. Government officials are investigating both cases.
It's not just nutritionists who have a problem with sugar these days, so does organized labor. The AFL-CIO is calling for a boycott of one the country's biggest sugar producers, the American Crystal Sugar Company, based in Moorhead, Minn.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:43 pm
During a televised debate Thursday on Chicago's WTTW, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) reiterated his opposition to abortion in any circumstance. It's similar to the Republican Party's national platform, which doesn't have any exceptions for abortion in the case of rape or incest. Walsh is taking it a step further — banning abortion to save the life of the mother.
President Obama and Governor Romney have discussed the middle class a great deal during the debates, but the candidates haven't spent nearly as much time talking about the poor. To get a read on the state of poverty in America, host Michel Martin talks with Irwin Redlener, of the Children's Health Fund and Timothy Noah, a columnist for The New Republic.