Africa
4:59 am
Wed August 1, 2012

As Islamists Gain, Mali's Tradition Under Threat

A soldier wears a button bearing the image of coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo with the words 'President, CNRDRE,' the French acronym of the ruling junta, as he stands guard at junta headquarters in Kati, outside Bamako, Mali.
Rebecca Blackwell AP

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 7:31 am

Hard-line Islamists in northern Mali stoned a reportedly unmarried couple to death for adultery last Sunday. Analysts worry this is growing evidence of the rebel fighters' avowed intention to impose strict Islamic law in the vast territory under their control.

Another version of the story put about by an al-Qaida-linked militant group is that the couple was married but engaging in extramarital affairs.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:56 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Under Health Law, 'No-Cost' Birth Control Starts Today

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joins Democratic senators at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to announce new preventive health coverage for women that takes effect Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 7:31 am

Beginning today, most new and renewing health insurance plans must begin offering a broad array of women's preventive health services, most notably coverage of birth control, at no upfront cost.

But even as they take effect, the new rules remain the subject of legal challenges.

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Dead Stop
4:56 am
Wed August 1, 2012

The Ghostly Grandeur Of A Desert Graveyard

A couple celebrates Dia de los Muertos at the Concordia Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.
Stacy Kendrick Concordia Cemetery

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 7:31 am

It's a raggedy moonscape; no lush green grass or tranquil arbors here. Concordia Cemetery in El Paso, Texas, just a few blocks from the Mexican border, is stark and dusty. It's overrun with crumbling concrete markers and old wooden crosses gone askew. And it goes on ... and on ... and on.

"It's 52 acres," says Bernie Sargent, chair of the El Paso County Historical Commission. "Sixty thousand people buried here. And they're all dead."

The Grave Of A Wild West Legend

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Remembrances
4:38 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Gore Vidal, American Writer And Cultural Critic, Dies

Author Gore Vidal in 1986. Vidal, whose prolific writing career spanned six decades, died Tuesday at age 86.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 7:31 am

Gore Vidal came from a generation of novelists whose fiction gave them a political platform. Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York City; Kurt Vonnegut became an anti-war spokesman. And Vidal was an all-around critic. His novels sometimes infuriated readers with unflattering portraits of American history.

He also wrote essays and screenplays, and his play The Best Man currently has a revival on Broadway.

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Madhulika Sikka is Executive Editor for NPR News, a role she joined in January 2013. As Executive Editor, Sikka oversees all desks and reporters, and helps set the agenda for the entire News division.

The Two-Way
6:39 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

From Our Readers: Lunchbox Lessons From Mom And Dad

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 6:40 am

We asked readers whether their childhood bedtime routine included an educational activity like "Bedtime Math." We also wanted to know whether parents out there have implemented something similar for their kids.

Readers shared stories about parents who carved out teachable moments —whether before bed, in the car on the way to school, or at the breakfast table.

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The Torch
6:17 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Fed Up (As Usual) With NBC? Check Out The View From London On The BBC

On its website, NBC reported the U.S. women's gymnastics team's gold medal Tuesday. But if you were watching on American TV, you had to wait until prime time to see the competition.
NBC

'Morning Edition' executive producer Madhulika Sikka is back in her native Britain on vacation. And in contrast to what she's hearing from her American friends, the viewing choices there for the Olympics are staggering, she says.

The 2012 Summer Olympics are in full swing. And there is one gold medal America wins without fail, every four years. It's for the sport of complaining about NBC's tape-delayed coverage of the Olympic Games.

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The Two-Way
5:58 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

BP Posts $1.4 Billion Loss, Surprising The Market

The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch says today's earning report shows that BP, the British oil giant, is still "struggling to make things right."

BP posted a $1.4 billion loss for the second quarter of the year. The main reason for the loss is that BP took a $4.8 billion writedown — in other words it reassessed some of its assets and decided that they were worth less than the company thought.

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The Two-Way
5:20 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Fannie, Freddie Regulator Holds Firm Against Mortgage Write-Downs

Many experts say reducing mortgage principal can help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. But the regulator who oversees two of the nation's largest mortgage holders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has rejected the idea.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

A federal regulator is blocking the government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from reducing the principal that homeowners owe on their mortgages in order to avoid foreclosures.

Tuesday's decision came from Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

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A former NPR Moscow bureau chief, Michele Kelemen now covers the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

In her latest beat, Kelemen has been traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton before him, tracking the Obama administration's broad foreign policy agenda from Asia to the Middle East. She also followed President Bush's Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and was part of the NPR team that won the 2007 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of the war in Iraq.

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