NPR News

Shirin Jaafari

Alireza Taghdarreh never forgets the first time he heard about Henry David Thoreau.

It was back in 1982, in Iran.

"I [heard it] on a $1 pocket radio. ... It said 'the man who goes alone can start today but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready,'" he recalls.

His reaction to the words could be described as love at first sound.

They sounded just like lines from the beloved Iranian poets his grandfather constantly recited to him.

And so he set out on a journey. He wanted to learn as much as he could about Thoreau.

Natalie Roberts

In Yemen, even a simple road journey can be risky.

"The roads are targeted. Cars are often hit," says British Dr. Natalie Roberts. "Every few hundred meters you see another burned out vehicle; every bridge on the road has been bombed out". 

James Giahyue/Reuters

An experimental Ebola vaccine that was tested in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak has shown extremely promising results.

According to a report published in British medical journal The Lancet today, a trial with about 7000 patients indicated the vaccine “might be highly efficacious and safe in preventing Ebola.”

Courtesy of the Knight Foundation

Bad news for journalists in Latin America. There's been an increase in the number of violent attacks against reporters throughout the region. A recent report by the watchdog group Freedom House points out that government harassment of reporters is also up in many Latin American countries.

One country in particular tops the list as one of the most dangerous places for journalists today: Mexico.

The Plan To Give Pell Grants To Prisoners

22 hours ago

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a rare joint appearance on Friday — in prison.

They visited a state-run facility in Jessup, Md., to announce a new plan meant to help some of the 700,000 inmates who are released each year.

It's a pilot program to give prisoners access to federal Pell Grants that would pay for college classes behind bars.

"The cost-benefit of this does not take a math genius to figure out," Duncan said. "We lock folks up here, $35-40,000 every single year. A Pell Grant is less than $6,000 each year."

What can the Indian Ocean plane wreckage tell us?

23 hours ago
Zinfos974/Prisca Bigot/Reuters

A fragment of a plane wing is on its way to Toulouse in France after being recovered from a beach on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion.

There is speculation that it may be from Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which vanished over the Indian Ocean in March 2014, more than 3000 miles from the beaches of Reunion.

In Toulouse, investigators will begin the identification process.

About a decade ago, the Chicago neighborhood where church leader and community activist Autry Phillips worked was consumed by gun violence.

“Looking at 40, upwards of 50 shootings a year,” Phillips says. “[The] community was in an uproar, and one of the things that clergy was trying to do was go out on corners and try to resolve problems that we knew nothing about, honestly. So when we met the doc, it was ... eye-opening for most of us.”  

Alan Cheuse, the novelist, teacher and longtime literary commentator for NPR, has died at the age of 75. His daughter, Sonya, confirmed that he died Friday of injuries sustained in a car accident in California two weeks ago.

"On behalf of the family, we are in deep grief at the loss of our beloved father, husband and grandfather," Sonya Cheuse told NPR. "He was the brightest light in our family. He will always remain in our hearts. We thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support."

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who was originally granted only a 20-day visa to visit Britain, will now receive the six-month visa he applied for. A spokesperson for the U.K. Home Office explains that the head of the department, Theresa May, was not consulted over the staff's decision to allow only a shorter stay.

"She has reviewed the case and has now instructed Home Office officials to issue a full six-month visa," the spokesperson says. "We have written to Mr. Ai apologizing for the inconvenience caused."

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

23 hours ago

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don't plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

"We've traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it's a very productive acre and a half," Eric Reuter says.