A queen of comedy has died. Phyllis Diller had audiences in stitches for more than five decades with her outlandish get-ups and rapid-fire one-liners. She died at her home, where she had been in hospice care after a fall. She was 95.
Diller was glamorously outrageous — or at least the character she created was glamorously outrageous, the one who wore wigs that made her look like she had her finger in an electrical outlet, who wore gaudy sequined outfits. She was known for her laugh and those nasty jokes about her dimwitted husband, "Fang."
Oswaldo Paya, who challenged Cuba's communist regime for decades, died in a car crash on July 22. A Spanish man who was driving Paya has been charged with the equivalent of vehicular manslaughter. Here, a nun holds a portrait of Paya during his funeral in Havana.
Credit Franklin Reyes / AP
Ofelia Acevedo (right), the widow of Oswaldo Paya, and her daughter Rosa Maria Paya hold a news conference in Havana earlier this month. Acevedo says she doesn't believe her husband's death was an accident.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 3:07 pm
Since GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, seems all we've been hearing about is Medicare and its future.
No surprise, of course: Ryan is the author of the GOP budget plan that would dramatically remake how the health care insurance program for seniors is managed and funded. He also calls for big changes to Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor, including elderly Americans who have exhausted their means.
More people are getting their exercise by walking, according to a new study by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The health benefits are clear: Walkers generally have a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. If walking is your form of exercise, why does it work for you?
Syria's civil war erupted again on Monday, just one day after the U.N. ended its monitoring mission in the country. Reporter Jon Lee Anderson joins NPR's John Donvan to discuss the different factions that are rising up amid the current confusion.
In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent describes incidences of clubs, offices and public spaces posing obstacles for him and his wheelchair. He joins NPR's John Donvan to discuss the places where those in wheelchairs still don't feel welcome.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder has focused attention on the shame that sometimes accompanies mental health diagnoses in the African-American community. Psychiatrist William Lawson joins NPR's John Donvan to discuss why such a stigma exists.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:02 am
No one said it would be easy to sell kids on quinoa and kale, but an invitation to the White House's first Kids State Dinner today, complete with fresh fruit topiaries and balloon animals, turned out to be just the ticket for some.
Changes in the health insurance industry are at the top of NPR's business news.
The giant insurance company Aetna plans to get a little bigger. It's buying Coventry Health Care for more than $5.5 billion. Now, if you want to know why, consider the changing landscape in which Aetna does business. Medicaid is expanding under President Obama's health care law, Medicare is expanding as Americans grow older, and those government-run plans include many opportunities for private insurance companies.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 7:20 pm
Saying that the comments "don't make sense to the American people" and were "way out there," President Obama just weighed in on the controversial remarks made over the weekend by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who said in a television interview that "if it's a legitimate rape," it's rare for a woman to get pregnant and therefore want an abortion.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 1:14 pm
In China, it's the height of the tourist season for Qingdao's famed beaches. But while many of the town's visitors want to enjoy the sand and water, they're not so wild about sunbathing. So they often resort to a local tradition: the face-kini, a sort of light cloth version of a ski mask.
When comedian Mike Birbiglia opened his one-man show Sleepwalk With Me in 2008 at the Bleecker Street Theatre in New York, he didn't anticipate that it would become material for a popular piece on This American Life and a New York Times best-seller. He especially didn't think it would turn into a feature film.
Birbigilia had never made a film before. And he was initially hesitant to make one about his dangerous sleepwalking condition, because he wanted to distance himself from the topic he had been immersed in for more than four years.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 11:02 am
Getting into Syria has been a journalistic obsession since anti-regime protests began there in March 2011. The choices have been risky or next to impossible. The Syrian regime has given out few journalists' visas (full disclosure, I got a legal visa to Syria in June).
Before coming to Austin College, I hosted some bake sales and donated the proceeds to make a difference. Only after joining the student-led Service Station did I realize: To serve others, all I need is my heart.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 11:06 am
Breaking news from The Associated Press about a historic day for one of the nation's most historic sporting venues:
"For the first time in its 80-year history, Augusta National Golf Club has female members.
"The home of the Masters has invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October. Both women have accepted."
With a few months left before the presidential election, voter ID laws are in limbo in a number of states. Critics say the laws disenfranchise eligible voters, supporters say they prevent voter fraud. Guest host Viviana Hurtado discusses the court challenges and national implications with NPR's Corey Dade and Pennsylvania activist Bob Previdi.
"Hundreds of Pakistani Christians are hiding out at a priest's compound, praying for the safety of an 11-year-old member of their community" who is in police custody, NPR's Lauren Freyer reports from Islamabad. The Christians also fear their own safety.
As Dames Gone Wild, we are traveling the U.S. doing volunteer work after leaving jobs that no longer fulfilled us. In our 50s and 60s, we had the courage to leave our home, St. Petersburg, Fla., in June and we are on our fifteenth stop — Burlington, Vt. — of 33 cities during our Summer Service Adventure.
In Romania, a country with many abandoned children, Florin Grosuleac (right) has taken care of more than 60 boys over the past 13 years in his small apartment in Bucharest. Three of the boys currently living with him are (left to right) Emanuel, Dragos and Samuel.
Credit Meghan Collins Sullivan for NPR
Many Romanian kids who grow up in orphanages lack life skills when they leave the institutions at age 18. At Grosuleac's home, boys go to school, get jobs and do household chores. Here, Emanuel prepares a rice dish for dinner.
Credit Meghan Collins Sullivan for NPR
A collage of photos of some of the boys Grosuleac has raised.
Spray-painted graffiti covers the gray, communist-era concrete building housing a cramped two-bedroom apartment that's home to seven boys and their "dad."
They are among more than 60 boys who have grown up here, in the Berceni section of Bucharest, Romania, under the tutelage of 45-year-old Florin Grosuleac. Known as Good Shepherd, the single-apartment home was founded by Grosuleac 13 years ago and is one of a handful of private houses for abandoned boys across the city.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson speaks with David Greene on 'Morning Edition'
The killing Sunday in Afghanistan of an American soldier in what officials say was the latest in a series of "green on blue" attacks by Afghans in uniform against coalition personnel was the 10th in just the past two weeks.