Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 8:10 am
Allegations that Wal-Mart officials in Mexico paid local authorities to speed up permits to build new stores could result in a trial and a huge financial penalty under a U.S. anti-corruption law. But legal experts who spoke to NPR have their doubts it will ever come to that.
Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 2:42 pm
Making a living practicing medicine is more complicated and frustrating than ever. But it still pays. And pretty well.
A survey of more than 24,000 doctors conducted online for Medscape, a doctor-oriented information service of WebMD, finds that their average annual pay ranges from $156,000 for pediatricians, the lowest-paid specialty, to $315,000 for the top earners.
Members of a civil war amputee soccer team practice on a beach in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, in April 2006. Rebel groups, allegedly aided by former Liberian President Charles Taylor during Sierra Leone's brutal 1991-2002 civil war, were known for their gruesome practice of hacking off limbs.
Credit Ben Curtis / AP
Liberian President Charles Taylor, shown here in the capital Monrovia in 2003, is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity — including murder, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers — in neighboring Sierra Leone. A verdict is expected Thursday.
A court in the Netherlands is set to deliver a verdict Thursday in a case involving a former head of state charged with international war crimes.
Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, is on trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, Netherlands. He is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity — including murder, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers — in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Tens of thousands died during Sierra Leone's vicious civil war, one that was infamous for the brutal hacking off of limbs.
As I write this, it's about 1 a.m. in Nepal and, according to National Geographic magazine's iPad app, a group of climbers is camped on the side of Mount Everest, possibly sleeping (though we can't be totally sure), at nearly 21,000 feet. They expect to make a final summit push in early May.
Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 1:17 pm
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed is ready to implement "balance sheet actions if necessary."
That means if the Federal Open Market Committee feels that the economic recovery is in danger, it is ready to implement a third round of quantitative easing, or bond purchases intended to bring down long-term interest rates and spur borrowing and spending.
"If appropriate... we remain entirely prepared to take additional action," the chairman said. "We will not hesitate to use them."
Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 3:17 pm
At airports, train stations and other public places across the nation, the Department of Homeland Security's "See Something, Say Something" campaign has encouraged people to report suspicious activity in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks. But a recent government survey found citizens are not jumping in to report others.
Mitt Romney swept all five primaries on Tuesday, solidifying his hold on the GOP presidential nomination. Newt Gingrich made a last stand in Delaware, but came up short and aides to the former House speaker say he plans to suspend his campaign soon and will likely endorse Romney.
Anders Breivik testified that he was sane during his shooting and bombing spree, but argues that he did not commit a crime. He hoped they would force Norway to change its policy on immigration. Peter Talos, a reporter for the Norwegian News Agency, talks about what this case has meant for Norway.
After years of cuts to public school budgets across the country, many districts are relying on parents to pay for classroom supplies, extracurricular activities and even teacher salaries. But some worry that uneven distribution of funds will widen disparities between schools and between districts.
SB 1070, the Arizona immigration law that requires local police to question and detain people suspected of being in the country illegally, has served as a model for similar legislation. Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune Supreme Court correspondent David Savage listened in on the arguments.
NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics including the Secret Service prostitution scandal, Harvey Weinstein's new movie Bully, and the process of smuggling immigrants over the border.
A group of women's rights activists are descending on Facebook's New York offices, today, to deliver what it says is an online petition from 53,000 people that demands Facebook add a woman to its board of directors before the company goes public.
In its petition, UltraViolet says that 58 percent of Facebook users are women, yet "despite the fact that women are responsible for most of Facebook's revenue and activity there currently is not a single woman on their board."
The early analyses of this morning's Supreme Court hearing on parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law are in, and the consensus is that the majority of justices will likely uphold the state's effort to reduce the number of people within its borders who may be there illegally.
After its economy shrunk by 0.2 percent in the first three months of the year, Britain was officially dragged backed into recession. As the AP reports, " two consecutive quarters of negative growth are required for a country to be officially deemed to be in recession."
What does this mean? It depends on which economist you talk to.
For the past eight seasons, actor Hugh Laurie has played Dr. Gregory House on the Fox medical series House. House is brash, narcissistic, unsympathetic, addicted to painkillers, confrontational — and 100 percent American.
Laurie is none of those things.
"I am not playing House today, so I am dressed as an Englishman and speaking as an Englishman," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm wearing a bowler hat and carrying a furled umbrella. It's nice to have a day every now and then off from the vocal exercises."
I, Claudius came to American television, imported from the BBC, in 1977 — the same year as another ambitious long-form production, ABC's Roots, which proved to everyone that miniseries were an exciting and extremely popular new form of television. I, Claudius, shown on the PBS series Masterpiece Theatre, didn't get anything close to the audience that Roots did — but it sure got a lot of attention.
There are big questions about Mitt Romney's ability to appeal to Latinos. Hispanic voters favor President Obama over Romney by more than two to one, according to a recent Pew poll. But not everyone is sure the president's lead will translate to votes. Host Michel Martin speaks with columnist Ruben Navarrette and Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino.
The two African countries have been clashing over a contested border region and oil, among other issues. Sudan has reportedly launched a series of aerial bombardments, in what South Sudan's president is calling an act of war. Host Michel Martin discusses the intensifying situation with Hannah McNeish, who's been covering the story for the AFP.
Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 3:20 pm
This week, Whole Foods, the upscale grocer, said it is eliminating 12 wild fish species from its seafood section as part of its commitment to ocean conservation. The fish, rated "red" by conservation groups that evaluate overfishing and other problems, include popular choices like Atlantic halibut, octopus, and some tuna.
Among the highlights so far today during Rupert Murdoch's testimony in London before an inquiry into the ethics of the British news media, and his News Corp. tabloids in particular, is this quote from the media mogul:
"I've never asked a prime minister for anything."
NPR's David Folkenflik, who is live-tweeting, and NPR's Philip Reeves, who has been filing radio reports, will have more as the inquiry continues.
Orders for equipment, appliances, aircraft and other so-called durable goods fell 4.2 percent in March from February, the Census Bureau reports.
It's the second decline in the past three months and the biggest monthly dip in three years. Much of the drop in March was due to a decline in orders for aircraft. "But companies also ordered less machinery and other equipment, a sign manufacturing output may slow," The Associated Press writes.
The basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest has been suspended for seven games for swinging his left elbow hard into the head of an opponent on Sunday.
Metta World Peace, as the Los Angeles Lakers forward is now known, will miss the team's last regular season game on Thursday. The Lakers then move into the playoffs, where each round is "best-of-seven." So he could miss most or all of the first round (if the Lakers extend that matchup beyond four games) and even a game or two in the second round (if the Lakers advance after just four or five games).
Back in 1934, veterans of World War I put up a memorial in the Mojave Desert, setting a cross on what's known as Sunrise Rock. Private citizens have always maintained the cross even though it was on federal land. But the memorial has sparked debate for years. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Park Service will give the property to Henry and Wanda Sandoz in exchange for land they own elsewhere.
Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 9:01 am
A few of the latest developments in the so-called Secret Service scandal, which involves alleged cavorting with prostitutes by agents and U.S. military personnel in Cartagena, Colombia, earlier this month: