2:42am

Fri April 27, 2012
Europe

Showdown Looms Over Europe's Largest Shantytown

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 10:24 pm

Residents of Cañada Real stand near recently demolished shacks on March 5. The settlement is separated into different sections and tends to be segregated by ethnic groups: Roma in one section, Arabs in another, for example.
Susana Vera Reuters /Landov

Europe's largest illegal settlement lies on the edge of Madrid. As the Spanish capital has grown, the city's limits have moved ever closer to the shantytown known as Cañada Real, a sprawling tangle of tents and cement houses. And as the economy has tanked, a growing number of people are calling it home.

Now the city is eyeing the property for possible development.

The roads in Cañada Real are unpaved. Houses are made of corrugated metal or cement. Some lots are just piles of garbage.

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7:07pm

Thu April 26, 2012
It's All Politics

The Wisconsin Recall That Nobody's Talking About

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:10 pm

In this photo taken in November 2010, Lt. Gov.-elect Rebecca Kleefisch speaks to supporters in Pewaukee, Wis.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

If the job of the vice president is, as John Adams so famously put it, "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived," what must it be like to be lieutenant governor?

And, to go a step further, what about a lieutenant governor facing recall?

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6:56pm

Thu April 26, 2012
The Two-Way

With Violence Unabated, France Says Next Step For Syria Should Be Military

As the United Nations chief announced that the Syrian government was "in contravention" of an international peace agreement, France took a tougher stance.

The French foreign minister said that if the peace plan fails, the U.N. Security Council should consider a military option.

The AP reports:

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6:45pm

Thu April 26, 2012
It's All Politics

Gingrich And The Secret Service: Who Calls For Protection To End?

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 11:24 am

Newt Gingrich signs an autograph for supporter Jeff Legg as members of the Secret Service look on at Delmarva Christian High School in Georgetown, Del., on April 18.
Patrick Semansky AP

Newt Gingrich's Secret Service protection is ending Thursday night, NBC news is reporting.

As WNYC's Anna Sale was reporting earlier, a conservative taxpayers group had called on Gingrich to give up his taxpayer-funded protection.

Here's the original post:

Newt Gingrich is ending his presidential campaign, but not until next week. And he still has Secret Service protection despite calls from a conservative taxpayers group to give it up.

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6:20pm

Thu April 26, 2012
The Two-Way

More Pain In Spain As Economy Goes Down The Drain

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 6:40 am

There was more bad news for Europe's attempt to rebuild its economy: Standard & Poor announced Thursday that it was downgrading Spain's long-term sovereign credit rating by two notches – from "A" to "BBB+." The agency also lowered Spain's short-term sovereign credit rating to "A-2" from "A-1," and said the outlook on the long-term rating is negative.

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6:03pm

Thu April 26, 2012
The Two-Way

If 'War And Peace' Was Less Than Exciting, Try A Union Between Dull And Boring

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

Don't expect fireworks for this union: The city of Boring, Oregon and Dull, Scotland will become sister cities.

City leaders hope the union of two dim names will result in a blockbuster tourism campaign.

The Oregonian reports that the idea of becoming twin cities came after Elizabeth Leighton stumbled upon Boring and couldn't "wait to tell all her Dull friends."

The paper adds:

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Kate Wells is an award-winning reporter who covers politics, education, public policy and just about everything in between for Iowa Public Radio, and is based in Cedar Rapids. Her work has aired on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. She's also contributed coverage to WNYC in New York, Harvest Public Media, Austin Public Radio (KUT) and the Texas Tribune. Winner of the 2012 regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award and NBNA Eric Sevareid Award for investigative reporting, Kate came to Iowa Public Radio in 2010 from New England. Previously, she was a news intern for New Hampshire Public Radio.

Kate graduated with honors from Principia College in 2010, where she studied comparative religion and political science.

5:54pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Election 2012

In Battleground Iowa, Even Office Space Up For Grabs

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

President Obama arrives to speak at the University of Iowa in Iowa City on Wednesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

In Iowa, President Obama's re-election campaign is already in gear, with staff and volunteers on the ground.

The Obama campaign hopes its head start over the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney — who until recently had been focused on fending off GOP opponents — will make the difference in November in this swing state.

The Obama campaign headquarters in Des Moines is a former Blockbuster Video store, where this week a couple of dozen 20-somethings tapped away at laptops, painted signs by hand and worked the phones.

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5:48pm

Thu April 26, 2012
It's All Politics

Biden Foreign-Policy Counterattack On Romney Highlights GOP Challenge

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 4:24 pm

Vice President Joe Biden, March 2012.
Madalyn Ruggiero AP

Foreign policy isn't expected to pave the path to the White House in 2012 though, of course, that could all change in a literal flash.

Still, a president seeking re-election against a backdrop of a lackluster economy would be remiss if he didn't stress his unique role as the nation's top policymaker in the international relations arena and the military's commander-in-chief.

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5:30pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Digital Life

What We Have Here: A Failure To Communicate

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:45 am

Commuters immersed in their smartphones ride the subway in Beijing.
Nelson Ching Bloomberg via Getty Images

It is the weirdest thing. There are more ways than ever to communicate with people, yet it sometimes seems like it is more difficult to connect — and stay connected — with anyone.

Should you shoot off an email? Tap out a text? Post a private message on Facebook? Write on their Facebook wall? Skype, poke, ping or conjure them up on a digital tin can phone?

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