Columbus Day is a national holiday, celebrated with parades and songs. While most Americans know that Columbus sailed the ocean blue, many of the facts surrounding the voyage remain misunderstood. Guest host Tony Cox speaks with historian William Fowler to set the record straight on some of the popular myths surrounding Christopher Columbus and his voyage.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was one of three women who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. She is the first democratically elected female president on the African continent. While Johnson-Sirleaf enjoys broad global support, she faces growing criticism and a tough re-election campaign at home. Guest host Tony Cox speaks with foreign policy expert Emira Woods about the upcoming elections in Liberia and Johnson-Sirleaf's chances to hold onto power.
For the first time in history, whites no longer make up the single largest group of poor children in America. A new report from the Pew Hispanic Center shows that more than six million Hispanic children live in poverty. To learn more about what that means for the future of the Latino community and the nation, guest host Tony Cox speaks with Mark Lopez, co-author of the report and the associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center.
Child advocate Gary Stangler is the executive director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. He's hoping to use research about the incomplete brain development of e18-year olds to extend services for foster children up to age 21. He and guest host Tony Cox discuss how the emerging science about brain development may affect foster care. Also joining the conversation is Sixto Cancel, a college student who's been in and out of foster care since he was 11 months old.
Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don't reach full maturity until the age 25. Guest host Tony Cox discusses the research and its implications with Sandra Aamodt, neuroscientist and co-author of the book Welcome to Your Child's Brain.
Jonathan Wilson's new album is titled Gentle Spirit.
Record producer Jonathan Wilson recorded his new album Gentle Spirit during little slivers of time when the artists he was working with — among them songwriter Jackson Browne and the rock band Dawes — were on break. The project took him four years to finish, and it's the musical equivalent of a landscape painting.
Packages of DVDs await shipment at Netflix's headquarters in San Jose, Calif.
2011: Netflix Separates Its DVD, Streaming Business. Internet video streaming has become a priority for Netflix. As a result, it has raised prices by as much as 60 percent. Recently, the company announced it will break off its DVD mail service as Qwikster. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings apologized for the way the company communicated earlier price changes but not for the hike itself. I decided to simplify to just streaming and walk to Red Box for more recent DVDs. And if Netflix doesn't get more current releases quickly, I won't be streaming anymore either.
Credit Marty Lederhandler / AP
1985: The Coca-Cola Co. Replaces The Original Formula For Its Soft Drink. The consumer backlash was so great that Coke was forced to bring back its original recipe and brand it Coca-Cola Classic. Many people believe the change was a marketing ploy because the company made millions off changing back.
Credit Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine / AP
2006: Sesame Street Has Cookie Monster Eat Fruits And Vegetables. Sesame Street decided to start airing Healthy Habits For Life segments. Cookie Monster explained that his new philosophy was that cookies were "a sometimes food." PBS Viewer Services responded to viewers' concerns with an email saying the show had no plans get rid of Cookie Monster, and he would continue to obsess over the cookie, but would also eat fruits and vegetables. It's great to promote healthful eating habits, but can't Grover or Ernie do it?
2010: The Gap Decides To Change Its Logo. According to company spokesperson Louise Calagy, the new logo would be "classic, American design to modern, sexy, cool." A week later, The Associated Press reported that the casual wear chain was reverting to its original logo. The new logo irritated consumers, who complained about it online. Gap North Amercam President Marka Hansen said Gap didn't handle the change correctly and missed an opportunity to have shoppers offer input.
2009: Tropicana Debuts New Packaging. Owing to a huge customer backlash, the company was forced to return to its original packaging. According to Neil Campbell, the president of Tropicana North America: "We underestimated the deep emotional bond [of the brand's original logo]." Unfortunately, this lack of understanding led to my father-in-law's breaking up with his girlfriend over the changes to the orange juice container. Seriously, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
1999: Actress Kerri Russell Cuts Her Trademark Long, Curly Hair. Russell starred in the series Felicity. She went along with show producers' idea to cut her hair after her character had a rough breakup. The show's ratings declined and never recovered, and whether the show's moving to Sundays or the haircut was to blame was never determined. TV Guide ranked the haircut as No. 19 on its "25 Biggest TV Blunders" list.
Credit Kent Phillips / AP
2011: George Lucas Releases A Blu-ray Box Set Of The Six Star Wars Films. Many fans are urging a boycott of the set because Lucas made unwanted changes, including having Darth Vader scream "Noooo!" when he kills Emperor Palpatine. One review on Amazon.com says: "Adding Vader's 'Nooo!' is just going too far." As someone who missed the key scene in the movie theater when Darth Vader told Luke Skywalker he was his father because I was 7 and had to go to the bathroom, I can relate ... a little.
Credit Rob Carr / Getty Images
2011: University Of Maryland Debuts Its New Football Uniforms. According to the Two-Way's Eyder Peralta, the unveiling was met with a lot of disappointment. Some of the Twitter reviews from sports celebrities: "OH GOSH! Maryland uniforms #Ewwwwww!" (NBA star LeBron James) and "Man university of Marylands football team have some ugly jerseys lol" (soccer star Freddy Adu). If you want a closer look, the university is still auctioining off the matching gloves and cleats from this ensemble.
Credit Paul Sakuma / AP
2011: Facebook Insitutes New Round Of Changes To User Pages. The changes included a real-time ticker and new ways to personalize your page. The Facebook blog says of the changes, the "News feed will act more like your own personal newspaper." The company also announced new partnerships for music, movies and TV. You'll be able to see which movies and TV your friends are watching, what music they're listening to and what news items they're reading.
Credit Paul Sakuma / AP
Carleen Ho picked up a Netflix movie from her mailbox in Palo Alto, Calif. The company announced Monday that it will not split its streaming and DVD video offerings.
Credit Paul Sakuma / AP
Netflix has backed off its unpopular plan to split its service into two offerings — one for streaming video, and one for sending DVDs by mail. CEO Reed Hastings is seen gesturing in this file photo.
A screenshot shows Qwikster.com, the ill-fated DVD mailing service that Netflix discontinued Monday.
Bowing to customers' anger and confusion over its move to divide its streaming and DVD video offerings, Netflix is reversing itself, snuffing the plan to offer DVDs by mail via a new service called "Qwikster." News of the backpedaling move was published on the company's blog early Monday.
Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:05 pm
Credit Martin Mejia / AP
Farmers dry cacao beans in Uchiza, Peru, a file photo from 2008. Researchers are exploring the wild cacao bounty of Peru's Amazon Basin, part of an effort to jump-start the country's premium cacao industry.
Christopher Columbus first encountered the cacao bean on his final voyage to the New World some 500 years ago. It took a while for Europeans to embrace the taste — one 16th-century Spanish missionary called the chocolate that indigenous people drank "loathsome."
But by the 17th century, chocolate met sugar, and it became a hit the world over — it's now a $93 billion a year global industry, according to market research firm Mintel.
Egyptians grieve over the coffins of Coptic Christians killed during Sunday's clashes with Egyptian security forces, before beginning a funeral procession from the Coptic Hospital in Cairo.
Credit Amro Maraghi / AFP/Getty Images
Torched vehicles and damaged trees line are seen in Cairo on the morning after clashes between Coptic Christians and Egyptian security forces left more than two dozen people dead.
Several hundred Christians pelted police with rocks outside a Cairo hospital Monday, in fresh clashes one day after more than two dozen people died in riots that grew out of a Christian protest against a church attack. Sunday's sectarian violence was the worst in Egypt since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February.
Security officials said Monday that the death toll from Sunday night's clashes rose to 26 from 24, after two people died of their wounds.
Walking on the beach in Sweden, Anika Winhagen picked up a bottle with a message in it. The note asked a future finder to respond. A response was possible since it turned out Winhagen had worked with the mother of the girl who floated the bottle two decades ago.
Originally published on Mon October 10, 2011 5:04 pm
Americans Thomas Sargent of New York University and Christopher A. Sims of Princeton University have won the Nobel Prize in economics.
In awarding the $1.5 million prize, with the formal title the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the researchers "for their empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy."
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Violence in Cairo over the weekend reminds us that Egypt is mostly Muslim but not entirely so. Several million Egyptians are Coptic Christians. And it was members of that minority group who clashed with Egypt's military or the weekend. At least two dozen people are dead, hundreds wounded, the worst violence since Hosni Mubarak was driven from power in February.
An eruption of anger inside Syria at the assassination of a leading Kurdish politician is reverberating along the Turkish-Syria border. More than 7,500 Syrians are already sheltering in camps in Turkey. Now that Turkey is about to announce new sanctions against Syria, it's worried about a fresh wave of migration if violence continues to escalate.
NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report from Turkey's Hatay Province near the Syrian border.
Two halves of an ancient Greek statue have been reunited and are on display in a Turkish museum. The top half spent the last two decades in the Boston Fine Arts Museum. Turkish officials said it was illegally removed from an archaeological site in southwestern Turkey and they spent years trying to get it back.
Now, for grandmothers looking for work, a new employment agency is recruiting women of a certain age for a job that many working families desperately need to fill: somebody to take care of the kids. And our last words in business is: Rent-a-Grandma.
Drugstore and supermarket pharmacies across the country have launched a marketing blitz to attract flu shot customers, touting the convenience of stopping at a local drugstore and often offering drop-in vaccinations anytime the pharmacy is open — sometimes even 24 hours a day.
"If you decided at 4 o'clock in the morning you wanted to go out and had nothing better to do than get a flu shot, you could walk right in and you could get a flu shot," says Scott Gershman, pharmacy manager at a Walgreens drugstore in Springfield, Va.
President Obama holds up a copy of his jobs bill as he speaks at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. Obama is challenging a divided Congress to unite behind the bill or get ready to be run "out of town" by angry voters.
It's been nearly two weeks since President Obama urged a crowd of supporters in Denver to turn up the heat on lawmakers in Washington to pass his $447 billion jobs bill. So far on Capitol Hill, it's gone nowhere.
That could change Tuesday when the Senate holds a vote on taking up the legislation. But fierce Republican opposition both to the bill and how it's paid for leaves slim prospects of it going any further.
Rusty George Creative laid off more than half of its 17-person staff when clients stopped buying their marketing services as the economy crashed. After a hard look at finances, the small firm is now ready to hire a new employee.
Credit Courtesy of Rusty George
Kitura and Rusty George say business has picked up enough that they're ready to grow their company again.
In this economy, the decision to add even one person to the payroll is a huge leap of faith for a small company. One marketing firm in Tacoma, Wash., has done the math — down to the additional cups of coffee they'd need to make for a new employee — and is ready to hire.
These two paintings were up for auction in Hong Kong in February. Art auctions produce eye-popping sales figures in China, though critics say there is a widespread problem with fakes.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Paul Dong, of Forever Auctions, says potential sellers sometimes try to use the auction house as a conduit for passing or receiving bribes. He says Forever Auctions refuses to take part.
Credit / Courtesy of Wang Yanqing
Chinese artist Wang Yanqing says he was one of several art students who painted this model in a class in 1983. It appears that one of those paintings was falsely billed as being the work of a famous Chinese artist, and auctioned off for more than $11 million last year.
As the global economy teeters, one market is still reaching stratospheric highs: Chinese art.
A Hong Kong auction of fine Chinese paintings earlier this month raised $94.8 million, three times pre-sale estimates. In fact, China is now the world's biggest art market, according to the art information agency Artprice.
Yet all is not what it seems in the murky world of Chinese art auctions, including a painting that sold last year for more than $11 million, but appears not to be what was advertised.
(This report is part of the Morning Edition series "2 Languages, Many Voices: Latinos In The U.S.," looking at the ways Latinos are changing — and being changed — by the U.S.)
One place the Hispanic population is growing is in the overwhelmingly white state of Iowa. The latest census figures show the Hispanic population, while only 5 percent of the state, has almost doubled since 2000.
And one small town — West Liberty — is the first in Iowa to have a majority Hispanic population.
Nikki Perez wanted to learn how to help others in crisis after recovering from her own mental health disorder.
When Nikki Perez was in her 20s, she had a job as a lab tech at a hospital in Sacramento, Calif. She said everything was going well until one day, when something changed.
"I worked in a very sterile environment, and so part of the procedure was to wash your hands," she said. "I found myself washing my hands more and more, to the point where they were raw, and sometimes they would bleed."
Over the past decade, the story of population growth in the United States was defined largely by the story of Latinos emerging as the nation's largest minority.
They surpassed African-Americans for that distinction, by accounting for 56 percent of America's growth from 2000 to 2010. They now number more than 50 million. Put another way, 1 in every 6 U.S. residents is Latino.
It's dawn and 40 degrees out. The air tastes of dust. Elias Neftali is behind the wheel of a truck, driving us through a long valley encircled by red-rock mountains. As a farmhand in the northwest desert of Namibia, Neftali used to shoot wild animals trying to eat his livestock.
Now he protects wild animals. And that can be scary.
"Oh my god, yep," he says. He tells me about a night he was sleeping in a bungalow out in the bush with some other wildlife guards.
Protesters in Argentina in 2001 wave national flags as they walk through tear gas and smoke from burning street fires set by demonstrators during the country's financial crisis.
We all know what happens when individuals stop paying their bills: angry letters, pestering phone calls and possibly getting property repossessed. In the end, there's you might declare bankruptcy and start again. That's how it works for a person up to his eyeballs in debt, but how does it work for an entire country?
Harvard economist Ken Rogoff says that it's not unusual for countries to go into default. In fact, he says it's happened hundreds of times.