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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Iran Says It Will Keep Negotiating, Despite Tightening Of Sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 10:59 am

Iran says it will continue to negotiate over its nuclear program, despite a U.S. decision to expand its blacklist to include more than a dozen firms doing business with Iran's national tanker company.

Iran, if you remember, struck a temporary six-month deal with world powers that paused some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Iran had said that any new sanctions would kill the prospects for a long-term deal.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Louisiana Artist Behind 'Blue Dog' Paintings Dies At 69

Artist George Rodrigue looks at one painting of the three-canvas series titled "Three Coins in the Fountain" in 2010.
Brett Duke The Times-Picayune /Landov

George Rodrigue, the artist who transformed the image of Louisiana's loup-garou into a pop art icon, died on Saturday after a battle with cancer.

Rodrigue took the legend of the Cajun werewolf and transformed it into instantly recognizable portraits of a quizzical blue dog framed by different landscapes.

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Author Interviews
8:29 am
Sun December 15, 2013

54 Days In The Eternal City: A Christian 'Pilgrimage' For Lent

Rome's St. Zeno chapel was built by Pope St. Paschal I in honor of his mother. The ceiling, a gold mosaic, was intended as an interpretation of heaven.
Stephen Weigel Courtesy of Basic Books

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Each year, millions of people from different faiths make religious journeys. They travel far, to Mecca, Jerusalem, the Ganges River or Lourdes, France, to walk the paths of prophets, saints and martyrs.

"Pilgrimage is something built into the human condition," says George Weigel, author of Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches. "There seems to be something hardwired into us, spiritually, that the idea of a journey from A to B becomes part of the rhythm of the spiritual life."

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Europe
8:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Why French Troops Are Intervening In Africa — Again

A French soldier talks to a crowd outside a church in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on Thursday.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 2:19 pm

Once again, French television screens are full of images of joyous Africans welcoming French troops.

In January, the French military intervened in Mali to help liberate large swaths of the country from radical jihadists. Now, for the second time this year, France has sent troops into an African country to quell violence.

Last week, French soldiers went into the Central African Republic to stop sectarian killings. In news reports from the Central African Republic, crowds yell, "Vive la France!" as they run out to greet convoys of French soldiers.

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Global Health
8:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

They Shot For Zero, But Couldn't Squash Polio In 2013

A polio worker vaccinates a child in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, in October.
Arshad Arbab EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 2:43 pm

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. Numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. Over the next two weeks, you'll hear the stories behind numbers, ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

The lowest number of polio cases ever recorded in the world during one year was 223. And 2013 was on track for an even lower number.

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Author Interviews
8:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

New Princesses Rescue Girls From A Distressed Damselhood

Princess Vinnea, guardian of plant life (left), and Princess Terra, protector of the land, examine one of many "gulavores" plaguing the land of Hortensis in the children's book Princess Vinnea and the Gulavores.
Courtesy Setsu Shigematsu

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

The princess industry is lucrative: DVDs, dresses, crowns, theme parties. But the story of going to the ball and waiting for Prince Charming is outdated.

So one Southern California mom has created a new princess series with modern sensibilities. Creator Setsu Shigematsu recasts princesses as environmentally conscious and not waiting around to be rescued.

At the heart of her series, The Guardian Princess Alliance, is what animates any fairy tale: simple storytelling.

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Sunday Puzzle
8:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

When Push Comes To Shove

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 3:04 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a five-letter word. You'll be given a clue for the word. Besides giving you a direct hint to the answer, the clue will also contain the answer in consecutive letters. For example, given "push over hard," you would say "shove."

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Sun December 15, 2013

China's Moon Rover Separates From Lander

China's first lunar rover separates from Chang'e-3 moon lander early Dec. 15, 2013. This picture was taken from the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China.
Li Xin Xinhua /Landov

Very early Sunday morning, China's moon rover, "Yutu" or Jade Rabbit, separated from its lander and began its exploration.

This means that China has officially joined the United States and the former Soviet Union as as the only countries to make a soft landing and drop an exploratory vehicle on the moon safely.

The state news agency Xinhua reports:

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It's All Politics
5:25 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Another Partisan Divide: Mitt Romney's Looks

Mitt Romney speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 15. New research suggests Democrats and Republicans had different perceptions of his physical appearance during the 2012 election.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

It's clear that Republicans and Democrats had different political opinions about Mitt Romney. But did Romney literally look different to the two sides? A forthcoming study suggests that might be the case.

According to new research from Ohio State University psychologists, individual political biases might have caused 2012 GOP presidential nominee's physical appearance to appear different to Republicans and Democrats.

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Author Interviews
5:25 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Satan's Naked Women, Gatsby's Cocktails, And Other Literary Fetes

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Throwing a perfect holiday party is no simple task. Do you want a swanky cocktail party, an intimate dinner party, or a huge New Year's bash? A whole host of decisions revolve around the menu — and don't forget your gluten-free or vegan invitees. Then there's the decor (is tinsel too much?), the music (festive, but not cheesy) and, of course, the guest list.

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