It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Let's get a look, now, at two war-torn countries. One that Americans are leaving, and another that they would like to leave. One is Iraq whereas, we'll hear in a moment, departing U.S. troops leave behind some unresolved conflicts.
The southern Italian Christmas Eve tradition known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes has become a tradition for Italian-American families as well.
Cindy Coddington, who grew up with the traditional meal in her family, remembers the day as a whirlwind of family and fry pans.
"Ours was fried shrimp, fried scallops, pan-fried smelts, calamari cut up in rings and fried. And I'll tell you after the holidays, you really couldn't stand the sight of any more fried food...for a while," Coddington says.
The share of all U.S. adults who are married has dropped to a record low 51 percent, according to a new report. If the trend continues, the institution will soon lose its majority status in American life.
The report being released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center finds new marriages dropped a sharp 5 percent last year, which is very likely related to the bad economy. Pew senior writer D'Vera Cohn says it fits with a larger trend.
Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans are either stranded or imprisoned in Libya in the wake of the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi â€” and they haven't been having an easy time. Many have been detained and abused, accused of being mercenaries in Gadhafi's army.
On a recent day at the military airport in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, a Libyan fighter lines up 115 Nigerians to be deported.
More than ready to leave, the women and men gather their meager belongings.
The photography pioneer Kodak has been dogged by bankruptcy rumors, its stock has tumbled, and its cash reserves have shrunk. But the company says it expects a strong fourth quarter as it fights toward profitability in 2012.
"I grew up in a Kodak family â€” aunts, uncles, father, brother-in-law," says Linda Nau. Her connection to the company is similar to that of a lot of native Rochesterians. Nau herself even worked at Kodak.
As American troops leave Iraq, the one place in the country that's most likely to erupt into violence, at least in the short term, is the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
The city is a complicated ethnic mix of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and others. The question of whether it belongs to the autonomous Kurdish region in the north or to the Arab-dominated central government of Baghdad has long been a point of contention.
Tiger Mother Amy Chua, the super-strict Chinese-American disciplinarian, became an overnight sensation in the U.S. this year when she wrote about her tough parenting style. But she looks like a pussy cat next to her mainland Chinese equivalent, "Wolf Dad" Xiao Baiyou.
Xiao is the latest media sensation in China â€” a father who not just beat his son and three daughters, but boasts about how he did it.
Tres Whitlock is stuck in a public school where he feels ignored. He wants out.
The 17-year-old would-be video game designer researched his options online and found his perfect match: Pivot Charter School.
"It's computer-based, and I think I will do better," he says.
But when Whitlock tried to enroll in the school, he found a series of barriers in his way. The reason? He has cerebral palsy, and school officials say they don't have anyone to take Whitlock to the bathroom.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is new to his front-runner status, but he's hardly new to Washington.
He has spent decades weaving relationships in and around government â€” starting with his successful campaign to win the House majority back in the early 1990s. Some of his most ardent supporters now worked with him back then â€” but some of his angriest opponents did, too.
Gary, Ind., is among the most troubled cities in the Midwest, but some residents are starting to feel a bit more optimistic.
That's because they've just elected a new mayor with an Ivy League pedigree and some big ideas. Her name is Karen Freeman-Wilson and when she's sworn in at the beginning of the new year, she'll become the first African-American female mayor in the history of the state of Indiana.
But Freeman-Wilson isn't interested in the symbolism. She says her first job will be to promote Gary.
Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 9:39 am
Hear ye, hear ye: The court of public opinion will now come to order in the class-action suit by disturbed football fans against dopey football players who act like imbeciles in the end zone after scoring a touchdown.
Your honor, the plaintiffs call to the stand a man of great taste, good manners and exquisite judgment â€“â€“ namely, me.
The Iowa caucuses â€” the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating season â€” take place in three weeks. That means there's precious little time for candidates to make their case and close the deal with Hawkeye State Republicans.
But candidates were tough to find in Iowa on Tuesday. Only former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum â€” a big underdog in the race â€” was there. In fact, many Iowans note that this year candidates have spent fewer hours in the state than before recent presidential caucuses.
Second of two stories, which are part of an ongoing series on obesity in America. The first part begins in August as students start their weight-loss journey at Wellspring Academy, a boarding school in Brevard, N.C. The second checks in with students in late October.
Scratch just a little below the surface of American writing, and you'll find a substratum of stories that revolve around an impostor, a figure at once sinister and fascinating. This charlatan moves fluidly between personae, and in doing so, proves that identity is â€” especially in America â€” up for grabs. The impostor thus is everything we insist we are not. But he's also, I think, everything we wish we could be as the inheritors of our open, yet easily manipulated, American culture.
Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 5:08 pm
A camera that captures images at the rate of one trillion exposures per second is a device with amazing potential, according to researchers at MIT. The tradeoffs required to reach that speed also mean its a camera with some real drawbacks.
Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 3:54 pm
In an unusual move, the Food and Drug Administration has warned a marketing company and eight surgery centers in Southern California that their billboards and other advertisements touting weight-loss surgery are misleading because they don't adequately describe the risks from the procedure.
The agency's letters ask the surgery centers and the marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN to pull the allegedly misleading advertising.
Saying that the U.S. is not looking for Iraq to be an ally, Vice President Biden told NPR's Robert Siegel this afternoon that the U.S. now views that country as a partner.
"We're looking for a stable, democratic government that is not beholden to anyone in the region and is able to be secure within its own borders and have its own policy ," he said during an interview in Washington's Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House.
The final American troops are set to leave Iraq in a matter of days. Just a few thousand remain, and they will be heading south toward Kuwait â€” the starting point for a war that began nearly nine years ago.
The last American military unit out of Iraq will be part of the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas. The division fought in some of the war's toughest battles and suffered nearly 300 killed.