In the past year, my first in a prestigious Ph.D. program in creative writing and literature, I have often felt conspicuous as a writer of color. I have felt a responsibility to speak up when race is discussed, but I have also resented this responsibility. Lately, I have found myself burying my head. It bothers me to no end that the pressure is beating me, and yet it is.
Forty-five years ago today, in arguably the greatest technological feat of the 20th Century, two Americans stepped off the ladder of their small landing craft and walked on the surface of the moon.
The first of them, Neil Armstrong, 38, of Wapakoneta, Ohio, pronounced his accomplishment "one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind." The second, 39-year-old New Jersey native Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., described what he saw as "magnificent desolation."
A federal grand jury indicted FedEx last week on charges the company knowingly shipped drugs from illegal online pharmacies. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports the disputes over shippers' responsibilities in the illegal drug trade go back many years.
Demonstrators across the nation are staging hundreds of protests against illegal immigration this weekend. They reflect a backlash against government resources going to the more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the southern U.S. border in recent months. This week, Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, announced he'll house some of those miners in L.A. as they await court hearings with funding from the federal government. City resources will not be used. I asked Mayor Garcetti why his city should take this on.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Arun Rath, sitting in for Rachel Martin. Pressure is mounting on Russia as international inspectors wait to gain full access to the site of last week's Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine. World leaders are demanding that President Vladimir Putin use his influence with pro-Russia rebels so they'll allow inspectors in and allow the bodies to be recovered. Wall Street Journal reporter James Marson is following the story in Moscow and joins me on the line. Thanks for speaking with us.
And for some insight into how the world community might respond, we turn now to retired Admiral James Stavridis. He was NATO Supreme Allied Commander and now serves as Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Welcome to the program.
JAMES STAVRIDIS: Thanks, Arun. Great to be with you.
RATH: So Ukraine is not a NATO member but the Netherlands, which lost nearly 200 citizens in this crash, is a member of NATO. If President Putin doesn't change course, what are NATO's options?
Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel today, more rockets, after the Israeli government announced it was expanding ground operations in the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Palestinians continue to flee their homes. Early this morning, some, still wearing their pajamas, left in haste to take shelter in local schools. Those schools are already packed beyond capacity. NPR's Emily Harris reports on the increasingly dire situation.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Arun Rath. The worst Ebola outbreak ever recorded continues to spread in West Africa. And medical workers in Sierra Leone have responded by expanding an extraordinary field hospital. It opened less than a month ago, but it now has the largest Ebola isolation unit ever built, with 64 beds. NPR's Jason Beaubien visited and describes for us the infection control measures that go into treating this highly contagious disease.
Infectious diseases may be spreading more quickly, thanks to global warming. Viruses that were kept in check by the polar ice box are being released. And as some animals move north to keep cool, they're bringing all sorts of parasites with them, from microbes to ticks. Christopher Solomon has written about this in the August issue of "Scientific American." And he joins me now from Montana Public Radio in Missoula. Welcome.
And while we are celebrating zombies who shuffle from movies into comic book, what about the toy robots that became a cartoon that then became a movie series and now have inspired Chinese farmers to become master replica robot builders?
(SOUNDBITE OF "TRANSFORMERS" THEME SONG)
UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Transformers, more than meets the eye.
Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 11:01 am
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, is vowing to fight a verdict of $23.6 billion in punitive damages to the widow of a smoker who died of lung cancer.
Calling the massive award "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law," the tobacco company's CEO, J. Jefferey Raborn, said the verdict was "beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented."
A spokesman for Hamas claimed Sunday that the group has captured an Israeli soldier. Reuters quotes Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Ron Prosor, as saying that no Israeli soldier has been kidnapped.
It's the latest development in a bloody day of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Israel's military said today that a series of attacks on its forces inside the Gaza Strip has killed 13 soldiers, by far the heaviest single-day toll for its troops since the beginning of the offensive nearly two weeks ago.
In the most emphatic U.S. statement to date on culpability for the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Eastern Ukraine that killed 298 people, Secretary of State John Kerry says evidence overwhelmingly points to Russian-backed separatists.
In an interview with CNN, he says that U.S. intelligence, as well as social media put out by the rebels, "obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists.
Darren Tompkins attended his first comic convention (or comic con) in Roanoke, Va., back in the mid-1980s. At the time, these gatherings were only for die-hard comic fans â€” people who might invest in a Batman or Joker costume to wear once a year.
"Really, it was just a small ballroom filled with cardboard boxes," Tompkins says. "I mean, there weren't any actors or famous people or panels or anything. It was just a place for comic book dealers to get together and sell their wares."
In 1960, Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird, won the Pulitzer Prize, and overnight became one of America's most beloved writers. But Lee was overwhelmed by the media blitz that followed. She retreated from the public eye, became wary of journalists, and never published another book.
Then, in 2001, a reporter for The Chicago Tribune showed up in Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Ala., to work on a story about the town, which is the model for the fictional setting of Lee's novel.
Separatist rebels at the site of the shot down Malaysia Airlines jet in Eastern Ukraine have been giving restricted access to international monitors Saturday. Corey Flintoff speaks with NPR's Kelly McEvers from Donetsk on the effort and the outcry over the slow pace of the body recovery and evidence gathering.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Kelly McEver's.
(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The following message will be repeated in Spanish and English.
MCEVERS: Let's say you're from Central America. You live here in the U.S. Your child, your niece, your cousin who's just cross the border, alone - one of the tens of thousands of children who cross into the U.S. this year. How do you find them? You call government hotline.
Tim Bomba is a tall, rangy guy with a quick smile and a penchant for off-color jokes. He's a marathoner, a triathlete (he's done two Ironman races), and every Wednesday morning for the last decade, Bomba has taught a ocean swimming course in Santa Monica, Calif.
The course, called Ocean 101, isn't for accomplished swimmers like Bomba. It's for people who are new to the ocean, and many participants are afraid of the water when they arrive. Bomba knows what they're going through. He himself was terrified of swimming until he was in his 50s.