BRICS leaders, from left, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a group picture during the BRICS 2013 Summit in Durban, South Africa, on Wednesday.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 12:53 pm
The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – emerging economies that collectively are referred to as BRICS – announced Wednesday the creation of a development bank to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations.
With the Supreme Court hearing arguments this week on same-sex marriage, I'd like to point out a parallel evolution in what I see as a Hollywood mini-genre: films in which gay characters are either taken to court or seek redress in court for issues involving their sexuality.
Arguably the most famous question ever asked in a courtroom about a line of poetry — "What is the love that dare not speak its name?" — was originally put to playwright Oscar Wilde in 1894 by a British prosecutor. It was an attempt to trap Wilde into admitting to then-illegal homosexual conduct.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case challenging whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means the federal government can deny marriage benefits to same sex couples in states that allow gay marriage. Same-sex couples had reason to be optimistic afterward. Assuming the court can overcome procedural concerns, it looked as if a majority of justices was ready to strike down DOMA.
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 6:12 pm
The attorneys for James Holmes, who is alleged to have walked into a crowded Colorado movie theater and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding nearly 60, say he is willing to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.
Colorado's 9 News reports that his defense attorneys made the offer public in a two-page filing that says the prosecution has yet to accept the offer because "it may choose to pursue the death penalty."
American actor David Hasselhoff speaks to protesters next to a remnant of the Berlin Wall last week. Thousands of people turned out to oppose a plan to knock down one of the few remaining sections of the wall. A small part was removed Wednesday.
Protected by scores of German police officers, workers removed sections of a key remnant of the Berlin Wall before dawn Wednesday despite earlier protests demanding the concrete artifact of the Cold War be preserved.
The removal came as a shock to residents, just as it did on Aug. 13, 1961, when communists first built the barrier that divided Berlin during the Cold War.
Tour guide Rolf Strobel, 52, was among the scores of people who came to gape at the holes in what had been the longest remaining stretch of the wall — about eight-tenths of a mile.
Robert Siegel talks to Joseph Cotterill, writer for the Financial Times, about what may happen if the European Union's bailout plan for Cyprus succeeds and which country may be poised to take on the role as the next Cayman Islands of Eastern Europe.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 9:48 am
One day, the legislature in the state where you live passes a new law: Until further notice, you're not allowed to take your money to another state.
There are exceptions. You can take a few thousand dollars with you if you go on a trip. You can do some out-of-state shopping on your credit card, but not too much. Beyond that, all your money — your checking account, your savings account, the cash you buried in your backyard — has to stay in your state. You're free to leave the state, as long as you don't take your money with you.
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:12 pm
The British government has suffered another loss in its attempt to deport Muslim cleric Abu Qatada back to Jordan.
While Qatada has never been charged with anything in the United Kingdom, he is accused of being a spiritual inspiration for some of the those involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The BBC reports that today a Special Immigration Appeals Commission decided the government of Prime Minister David Cameron could not send him back to Jordan, where in 1999, he was convicted on terror charges in absentia.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 4:25 pm
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal benefits for and recognition of same-sex marriages.
Audio of the arguments is available above, and a transcript, as prepared by the court, follows.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will hear argument this morning in Case 12-307, United States v. Windsor, and we will begin with the jurisdictional discussion. Ms. Jackson?
Repeated American attempts to work with Russia on Syria have foundered on a fundamental difference. Vladimir Putin insists on a deal that includes Bashar al-Assad as part of Syria's future. So the civil war grinds on and the situation of civilians there grows ever more dire. So why? Arms exports? Access to the port of Tartus? Standing up for old allies?
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Another Democrat steps away from the Senate, the price of previous presidents, and the present president calls out Congress on immigration. It's Wednesday and time for a...
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Political courage...
CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
Jonathan Dee likes to write about rich, good-looking people falling apart — and who among the 99 percent of us can't enjoy that plot? In The Privileges, the dad of the family was a Wall Street trader, tempted by existential boredom into larceny; in A Thousand Pardons, the dad of the family is a partner in a New York law firm, tempted by existential boredom into a disastrous workplace affair.
On Monday evening on MSNBC, All In with Chris Hayes will premiere, making the 34-year-old the youngest prime-time anchor on any of the major cable news channels. For the past 18 months, he has hosted an early morning weekend show — Up with Chris Hayes — on MSNBC, but he's already a familiar face to MSNBC evening viewers: He has frequently filled in for Rachel Maddow and has been a popular guest on her show.
Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 11:44 am
When we heard a few weeks ago that Illinois was considering banning lion meat, our first thought was, who's eating lion meat? And why Illinois?
Turns out, lion meat has been gaining traction among adventurous foodies who argue that the meat can be an ethical alternative to factory-farmed animals — if the meat comes from American-raised circus and zoo animals that were sent to the slaughterhouse in their old age.
The Italian Supreme Court ordered that Amanda Knox be retried for the 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. This decision overturned her acquittal from 2011. If she's found guilty this time around, she could face extradition.
Jared Loughner, the gunman responsible for the 2011 rampage in Tuscon, Ariz., that killed six people and wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and twelve others, acted erratically in the days leading to the shooting but was quiet and otherwise polite with officers after his arrest, according to newly released documents.
Details from the investigation were made clear on Wednesday after the Pima County Sheriff's Department released 2,700 pages of documents requested through the Freedom of Information Act.
The chief of Amnesty International Russia, Sergei Nikitin, at his Moscow office on March 25, after Russian prosecutors and tax police carried out a search. The group is one of many that have been searched under a new law that critics say is being used to stifle dissent.
Credit Ivan Sekretarev / AP
Prosecutors searched for documents related to the activities of the human rights group Memorial in Moscow on March 21.
Russian investigators have descended on the offices of nongovernmental organizations across the country, demanding to inspect financial records and other documents.
This follows the recent passage of a law designed to impose tighter controls over these NGOs, especially those that receive funding from abroad. Critics say it's part of a broader crackdown on dissent since Vladimir Putin regained the presidency last year.
The offices of the human rights group Memorial are still abuzz after a team of government inspectors paid an unannounced visit
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:41 pm
The largest gene-probing study ever done has fished out dozens of new genetic markers that flag a person's susceptibility to breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
The 74 newly discovered genetic variants double the previously known number for these malignancies, all of which are driven by sex hormones.
Underscoring the sheer magnitude of the findings, they're contained in 15 scientific papers published simultaneously by five different journals. The Nature group of journals has collected them all here.
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 2:44 pm
The Moscow offices of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and several other NGOs have been searched in recent weeks by Russian prosecutors and tax inspectors, prompting concern over what is being viewed by some as a "concerted action" against the groups.
Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch was quoted Wednesday by The Associated Press as saying that officials from the prosecutor general's office and tax police were conducting an "unannounced audit" and demanding documents.
The Supreme Court is hearing two landmark gay marriage cases this week. But Robin Shahar's case never made it that far. She lost a job offer for planning a private wedding ceremony with her same-sex partner in 1991. Shahar speaks with host Michel Martin about the cultural shift that brought about these legal challenges.
The high school rape case in Steubenville, Ohio raised uncomfortable questions about how young people learn about their sexual rights and responsibilities. Host Michel Martin talks about the real sex education teens should be getting, with author Laura Sessions Stepp, attorney B.J. Bernstein, and youth mentor Malik Washington.
Taiye Selasi brings the African immigrant experience to readers in her debut novel, Ghana Must Go.
The novel begins with the Sai children preparing to travel from the United States to Ghana for the funeral of the family patriarch, Kweku Sai. Before they leave, Selasi gives readers a glimpse into the events that unfolded while they were growing up in the Boston suburb of Brookline, Mass.
NPR's Nina Totenberg: On what happens if the court declines to decide.
(We most recently updated the top of this post at 1:45 p.m. ET.)
There seem to be four solid votes on the Supreme Court — and possibly a fifth — to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, NPR's Nina Totenberg told us after Wednesday's oral arguments before the nine justices.
But there's a big "if."
As in: There's possibly a 5-vote majority to strike down the law if the court first decides it should even issue an opinion.
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 7:50 pm
There's nothing like encouragement to help you succeed. Or maybe you can just create it for yourself. Baylor's Brittney Griner had both Tuesday night as her top-seeded team blew past Florida State 85-47. She had a double double: 33 points and 22 rebounds, as Encourager-In-Chief and former President George W. Bush looked on with former first lady Laura Bush in Waco, Texas. But that wasn't all.