North Korea remains one of the most isolated and repressive countries in the world.
Each year, though fleeing the country is a capital offense, a brave few attempt an escape to freedom using a secret network of safe houses and routes from North Korea to Southeast Asia.
In her book Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad, writer Melanie Kirkpatrick tells the harrowing stories of North Korean defectors who attempt to escape from a place she calls "hell on Earth."
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 3:33 pm
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. When the 112th Congress adjourns, some of the most vivid politicians of our times will leave the stage. We've already spoken with Democratic Representatives Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich. Today two political mavericks.
One ran for president of the United States, the other for vice president. Both at one time or another left their parties. Both left indelible marks on politics and on Washington, D.C.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later in the program, exit interviews with Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congressman Ron Paul as they leave Congress after many years. But first we continue our Opinion Page series on the fiscal cliff.
It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Last Tuesday, during our discussion about parents with a physical or cognitive disability, we heard from Maribeth(ph) in Denver: My daughter and son-in-law are congenitally deaf, she wrote. Both are graduates of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and lived there when their first child was born, who was hearing and did not suffer from not hearing spoken word from her parents.
The New York Times broke one of the more intriguing political stories of the week, last night: In a phone call "not long ago," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged Hillary Clinton to consider running for his job after she ended her tenure as secretary of sate.
Wine is our original alcoholic beverage. It dates back 8,000 years and, as Paul Lukacs writes in his new book, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures, was originally valued more because it was believed to be of divine origin than for its taste. And that's a good thing, Lukacs tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, because early wine was not particularly good.
I'm biased, of course, because I'm a television critic — but to me, giving someone a gift of a TV show you yourself enjoyed tremendously is somehow very personal. You're giving something that you love, and that in many cases will occupy many hours, if not days, of their time. And during that time, they'll occasionally be reminded of you.
The photo that touched many hearts: New York City Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo gives a shoeless man a pair of boots on a frigid night last month. That man was later identified as 54-year-old Jeffrey Hillman.
Jeffrey Hillman's bare feet on a frigid night in New York City last month inspired a police officer to buy the seemingly homeless man a pair of warm boots — a moment captured in a heartwarming photo that went viral.
A Syrian soldier aims his rifle during clashes in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday. There is frequent fighting in and around Damascus, and residents are increasingly worried about a major battle for the capital.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 2:47 pm
Editor's Note: Throughout the Syrian uprising, the government has allowed few foreign journalists and other outsiders into the country, and there has been limited information about many parts of the country. In this essay, a Syrian citizen describes life in the capital Damascus. For security reasons, NPR is not identifying the author.
The people of Damascus seem to be bracing for the worst, fearing that a revolt now 20 months old is building to a ferocious fight for control of the capital.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms in your corner and generally at this time, we check in with a group of parents who share their experiences and common sense advice.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program we are going to head to Central Africa to find out what's happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an armed rebel group managed to take over one of the country's most important cities, despite the presence of a massive United Nations peacekeeping force. We'll talk about how that happened and why it matters with a reporter who is there on the ground. That's coming up later in the program.
And now to matters of personal finance. We all remember the financial crisis the country faced four years ago. The numbers suggest that the economy is improving slowly but surely. Interest rates are at near record lows, but our next guest says - and this is something you might have experienced yourself - a lot of people are still having a difficult time getting access to credit, especially small-business owners and home owners with less than perfect credit.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, years after the big banks got support from the federal government and with interest rates at record lows, small businesses are still struggling to get access to credit. We're wondering why that is, so we'll try to find out in our Money Coach conversation in just a few minutes.
When it comes to health insurance, working for a small company often means making do with less than employees get at big firms.
Small companies offer coverage less often. Even when they do make it available, it may cost more and be less comprehensive. One reason: Small employers just don't have the bargaining clout with insurers that larger firms have.
Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:02 am
A campaign to raise awareness about the struggles of low-income Americans who depend on food stamps gets a high-profile plug today as Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., begins a week of living on $30 worth of food.
Throughout his first term, some of President Obama's critics said he wasn't a tough enough negotiator. They felt he caved to Republicans too early, too often. Since his re-election, Obama has subtly changed his approach. He's bringing a more aggressive style — but some critics say it's not the best way to find common ground.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It's finals week for many college students. And to keep the blood pressure down, one Canadian university opened a puppy room for students. It's full of borrowed therapy dogs to cuddle. Therapy animals are a proven stress reliever. The students who organized the puppy room at Dalhousie University say the idea has gone viral. Come to think of it, sharing the puppy story on social media sites might itself be therapeutic. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. Next time you're in France be sure to mind your manners. The mayor of a small town near Paris has introduced new rules on politeness. Anyone who fails to say hello or thank you to staff at the town hall will be asked to leave. A recent poll did find that 60 percent of French list bad manners as their number one cause of stress, so maybe he's on to something. Well, excusez-moi and hello and thank you so much for listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
There is a lot of speculation now about what issues - big and small - the Obama administration should tackle in its second term. Education is one thing on many of those lists, and in Washington yesterday, the talk was about one of the hottest trends in the field - something called MOOCS. MOOCS is short for Massive Open Online Courses; college courses, to be exact.
"A highly cautious, bureaucratic process that had the effect of watering down the U.S.'s own intelligence" led to the controversial "talking points" that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used when she spoke about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, The Wall Street Journal reports this morning.
Just as soon as it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge, that would be Kate Middleton, was pregnant, a slew of breathless headlines followed. To hear what this royal baby really means for the British, we're joined by Ingrid Seward. She's the editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine.
The mushroom cloud of the first atomic explosion at Trinity test site in the southern New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945.
Credit Courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory
The restored building where the "Gadget" atomic bomb was assembled would be included in the Manhattan Project National Park. Gadget was the nickname given to the first nuclear bomb, tested at Trinity Site, N.M., in July 1945.
Credit Historical photograph courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory
A Quonset hut on the grounds of the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico where "Fat Man" was assembled in World War II. Fat Man was the nickname given to the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945. The hut would be part of a new Manhattan Project National Park.
Congress is considering whether to turn three top-secret sites involved with creating the atomic bomb into one of the country's most unusual national parks.
The Manhattan Project — the U.S. program to design and build the first atomic bomb during World War II — largely took place at three sites: Los Alamos, N.M.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Hanford, Wash. On July 16, 1945, the first test of an atomic bomb took place at a site in the southern New Mexico desert. Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, Japan, were bombed less than a month after the test.
Are the days of "daily deal" coupons about to expire? Shares of email coupon company Groupon are down nearly 80 percent since going public last year. And its smaller rival, Living Social, plans to lay off as many as 400 employees, after reporting a net loss of more than $560 million in the third quarter.
Those struggles have raised questions about the future of the daily deal strategy, and whether a company like Groupon can stay in business.