The U.S. climate change envoy Todd Stern delivers a speech on Dec. 8 in Durban, South Africa, during the U.N. Climate Change Conference. The climate talks entered their second week entangled in a thick mesh of issues with no guarantee that negotiators and their ministers will be able to sort them out.
United Nations climate talks, like many negotiations, are a blend of dead seriousness and theater. Today at the talks in Durban, South Africa, an American college student provided a moment of theater by shouting out a short, unauthorized speech during the main session of the talks. Her interruption encapsulated frustration with the pace of the talks in general, and the United States' role in particular.
Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 12:41 pm
The silly season of endless lists is upon us. You might notice that here at Deceptive Cadence, we don't even try to enumerate which albums were "best" — we use the word "favorite" quite intentionally, as you'll see from the pan-genre list painstakingly compiled with our NPR Music colleagues.
Foster Smith (left) and his best friend, Mark Ballard (right), met when they were 12 years old. After losing his job, and his ability to make rent, Smith moved into a room in Ballard's College Park, Ga., home.
The gloves are off in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Newt Gingrich's surge to the front of the pack appears to have more staying power than any of the other challengers to Mitt Romney's standing as party favorite. And so, team Romney is firing back, for the first time, at a candidate other than President Obama.
An exterior view of the Office of the National Register for Secret State Information, or ORNISS, which stores confidential information and ensures only authorised people gain access to it, taken in Bucharest on December 8.
Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 1:59 pm
That the Central Intelligence Agency had a so-called "black site" in Romania was well known. It was known that it was in one of those secret prisons that intelligence officials conducted harsh interrogations with major Al-Qaida operatives, including Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad.
Today, the result of a joint investigation with German public television, the AP reports it has found the site where Mohammad was held and interrogated. And it's not where you would think it is. The AP reports on the prison in Bucharest known as "Bright Light":
Newt Gingrich <a href="http://media.npr.org/assets/multimedia/2011/12/gingrich/Feb_12_1994.pdf">used these lecture notes</a> and similar pamphlets as part of the 1994 college course that became central to a later House ethics investigation.
Newt Gingrich once called himself "the most seriously professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson."
But that was 1995, and the "Contract with America" co-author had just helped to propel Republicans into power in the House for the first time in 40 years, and Gingrich himself into the speaker's role. Even the rarely modest Gingrich had reason to gloat.
Just two years later, of course, he had become the first speaker ever punished by the House for ethics violations, and the end was in sight for both his leadership and congressional career.
Calling someone a "rat" is no compliment, but a new study shows that rats actually are empathetic and will altruistically lend a helping paw to a cage mate who is stuck in a trap.
Not only will rats frantically work to free their trapped cage mate; they will do so even when there's a tempting little pile of chocolate chips nearby, the study reveals. Instead of leaving their pal in the trap and selfishly gobbling the candy all by themselves, rats will free their cage mate and share the chocolate.
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. He faces tough questions about the Justice Department's "Fast and Furious" gun-control program.
Credit Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images
Border Patrol agent Michael Wagenen attends a memorial service for slain comrade Brian Terry, who was killed during a shootout near the U.S.-Mexico border last year. His death pushed Congress to investigate "Fast and Furious" when two guns linked to the program were found near Terry's body.
Attorney General Eric Holder got a bruising reception from the Republican-dominated House Judiciary Committee that put the Justice Department on the defensive.
Holder answered questions about the botched gun trafficking operation known as "Fast and Furious" in which federal agents tried to build cases against drug cartels. Instead, they lost track of hundreds of weapons that turned up at crime scenes along the Southwest border.
Christopher Miller samples sediments from an excavation site in South Africa. Archaeologists found layers upon layers of burned bedding material, indicating that the hunter-gatherers who lived here 77,000 years ago stayed for a long time.
Credit Courtesy of Lyn Wadley
Leafy green sedge grass grows outside the Sibudu cave along the uThongathi River in South Africa. The sedge was arranged on the ground and covered with river wild quince leaves, which are known to repel insects.