NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

This Time, Germany's Rise Doesn't Worry The French

Opposition politicians and press pundits in France warn that the Sarkozy-Merkel plan to save the Euro will make France subservient to Germany. They say France will lose its sovereignty by giving a German-dominated EU control over French fiscal policy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley pounded the pavement of Paris for days, however, and could not find a single rank-and-file French citizen who shared these fears.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Will The EU's All-Nighter Save The Euro?

European Union leaders completed a marathon of treaty negotiations overnight to address the continent's debt crisis. Host Scott Simon checks in with NPR's Philip Reeves about how this new plan will impact Europe.

Governing
5:20 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Reconstituting The Constitution: How To Rewrite It?

Junius Brutus Stearns' 1856 painting George Washington Addressing the Constitutional Convention.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 3:09 pm

Most Americans haven't read the U.S. Constitution in a long time, if ever. They may be able to tell you about the Second Amendment, or the Fifth, maybe even part of the First. But other than that? A lot of blank stares.

Christopher Phillips has been leading what he calls "Constitution Café" discussions with people across the country. He's asking Americans to imagine themselves as framers of our founding document.

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The Picture Show
5:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Russia By Rail: Siberia's Serious Cold

A woman is bundled up by the tracks of the Trans-Siberian railway.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 5:12 am

It's tempting, when beginning a visit to the far reaches of Siberia, to dismiss cold as some Russian cliché. Like vodka. And fur hats.

Sure, there'll be vodka — but not at every meal. Maybe I'll buy a fur hat as a souvenir — but I won't actually wear it.

Cold is no cliché. Siberia is cold.

I know cold. I like cold. I grew up in Pittsburgh, skiing, sledding and sitting through Pittsburgh Steeler football games in January, where beers and sodas freeze in plastic cups at your seats.

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It's All Politics
5:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Why Iowa Could Be Rick Perry's 'Alamo' Moment

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks with voter Jane High before speaking at the Scott County Republican party's Ronald Reagan Dinner on Nov. 14 in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 5:07 am

In the hours before Saturday's pivotal Republican presidential debate in Iowa, attention has been riveted on the intensifying battle between front-runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Waiting in the wings, with hope and a prayer — directed squarely at the state's evangelical voters — is, improbably, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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Author Interviews
4:58 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Desai's 'Disappearance': Three Tales Of Art And Time

Novelist Anita Desai is a professor of humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has also written Journey to Ithaca, Village by the Sea and Clear Light of Day.
Jerry Bauer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Anita Desai's new collection of stories, The Artist of Disappearance, reads a bit like three symphonic movements in a minor key. They're three novellas, set in modern India, where the past is giving way. In one story, a government official inspects the forgotten treasures left behind in a fated mansion. In another story, a translator becomes a little too creative; and in the third, a man living in solitude finds his world upset by roving visitors.

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Environment
4:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Climate Activists: To Cut Emissions, Focus On Forests

The world's forests act as massive sponges, sucking carbon from the atmosphere. Above, an aerial photo from 2009 shows massive deforestation in the Brazilian state of Para.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:56 pm

Some climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's tropical forests.

The basic idea is to provide rich countries that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to put carbon in a storehouse.

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Environment
5:29 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

What Countries Are Doing To Tackle Climate Change

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 11, 2011 9:49 am

While nations wrangle over a new global treaty on climate change, the question on many minds is: What happens next?

Key portions of the Kyoto Protocol are set to expire at the end of 2012. But many of the world's major greenhouse gas emitters have already set national targets to reduce emissions, and they're forging their own initiatives to meet those goals.

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U.S.
4:43 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Congress Won't Recess To Block Obama Appointments

The U.S. Capitol is seen above in 2009 as senators worked late into the night on legislation. The light signifying that Congress is in session may remain on this holiday season as well, since House Republicans have said they will remain in a pro-forma session.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 5:45 am

Senate Republicans blocked confirmation votes on two of President Obama's most high-profile nominees this week — one for a seat on a federal appeals court, the other to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Traditionally, the end-of-the-year holidays have allowed presidents to bypass Congress and give such thwarted nominees recess appointments. But an angry President Obama is quickly leaning that this might not be the case this year.

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Scientists Find Studying For Test To Become London Cabbie Enlarges Brain

A taxi driver stands outside his cab in London, England.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 4:42 pm

To become a cab driver in London, you have to acquire "The Knowledge," which is their fancy way of saying that you have to memorize all the streets in London. It's quite a process that takes most three to four years to complete.

Now, scientists have found that studying for the test makes your brain bigger. The U.K. Press Association reports:

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