Africa
11:01 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

New Law Aims To Shine Light On Conflict Metals

Workers dig at a mine in Chudja, near Bunia, north eastern Congo. The conflict in the Congo, a nation rich in mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, tin, and cobalt, has often been linked to a struggle for control over its minerals resources.
Lionel Healing AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 7:14 am

Delly Mawazo Sesete wants American consumers to know what is in their smart phones, computers and other electronics and where U.S. companies like Apple are getting those rare metals.

Sesete says that, without knowing, consumers in the U.S. could be fueling conflicts in Eastern Congo. The human rights activist is from a remote part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where armed groups are wreaking havoc and get much of their funding from mining rare metals.

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Violence At California's Psychiatric Hospitals
11:01 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

In Calif. Mental Hospitals, Assaults Rarely A Crime

Metropolitan State Hospital employees and supporters gathered outside the hospital in Norwalk, Calif., this summer to protest repeated assaults at the hands of mental patients, and what they called dangerous working conditions.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 1:16 pm

Part of an ongoing series

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Asia
11:01 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

India's Techies Angered Over Internet Censorship Plan

An activist of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena hold placards and roses outside the residence of Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi.
Sajjad Hussain AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 12:20 pm

India has the world's largest democracy, and one of the most rambunctious. Millions of its young people are cutting edge when it comes to high-tech.

Yet the country is still very conservative by Western standards, and a government minister recently said that offensive material on the web should be removed.

The way it was reported in India, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal started the whole row by assembling the heads of social networking sites at a meeting in his office in New Delhi.

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The Two-Way
5:05 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

As Crackdown Continues, Syria Agrees To Arab League Observers

A boy stands in a water fountain as he holds up the Syrian national flag during a rally in Damascus, Syria.
Muzaffar Salman AP

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:09 pm

Today, Syria signed an agreement that would allow Arab League observers into the country. It's all in a bid to end its isolation and the nine-month standoff between the government of President Bashar Assad and protesters who are demanding his ouster.

The Guardian reports:

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The Two-Way
4:21 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

AT&T Drops Bid To Purchase T-Mobile USA

This June 2, 2010, file photo shows the AT&T logo in Washington, D.C.
Etienne Franchi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 4:27 pm

After the federal regulators raised questions about AT&T's bid to buy T-Mobile USA, the telecommunications company said it was scrapping its $39 billion bid. The merger would have made AT&T the largest wireless carrier in the United States.

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Economy
3:53 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Some Jobless Saved By The Salvation Army Bell

Lynn Smith has been ringing a Salvation Army bell since Thanksgiving outside a grocery store in Ventura, Calif. A former travel agent, she works 8 hours a day for minimum wage.
Glorida Hillard For NPR

The Salvation Army bell ringers and their iconic red kettles have been a familiar sight during the holidays for more than 120 years. Although in the past bell ringers were primarily volunteers, for many behind the kettle today, the temporary job has become a life saver.

For first-time bell ringers Lynn and Rusty Smith, it's helping keep them afloat during tough economic times. They work 8 hours a day ringing a Salvation Army bell for minimum wage.

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Newt Gingrich
3:16 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

To Win Over Iowans, Gingrich Aims At Judges

In the final leg of the campaign in Iowa, the Republican presidential candidates are talking about judges. No one has made them a bigger issue than Newt Gingrich.

Overhauling the judiciary has become one of his key proposals on the stump.

Conservatives have used "activist judges" as a battle cry for many election cycles now. But in Iowa, the issue has special resonance since the judiciary became a potent political issue two years ago.

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North Korea In Transition
3:12 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

North Korea's Likely Leader: Young And Untested

Kim Jong Un, who is expected to become North Korea's next leader, claps after inspecting the construction site of a power station. This undated photo was released by the Korean Central News Agency on Nov. 4, 2010.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 4:10 pm

North Korea has yet to formally name its new leader, and it may take a while before it does. But there's a clear favorite. Kim Jong Un was anointed back in 2009 to succeed his father, Kim Jong Il, the country's longtime leader, whose death was announced on Monday.

If Kim does follow his father and grandfather as ruler of the secretive nation, he will face huge challenges. He's not yet 30 years old, and yet would be running a society that inherently favors leaders seen as experienced and wise, rather than young and untested.

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The Salt
2:23 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

To Party Like Rock Stars, They Suggest Buying Their Booze

At the national release of "AC/DC The Wine" in Melbourne, varieties included Back in Black Shiraz, Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon and You Shook Me All Night Long Moscato.
William West AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 4:40 pm

The year 2011, it seems, was a good one for celebrity booze. The famous fellows who launched their own labels this year weren't your run-of-the-mill rappers touting trendy liquors or champagnes, though. (I'm looking at you, Diddy.) Instead, several aging rockers, a professional athlete, and an actor decided the time had come to hawk wine, spirits or beer.

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North Korea In Transition
2:10 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

U.S. Treads Cautiously With North Korean Transition

North Korean residents line up to receive food rations at a Red Cross distribution center in Tongsin, North Korea, in 1997. Discussions over U.S. food aid to the reclusive country were to take place Monday. "You could, in a very real sense, see the needs for food assistance," said an official with Mercy Corps, after a September 2011 visit to the country.
Lasse Norgaard AP

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 7:19 pm

The changing of the guard in North Korea poses clear risks for the United States.

Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is the likely successor. But he's still in his 20s and has had little time to prepare to take over the country. Analysts say that because he's weak, he won't be in any position to get back to nuclear disarmament talks and make concessions.

Kim Jong Un may also be tempted to take provocative actions to establish his leadership credentials, and the Obama administration has to take all this into account as it decides on next steps.

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