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Latin America
4:28 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's New Middle Class: A Better Life, Not An Easy One

Roberto de Carvalho (left), who maintains a truck fleet in Recife, Brazil, is shown here with his daughter Sandra, 22, wife Enilda and daughter Susana, 16. The family makes just enough to belong the rapidly expanding ranks of the country's middle class, though they still can't afford a house or even a car.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 7:01 pm

Tens of millions of Brazilians have risen out of poverty over the past decade in one of the world's great economic success stories. The reasons are many: strong overall economic growth, fueled by exports. A rise in the minimum wage. A more educated workforce. And big government spending programs, including direct payments to extremely poor families.

But becoming middle class in Brazil means a better life, not an easy one. The new, lowest rung of the middle class is what in the U.S. would be called the working poor, with monthly incomes of between $500 and $2,000.

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Theater
4:24 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Daniel Craig Heads Back To Broadway With 'Betrayal'

Daniel Craig, at right, is probably best known as the current incarnation of James Bond. He's in rehearsal now for a Broadway production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, alongside Rafe Spall and Rachel Weisz — who plays his wife, and is that in real life, too.
Brigitte Lacombe

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 7:01 pm

A revival of Harold Pinter's play Betrayal is in rehearsal now in New York. It's the story of an affair, and it unfolds backward in time, from the lovers sharing a post-romantic drink to the passion they first experienced seven years earlier. Along the way, much deception — betrayal, even — is revealed.

Daniel Craig, who stars as the jilted Robert, tells NPR's Robert Siegel that the show, first performed in 1978, still feels "surprisingly contemporary. ... When you have someone as good as Pinter, it remains timeless. And the themes are timeless. It's just good writing."

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The Two-Way
4:20 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Good Samaritan Could Get Unclaimed Lotto Jackpot In Spain

Women in Barcelona check their numbers for Spain's Christmas lottery, named "El Gordo" (Fat One), in 2012.
Josep Lago AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 5:10 am

A city in northwest Spain issued a rather unusual lost-and-found notice this week:

FOUND: A lottery ticket bought more than a year ago, which entitles the owner to an unclaimed $6.3 million jackpot.

LOST: The ticket's owner.

From its El Gordo ("The Fat One") Christmas lottery, to the summertime EuroMillions drawing, Spain is a country obsessed with playing the lottery — especially in a dismal economy.

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It's All Politics
4:13 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Atheists Start PAC To Elect Nonreligious Candidates

Bishop McNeil, who isn't a cleric despite his name, speaks to reporters Wednesday at a news conference to introduce the Freethought Equality Fund PAC.
Frank James NPR

Americans who count themselves among the "nones" — as in atheists, agnostics or those of no definite religious affiliation — have launched a new political action committee.

The goal? To support the election of like-minded lawmakers or, at a minimum, candidates committed to upholding the constitutional separation between church and state.

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Private Spacecraft Lifts Off With Space Station Supplies

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 4:53 pm

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft has successfully launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on its way to becoming the second private vehicle to resupply the International Space Station.

Space.com says:

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NPR Story
3:36 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

From Arsenio To Queen Latifah, Familiar Faces In New Talk Shows

Queen Latifah speaks with Will Smith on a recent episode of her new talk show, "The Queen Latifah Show." (The Queen Latifah Show)

There are some familiar faces coming to the syndicated talk show line-up this fall.

Already, Arsenio Hall has made his return to late night after a 19-year hiatus. On Monday, Queen Latifah made her return to daytime with “The Queen Latifah Show.” Reality star Bethenny Frankel is also hosting her own talk show this fall.

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NPR Story
3:36 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

N.C. Officer Charged In Death Of Unarmed Black Man

Willie Ferrell, left, talks about his relationship with his older brother, Jonathan Ferrell, at a media conference, as attorney Christopher Chestnut, center, his mother, Georgia Ferrell, right, listen on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Charlotte, N.C. Police were called Sept. 14, after the former Florida A&M University football player knocked on the door of a home near the car crash he was in. Ferrell was hit with a Taser as he approached officers and then shot, resulting in a voluntary manslaughter charge against one of the officers. (Bob Leverone/AP)

A North Carolina police officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Officer Randall Kerrick of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department fired 12 shots, ten of which hit 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, according to authorities.

Ferrell, who had played football for Florida A&M University, was seeking help after crashing his car, according to authorities.

When he knocked on a woman’s door, she called 911 — alarmed to find Ferrell on her doorstep.

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NPR Story
3:36 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

How Mercury Poisons Gold Miners, Water In Indonesia

A gold miner in Indonesia holds up a bottle of mercury. (BBC)

Next month, 140 nations will sign the United Nations’ Minamata Convention.

It’s a treaty that aims to regulate the use of mercury worldwide, and is named after the Japanese community that witnessed the world’s biggest mass mercury poisoning 60 years ago.

Today, contamination with mercury is a particular problem in countries where small-scale gold miners operate. Mercury is used to separate fragments of gold from the rock or earth.

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The Salt
3:35 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

House Bill Would Cut 3.8 Million People From Food Stamp Rolls

Advocates for the poor say the proposed cuts to the food stamp program — $40 billion over 10 years — don't make sense at a time when unemployment remains high.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:44 pm

The House of Representatives is expected to take up a bill Thursday that would chart the course for federal nutrition programs for years to come.

The measure calls for $40 billion in cuts over a decade to the federal food stamp program, now known as SNAP. The measure's Republican backers say it attacks fraud, but advocates say it will hurt the poor.

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Mental Health
3:35 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

After Attacks, Seattle Rethinks How To Treat Mentally Ill

Police officials stand next to a bullet-ridden Seattle Metro bus on Aug. 12. A man with a history of mental illness shot and wounded the driver, then died in a chaotic shootout with police.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 7:01 pm

The Navy Yard massacre may renew concerns over the potential dangers of mentally ill people who don't get treatment. That issue is especially hot right now in Seattle, where the mayor has called untreated mental illness an "emergency."

Unstable In Seattle

Seattle's Pioneer Square is an uneasy mix of art galleries and skid road; it's gelato over here, and heroin over there. And then there's mental illness.

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