If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.
"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 3:05 pm
Nigeria is the world's epicenter for polio. It's the only place where cases are ticking up, and it's been the source of outbreaks in other countries since 2003.
There was a disappointing update from public health officials Thursday about the polio situation in Nigeria. Despite beefed-up efforts to vaccinate kids and a flood of new resources, Nigeria still hasn't turned the corner on polio.
Chinese Communist Party leaders attend the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Thursday. The meeting marks the beginning of a once-in-a-decade transfer of power.
Credit Alexander F. Yuan / AP
During his speech Thursday, Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is also the top party official, warned delegates that corruption could be "fatal" to the party and even cause "the fall of the state."
Two days after the U.S. election, another major political development is unfolding on the other side of the world. China began its once-in-a-decade transition of power on Thursday with the opening of its 18th Communist Party Congress.
With its lack of personalities or political platforms, it is almost diametrically opposed to the hurly-burly of U.S. elections. In Beijing, the message was about fighting corruption and keeping the Communist Party in power.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 5:43 pm
Florida is again having problems determining the winner of its presidential vote. But its difficulties are entirely different from the ones that kept the nation in suspense for more than a month back in 2000.
"It was just a convergence of things that were an embarrassment to Florida," says Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Jared Loughner, the 24-year-old who pleaded guilty to killing six people and wounding 13 others during a shooting spree at a congressional meet-and-greet in Tucson, Ariz., will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Loughner was sentenced today as a U.S. District Court in Tucson, Ariz.
Before the judge handed down his punishment, victims and their families addressed Loughner and the court.
Members of the alternative rock and rap band Flobots say their new album was inspired by the Arab Spring protests and the U.S. Occupy movement. Circles of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square gave them the idea for the title song, "The Circle in the Square." Three group members talk to host Michel Martin about the intersection of art and politics.
The election is over and the deadline for the so-called "fiscal cliff" is drawing closer. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about how the two relate, and what it could mean for America's economic future.