The summer tourism season is what keeps Branson, Missouri thriving. Last year, Branson's live music venues helped draw more than seven million visitors. And so when a tornado tore through the city's popular strip this past February, Branson's future seemed uncertain. As Missy Shelton of member station KSMU reports, city leaders are working hard to let people know that Branson is open for business.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hands out coins to members of the crew as he visits USNS Richard E. Byrd in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, on Sunday. Panetta toured the former U.S. air and naval base in the bay, becoming the most senior American official to go there since the war ended.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is trying to send a message during a weeklong trip to the Asia-Pacific region: The U.S. is back.
Panetta continues Monday to Vietnam, where he's hoping to build stronger defense ties. The trip began Sunday with a historic return to a key crossroads of the Vietnam War: Cam Ranh Bay.
Panetta boarded a little ferry boat Sunday in the beautiful natural harbor north of Ho Chi Minh City. On board, he asked about his destination: the USNS Richard E. Byrd, a big supply ship docked on the other side of the bay.
Since the revolution last year, Tunisians have had greater freedom to express their opinions on political and social issues. But the rise of Islamist groups has made religion a more sensitive topic. Here, two men chat at a cafe in the capital Tunis.
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
A Tunisian journalist holds a TV frame as part of a protest in Tunis against actions taken against the media. Since last year's revolution, Tunisians have been able to speak more freely about politics and social issues. But with the rise of Islamist groups, religion has become a more sensitive topic.
Credit Fethi Belaid / AFP
Nabil Karoui, the director of the private Tunisian TV channel Nessma, had his offices and home attacked after his channel broadcast a film that angered Islamists. Karoui, shown here leaving a courthouse in Tunis, lost a case for "violating morals."
Over the next couple weeks, NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep will be taking a Revolutionary Road Trip across North Africa to see how the countries that staged revolutions last year are remaking themselves as they write new social rules, rebuild their economies and establish new political systems. Steve and his team will be traveling some 2,000 miles from Tunisia's ancient city of Carthage, across the deserts of Libya and on to Egypt's megacity of Cairo.
Cathy Yamauchi has been waiting since Thanksgiving to hear from her mortgage lender regarding a short sale of her home in Ramsey, Minn. She is planning to move to a townhome, but is mostly living out of boxes while waiting on the short sale.
Banks are often accused of dragging their feet when a homeowner wants to sell for less than the balance on the mortgage. A lot of those "short sales" might be better dubbed "really long and drawn out" sales. New federal guidelines, though, could now push lenders to approve short sales faster.
Like a lot of people with autism, Jeff Hudale has a brain that's really good at some things.
"I have an unusual aptitude for numbers, namely math computations," he says.
Hudale can do triple-digit multiplication in his head. That sort of ability helped him get a degree in engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. But he says his brain struggles with other subjects like literature and philosophy.
"I like working with things that are rather concrete and structured," he says. "Yeah, I like things with some logic and some rules to it."
Summer living is supposed to be easy — school is out, the days are long, the traffic eases. But it's not all inner tubes and lemonade: Summer can throw us some curveballs, too. How can I avoid sunburn? What can I do to stave off that brain freeze? Why do my s'mores always burn?
Fear not; NPR is here to help. As part of our new Summer Science series, we'll turn to science to tackle these vexing questions, starting with how to build the perfect campfire.
The two voices at the center of the British electronic quintet Hot Chip seem, at first, to divide the band into two sides: animal and mechanical. Joe Goddard, the deeper-voiced of the two singers, sounds smooth and sleepy; Alexis Taylor, who more often takes the lead, can sound crushed, hypnotized, fragile, perpetually on the verge of tears. He's like a robot processing a first flush of emotion. Goddard's more like a friendly grizzly.