Editor's Note: Throughout the Syrian uprising, the government has allowed few foreign journalists and other outsiders into the country, and there has been limited information about life in many parts of the country. In this essay, a Syrian citizen describes life in the capital, Damascus. For security reasons, NPR is not identifying the author.
Children play in an orphanage in Moscow. While some Russian officials are critical of foreign adoptions, the U.S. and Russia are finalizing an agreement designed to improve the safety and quality of adoptions of Russian children by American families.
Americans have been adopting Russian children in sizable numbers for two decades, and most of the unions have worked out well. But it remains a sensitive topic in Russia, where officials periodically point to high-profile cases of abuse or other problems.
Now, the two countries are putting the finishing touches on a new agreement governing these adoptions. It will make the process costlier and more time-consuming, but it's designed to address a host of concerns.
Some Russian officials still seem to bristle at the very thought of foreigners adopting Russian children.
Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 1:49 pm
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor scientific research that, in the words of Master of Ceremonies Marc Abrahams, "first makes you laugh, and then makes you think." This year's prizes, awarded in late September, include citations for research into mysteriously green hair, potentially explosive colonoscopies, and the creation of equations that model the back-and-forth swing of a ponytail in motion.
Get out a pencil and paper and your graphic calculator because it's time for a little math review. And we'll warm up with some algebra, move on to imaginary numbers, then the quadratic formula, and we're going to finish up with a bit of vector calculus, how about some probability theory thrown in. No, no, no, I'm just joking. Don't turn off the radio just yet.
Up next, some food for thought as you chomp your Thanksgiving leftovers. Recycling paper and plastic, as you know, is an effective way to save money and energy. So why not recycle all the uneaten food that goes to waste? And there is an awful lot of it. Forty percent of the food in the U.S. today goes uneaten, which means Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion worth of food each year. But that's not all. Food waste, as it decays in landfills, also produces methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 12:50 pm
Three albums into a thriving career, Ben Folds Five abruptly announced it was over in 2000. Luckily for fans, Folds got the band back together 11 years later and even released a new album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, this September.
The album is classic Ben Folds Five — at times irreverent, cerebral, quirky, wistful and playful. The Sound of the Life of the Mind peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and the video for the first single, "Do It Anyway," features Anna Kendrick, Rob Corddry and the cast of Fraggle Rock.
Already this year, 105 women in Italy have been killed by husbands or boyfriends –- present or former.
Vanessa Scialfa, 29, was killed by her partner in Sicily. Alessia Francesca Simonetta, 25, was pregnant when she was stabbed to death by her boyfriend in Milan. Carmella Petrucci, 17, was stabbed in the throat as she tried to defend her sister from her ex-boyfriend.
Police inspector Francesca Monaldi, who heads the gender crime unit in Rome, says the names and the cities change, but the stories are very similar.