The final round of the 2012 National Geographic Bee takes place Thursday, with students between the fourth and eighth grades testing their knowledge of countries, canals and lava lakes. Of the 54 contestants who came to the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., for the bee, only 10 remain.
Mongolia, the land of Genghis Khan and nomadic herders, is in the midst of a remarkable transition. Rich in coal, gold and copper, this country of fewer than 3 million people in Central Asia is riding a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade. The rapid changes simultaneously excite and unnerve many Mongolians, who hope mining can help pull many out of poverty, but worry it will ravage the environment and further erode the nation's distinctive, nomadic identity.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Oregon officials are trying to ease the stress of road construction, at least for one resident. Two-point-two miles of the Sunset Highway are being repaved. This could disturb Rose-Tu, a pregnant elephant at the nearby Oregon zoo. The Oregonian reports highway crews will move gingerly, letting Rose-Tu grow accustomed to the noise. They hope to avoid stress from vibrations in her feet and sounds captured by those elephant ears. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Nearly two years ago, Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered that gun-toting private security companies in his country be brought under state control. But the Afghan force to replace the foreign-funded contractors is off to a rocky start.
According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the new force will increase security costs for USAID projects and could even shut some of them down, at a loss of about $899 million. USAID in Kabul disagrees, and the dispute has gone public.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:47 pm
Tonight, when Ryan Seacrest announces who has won the 11th season of American Idol — when the confetti falls and Jennifer Lopez sheds a perfect dewy teardrop and Randy Jackson's thought bubble explodes with "Dude, that was a moment moment MOMENT" and Steven Tyler purses his immortal lips in that vampire-connoisseur way he does, smelling the perfume of another sweet young victory — I will be out to dinner with friends, far from the agony and ecstasy finalists Jessica Sanchez and Phi