After a week of escalating violence in Syria, the chief U.N. official there in the country said today that efforts to resolve the conflict have had little effect. It was a bleak assessment from the man leading the United Nations observer mission for the past six months. NPR's Deborah Amos joins us from Damascus, where she has been out with observers assessing the situation.
And Deb, what was the message today from Major General Robert Mood?
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Summer dust storms in Arizona have a funny name - haboobs - but they can be deadly. This summer, Arizona transportation officials turned to poetry in their safety campaign, encouraging Twitter users to tweet haikus, like this one from Mindy Lee: Haboobs blow through town. In one instant it is dark. Pull over and wait. And here's Will Watson's: You're not a Jedi. This is not Tatooine, Luke. Pull over, man. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
I try my best to keep up on new sounds out of the Middle East and North Africa, but the name Youssra El Hawary was completely new to me until just a couple of weeks ago. But now, I'm totally hooked on music by this 28-year-old folkie-ish, indie-ish, chanson-ish singer/songwriter from Egypt armed not with a guitar, but ... an accordion.
In recent months, economic growth in China has not only slowed — it's slowed faster than most people expected. Last week, for the first time since the depths of the global financial crisis, the government actually cut lending rates to try to spur growth. All of this has people wondering: Where is the world's star economy headed?
The famous paintings on the walls of caves in Europe mark the beginning of figurative art and a great leap forward for human culture.
But now a novel method of determining the age of some of those cave paintings questions their provenance. Not that they're fakes — only that it might not have been modern humans who made them.
The first European cave paintings are thought to have been made over 30,000 years ago. Most depict animals and hunters. Some of the eeriest are stencils of human hands, apparently made by blowing a spray of pigment over a hand held up to a wall.
Nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that people accused of a crime deserve the right to a defense lawyer, no matter whether they can afford to pay for one. But there's no such guarantee when it comes to civil disputes — like evictions and child custody cases — even though they have a huge impact on people's lives.
For decades, federal and state governments have pitched in to help. But money pressures mean the system for funding legal aid programs for the poor is headed toward a crisis.
In 1996, Wil Smith enrolled as a freshman at Maine's Bowdoin College. At 27, he had recently finished serving in the Navy. But he set off for school with his 1-year-old daughter, Olivia, in tow. Now that she's a teenager, Olivia sat down with her dad at StoryCorps to look back on their "college days" together.