Around the Nation
1:21 pm
Sat October 1, 2011

A Losing Battle? The Fight To Save The Postal Service

More than half a million people work for the U.S. Postal Service making it the seventh largest employer in the world. But like a lot of other businesses, this one is being hit hard by the tough economy and transformed by the Internet.

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Author Interviews
11:31 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Zen And 'The Art of Fielding': Baseball As Life

iStockphoto

Chad Harbach's debut novel, The Art Of Fielding, is about baseball in the same way Moby-Dick is about whaling. Or in the same way Friday Night Lights is about football.

Which is to say, it is — and it isn't.

Harbach's protagonist, Henry Skrimshander, is a prodigal shortstop at a small, midwestern liberal arts college called Westish University. Henry is destined for the big leagues, until a debilitating mental slump lands him on the bench.

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Africa
11:00 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Democracy Steadily Takes Root In Africa

Zambia's newly elected President Michael Sata (right), a long-time opposition figure, is shown at his swearing in ceremony in Lusaka on Sept. 23. Seventeen of the 49 sub-Saharan nations in Africa are holding elections this year.
Thomas Nsama AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 1, 2011 4:19 pm

The international spotlight has been on North Africa this year, where Arab autocrats have been overthrown by government opponents seeking democracy in three separate countries – Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.

But farther south on the continent, a less dramatic democratic trend has been playing out for years.

Seventeen of the 49 nations in sub-Saharan Africa are holding national elections this year. That's partly an accident of timing. But it's also a sign that holding power in Africa these days increasingly requires a leader to hold regular elections.

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World
7:23 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Conditional Aid For Pakistan: Change Not Guaranteed

Pakistani security personnel stand alert on a street in Quetta in September. Proposed appropriations bills in both the U.S. House and Senate make economic and military assistance to Pakistan conditional.
Banaras Khan AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan is a leading recipient of U.S. economic aid, receiving billions of dollars every year in both civilian and military support. However, the recent rocky patch between the two countries is pushing many members of Congress to reevaluate the assistance package.

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Middle East
7:13 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Turkey's Quiet Deal Keeps U.S. Close, Israel Not Far

President Obama meets with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in New York City. Turkey has agreed to a U.S. radar installation as part of a NATO missile defense system.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 2:41 pm

Turkey's leaders have called Israel the "West's spoiled child," and the "bully" of the eastern Mediterranean. When a Tel Aviv soccer team showed up in Istanbul recently for a match, the welcome was less than warm.

In September, Turkey kicked out the Israeli ambassador, suspended military and trade deals and threatened legal and naval action to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

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Sports
7:00 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Playoffs Start With Thrills, Chills And Rainouts

The 2011 baseball playoffs have begun, but fans are still reeling from perhaps the single most exciting end to baseball's regular season since Babe Ruth ate 30 hot dogs. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about this week's playoff action and more.

Around the Nation
7:00 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Sailor Charts Solo Trip Into The Record Books

It's been more than a hundred days since Matt Rutherford has walked on dry land. With any luck, it'll be another 200 before he does. The 30-year-old Marylander is sailing around North and South America. Alexandra Gutierrez of member station KUCB in Unalaska reports that if he makes it, he'll be the first person to do the 23,000-mile trip alone and without stopping.

World
7:00 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Bahrain Doctors Face Prison After Protests

This week, a military court in Bahrain handed down harsh sentences to 20 doctors and medical personnel accused of stockpiling weapons and illegally occupying a hospital during recent protests. The doctors say they're being punished for treating demonstrators injured in anti-government protests. Host Scott Simon speaks with Dr. Fatima Hajji, one of the medical professionals sentenced to prison.

Politics
7:00 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Super PACs Promise A Super-Packed 2012

Many political watchers say the 2012 presidential campaign is shaping up to be the most expensive election cycle in American history. One reason: the growing influence of political action committees, independent groups that raise money largely from corporations, trade unions and the wealthy. Host Scott Simon talks with Bill Burton, co-founder of the Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA, about his group's fundraising efforts for the 2012 presidential election.

Politics
7:00 am
Sat October 1, 2011

It's A Slow Season For Campaign Fundraising

The books closed at midnight on another reporting period for the Federal Election Commission, as candidates and political action committees continue to fill their coffers for the 2012 election. Host Scott Simon talks with Tony Corrado, professor of government at Colby College, about campaign fundraising for the 2012 presidential race.

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