Facing a financial crisis that threatens Europe, Italy's lower house of parliament got down to important business. They passed a rule to save themselves from themselves. Photographers use long lenses to capture lawmakers making rude gestures, passing notes — or voting for absent colleagues, a practice that has been called "playing the piano," as they press several buttons at once. So, lawmakers have banned photographers from taking "personal images."
A U.S. Marine pushes a child on a swing in southern Afghanistan on March 4. After a decade of nation-building in Afghanistan, and nearly as long in Iraq, the U.S. appears to be losing it appetite for such efforts.
Credit Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson / U.S. Air Force via Getty Images
U.S. Army Sgt. Johnny Hoyos plays soccer with an Afghan boy at a school in Qalat, Afghanistan on April 16 in Qalat. U.S. troops were visiting to assess the facilities for a renovation project.
Originally published on Thu November 24, 2011 4:12 pm
Nation-building has gone out of style.
The U.S. effort in Afghanistan has lasted a decade, and it's been nearly as long in Iraq. Now, there's little appetite in American political circles for large-scale attempts to build up the economies or political institutions of other countries.
Most U.S. troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year. And the Obama administration has been careful not to take on responsibility for rebuilding Libya after the NATO bombing campaign that helped drive Moammar Gadhafi from power.
Republican David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, is seriously upset with the state of his party. He's written an article in the current New York magazine, titled "When Did the GOP Lose Touch with Reality?"
As he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep, among Frum's complaints is the idea that his fellow Republicans insist on having their own set of facts.
Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 9:52 am
Thanksgiving has all the makings of a uniquely American tradition: parades, football, pumpkin pie, roasted turkey. But for Americans living in other countries, observing the traditional way can be a challenge. We asked those who will be abroad this Thanksgiving how they'll be spending the holiday — and what changes they'll have to make to their celebrations. We received more than 1,200 responses from our Facebook followers. Some of the most common issues? Finding an inexpensive turkey or locating canned pumpkin. Here's a sample of what you said. Responses have been edited for space.
In 1956, two icons — Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier — got together in London to make a movie, The Prince and the Showgirl. It was a comedy about the lonely Prince Regent of Carpathia, who meets a flirty American showgirl. The film was a royal flop. Now a new movie, My Week With Marilyn, recounts the miserable time had by all on the set. It's the story of one week during the film shoot, with behind-the-scenes clashes, misaligned acting styles, and the pursuit of personal ambitions. Michelle Williams plays Monroe and Kenneth Branagh plays Olivier.
To gauge the severity of the crisis in Europe, it helps to look at how much it costs the continent's countries to borrow money. Investors are pulling back from buying bonds, one country at a time. Investors have dumped their Spanish and Italian debt; now they're looking warily around the rest of Europe, wondering who's next. And suddenly France isn't looking very strong.
In Egypt, intense clashes between protestors and security forces overnight raised the death toll from recent violence to at least 40. But both sides appear to be observing a truce this morning, with protestors who are pouring into the square limiting their actions to chants against Egypt's military rulers. Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been protesting since last Friday, demanding the ruling military council step aside.
The U.S. State Department says it's urging the government of the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain to act on the findings of a major human rights report that has just been issued. That report details the abuses that took place during and after a mass uprising in Bahrain that was styled after movements in Tunisia and Egypt. The report was commissioned by the government itself and assembled by a team of international legal experts. But it remains to be seen whether it will lead to real reform and dialogue between the ruling Sunni monarchy and the Shiite majority.
In Spain, last weekend's election victory by austerity-minded conservatives hasn't done much to quell volatile markets. It's been a rude awakening for Spain's next prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, who's under pressure to enact reforms quickly — even before he takes office next month.