The U.N. estimates that the world's population will pass the 7 billion mark on Monday.
Much of that growth has happened in Asia — in India and China. Those two countries have been among the world's most populous for centuries. But a demographic shift is taking place as the countries have modernized and lowered their fertility rates. Now, the biggest growth is taking place in sub-Saharan Africa.
NPR's Frank Langfitt has spent the past year reporting in two countries where the populations and the problems could not be more different: South Sudan and China.
The best way to travel in South Sudan is by plane. That's because, in a nation nearly the size of Texas, there are hardly any paved roads.
Earlier this year, I flew to Akobo County, near the Ethiopian border. On the hour-plus flight, I saw cattle herders and acacia trees, but mostly empty landscape. There was little sign of the 21st century — or the 20th.
A truck driver cleans his windshield at a filling station in Milford, Conn. The long hours, weeks away from home and mediocre pay contribute to the trucking industry's shortage of an estimated 125,000 drivers.
Credit Sue Ogrocki / AP
Student Tommy Wood sits in the driver's seat of a training truck at Central Tech truck-driver training in Drumright, Okla.
Tough as it is to find work these days, tens of thousands of jobs paying middle-class wages are going unfilled.
Open truck-driving jobs require little more than a high school diploma and a month or so of training. But not everybody wants to be a long-haul truck driver, and many who do find they just can't hack it.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Miami by Florida residents being charged out-of-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities. The students are American citizens — children who were born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants — and they say Florida's regulations violate their constitutional rights.
Wendy Ruiz, a 19-year-old sophomore at Miami Dade College with a 3.7 grade point average, has a plan. She expects to graduate later this year with a two-year associate's degree in Biology.
A recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed barely 10 percent of the public trusts the government. But it doesn't stop there: Trust in public institutions like corporations, banks, courts, the media and universities is at an all-time low; the military is one of the few exceptions.
Syrian President Bashar Assad warned of an earthquake if international forces intervene in his country where anti-government protesters are calling for protection amid a crackdown that has killed thousands.
In an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Assad said calls by the protest movement for a Libya-style no-fly zone over his country — or any other form of intervention — will cause chaos.
Syrian President Bashar Assad warned of an "earthquake" if any outside forces intervened in his country. Meanwhile, protesters say dozens of people were killed in the last few days, making this one of the bloodiest weekends since the uprising began.
This round of Three-Minute Fiction attracted 3,400 original stories. NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt from Sleep Lessons by Chad Woody from Springfield, Mo., and Susan Stamberg shares parts of The Edge by Andrew Morris from Andes, N.Y. To see these stories and others go to npr.org/threeminutefiction.
Credit Lance Cpl. Joseph M. Peterson / U.S. Marine Corps
Lt. Col. Jason Morris pays his respects at a memorial service in Sangin, Afghanistan, on Nov. 26, 2010, for three Marines who were killed: Lance Cpl. Brandon Pearson, Lance Cpl. Matthew Broehm and 1st Lt. Robert Kelly. Morris commanded a battalion in volatile Helmand province that suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit in the Afghanistan War.
Credit Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury / U.S. Marine Corps
Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment conduct a search operation in Sangin district, Afghanistan, on Feb.18, 2011. Roadside bombs were a constant threat on such patrols.
Credit Courtesy of Jason Morris
Lt. Col. Jason Morris (right) is seen with his "right-hand man" Sgt. Maj. James Bushway in Sangin in April 2011, close to the time the 3/5 departed from Afghanistan.
A year ago, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. By the time their tour ended in April 2011, the Marines of the 3/5 — known as "Darkhorse" — suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. This week, NPR tells the story of this unit's seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home.
His father, Nat Riccobono, and his uncles came to New York City from Sicily and made money by running shady businesses throughout New York in the late 1940s. After his father was deported and his mother died, Roberts moved from home to home until he was 16 and joined his uncles in the Mafia.
By the time Roberts was 26, in 1978, he was a practiced criminal — committing robberies and dealing cocaine in New York City; but he was getting bored. That's when he moved to Miami and started working with the Colombians, importing cocaine.