3:29am

Wed January 9, 2013
Education

Promoting Hinduism? Parents Demand Removal Of School Yoga Class

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 9:46 am

Third-graders at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School in Encinitas, Calif., perform chair pose with instructor Kristen McCloskey last month.
Kyla Calvert for NPR

During first period at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School in Encinitas, Calif., Kristen McCloskey leads about two dozen third-graders through some familiar yoga poses.

"All right, so let's do our opening sequence A," she says, instructing the kids. "Everyone take a big inhale, lift those arms up. Look up."

At the end of the half-hour class, 8-year-old Jacob Hagen says he feels energized and ready for the rest of the day. "Because you get to stretch out and it's good to be the first class because it wakes you up," he says.

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3:20am

Wed January 9, 2013
Asia

Become A Successful Chinese Bureaucrat, In 5 Easy Steps

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 8:16 pm

The Civil Servant's Notebook, which recently was translated into English." href="/post/become-successful-chinese-bureaucrat-5-easy-steps" class="noexit lightbox">
Former civil servant Wang Xiaofang is the author of 13 books on "bureaucracy literature," including The Civil Servant's Notebook, which recently was translated into English.
Louisa Lim NPR

Forget Fifty Shades of Grey. In China, "bureaucracy lit" is flying off bookstore shelves. With the books' stories of Machiavellian office politics, they're read avidly, both as entertainment and as how-to guides for aspiring civil servants.

So what is the secret to success in the corridors of power?

Here is a five-point guide to success, with tips gleaned from the pioneers of bureaucracy lit.

Lesson 1: Cultivate your connections.

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3:17am

Wed January 9, 2013
Sweetness And Light

Steroid Accusations Likely To Bench Baseball Hall Of Fame Candidates

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:26 am

Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees on Oct. 16. Morris is a candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
Paul Sancya AP

The results of this year's baseball Hall of Fame voting will be revealed on Wednesday.

Given the exit polling, it appears both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, as well as other candidates stained by accusations of steroid use, will not be admitted.

Among other reasons for not voting for them, I would suspect that accusations against Lance Armstrong for using performance-enhancing drugs in cycling is bound to have some carry-over effect. At a certain point, when the circumstantial evidence for drug use is so compelling, who can possibly believe these guys?

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6:52pm

Tue January 8, 2013
The Salt

Farm Bill Critics Claim Partial Victory Despite Stalemate

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 10:20 am

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

It's amazing how many different kinds of people have been trying to abolish or at least change the government's payments to farmers. They include economists, environmentalists, taxpayer advocates, global anti-hunger advocates and even a lot of farmers. Some have been fighting farm subsidies for the past 20 years.

This past year, those critics laid siege to offices on Capitol Hill because the law that authorizes these programs — the farm bill — was about to expire. (It has to be renewed every five years.)

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6:37pm

Tue January 8, 2013
Business

After The 'Fiscal Cliff,' Businesses Say Some Uncertainty Remains

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:23 pm

U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. But the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent last month.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Businesses complained that the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" froze their decisions about hiring and expanding, which hurt the economy. Washington has now managed half a deal, which settles tax issues, at least for the time being. But has that removed enough uncertainty to boost some business hiring and investment?

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6:37pm

Tue January 8, 2013
Environment

Deep In Canadian Lakes, Signs Of Tar Sands Pollution

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:43 pm

The Shell Oil Jackpine open pit mine uses trucks that are 3 stories tall, weigh 1 million pounds and cost $7 million each. There is explosive growth in the oil field areas around Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Canadian researchers have used the mud at the bottom of lakes like a time machine to show that tar sands oil production in Alberta, Canada, is polluting remote regional lakes as far as 50 miles from the operations.

An increasingly large share of U.S. oil comes from Canada's tar sands. There are environmental consequences of this development, but until recently, Canadian regional and federal governments left it to the industry to monitor these effects.

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6:07pm

Tue January 8, 2013
It's All Politics

House Gears Up For Immigration Battle

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:05 pm

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the new House Judiciary Committee chairman, is a former immigration attorney who has taken a hard line against Democratic proposals.
Alex Wong Getty Images

With immigration expected to be a top issue in the new Congress, lawmakers in both parties continue to call for a bipartisan approach — while also preparing for battle.

The messaging from many House Democrats and Republicans about the chances of passing an immigration overhaul remains optimistic. And some of them, such as Republican Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California, have begun to meet privately.

But other moves indicate that lawmakers are hedging their bets and girding for a fight.

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5:55pm

Tue January 8, 2013
The Two-Way

Venezuela's Chavez To Miss His Inauguration

President Hugo Chavez is too ill to attend his inauguration this week, the Venezuelan government announced Tuesday.

In a letter to the National Assembly, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the president's medical team said Chavez's recovery should be extended beyond Thursday – the day he is scheduled to be sworn in. The Associated Press reports: "Maduro said Chavez was invoking a provision in the constitution allowing him to be sworn in before the Supreme Court at a 'later date.'"

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5:25pm

Tue January 8, 2013
Europe

A Dash Of Olive Oil May Preserve British Cathedral

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:24 am

The stones of York Minster in northern England are decaying. Olive oil may be just the dressing the cathedral needs to preserve its Gothic architecture.
Nigel Roddis Reuters/Landov

The British have some stunning cathedrals, and York Minster, in the north of England, is one of the most magnificent of all.

Construction on it began 800 years ago, and a mere 2 1/2 centuries later, work was complete.

The result was one of Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals and one that's had a rough ride through history: It's been pillaged and looted, and damaged by devastating fires and lightning strikes.

Today, there's another threat: acid rain. As a result, the cathedral's stones are decaying.

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5:20pm

Tue January 8, 2013
Middle East

A Welcoming Way Station For Syrians Fleeing Home

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:37 pm

Beit Qamishlo is a modest house in southern Turkey that caters to Syrian exiles seeking temporary refuge. It also hosts frequent discussions on Syria's future. Here, Malik Dagestani (center), a former political prisoner in Syria, talks about his detention in the 1980s and 1990s.
Kelly McEvers NPR

It's called Beit Qamishlo, or the House of Qamishlo. It's named after a city in northeastern Syria, though the house isn't even in Syria — it's just across the border in southern Turkey.

The house is humble, made of concrete blocks, with tile floors. Arabic slogans are taped on the walls: "Beit Qamishlo is a house for everyone," "It's a window to Syria's future," "Under one roof we plant life together and freedom."

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