5:53pm

Wed August 22, 2012
Middle East

As Fighting Rages, A Prisoner Swap In Syria

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:59 pm

The daily fighting in Syria included this gun battle Wednesday involving rebels in the northern city of Aleppo. Still, the rival sides recently worked out a prisoner swap in which two women were freed from state custody, while the rebels released seven pro-government fighters.
James Lawler Duggan AFP/Getty Images

The bitter fighting in Syria seems to grow worse by the day, yet the rebels and the government do occasionally manage to work out something that requires each side to trust the other: prisoner swaps.

In one recent exchange, two women held by the government were freed in exchange for seven men who were fighting on behalf President Bashar Assad's regime.

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5:24pm

Wed August 22, 2012
The Salt

There's Too Much Food Waste, But Here Are Five Things People Are Doing About It

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:58 am

Rotten jackfruit and tomatoes are sorted at a dump in New Delhi. India loses an estimated 40 percent of its produce harvest for lack of infrastructure. And Americans waste about 40 percent of our food.
Mustafa Quraishi AP

The food world is buzzing today about the latest news on just how often we waste perfectly good food. And we admit, the statistics are pretty depressing.

About 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. The average American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia — up 50 percent from Americans in the 1970s. Yet, 1 in 6 Americans doesn't have enough to eat, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And food waste costs us about $165 billion a year and sucks up 25 percent of our freshwater supply.

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5:19pm

Wed August 22, 2012
It's All Politics

Despite Fact Checks, Romney Escalates Welfare Work Requirement Charge

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:59 pm

President Clinton signs the welfare reform law on Aug. 22, 1996.
Stephen Jaffe Reuters /Landov

Wednesday marks the 16th anniversary of President Clinton's welfare overhaul. That law has become a major issue in this year's presidential campaign.

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5:11pm

Wed August 22, 2012
The Two-Way

Fed Hints At More Action To Boost Economy

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks to educators Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C. At their most recent meeting, many Fed members backed action to boost the economy.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

The Federal Reserve could take more steps to boost the struggling U.S. economy. That's according to minutes released Wednesday of the Federal Open Market Committee's July 31-Aug. 1 meeting.

"Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery," the minutes said. [PDF]

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4:59pm

Wed August 22, 2012
Summer Nights: Funtown

Festive Nanjing Road Recaptures Shanghai's Heyday

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 8:34 pm

The "Loving Happiness Band," supported, in part, by the Communist Party, plays for a crowd on Nanjing Road.
Frank Langfitt NPR

In the 1920s and 1930s, Shanghai was one of the world's most exciting — and notorious — cities. But all that came to an end in the middle of the last century, when the Communists took charge.

Over the past decade or so, though, a vibrant Shanghai has re-emerged. Today, it's a dynamic city of 23 million, with a skyline that dwarfs Manhattan's.

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4:56pm

Wed August 22, 2012
Religion

Some Israeli Parents Rethink Ritual Circumcision

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 8:41 am

Family members and friends gather around 8-day-old Israeli baby Oz Naftaly Cohen after his traditional Jewish circumcision ceremony in 2005.
Ariel Schalit AP

The question of whether to circumcise a newborn son is no question at all for most observant Jews. In Europe, the practice has come under fire. This summer, a German regional court ruled that circumcision is physical abuse, and a Swiss hospital temporarily banned the procedure. The debate has infuriated Jewish community leaders there.

In Israel, even the most secular Jews overwhelmingly have their sons circumcised. But the debate in Europe has drawn attention to a still small but growing number of Israeli Jews who are forgoing the procedure.

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4:46pm

Wed August 22, 2012
The Two-Way

Confederate Soldier In Famous Portrait Is Identified

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:43 pm

Stephen Pollard of Carroll County, Ga., who fought and survived the Civil War.
Library of Congress

The Washington Post brings us an interesting story about a portait that was donated to the Library of Congress.

As far as portraits from the Civil War go, this one is quite famous. It shows a confederate soldier looking a bit disheveled and very serious while holding an 1855 Springfield single-shot pistol carbine.

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4:30pm

Wed August 22, 2012
Environment

Humans' Role In Antarctic Ice Melt Is Unclear

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:59 pm

The Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, shattered and separated from the continent 10 years ago. A NASA satellite captured the event in this image from Feb. 23, 2002. The 650 foot-thick, 1,250-square-mile ice shelf had existed since the last ice age.
AP

Ten years ago, a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island disintegrated and melted in the waters off Antarctica. Two other massive ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula had suffered similar fates a few years before. The events became poster children for the effects of global warming. But a new study finds that the story isn't quite so simple.

There's no question that unusually warm air triggered the final demise of these huge chunks of ice. But a lingering question is whether these events can be attributed to human-induced global warming.

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4:28pm

Wed August 22, 2012
The Salt

The Spice Man Cometh To Cuba, A Hot Land Of Bland Food

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:57 am

Cuba has tight advertising restrictions, so Cedric Fernando uses his British-made 1955 MG convertible to spread the word about his Indian restaurant, Bollywood, in Havana.
Nick Miroff NPR

Cuba has hot weather, hot music, hot politics and hot Cubans. So why is the food so bland?

Tourists who have visited the island, particularly Cuba's state-run restaurants, know that Cuban chefs are deeply fond of frying their ingredients, but the range of seasonings tends to span from salt to garlic, with not much else in between.

Enter the Spice Man. He is Cedric Fernando, co-proprietor of the first and only Indian restaurant in Cuba, called Bollywood. And he's definitely turning up the heat in the kitchen.

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4:15pm

Wed August 22, 2012
It's All Politics

Poll: Ryan-As-Running-Mate Helps Romney In Wisconsin, But Just A Bit

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 4:39 pm

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney campaign in Waukesha, Wis., on Aug. 12, the day after Romney made the Wisconsin congressman his vice presidential running mate.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Picking Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate has helped GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the Badger State, but just a little, a new poll suggests.

Obama leads Romney among likely voters in Wisconsin, 49 percent to 46 percent, according to a Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday afternoon. The poll was conducted Aug. 16 through 19, following Ryan's selection as Romney's running mate on Aug. 11.

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