As the European debt crisis drags on, one question being asked is what will happen to Italy. The new government of Prime Minister Mario Monti is struggling to convince the financial markets that the country has a plan to pay its debts. Among other things, Monti says he will do something about Italy's long tradition of tax evasion, which is considered somewhat of a national sport.
In September, the pro-Russia Harmony Center party won parliamentary elections in Latvia. But the governing coalition has left the party on the sidelines. Supporters of the Harmony Center party protest in front of the Parliament building during its opening session in Riga on Oct. 17. The banner reads: "No to ethnic discrimination."
Credit Raitis Purins / AFP/Getty Images
Of all the economic downturns of the past few years, the tiny European nation of Latvia may have suffered as much as any place. Incomes fell and families suffered as the government implemented harsh austerity measures.
Now, the citizens of this former Soviet republic seem more open to what was once unthinkable: backing a social democratic party that's pro-Russian.
Carrie Cook and her two young sons escaped their Joplin, Mo., apartment just before a tornado obliterated it and most everything inside in May. Now, Cook's small house is one of 10 that Habitat for Humanity is putting up in Joplin this month.
Credit Frank Morris for NPR
For a lot of the people in Joplin, Mo., this Thanksgiving is going to be one more to endure than to celebrate. But new dreams are slowly taking root in the rocky soil here.
While the losses from last May's tornado have been terrible, they've left a lot of people here more grateful to be alive than they were last Thanksgiving. Some residents are deeply grateful for what the storm didn't take, and even for what it gave them.
It's been an All Things Considered Thanksgiving tradition since 1991— a Bailey White original short story. Over the years, White's stories have included tales about a rose queen, a telephone man, an ostrich farmer and a wife exacting revenge. This year, White presents "Call It Even." It's about a shy painter who moves from Florida to Vermont and wants to feel like he fits in — so he raises a dozen turkeys.
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."
They battle international villains. And "when it comes to giving away their hearts, they'll risk everything." That's according to "SEAL of my Dreams, a short story collection by 18 romance novelists, celebrating Navy SEALS. Story titles include "SEALed with A Kiss," "SEALed by Fate" — you get the idea. Proceeds from the book will fund medical research for wounded veterans.
Guy Raz thanks his former high school guidance counselor, Walter Roig, for being in his corner and teaching him about wielding power. The conversation is part of the StoryCorps National Day of Listening project. On Friday, you can thank a teacher, too, on Twitter, with hash tag #thankteacher, or on the StoryCorps Facebook page.
Originally published on Thu November 24, 2011 5:12 pm
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 Adek Berry / AFP/Getty Images
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.