At 10 p.m. on Monday, NBC anchor Brian Williams will do something that hasn't been done in nearly 20 years: launch a new network TV newsmagazine.
Hosted live from NBC's Rockefeller Center headquarters — thus the name, Rock Center — it's an ambitious attempt to showcase both Williams' serious news skills and his signature dry wit. And if it's going to succeed, he and NBC may have to reinvent the newsmagazine for a new age.
On television, most criminal cases are tried before a jury. But in reality, more than 90 percent of all criminal cases in the United States never get to trial; they are resolved with a plea bargain. For the state, these bargains save money and resources, and they often include agreements that the defendant will help prosecutors make other cases. But plea bargains have also been criticized as a boon for real criminals who have information to bargain with, while little guys, with nothing to trade, can get mauled by the system.
You'd think if you were a relative of someone as famous as Harry Houdini, you'd know it. But George Hardeen, 59, didn't find out he was Houdini's great-nephew until he was a teenager.
His grandfather was Houdini's brother, Theo Hardeen, also an escape artist. At one point, the brothers performed together. Houdini and his wife, Bess, had no children, and when he died — on Halloween, 85 years ago — he willed all of his props to Theo.
If you're among the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight, chances are you've had people tell you to just ease up on the eating and use a little self-control. It does, of course, boil down to "calories in, calories out."
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.
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.
Marines are trained to fight proficiently with deadly weapons. But when an unarmed mob in Iraq turned violent, such weapons were literally overkill. Kentuckian Noah Melgar found himself in just such a situation. As a military policeman with the Marines, Melgar had to fight hand-to-hand.
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.