To help union troops scout during the Civil War, President Lincoln signed off on a plan to create a volunteer balloon brigade. A commemoration at the National Mall honored the event on Saturday, complete with a gas-filled balloon and period dress. Allison Keyes reports.
President Obama's itinerary this week includes a trip to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, a significant event for Puerto Ricans both on the island and the mainland. The island is buzzing at the prospect of the first official presidential visit since John F. Kennedy went there in 1961. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks to Puerto Rico's secretary of state, Kenneth McClintock, about the significance of the visit.
This week we saw a prominent member of Congress brought low by salacious behavior on Twitter. We also saw a shift in the batting order of Republican candidates for president in 2012. Guest host Jacki Lyden talks politics with NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson and NPR's Andrea Seabrook.
Former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's attempted rape charges have caused a great stir in both the U.S. and France. Initially, it seemed to highlight cultural differences between the two countries around sexual politics. Lately, however, French attitudes have begun to change. Host Jacki Lyden speaks to the senior editor of Le Monde, Sylvie Kauffmann, about whether the scandal has changed the way gender relations are viewed in France.
Earlier this year, the city of Providence, R.I., fired all of its nearly 2,000 teachers, shut down five schools and consolidated some programs. Most of the fired teachers were rehired, but when the dust settled, 400 teachers were left without jobs. To give them a chance to apply for 270 positions elsewhere the district, Providence officials are using an unusual device. From member station WRNI, Elisabeth Harrison reports.
The UN is planning to release civilian casualty figures for the month of May this weekend, and the toll could be the highest yet. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports that even though three-quarters of the victims were killed by the Taliban or other militants, it is the U.S. and its NATO allies that bear the brunt of the criticism from Afghans.
Turks are voting in parliamentary elections on Sunday. The secular opposition is mainly fighting to keep the ruling party from winning too big a majority so it doesn't have a completely free hand when it comes to re-writing the country's constitution. Guest host Jacki Lyden talks with NPR's Peter Kenyon about what's at stake.
Spotted owls are on the decline despite two decades of work to bring them back. So, later this month, wildlife officials are releasing a new plan to protect the owls, and it includes a controversial new approach: eliminating their cousins.
In a dense forest near Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco, National Park Service ecologist Bill Merkle plays a recording of a spotted owl in hopes of hearing from a real one.
"I think they're just probably 50 or 60 feet up there," he says.
Last year, I wrote that the most highly anticipated musical of the 2009-2010 season was Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Back then, the Julie Taymor/Bono/Edge show — which had a reported budget of $40 million — had been postponed for lack of funds. So as the season wrapped, it was still highly anticipated.