As China grows in power and influence, few countries are feeling the effects more than neighboring Kazakhstan.
Having broken from its past as a Soviet republic, Kazakhstan now has an up-and-coming economy and a desire to be a player on the world stage. China seems to be offering just what Kazakhstan needs β billions of dollars in foreign investment and deeper political ties with real-world powers.
But many people in Kazakhstan have a plea: not too fast.
Cash-strapped states are rethinking how much health care coverage they can afford to provide for their neediest residents. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to cut $500 million in Medicaid spending β in part by freezing more than 20,000 state residents out of the program. Critics say the cuts would hurt those who can least afford it.
For years, New Jersey expanded health care coverage for low-income residents β people like Deborah Shupenko of Passaic. But last month, after 10 years of state-funded health insurance, Shupenko got a letter in the mail.
First Lady Michelle Obama received a lot of attention for her vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House. The garden, which provides vegetables both for the first family and for state dinners, was also meant to provide Americans with an example of how to eat more healthfully.
As it turns out, Washington has a long tradition of trying to guide the American diet, going back over 200 years. Founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin brought plants like rice and olives from their missions abroad to see how they would fare in their own country.
Former convicts can have a difficult time finding a job, especially when the economy is weak.
But at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, a women's prison in Oregon, inmates can learn how to reverse that trend. A course called Lifelong Information For Entrepreneurs, or LIFE, is designed to provide inmates the skills to start their own small businesses after they are released.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that pension and health care costs are eating the U.S. military alive. And the Pentagon predicts that the cost of taking care of its troops and retirees will keep growing.
Retired Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro gets a lot of hate mail, because he's talking about something a whole lot of people don't want to hear about: the rising costs of military health and pension benefits.
"We in the Department of Defense are on the same path that General Motors found itself on," he says.
Later this week, Vice President Biden will host another meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, looking for ways to reduce the federal budget deficit.
The red ink they'll be discussing reflects both government spending and deliberate moves to reduce taxes, including a major round of cuts signed into law by President George W. Bush ten years ago Tuesday.
The signing ceremony was originally going to be outdoors, on the South Lawn of the White House, but rain forced a hasty relocation to the East Room.
A Pakistani general being urged to clear out a strategic area along his country's border with Afghanistan says his troops are engaged in active operations in the region, and Pakistan alone shouldn't be blamed for cross-border militancy.
Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, who commands Pakistan's Eleventh Corps, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that perceptions his troops can't enter North Waziristan are incorrect.
"We're already there," he says. "I have five brigades over there β about 20,000-25,000 troops."
If Rep. Anthony Weiner, the New York congressman who on Monday admitted that he lied when he denied sending lewd photos to and "sexting" with six women over the last three years says he's not resigning.
Maybe he can survive. But events are largely out of his hands now as they have been ever since the scandal broke over the Memorial Day weekend.
Here are some reasons why he could get past this and some reasons why he might not.
The U.S. Supreme Court is now heading down the stretch toward the end of its current term, with major decisions still outstanding, and 27 cases overall yet to be decided. On Monday, the justices issued a variety of opinions of particular interest to the business community, and left intact a California policy that gives illegal aliens in-state college tuition benefits.
The Bowl Championship Series announced today that it has stripped the University of Southern California of the 2004 national championship title. The move comes after the NCAA found that Reggie Bush received benefits not in keeping with NCAA rules.
A new poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts residents support the continuation of that state's landmark universal health insurance law passed in 2006, even though support for its central feature, a requirement for most residents to have health insurance, remains more evenly divided.
Two stories are putting a spotlight on clumsy uses of social media: First, of course, Rep. Anthony Weiner's dalliance with Twitter. As Mark reported, during a press conference today, Weiner admitted that he had tweeted a lewd picture of himself thinking he had direct messaged it to a woman. The picture was instead tweeted publicly and the media jumped on it, culminating in a tearful confession.
A baby's skin has got to be the most velvety soft substance on earth. That delicate skin makes babies and toddlers more vulnerable to sun damage, and to the chemicals in sunscreens intended to protect them.
Saying that "I have made terrible mistakes and have hurt the people I care about the most," a tearful Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) just admitted lying about a lewd photo he sent to a young woman and to having "inappropriate conversations" over social media and on the phone with "six women over the last three years."
He also said he is not going to resign from office.
With summer on the horizon, many teens are looking forward to a break from school and tests. But for Sam Fuller of Albany, not much is going to change. Fuller is part of a rare minority of homeschoolers who call themselves "unschooled" β a more unstructured self-directed form of homeschooling. There are about 2 million registered homeschoolers in the U.S., a number that grows by about 10 percent a year. Sam's family can keep Sam and his brother home by registering their house as a private school.
Almost 60 years ago, engineers in Idaho switched on the world's first nuclear power plant. It was only able to illuminate four light bulbs. The reactor vessel in Idaho stood about eight feet high, and eventually it made enough electricity to power a building.
A nuclear plant today can produce 10,000 times as much electricity. But for the last 20 years, new nuclear plants have been too expensive to build. Now engineers are trying to revive the industry by thinking small again.
If you've followed tech news in recent months, chances are you've heard about the "cloud," a virtual storage space in the sky for your digital documents and, more recently, your music library. Now, with cloud based computing, you can access your data anywhere with an Internet connection, on your phone, tablet or computer. Amazon and Google have already announced their versions of a music "cloud" service and today Apple entered the field with its own version.
You can hear Laura Sydell, NPR's Digital Culture Reporter, talk to All Things Considered's Melissa Block about the announcement by clicking on the audio link above.
On Monday afternoon, Apple announced the introduction of iCloud, a music service that will allow users to listen to their music from almost any Internet-connected device. (Update: Initially we called Apple's service a streaming one. We're not sure exactly how iTunes Match will work, and we're getting in touch with Apple. We'll update again as soon as we hear back.)
The International Olympic Committee is listening to pitches and accepting bids Monday and Tuesday for exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics in the United States.
American broadcast rights are the single biggest revenue generator for the IOC and the bidding underway in Lausanne, Switzerland, has ABC/ESPN and Fox challenging NBC for its lock on the 10 most recent summer and winter games.
The IOC is hoping for a deal totaling more than $4 billion for four Olympics, beginning with the Sochi, Russia, Winter Games in 2014. That would be the biggest TV rights deal ever.
It's apparently easier to win a Nobel Prize in economics than it is to navigate the perilous partisan waters of Washington politics.
That's one lesson to draw from the case of Peter Diamond, the Nobel laureate and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who President Obama nominated to be a Federal Reserve Board governor but who won't be coming to Washington, after all.
Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee soured on Diamond after several had initially seemed supportive.
Later this month, President Barack Obama is expected to announce just how many troops will be pulled out of Afghanistan starting in July. Whether the U.S. should still be engaged in Afghanistan has been hotly contested for years, but the budget crunch and the killing of Osama bin Laden has only intensified the debate.