I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, just in time for Halloween, a new book for kids and tweens offers some fun facts and some frights about the great ghost stories of history. That's just ahead.
But, first, we take a look at the work of building education and fostering peace in Nigeria. You might have followed the stories about an anti-Western terrorist group called Boko Haram that had been blamed for a series of deadly bombings and other assaults mainly in Northern Nigeria.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program, you have no doubt heard about the religious violence that's been plaguing northern Nigeria but you might not have heard about how a new university, led by an American educator, is hoping to play a role in bringing peace to that country as well as other difficult conflicts on the continent. We'll tell you more about it later in the program.
Journalist Will Schwalbe worked for years in publishing, most recently as vice president and editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books. When his mother Mary Anne was diagnosed with terminal cancer, their relationship turned not to her illness, but their shared love of reading. His new book documents their conversations, the difficulty of sometimes not knowing what to say, and the power of reading to shape us. Will Schwalbe joins us to talk about "The End of Your Life Book Club."
A new attraction at Yan'an is a blockbuster stage show called "Nursery School of the Red Capital." It tells the story of an orphanage the Communist Party set up in Yan'an, and it cost $5.5 million to produce.
The former revolutionary stronghold of China's Mao Zedong has become a tourist spot exalting the communist cause. This "Red Army" is actually a team of top Chinese salespeople from Amway, the U.S.-based direct sales company. They have earned a three-day trip to Yan'an, the "Revolutionary Holy Land," as a reward for hitting sales targets.
A statue of Mao — who spent 13 years in Yan'an building up support for the communist revolution — stands in front of the Yan'an Revolutionary Memorial Hall, which cost $80 million to build and opened in 2009.
A tourist with a passing resemblance to Chairman Mao put another visitor in a stress position known as the "airplane," which was often used on "class enemies" during the mass upheaval of China's Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976.
Guo Haiyun, 46, and his wife in their cave home, not far from the revolutionary stronghold of Yan'an. He says he probably only has two or three yuan in cash at home, while he has taken out bank debts he can't return to pay for his daughter's university education.
Guo limps across the yard of his cave home, which has no running water. He says he is a big supporter of the Communist Party, but admits he envies city folk, who "live and eat and do everything better than us" country folk.
China is about to get new leaders for the first time in a decade, and it comes at a sensitive moment for the world's most populous nation. Economic growth, which surged for decades, has slowed. Demands for political reform have increased and the Communist Party has been hit by scandal. In a series of stories this week, NPR is examining the multiple challenges facing China. In our first story, Louisa Lim looks at how the Chinese view the Communist Party in the place where it took shape.
The frail 79-year-old in a pale brown shirt with close-cropped hair sitting at a fast-food restaurant table looks absolutely unremarkable. But Bao Tong has a lightness in his eyes, a confidence that speaks of a man whose conscience is clear, a man with nothing to fear.
"I have become my own person," he says. "When I was a Communist Party member, I had to follow party discipline. When they threw me out of the party, my brain was set free."
Originally published on Sun November 4, 2012 9:34 am
The 2010 elections, in which Republicans had a net gain of 63 seats in the House, was one for the record books. It was the most impressive showing by the GOP since 1938, when their net House pick up was 80 seats, and the best showing by any party in the House since 1948, when the Democrats added 75 seats. The sweep of two years ago more than wiped out the gains made by the Democrats in the House of 2006 (31 seats) and 2008 (20 more).
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 9:48 am
Before you brave the rain, wind and inevitable lines at the already depleted grocery store today in the Mid-Atlantic region, take a deep breath.
If you're a moderately good grocery shopper, you probably already have the food you need on hand to make it through the next few days if (when) we lose power because of Hurricane Sandy. (If not, best to find a shelter near you.) But you do need to take extra precautions that what you're preparing is safe.
"Personal income increased $48.1 billion, or 0.4 percent," in September from August, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says, while "personal consumption expenditures" — consumer spending — rose 0.8 percent.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 8:04 am
It is autumn, and where I live the leaves are peaking; there is a riot of them everywhere, narrow ones, broad ones, droopy ones, crunchy ones. Leaves come in so many shapes, hues, textures — the closer you look, the more differences you see. Botanists have names for every leaf type, and clumped together, says writer Robert Dunn, they sound like free verse poetry ...