Hundreds of underground passageways wind like a maze beneath the Egypt-Gaza border, providing a way for Gazans to maneuver around the 2007 Israeli-led economic blockade that took effect after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.
And while subterranean tunnels may seem like something out of a thrilling spy movie, the reality and practicality of these channels is somehow not surprising.
Credit Mostafa Abdel Aty / Courtesy of Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
Egyptian folk singer Dina El Wedidi performs at Qasr El Nil Theater during the Downtown Cairo Arts Festival. Wedidi says efforts to revitalize venues like the Qasr El Nil are important because there aren't enough places for musicians of the post-revolution explosion to perform.
Credit Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images
"Cairo is a city that needs a lot of dusting," says Ahmed El Attar, director of the Downtown Cairo Arts Festival. Efforts are underway to try to restore the city's past cultural glory.
Credit Mostafa Abdel Aty / Courtesy of Downton Contempary Arts Festival
Emel Mathlouthi, known as the voice of Tunisia's revolution, performs at Qasr El Nil Theater. Her songs of freedom left the audience weeping.
Egypt's capital, Cairo, is now synonymous with protests and sometimes violence. Late at night, the once-bustling downtown streets are largely empty these days. People worry about getting mugged or caught up in a mob.
But the recent Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival is an attempt to revitalize the area with music, art and culture in the old and forgotten venues of downtown Cairo, like the Qasr El Nil Theater.
When the Senate voted Tuesday to make Marilyn Tavenner the official administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it was the first time the world's greatest deliberative body had approved someone to head the huge health agency since 2004.
That's right, you have to go way back to the Bush administration to find Dr. Mark McClellan, the last person to be officially put in the post.
This week, Google, already a leader in mapping, created more space between itself and its competitors by more deeply mining the data users provide the company when using its various services.
At the Google developers' conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps, crowed about the company's mapping app for the iPhone — and couldn't quite stop himself from taking a dig at Apple.
"People called it sleek, simple, beautiful, and let's not forget, accurate," he said.
A couple generations ago, when older Americans retired they could rely on pension plans to support them. Then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, many companies switched their retirement plans over to 401(k) accounts. The security of workers' retirement savings suddenly became subject to the vagaries of the stock market.
As the death toll in Syria climbed over the past two years, many critics charge that President Obama has not done enough to aid the opposition. In an op-ed in today's New York Times, former Ambassador Christopher Hill argues that the administration has made a serious mistake, but, quote, "The real shortcoming of the administration's policy on Syria has not been an unwillingness to engage militarily, but the ill-advised decision in August 2011 to preclude the possibility of a diplomatic resolution involving all sides."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Thirty million dollars is a lot of money, but how do you divide it among the families of the three people killed, the dozens maimed, the hundreds who spent time in the hospital, the thousands who witnessed the blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last month?
Update at 5:38 p.m. ET. One More IRS Official To Leave
Another official is out at the embattled agency.
The Associated Press reports that Joseph Grant, commissioner of the IRS' tax exempt and government entities division, will retire June 3. The division scrutinized Tea Party groups when the applied for tax-exempt status.
Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Obama Names New IRS Acting Chief
Roxarsone, a drug linked to elevated levels of inorganic arsenic in chicken meat, is no longer used in broiler chicken farming, producers say. But another arsenic-based drug is still used to raise turkeys.
A study published online recently in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives documented slightly elevated levels of arsenic in samples of chicken purchased at grocery stores in 10 cities in the U.S.
So how did trace amounts of this toxin end up in supermarket poultry?
Perhaps you've noticed a toddler's sagging swim diaper and wondered if it's really keeping the poop out of your neighborhood pool.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the answer for you: no.
Last summer, researchers at the federal public health agency collected 161 filter samples from public swimming pools in the Atlanta area. More than half of those samples, 58 percent, were contaminated with E. coli.
That, the CDC reported today, "signifies that swimmers introduced fecal matter into pool water."
Soldiers of Israel's 33rd Caracal Battalion take part in a graduation march in the northern part of the southern Israeli Negev desert on March 13. The Caracal was formed in 2004 with the chief purpose of giving women a chance to serve in a true combat role.
Credit Larry Abramson / NPR
Sgt. Leora Prince (left) said switching to the Caracal battalion and taking on a more hands-on combat position was the best decision she'd ever made. She is shown here with her commanding officer, Capt. Yaron Eyal, near Eilat, along Israel's border with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.