Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 12:22 pm
Like all newly elected politicians, the class of mayors being sworn in as the year begins has made many grand promises.
From New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's pledge to provide universal pre-kindergarten classes, financed through taxes on wealthy individuals, to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's push for a $15 minimum hourly wage, their agenda looks decidedly liberal.
New mayors in cities such as Boston, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh have also been talking about the importance of racial inclusion and the need to address income inequality.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The body of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is lying in state in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, today. He died yesterday after eight years in a coma. Ariel Sharon was a soldier-turned-politician who believed in hard-line military solutions, but who also looked beyond force to try to bring peace in Israel.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And it is time for sports.
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MARTIN: The Baseball Hall of Fame's new class of inductees was announced this past week and it caused quite a stir. The biggest controversy may not even be about who got in, but the actual voting. Also in baseball, A-Rod's suspension - the longest ever for doping in baseball history, although it has been reduced. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us to mull all of this over. Good morning.
On Tuesday, Tunisia will celebrate the third anniversary of its revolution. Tunisia is the country that inspired uprisings across the Arab world. Since then, that country has gone through tough times but it seems to have found its way again. Opposing sides have drafted the new constitution together. It will be ready in a couple days, and new elections are set for this year. That sets Tunisia apart from neighboring Egypt and Libya, where the Arab Spring uprisings have brought violence and political upheaval.
To Greece now, a country with one of the highest percentages of smokers in the world. At least 40 percent of the population over the age of 15 smokes, leading, of course, to rising rates of lung disease and lung cancer. Several years ago, the Greek parliament banned smoking inside restaurants, bars and public buildings. But it's rarely enforced. And even a new tax on cigarettes doesn't seem to be deterring Greek smokers. Joanna Kakissis has the story from Athens.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. If you use a credit card - and most of us do - it's hard not to be a little concerned. Discount retailer Target continues to apologize for a massive security breach over the holidays. And just yesterday, the high-end retailer Neiman Marcus disclosed that shoppers at its stores have been compromised as well. Independent investigative reporter Brian Krebs was the first to report on both these security breaches. He joins us to talk more. Welcome to the program, Brian.
The towers framing the majestic roof of Centennial Baptist Church reach for the heavens near downtown Helena, Ark. The elaborate red brick church stands out in a neighborhood that's seen better days, given the boarded-up homes and businesses nearby.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Arun Rath.
Reporting on Iran is difficult and frustrating, and for those on the ground there, dangerous. It was especially bad after the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, which triggered massive protests. Iran cracked down hard on the dissenters and heavily restricted Western reporters' access. But the country's recently elected president, Hassan Rouhani, has started to change things.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died today at the age of 85. The controversial military and political leader had spent the last eight years in a coma following a stroke. From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris reports.
EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Ariel Sharon was part of the nearly-gone generation of leaders who fought for Israel before the state's founding. That history built trust, says Israeli military analyst Jonathan Spyer.
Now to another country where the political process has been animated by an intense mix of optimism and fear: Egypt. Voters there are deciding whether to adopt a new constitution this week. The hopes that sprang out of the popular uprising that ejected President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 had been tempered by the political instability in the years that have followed. Last summer, President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in a military coup. And this week's constitutional referendum is the third in as many years.