President Obama wants to close the prison at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay before leaving office. But his departing defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, told NPR News the job is "going to be very difficult" to complete in that time.
Hagel made that remark in an exit interview Friday, one of only a handful he granted as he prepared to vacate his expansive office at the Pentagon. The interview will air Monday on Morning Edition.
Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 2:58 am
Years of austerity have worn down Greeks, who will choose a new government Sunday. Greek voters are expected to elect the first anti-austerity party in the Eurozone.
Maria Tsitoura, one of those voters, is a lively grandmother in her 70s. Like many retirees in Greece, she shares her small pension with her grown children, whose salaries have dropped by more than half in the last four years.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the purported beheading of a Japanese hostage by his ISIS captors an "outrageous and unacceptable" act that had left him speechless.
The remarks came after a video surfaced showing what appears to be one hostage holding a photo of his decapitated fellow abductee.
"This is an outrageous and unacceptable act of violence," Abe told reporters as he arrived at his office after midnight for an emergency meeting, according to Reuters. "We strongly demand the immediate release."
A main leader of Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine reportedly says the separatists have launched an attack on the port city of Mariupol, where rocket fire killed at least 15 people in an open-air market and residential area.
"Today an offensive was launched on Mariupol. This will be the best possible monument to all our dead," Alexander Zakharchenko was quoted as saying by Russia's RIA news agency.
Maya Weinstein is now a happy, bubbly junior at the George Washington University. But she says that two years ago, just a few weeks after she arrived on campus as a freshman, she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student.
"It was one of those 'acquaintance rape' things that people forget about, even though they are way more common," she says.
Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 6:16 am
Two men are sparring on a wooded slope in Haiti. Each has one hand behind his back. From afar, it looks as if they're fencing. But instead of using swords, the men are wielding machetes.
Yes, you read that right. They are aiming machetes at each other.
The older man is "Professor" Alfred Avril, a 70-year-old Haitian farmer who is also a master of tire machet, or Haitian machete fencing. He's quick but deliberate in his movements. His son and student, Jean-Paul, sways backward, descending to the ground to dodge the strikes.
Baseball's Chicago Cubs report that Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks has died. "Mr. Cub," who began his career in the Negro leagues, was the first black player for the team — eighth in the majors overall — and played in 14 All-Star games in his 19 seasons, all with the Cubs.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to review Oklahoma's method of execution by lethal injection. The justices agreed to hear the Oklahoma case a week after refusing to halt another execution that used the same drug formula.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 1:49 pm
Audie Cornish talks to Nicolette Gendron, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority at the University of Virginia and a writer for the C-Ville Weekly. She did a survey of sorority members on campus about how they would feel if sororities were allowed to serve alcohol and host parties under the same rules as fraternities. She says most women, including herself, feel that women would have more control and feel safer from sexual predation if they could host parties in their own houses.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:18 pm
Two years ago, the Akron, Ohio, police recruiting video began with pulsing music and an image of police in helmets and camouflage with assault rifles ready. This year, the most prominent video demonstrates how to prepare for the physical tests to be hired.
The number of Americans buying autos approached a record high last year. It's one more sign of how much the economy is improving.
But there's a big potential downside that's evoking comparisons to the subprime mortgage boom. Auto dealers are extending loans to a growing number of people with weak credit, and more of them are having trouble making payments.
When Chris Westervelt moved from Texas to Alaska to take a job, he decided to trade in his Mazda for a car that could handle snow and ice.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:18 pm
For 62 years, Saudi Arabia has been ruled by sons of the founder of the Kingdom, Abdul Aziz. The new king is a part of this generation, as is the crown prince he has named. But eventually the monarchy will have to pass to the next generation, which is made up of thousands of princes. Robert Siegel talks to Middle East specialist Joseph Braude about Saudi succession.
Writer Ben Yagoda has set out to explain a shift in American popular culture, one that happened in the early 1950s. Before then, songwriters like Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern wrote popular songs that achieved a notable artistry, both in lyrics and music.
Take a nearly century-old theater in downtown Des Moines. Fill it to capacity — that's 1,200 audience members and another 200 credentialed media — bring in a lineup that includes almost 10 would-be, might-be, could-be Republican presidential hopefuls, and it's looking like the 2016 campaign is officially underway.
Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a conservative from the northwest corner of the state, is hosting the Iowa Freedom Summit Saturday along with Citizens United.