Regional Interests

To burn or not to burn? That is the question facing African countries in their fight against the multimillion-dollar illegal ivory trade.

Kenya, which introduced the world to burning ivory in 1989, still thinks it's a good idea. On Saturday morning, it hosted the most spectacular burn event yet: The tusks of nearly 7,000 elephants — 105 metric tons' worth — were set alight in 11 separate pyres in Nairobi's National Park.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Death is the great leveler. All of us — kings, peasants, beggars and billionaires, saints and gnats will all die. It's the one certainty we share, even if we differ on the fine points of what happens thereafter.

But what if someone set out to circumvent death by having themselves essentially suspended: Technically dead, but ready to be revived? Frozen in some secret location, body and head insulated separately, against the day a technology is developed to regenerate them, with some memories restored and others cast away?

There is a cease-fire in Syria. Really. The 17 nations of the International Syria Support Group signed it in February. The United States, Russia, the European Union and United Nations can all say they negotiated a cease-fire.

But in just 48 hours this week, an average of one Syrian has been killed every 25 minutes. One Syrian has been wounded every 13 minutes.

Staffan de Misturahe, the U.N. special envoy for Syria, has said that the cease-fire is "still alive, but barely."

Which, is, perhaps, as close as a diplomat can get to saying it's no more.

It's two weeks before opening night and the cast is rehearsing for already sold out performances in a building on the Yale campus in downtown New Haven, Conn. The play is called, Voices From the Long War. And its cast is as unlikely as one could imagine — veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and refugees from those countries.

They're bringing their own personal experiences from during and after the war to life on the stage. They hope through these stories to dispel some misconceptions about who they are.

On May 8, the CBS drama The Good Wife will be ending its seven-year run. Why now? "We wanted to go out while it was still good," says Michelle King, who created the show with her husband, Robert King.

The Week In Sports

Apr 30, 2016

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When I'm feeling low, I say time for sports.

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NPR aired a hopeful story from Afghanistan a couple of years ago about the Afghan women's cycling team. Our own Peter Breslow followed them on a training ride outside of Kabul.

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Rob Reiner has a new film about young people who are confused, troubled, searching — and who are sometimes a pain in the rear; not to mention the heart.

Being Charlie is the story of an 18-year-old boy who runs away from rehab — again — while his father, a former film star, runs for governor of California.

One photo of a pensive Congolese woman in her distinctive makeup could be mistaken for a Renaissance painting. Another, of a coal plant sending smoke plumes over a town in China, looks like a still from a 1950s propaganda film. And another, of a little girl yawning during an Indonesian festival, will just make you smile.

When I meet the captured ISIS fighter, he doesn't look much like the bombastic murderers in the propaganda videos.

Ahmed Darwish, 29, is slight, hunched and shuffling in orange plastic sandals, wincing in pain as he walks into a police station in Rumeilan, northern Syria, escorted by the Kurdish fighters who captured him running away after a battle. His arms are bandaged and head is wounded: he was struck in a coalition airstrike in support of the anti-ISIS forces.

It's a well-worn (if not-entirely-agreed-upon) idea that college makes people more liberal. But a new report adds a twist to this: the most educated Americans have grown increasingly liberal over the last couple of decades.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading causes of death for teenagers in the United States, and alcohol is involved in 1 out of 4 of those crashes. The stronger a state's restrictions on alcohol overall, the lower the teen death toll, a study finds.

Policies aimed at the general population were more effective than those targeting teens, the study found. They included regulations that limit the hours alcohol can be sold and the density of alcohol outlets in a particular area, as well as taxes on alcohol sales.

After a five-primary victory on Tuesday night, Donald Trump took time during a Q&A with journalists to take a jab at Hillary Clinton.

"Well, I think the only card she has is the woman's card," he said. "She's got nothing else going on. And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she's got going is the women's vote. And the beautiful thing is that women don't like her, OK?"

President Obama has slashed defense spending and will leave his successor with a weaker military force — or so Republican presidential candidates, led by Donald Trump, charge.

THE CLAIM:

"Our military is depleted," Trump said in his foreign-policy address on Wednesday, "and we're asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming."

In the past, Trump has claimed the U.S. military under Obama has become "a disaster," and other Republicans have described it as "gutted" since Obama took office.

Episode 698: The Long Way Home

Apr 29, 2016

Most social programs in America work like this: if you qualify for assistance, you get it. Food stamps, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit all have their own criteria. But if you pass the threshold and fill out the application, the help is (supposed to be) yours. With housing though, that's not how it works. There are far more people who qualify than actually receive help. For subsidized housing vouchers, there is often a lottery. And your chances aren't good.

But why? The answer is partly about money and partly about history.

The bald eagle may soon have a large, furry friend: The North American bison is on the verge of being named the first national mammal of the United States.

The House approved the National Bison Legacy Act on Tuesday, and it passed the Senate on Thursday. Now it's awaiting President Obama's signature to become law.

Just when health officials think the Ebola outbreak is over in West Africa, the virus pops up again seemingly out of the blue. It's happened at least five times so far.

Now scientists are starting to figure out why: The virus can lie dormant in a survivor for more than year and then re-emerge to infect others.

Backcountry Press / Backcountry Press

 

  “Hiking Humboldt – Volume 1”  By Kenneth M. Burton

The book outlines 55 hikes in our area 5 miles or longer and is filled with descriptions and maps and also denotes areas that are appropriate for mountain bikes. 

Raed Al Saleh has seen the city of Aleppo in dire straits before. As the head of the Syrian Civil Defense, he leads missions to find survivors after air raids and missile strikes.

But this week even he was shocked by the intensity of the attacks. The past few days in Aleppo are the worst the city has seen since the Syrian uprisings began five years ago, he says.

A friend of the man accused of shooting and killing nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., last year has pleaded guilty to failing to report a crime and lying to federal investigators.

Joey Meek, 21, could get up to eight years in prison, reports South Carolina Public Radio's Alexandra Olgin. She adds that attorney Deborah Barbier spoke on Meek's behalf in court on Friday, saying:

The Pentagon's final report on the deadly U.S. airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières trauma center in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last October concludes the incident was caused by "human errors, compounded by process and equipment failures."

The downfall of NFL player Johnny Manziel, who was indicted on domestic violence charges this week, has brought a range of reactions. Commentator Father Joshua Whitfield says Manziel's troubles aren't a sports story, but a human story and should be treated as such.

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