Nation/World

In a Guatemalan courtroom Tuesday, prosecutors will present their case against a former military dictator who ruled during one of the bloodiest periods in the Central American nation's 36-year civil war.

Efrain Rios Montt is accused of genocide in the murder of tens of thousands of Guatemala's Indians. Human rights advocates and the families of victims have struggled for years to bring him before the court, and they say it is the first trial in Latin America of a former president in the country where he ruled.

Though we've seen The Natural many times, we have to confess we didn't know that a real woman shot a real baseball player in 1949 and that their story inspired Bernard Malamud's 1952 book and Robert Redford's 1984 movie.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

If Republicans hope to recapture the White House in the foreseeable future, they basically need to sound and campaign more like Democrats.

A zoo in Indonesia is now home to seven bouncing baby Komodo dragons. Before you recoil in disgust, have a look at this video from the BBC — "cute" may not be the operative word, but the hatchlings do exude a certain endearing quality.

Some People Really Can Taste The Rainbow

Mar 18, 2013

Plenty of us got our fill of green-colored food on St. Patrick's Day. (Green beer, anyone?) But for some people, associating taste with color is more than just a once-a-year experience.

One of the two men killed Sunday when a small plane crashed into a house near South Bend, Ind., was former University of Oklahoma star quarterback Steve Davis, the St. Joseph County (Ind.) coroner's office says.

More parents are worried about getting their daughters vaccinated against cervical cancer, despite more doctors saying the shots are a good idea.

The first person to challenge a file-sharing lawsuit brought by the Recording Industry Association of America has reached the end of the line.

Without comment, the Supreme Court refused to hear Jammie Thomas-Rasset's appeal, which means the $222,000 verdict against her stands.

Thomas-Rasset was convicted of sharing 24 songs on the peer-to-peer service Kazaa. She was arguing that the amount in question was excessive.

Ten years ago this week, U.S. troops invaded Iraq. NPR's David Gilkey was there and shares his memory of a photograph he made that first night.

The photos that David Gilkey took the night of the Iraq invasion were among the first pictures of U.S. troops in combat to come out of Iraq. And among the images he captured was one of a soldier running through an abandoned Iraqi army post that had, just minutes before, been hit by U.S. rocket fire.

Those photos would not have been possible without a night vision optic for his camera.

As Syria's revolt enters a third year, Syria's political opposition is meeting in Istanbul this week to choose a rebel government, despite opposition from the Obama administration.

Twelve candidates are in the running to lead the efforts, including an economist, a former agriculture minister and an IT specialist who is overseeing the Syrian National Coalition's aid operation on the Turkish border.

Break Down In Motor City Over New Manager?

Mar 18, 2013

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, R&B heavyweight Brian McKnight has sold more than 20 million albums over the course of his 20 year career. He'll tell us about his latest and he pushes back against some critics and the fans who think he may have gotten just a little too grown for their taste. We'll tell you what we mean in just a few minutes.

President Obama announced today he is nominating Thomas Perez, currently in charge of civil rights at the Justice Department, to be the country's next Labor secretary.

Introducing him in the East Room of the White House, Obama said Perez "knows what it's like to climb the ladder of opportunity," and has been "consensus builder."

Perez worked to become the first lawyer in his family. He knows first hand, Obama said, that if you work hard in United States, you can accomplish great things.

When President Obama signs an updated version of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday afternoon, the law will include new requirements for how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault.

Laura Dunn, who's been invited by the White House to attend, plans to be there.

Guitarist Alvin Lee, whose incendiary performance with the British band Ten Years After was one of the highlights of the 1969 Woodstock festival, has died.

He was 68. Lee's website says he "passed away early this morning [Wednesday] after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure." An assistant to his daughter also confirmed the news to NPR.

His band's biggest hit — "I'd Love to Change the World" — came a couple years after Woodstock. We'll embed a clip from that.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Live In Los Angeles

Dec 12, 2012

Now that it's officially two decades in the past, it's increasingly hard to fathom: In the mid-1990s, swing was popular again. It wasn't quite the big band style of Benny Goodman fame — this new variant was blended with rockabilly and ska and perhaps some other things — but the swing revival so captured the country that it landed Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on the Super Bowl halftime show in 1999.

Alt-country musician Robbie Fulks doesn't get much airplay on country radio, and he often takes an adversarial stance against the Nashville establishment. So a big part of his reputation is based on his more humorous songs — and his raucous live shows.

Fulks has just released his first live album, a two-disc set called Revenge; critic Ken Tucker has a review.

The group's name draws influence from guitarist Django Reinhardt's Hot Club of France and the classic Western swing style of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. But Hot Club of Cowtown — guitarist Whit Smith, fiddler Elana Fremerman, and bassist Jake Erwin — is alive and swinging in the 21st century.

The band members recently stopped by NPR's Studio 4B to talk about their music with NPR's John Ydstie and play some tunes from their danceable repertoire.

Janis Martin, 'The Female Elvis,' Returns

Sep 30, 2012

Janis Martin was just a teenager from Virginia when she was christened "The Female Elvis." In the mid-1950s, she sold 750,000 copies of a song called "Will You, Willyum." She played the Grand Ole Opry, American Bandstand and The Tonight Show. But her fame was short-lived. Martin got married and had a baby, which didn't sit so well with the people managing her career. Her label dropped her, and she fell off the musical map.

The thought of a baby dying suddenly and unexpectedly is one that keeps parents awake at night, fearing the worst. For years, little was known about sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Babies would die in their sleep, and it was presumed that little could be done to prevent those deaths.

Several cities have "Hot Clubs" — bands that play so-called "Gypsy jazz" in the tradition of Django Reinhardt. There's the Hot Club of New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

As he was approaching 40, Bryan Echols realized he was almost half his father's age, and he became curious about the man who raised him.

"What were you like at 40?" Bryan asked his 80-year-old father, Lindberg Echols, at StoryCorps in Chicago.

"Well, I had seven kids," said Lindberg, who worked at a ceramics factory in Gilberts, Ill., to support his family, which included Bryan and his six siblings, plus two daughters from a different marriage. "And I guess I was pretty tough on the boys," he said.

"It was a relationship that got better," Bryan said.

In some families, a specific talent seems to be passed down through the generations. That could be the case for Ledo Lucietto and his daughter Anne, who share a passion for mechanical engineering.

The Luciettos owned a tool and die shop in Illinois for 50 years. Ledo's father was a mechanical engineer who emigrated from Italy. Their shop was called the Byron-Lambert Co.; they made wire forms and metal stampings.

And as a little girl, Anne was a regular in that shop, asking her grandfather, Luigi, what he was doing as he made parts.

A Son, His Mom And A Story About A Dog

Nov 24, 2008

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Mothers and Daughters, and a Blessing

Jul 3, 2008

Sue Hyde lives in Cambridge, Mass., with her wife, Jade McGleughlin, their daughter, Jesse, 14 and their son, Max, 12.

The makeup of their household is not as rare as it once was — and certainly not as rare as it was when Hyde was growing up, in a small town in rural Illinois.

Asked by her daughter about the differences between their childhoods, Hyde's response is, "I grew up in one of those very typical families, with a mom and a dad. And there were seven kids."

StoryCorps Griot: Field of Dreams

Oct 16, 2007

This week's installment of StoryCorps Griot features William and Glen Haley.

They remember their father, Joseph Howard Haley, who founded the Jackie Robinson West Little League in 1971 on the South Side of Chicago.

Although the league only had one team at its inception, it fostered the talents of ballplayers who later played in the major leagues. Such players include Emil Brown, Marvell Wyne and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.

In the 2007 season, the 12- year-old team was ranked third in the state of Illinois.

A Return to the Roots of Childhood

Dec 15, 2005

At 68, Barb Fuller-Curry lives across the road from the farm where she grew up, in Whiteside County, Ill. In her youth, Fuller-Curry's father and mother took turns working the fields in order to make ends meet.

After raising her own family elsewhere, Fuller-Curry returned to the farm after 40 years to care for her mother, who passed away earlier this year. The house Curry lives in is one her parents built.

Speaking with her 34-year-old son, Craig, Fuller-Curry recalled the sacrifices her parents made -- and how little she thought about it at the time, when she was just 7.

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