NPR News

Nothing is more basic and simple than food. Yet it comes to us courtesy of a long, complicated supply chain that spans the globe.

That chain delivers food cheaply — but it can break. Four years ago, it blew up in most spectacular fashion, affecting hundreds of millions of people who rely on rice for sustenance. That crash — the great rice crisis of 2008 — was a true disaster for some of the poorest people in Asia and West Africa.

The news today that Pakistan's cabinet has moved to normalize trade with India — giving its neighbor "Most Favored Nation" status — is being viewed as a positive first step toward the possible normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nuclear rivals.

Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish will be filling in for Michele Norris on All Things Considered for a year, starting in January, NPR just announced.

The Paris offices of a French newsweekly that in its latest issue "invited" the Prophet Muhammad to be a guest editor and satirically wrote of what a "soft version" of Sharia law might be like, were burned early today.

According to The Associated Press:

The lawyer for one of two women who in the late 1990s accused Republican presidential contender Herman Cain of sexual harassment wants her side of the story to come out because she believes Cain has not been telling the truth about what happened, a lawyer who represents her said Tuesday on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.

British judges ruled this morning that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited from the U.K. to Sweden, where authorities want to question him about allegations from two women that he sexually assaulted them in August 2010.

Police are on the hunt for the bandits who robbed a Union Pacific Railroad car after it made an emergency stop in Victorville, Calif. They made off with 20 boxes. Police told the Victorville Daily Press that the robbers couldn't have known what was in the car; they made off with $200 worth of pigs feet.

The pro basketball season still hasn't started, but Kevin Durant got a workout. The Oklahoma City star drove across the state to a flag football game. On Twitter the other night, he wrote, "This lockout is really boring. Anybody playing flag football?" An Oklahoma State student invited Durant to join a game his team had planned.

Right now, many people are nervous about the challenges presented by a global population that has reached 7 billion and is still rising. But for a lot of countries, a lack of babies is the bigger worry.

The so-called birth dearth is starting to cause problems across much of Europe and a substantial portion of Asia. With fewer children born, populations in many countries are aging rapidly. Soon, they may also be shrinking.

Government opponents in Syria have not been able to dislodge President Bashar Assad, but they are doing something the country has rarely if ever seen: they are organizing by themselves, outside of government control.

The massive street protests, demanding the end of Assad's regime, have defined the revolt over the past eight months.

But other things are happening as well, far from public view. In one quiet office in Damascus, Ashraf Hamza, 28, is leading a group of men at a session on community organizing.

The Stuxnet computer worm, arguably the first and only cybersuperweapon ever deployed, continues to rattle security experts around the world, one year after its existence was made public.

Apparently meant to damage centrifuges at a uranium enrichment facility in Iran, Stuxnet now illustrates the potential complexities and dangers of cyberwar.

Secretly launched in 2009 and uncovered in 2010, it was designed to destroy its target much as a bomb would. Based on the cyberworm's sophistication, the expert consensus is that some government created it.

In Wis., Focus Shifts From Union Law To Governor

Nov 2, 2011

A Wisconsin law on union bargaining rights signed by Gov. Scott Walker shows no signs of disappearing.

In February and March, there was a shocking, sometimes strange sight at the Wisconsin capitol: By day, protesters marched shoulder-to-shoulder. By night, they lived in the capitol, sleeping on the building's marble floors.

It began after Walker, a Republican, broke 50 years of Wisconsin precedent, announcing he would not bargain with public employee unions. He said the state was broke and he had nothing to negotiate with. The rest is the stuff of political folklore.

Lawyers for President Obama's Justice Department and Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be squaring off in federal court in Washington on Wednesday.

The state has sued the federal government to try to win court approval for its new legislative maps. There are big stakes: Texas stands to gain four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. But minorities in Texas, with a boost from the Justice Department, say the new boundaries amount to a step backward for Latino voting power.

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