All Things Considered
Analysts explain that Assad defines victory as holding on to key territory, including Damascus, and they say Assad's goal is to stay in place until 2014, as he said he would, to run in a presidential election. The overall commander of the Free Syrian Army says his rebels are getting hammered by the regime in the south because arms shipments stopped over a month ago.
Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and Reihan Salam of National Review Online's The Agenda blog. They discuss immigration and the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a massive spreadsheet containing a comparison of what hospitals across the country bill for the 100 most popular medical procedures. The document revealed wild disparities in pricing from hospital to hospital. Robert Siegel speaks with Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt, who studies health care economics, about how the American hospital system evolved this way.
Syria's civil war is becoming the defining foreign policy challenge of President Obama's second term.
In 1996, after 12 years living in the foster care system, Melissa Rodriguez recorded a diary about getting pregnant and becoming a mother. Now, her son Issaiah is a teenager, and she shares her teenage diary with him and reveals things about her past that she's never mentioned.
The deaths of hundreds of workers in Bangladesh are taking place in a garment sector that has seen explosive growth over the past three decades. Amid market pressures to cut prices, the country has managed to lure clothing-makers through a combination of low wages and light regulation.
In April, the Associated Press decided the word "illegal" should only be used to describe actions, not people. It's one of several major news outlets that have been reconsidering how to refer to people who are in this country illegally.
Women account for only 36 of the more than 4,000 candidates on the ballot in Saturday's parlimentary election. One of them, Naz Baloch, is following her father into politics, but acknowledges it's a rough-and-tumble game in a country where opportunities for women are limited.
Researchers at the University of Reading are speculating that today's languages share a common root dating as far back as the last Ice Age. Words like "mother," "man" and "ashes" are categorized as "ultraconserved," meaning they are survivors of a lost language from which many modern tongues are descended.
Special effects date back to the dawn of film, but with today's tools moviemakers can put pretty much anything on-screen — which has NPR film critic Bob Mondello thinking about how movie style affects movie substance.
In 2007, Samoa banned the import of turkey tails from the U.S. to try to improve public health. But the ban kept the island nation from entering the World Trade Organization, so its days are numbered.
Scientists used to think that identical twins turned out differently because they were treated differently by friends, teachers or their parents. A study of mice supports the idea that small changes in behavior can lead to larger ones and eventually even resculpt brains in different ways.
The House Homeland Security Committee held its first hearing on the Boston Marathon bombing and aftermath on Thursday. Witnesses included the Boston police commissioner and former Sen. Joe Lieberman. Panel Chairman Mike McCaul has been highlighting intelligence failures.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is plowing through dozens of amendments to its immigration overhaul reform plan. Many of Thursday's proposed changes are Republican attempts to have tighter controls on the border with Mexico. David Welna talks to Audie Cornish.
House Republicans have passed a bill that would tell President Obama which bills to pay first, should the U.S. Treasury run out of cash and risk default, like it almost did two summers ago. The proposal is not likely to move in the Democratic Senate, and the issue itself is fading in urgency as the deficit picture improves.
Robert Siegel speaks with Pakistani academic Adil Najam from Lahore about the mood in Pakistan on the eve of what many consider historic elections on Saturday.
Just days ago, three women and a child escaped from a Cleveland house they'd been held in for years. On Thursday, accused kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro appeared in court. A judge set bond for Castro at $8 million.
Critic Alan Cheuse reviews the novel Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perisic.
In 1996, Josh Cutler, who has Tourette's syndrome, documented his efforts to live a normal life. Josh overcame Tourette's enough to become a schoolteacher. But it hasn't been easy. His new diary examines his life with a brain that often betrays him.
It has been a difficult spring for the president. He couldn't get Congress to work with him on the sequester or gun control legislation. Now he appears to be making an effort to get back to the issues Americans say they care most about.