In Afghanistan, a media boom followed the ouster of the Taliban in 2001, but there have been problems. Watchdog groups report hundreds of cases of violence and intimidation against journalists, including murder. Afghan reporters have learned which topics are off-limits, and they take great care to avoid offending the country's powerful. NPR's Ahmad Shafi reports from Kabul.
China's "one-child" policy has repressed and stabilized the number of births, but the market for baby products has exploded. The growth is driven by rising incomes and the intense focus on the single child with interesting twists. For instance, baby formula sales have gone way up because people are now spending more money on foreign formula products because they no longer trust Chinese companies after the melamine poisoning of several years ago.
This week in New York Magazine, two writers from different political parties each critiqued their own side. On Thursday, we heard from conservative David Frum, who argues Republicans lost touch with reality. In the same issue, liberal writer Jonathan Chait also uses the word "fantasy" in describing liberals. He tells Steve Inskeep liberals have become unreasonable.
For the past week, New York Police and the FBI have been at odds over a terrorism case which involves an American of Dominican descent named Jose Pimentel. New York police say he was an al-Qaida sympathizer planning to bomb targets in the city. The FBI declined to get involved with the case because it didn't see him as threat. Law enforcement officials on both sides have been airing the dispute over the case publicly, and that could help Pimentel build a defense.
Rhode Island had one of the most underfunded pension systems in the country until last week. That's when an overwhelming majority of state lawmakers passed big changes, mostly affecting future retirees. Now those lawmakers are facing angry unions, which are preparing for a legal fight. As Catherine Welch of Rhode Island Public Radio reports, the unions are also hinting at a political battle against those who supported the plan.
The housing crisis has stalled home building but apartment construction is undergoing a bit of a renaissance. There's now a huge pool of people forced to rent because they can't afford to buy a home, or they were a victim of foreclosure. In Denver, there aren't enough apartment vacancies. Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus has the story.
Egypt's ruling military council and anti-government protesters are in a standoff. The military council has pledge to hand over power once a newly- elected president and parliament are in place next summer, but protesters have rejected the idea.
Flies are attracted to glycerol, a chemical in beer produced during fermentation. Understanding more about the genes responsible for taste and smell in flies could help make powerful insect repellents.
Scientists in California think they've figure out why flies like beer. That may sound a bit trivial, but in fact it could lead to new ways of combating plant and animal pests.
That flies like beer is well known. "The attraction of flies to beer was first reported in the early 1920s," says Anupama Dahanukar. She's part of an inter-disciplinary program involving neuroscience and entomology at the University of California, Riverside. She's been studying how flies recognize chemicals, so answering the question of why flies like beer is actually quite relevant to her research.