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4:26 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Army Aims To Use Words, Not Weapons, With Afghans

U.S. Army soldiers learn to play khosai, Afghanistan's full-contact national pastime, at Fort Campbell.
Blake Farmer for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 4:53 pm

The U.S. Army has been ramping up instruction in the languages of Afghanistan, even as troop levels in the country decrease in preparation for the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2014.

This year, key installations have added several hundred speakers of Pashto and Dari to their ranks, more than doubling the number of soldiers trained in the Afghan languages.

But it's not just the country's languages that are foreign to U.S. soldiers — it's the culture, as well.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:26 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Mitt Romney's Shifting Stance On Health Care

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks about the Supreme Court's health care ruling near the U.S. Capitol in Washington in late June.
Charles Dharapak AP

Mitt Romney seemed to make health care news in a Sunday interview on NBC's Meet the Press.

He said he might not want to repeal all of the Affordable Care Act.

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The Two-Way
4:15 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Kabul's First Skate Park Suffers Tragic Loss In Weekend Attack

Khorshid during a Kabul skating event in 2012.
Skateistan

Many times what happens far away ends up coded in numbers and officialdom.

Like this weekend, a blast near NATO headquarters in Afghanistan killed at least six. NPR's Dana Farrington noted that a suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance of Camp Eggers, where many children who work on the streets set up to sell trinkets.

Today, we get the heartbreaking news that six of the dead were children and four of them were part of the Skateistan program.

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All Tech Considered
3:10 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

What Will Apple's Patent Case Mean For Phone Design?

These Nokia phones unveiled earlier this month are the first smartphones built for Windows 8.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 4:52 pm

A lot of thought goes into giving your smartphone a distinctive look and feel, from the shape of the speaker — square, round or oval — to where to put the buttons — side, front or back.

But industrial designers like Robert Brunner say he doesn't have a lot of room to be creative.

"Because you're really being so heavily driven on maintaining a minimal physical size," he says. "So you really get into this very fine envelope of a few millimeters that you have to work with."

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Asia
3:05 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Candidates Criticize China; Presidents Show Caution

For more than three decades, presidential candidates have talked tough about China during the campaign season, but opted for more moderate policies as president. Republican nominee Mitt Romney, shown speaking in Colorado in July, accuses China of manipulating its currency in order to export its goods cheaply to the US.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 4:26 pm

It has become a staple of U.S. presidential campaigns: Candidates talk about getting tough with China, only to adopt much more moderate positions once they are in office.

When Ronald Reagan ran against President Jimmy Carter in 1980, the challenger often blasted the incumbent for, in his words, "abandoning" Taiwan to establish diplomatic relations with China.

"There will be no more abandonment of friends and allies by the United States of America and I want very much to send that message," Reagan said.

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