This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club hits the high seas for an adventurous novel called Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The book begins in 1841, and is based on the sprawling true-life tale of Manjiro, whose destiny was almost determined before birth as a son in a long line of fishermen. But a storm blew his life on a new course, and he became one of the first Japanese to set foot in America.
A student in Pamplona, holding a sign in the Basque language, protests cuts Thursday in education and other public services by the government. Spain's financial position is weakening and there are fears the country will need a bailout.
Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.
After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.
A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.
But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.
In this photo from 2009, Syrian President Bashar Assad (left) stands with then-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a welcoming ceremony for Saleh at the presidential palace in Damascus. As the violence continues in Syria, the U.S. and other countries are hoping to convince Assad to step down from power, as Saleh did.
Credit / AP
This frame grab made from an amateur video provided by Syrian activists on Monday purports to show the massacre in Houla on May 25 that killed more than 100 people, many of them children. The level of violence may erode Russia's support for Assad's regime.
Republican Mitt Romney is running on the strength of his business background. He says he knows how to fix the economy, in part because of his success at Bain Capital. But history is not necessarily on Romney's side. Very few businesspeople have made it to the White House.
The transition from business to politics isn't necessarily an easy one.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is leading a $2 billion health care experiment in the state, aimed at changing the way the sickest people in Oregon get health care. Here, he speaks during a press conference in Portland earlier this month.
President Obama greets diners at Reid's House Restaurant in Reidsville, N.C., last fall. While there, he talked to a college student about the importance of education — one of the ideas Obama comes back to often.
NPR is examining what the American dream means to our culture, our economy and our politics. On Morning Edition, we'll explore what Republicans think of the American dream. In this installment, the view from President Obama.
The American dream — the idea that in this country anyone can rise from humble beginnings and succeed — is deeply woven into our national psyche. It's a promise that draws immigrants to our shores. And it's a staple on the campaign trail.
There was a time when U.S. House colleagues Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, Democrats from neighboring congressional districts in northern New Jersey, called themselves friends.
But congressional redistricting means Pascrell and Rothman will face off in the state's Democratic primary on Tuesday for one congressional seat. And despite their long friendship, the race has been anything but collegial.