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Parallels
2:02 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Japan's Rice Farmers See Trade Deal As Threat To Tradition

Rice farmers pull a harvest festival cart down country lanes in Narita city, Chiba prefecture. The area is home to Tokyo's main airport, but also has many agricultural areas.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:38 am

The Japanese city of Narita is best known to the outside world for its major airport that serves Tokyo, the nation's capital city.

Narita is also a rural area of Chiba Prefecture, however, with a long tradition of rice farming.

Toward the end of the summer, Narita's rice farmers gather to pray for bountiful harvests. They dance, play music and ride elaborate festival carts. From afar, the wagons appear to glide through a sea of lush green paddy fields as villagers pull them down Narita's placid country lanes.

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The Salt
2:01 am
Tue September 17, 2013

American Farmers Say They Feed The World, But Do They?

A cornfield is shrouded in mist at sunrise in rural Springfield, Neb.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:30 pm

When critics of industrial agriculture complain that today's food production is too big and too dependent on pesticides, that it damages the environment and delivers mediocre food, there's a line that farmers offer in response: We're feeding the world.

It's high-tech agriculture's claim to the moral high ground. Farmers say they farm the way they do to produce food as efficiently as possible to feed the world.

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The Two-Way
1:13 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Mission Success: Costa Concordia Is Vertical

The Costa Concordia is seen after it was lifted upright on the Tuscan Island of Giglio, Italy, early Tuesday morning. Officials declared the results of the 19-hour operation "perfect."
Andrew Medichini AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 11:24 am

In an operation that took 19 hours, the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia is now in an upright position.

The head of Italy's Civil Protection agency, Franco Gabrielli, announced the ship had reached vertical and that the operation to rotate it was complete, according to The Associated Press.

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Animals
6:52 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Earwax From Whales Keeps Record Of Ocean Contaminants

A blue whale (and human diver) swimming off the coast of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, in April 2011.
Amos Nachoun Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 7:07 am

How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their earwax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of earwax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.

The study used the earwax extracted from the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach back in 2007. Scientists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History collected the wax from inside the skull of the dead whale and preserved it. The column of wax was almost a foot long.

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Code Switch
6:12 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

'It Could Have Been Me': The 1983 Death Of A NYC Graffiti Artist

A passenger boards a subway car painted with graffiti, in New York in 1984.
AP

"It could have been me. It could have been me."

These were the words uttered by painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was deeply shaken after he heard the story of a black graffiti artist who was beaten to death by New York City police. Seeing his own life reflected in the death of a fellow artist, Basquiat went on to create Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), not only to commemorate the young man's death, but also to challenge the state-sanctioned brutality that men of color could face for pursuing their art in public spaces.

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