The Archdiocese of Boston is taking a business approach to its problem of too many parishes, too few priests and not enough parishioners. It plans to merge parishes into clusters and placing them under one pastor. It will eliminate dozens of parish jobs for lay people and take away local control of a church's budget and religious education program. The plan is being met with considerable pushback from priests and parishioners. Monica Brady-Myerov of member station WBUR reports.
Scientists in Hungary and Sweden say they've found an answer to the age-old question of how the zebra got its stripes. It turns out the pattern may have evolved to repel Africa's biting flies. The researchers discovered this by placing models of patterned zebras next to models of their plainer cousins, horses, and measuring how many flies ended up on each one. Host Scott Simon has more.
Nearly two dozen dog sledding teams set out a week ago on a thousand mile race over some of the most remote territory in North America. The mushers have reached the halfway mark in the race. They're now in the Canadian Yukon. And Emily Schwing of member station KUAC has been following the race since its start in Fairbanks, Alaska.
As most people who care about modern art, to list the major 20th century painters, they may start with Picasso, Matisse, then move on to the Americans, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. But in France, a new museum just opened, devoted exclusively to one of the most multi-talented, controversial and often forgotten artist of the last century, Jean Cocteau.
Frank Browning traveled to France on the Cote d'Azure to report on this very peculiar man and the museum that celebrates him.
Fernando Trueba, whose film Belle Epoque won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1993, will be back at the Academy Awards this year; his film Chico and Rita, a love story about a Cuban pianist and singer, is up for a statue in the Animated Feature category.
Trueba says animation has some of the qualities that classic old movies had — "a more concise, more synthetical way of storytelling."
In sports-crazy Argentina, sports journalism schools have cropped up to train aspiring reporters and broadcasters. Here, Argentine national soccer team coach Sergio Batista arrives for a press conference in Cordoba, Argentina, last year.
Credit Silvina Frydlewsky / For NPR
A packed class on a recent night at the Superior School of Sports Journalism in Buenos Aires.
Credit Silvina Frydlewsky / for NPR
Roberto Bermudez, a longtime teacher at the Superior School of Sports Journalism in Buenos Aires, lectures students on the intricacies of covering Argentina's soccer league. There are a dozen or so such schools in Buenos Aires alone.
Dave Isay begins his new book with a quote from co-worker Lillie Love, whose name resonates deeply with his latest project. Shortly before she died in 2010, Love said, "Love is all there is ... When you take your last breath, you remember the people you love, how much love you inspired and how much love you gave."
Scientists can spend years working on problems that at first may seem esoteric and rather pointless. For example, there's a scientist in Arizona who's trying to find a way to measure the age of wild mosquitoes.
As weird as that sounds, the work is important for what it will tell scientists about the natural history of mosquitoes. It also could have major implications for human health.
For sale: 160 acres of rolling hills in California perfect for a vineyard, cattle ranch or communication with outer space.
To understand how Silicon Valley businessman Jeffrey Bullis ended up owning the Jamesburg Earth Station — a former telecommunications center with a 10-story satellite dish — you have to think back to 2004.
The real estate market was booming. Bullis was visiting a friend in Carmel Valley on California's Central Coast, where homes can still sell for millions.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Catholic up for re-election this year, was one of the Democrats who spoke out against the White House birth control policy before it was altered.
President Obama moved swiftly Friday to quell a politically perilous uproar involving two hot-button issues: birth control and religious institutions.
In January, the Obama administration announced that under its health care law, religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and schools would have to include birth control in their employees' health coverage.
All this week, Republicans on Capitol Hill bashed that policy as a violation of religious freedom, and some of the president's fellow Democrats added to the heat.
The White House is trying to mend fences with Catholics and others who were outraged at a new rule governing insurance coverage for birth control.
That policy would have required Catholic hospitals, universities and other institutions to cover birth control in their employees' health insurance. Critics called that an assault on religious freedom.
President Obama announced a change of course Friday, and the White House is hoping to regain religious allies and maintain support from the women who voted for Obama.
President Obama's latest proposed change in how contraceptives are covered by employer health insurance may not have ended the controversy that has raged for the past three weeks. But what the administration is calling an "accommodation" for religious employers has apparently mollified key allies who had opposed his original plan.
Bodies of what activists say are victims of shelling by the Syrian army in a Sunni Muslim district in the central city of Homs, on Feb. 8.
Credit Handout / Reuters/Landov
Demonstrators take part in a protest against Syria's President Bashar Assad in the Syrian city of Jisr al-Shughour, while holding olive branches to show support for the city of Homs, Feb. 9.
Credit Mustafa Ozer / AFP/Getty Images
A view of a Turkish Red Crescent camp in the Yayladagi district of Hatay near the Syrian border, shown in June 2011. Currently, Turkey has some 12,000 refugees from Syria.
As the death toll mounts in Syria, the U.S. and its partners have been scrambling to come up with new diplomatic initiatives to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to silence his army's guns and give up power.
Last week, Russia and China blocked a U.N. resolution that would have supported the Arab League peace proposals. Since then, the violence has only intensified.
Like other international diplomats, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is still reeling from Russia and China's refusal to back the Arab League proposal's to solve the crisis in Syria.
The United States has declassified a series of satellite images it says show the kinds of weaponry the Syrian regime is using against its own people.
The first image was released on the Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. It was accompanied by a note from Embassador Robert Ford, who in the past has taken to Facebook to criticize the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Siegfried is a Norse hero, and one of the most demanding roles in all of opera. He slays dragons and has to sing about it — in Gotterdammerung, The Twilight of the Gods, the last opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle.
A gray wolf in the wild. Park officials say hunting restrictions in place in parts of of Montana have protected Yellowstone's wolves from a repeat of a 2009 hunt in which four Yellowstone wolves were shot.
Gray wolves were taken off the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana last year and put under state control. But they're still on the list in neighboring Wyoming. That's because Wyoming has been the most aggressive about wanting to kill wolves.
Wyoming has finally struck a deal with the federal government regarding how wolves will be treated once the state takes over. But environmentalists believe the agreement denies wolves an important refuge.
Thirty-five well-dressed men and women are sipping wine and chatting in the lounge of one of Milwaukee's oldest and most exclusive social clubs. A century ago, this is where the city's beer and banking giants mixed and mingled. Tonight's crowd isn't all that different — many of these men and women are worth at least a million dollars. Once a month, they pool their money to invest in high-tech, fast-growth startups. They call themselves the Silicon Pastures Angel Investment Network.