This episode of Top Goon featured the Syrian president on the left, a member of the security forces on the right, and a photo of the former president, Hafez Assad, who is the father of the current leader.
Syrians opposed to President Bashar Assad have been posting YouTube videos mocking him. The episodes are called Top Goon, and the Syrian president goes by the name Beeshu. The work is done anonymously because those behind it fear they could face retribution from the Syrian government.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:07 am
"I'm not crazy," the figure says, standing alone in a dark room, as if trying to convince himself.
"I'm not crazy?" almost a question this time.
"I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy!" he yells, finally making up his mind.
And, of course, he sounds crazy.
Meet Beeshu, an avatar of the embattled president of Syria, Bashar Assad, rendered in papier-mache and mounted on someone's finger. He's the star of the show Top Goon and the inspiration for its title.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:11 am
From now until Election Day, the U.S. might as well consist of just eight or so states, not 50.
Those are the battleground states where President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, their running mates and spouses will be spending much of their time in what remains of the 2012 race for the White House.
It's all about amassing the 270 electoral votes required to be elected president. NPR's analysis of the race at this point suggests the eight states that are most in play are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
A scene from the early days of the fighting in Iraq in the spring of 2003. In one incident, three members of an Iraqi family were killed. A U.S. Marine involved in the shooting recently tracked down the family to ask for forgiveness.
Credit James Hill / Courtesy of The New Yorker
Dexter Filkins earned a George Polk award in 2004 for his coverage of Fallujah. His book, The Forever War, is about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On April 8, 2003, in the early days of the Iraq War, the Kachadoorian family found themselves in the middle of a firefight at a major intersection in Baghdad.
They had approached the intersection in three cars and didn't respond to Marines' warnings to stop and turn around; so the Marines opened fire, killing three men and shooting a young woman in the shoulder, not realizing that the people in the car were civilians.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:44 am
We're zeroing in on eight "tossup" states where the race is too close to call, but where the election will likely be decided. Try your hand at gaming out the electoral vote possibilities at npr.org/scorecard.
Demonstrators clash with riot police in Athens while protesting the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 9. The euro crisis is one of several issues that came up little, if at all, during the U.S. presidential debates.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 11:13 pm
It's possible that the presidential debates will be remembered mainly for trivia — Big Bird, binders and bayonets.
But Mitt Romney and President Obama did discuss issues of paramount importance, including taxes, entitlements and the role the U.S. should play in the Middle East.
Those issues — and above all else, the economy — dominated discussion throughout the debate season. That meant other important topics such as immigration were barely mentioned, while others never came up at all.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:11 pm
Update at 6 p.m. ET:
Our original headline on this post was "U.S. Pledges Exceed Pakistan's Spending On Its Own Flood Relief." As we reported, the Christian Science Monitor has looked into the details of a Congressional Research Service report and concluded that U.S. aid to Pakistan for flood relief exceeded that country's own spending.
But Ben Edwards, a spokesman at the U.S. Agency for International Development, tells us in an email that:
No, the Nite Moves strip club in Latham, N.Y., can't claim that lap dances, pole performances and other moves in its ladies' repertoire are "art" and therefore exempt from sales taxes, New York State's highest court ruled today in a 4-3 decision.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Taking care of an ailing parent or grandparent can be an emotional and physical drain on anyone. Of course, millions of us take on those family responsibilities, but it's never easy, and there's a subset of family caregivers that often gets overlooked.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:00 am
Austerity measures continue in Greece as the country sinks deeper into a recession. Incomes have dropped nearly 50 percent in some cases, but food prices are at record highs. The Greek newspaper Ekathimerini recently reported that the country has some of the most expensive food and the costliest dairy products in the entire European Union.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 3:26 pm
Alt-J (stylized as ∆) may be the most successful new British band of 2012 — a favorite to win the Mercury Music Prize in November and a Top 20 chart phenomenon in the U.K. The group, which chose its name from the mathematical symbol for change, made a splash with its debut album, An Awesome Wave, which came out in September. The record mixes upbeat indie rock and brooding synths with vocals that sound like no one else's in music today.
The United States and Cambodia are locked in a legal battle with the auction house Sotheby's over this 1,000-year-old statue of the Hindu warrior Duryodhana that may have been looted from the Cambodian temple complex at Koh Ker.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
King Jayavarman IV built this pyramid-shaped monument at the center of his capital at Koh Ker in northern Cambodia in the 10th century. The ruler of the Khmer empire died two decades later, and the capital was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Archaeologist Phin Samnang, 29, surveys the ruins of Prasat Chen temple at Koh Ker. He says that unlike in earlier periods, Cambodia now has the means and duty to reclaim its priceless lost antiquities.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Cambodian officials say a kneeling figure now in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art once sat on this pedestal. The statue was one of a group of nine depicting a scene from the Hindu epic the Mahabarata.
The governments of Cambodia and the United States are locked in a legal battle with the auction house Sotheby's over a thousand-year-old statue. The two governments say the statue was looted from a temple of the ancient Khmer empire. Sotheby's says this can't be proved, and a court in New York will decide on the matter soon.
The case could affect how collectors and museums acquire artifacts, and how governments recover lost national treasures.