Protesters demonstrate against plans for a factory to produce paraxylene, a toxic chemical used to make fabrics, in China's Yunnan province on Saturday. In nearby Chengdu, planned protests were thwarted.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Police in Chengdu, China, announced a "virtual combat exercise" over the weekend, which coincides with a planned protest authorities hope to thwart.
How do you prevent protests in China? Move the weekend.
That's the Orwellian step taken by local authorities in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. May 4 is a sensitive date commemorating an influential student movement in 1919. It's especially potent in Chengdu, where it marks the fifth anniversary of a protest against the construction of a $6 billion crude oil refinery and petrochemical facility in Pengzhou, 25 miles away.
A roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan killed five members of the U.S. Army Saturday, according to military officials. The International Security Assistance Force says an improvised explosive device was used in the attack.
Update at 5:15 p.m. EDT. Another Deadly Attack:
An Afghan National Army soldier "turned his weapon on coalition troops in the west, killing two in the most recent of so-called insider attacks, the AP reports. NPR has confirmed that both victims of that attack are American.
It's been 70 years since the letters of John Pryor were understood in their full meaning. That's because as a British prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, Pryor's letters home to his family also included intricate codes that were recently deciphered for the first time since the 1940s.
Pryor's letters served their purpose in World War II, as Britain's MI9 agents decoded the messages hidden within them — requests for supplies, notes about German activities — before sending them along to Pryor's family in Cornwall.
Standing on a rooftop, a man looks at the Springs fire's approaching flames in California Friday. The wildfire, reportedly, 20 percent contained, might be weakened by high humidity and cooler temperatures Saturday.
Firefighters in Southern California are welcoming the latest weather forecast, as lower temperatures and higher humidity could help them control the Camarillo Springs Fire. But the wildfire along the coast remains formidable: It has reportedly burned at least 43 square miles of land and property, nearly doubling in size Friday.
Employees scoop ice cream, which is topped with pistachios, at Bakdash's opening in Amman, Jordan, this week. Bakdash has been a landmark in Damascus, Syria, since 1895. But the war there has made it hard to get supplies, so the owners have set up a new shop in Amman.
Bakdash is a landmark in the Syrian capital, serving the Arab world's most famous ice cream since 1895. Manually churned with wooden paddles, loaded with milk, sugar and a generous coating of pistachios, Bakdash ice cream is memorable treat for any visitor to Damascus.
But, when a branch opened this week in Amman, Jordan, it was seen as another casualty of the Syrian war.
"It means there is no sense of security and safety in Damascus," says journalist Fahd al Kheytaan, "which forced the company to move some of its operation to Jordan."
Israel has conducted an airstrike against a target in Syria, in an apparent attempt to keep a shipment of missiles from reaching Hezbollah, according to multiple news agencies citing Israeli and U.S. officials.
Israel has not officially confirmed reports that it carried out the attack on a target in Syria, as The Associated Press reports. But the news agency says anonymous Israeli officials have said the attack took place in the early hours of Friday.
It's a captivating story: A global rice-growing revolution that started with a Jesuit priest in Madagascar, far from any recognized center of agricultural innovation. Every so often, it surfaces in the popular media — most recently in The Guardian, which earlier this year described farmers in one corner of India hauling in gigantic rice harvests without resorting to pesticides or genetic modification.
If there's one conversation you listen to today, make it Melissa Block's talk with Carmen Blandin Tarleton and Marinda Righter.
Tarleton, who was disfigured when her estranged husband poured Lye over her body, received a face transplant in February. This week, for the first time, Tarleton met Righter, the daughter of the face donor.
Righter and Tarleton embraced and then Righter asked Tarleton if she could touch her face.
"It was probably one of the best feelings I've had in my life," Tarleton told Melissa.
In fall 2011, Sebastian Thrun, a research professor at Stanford, and Peter Norvig, the top scientist at Google, teamed up to develop and teach a free, online course on artificial intelligence. Their aim, as Norvig said in an impassioned and compelling TED talk, was to develop a course at least as good as, if not better than, the course they teach together at Stanford. They'd put the result online and make it available to everyone, for free.