A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
If Snigdha Nandipati, the 14-year-old who won last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, had been asked to define her winning word, "guetapens," things might have turned out differently.
This year, a vocabulary test with word definitions is, for the first time in the bee's 86-year history, part of the competition. Preliminary and semifinal contestants must pass the test to get to the finals of the grueling competition.
A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.
Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.
French film <em>Blue Is the Warmest Colour</em>, winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of a teenager named Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) who falls in love with a blue-haired art student named Emma (Lea Seydoux).
Credit Wild Bunch
John Powers, a <em>Fresh Air</em> critic at large, writes about film and television for <em>Vogue</em> and <em>Vogue Daily.</em>
Credit John Powers
Actors Garrett Hedlund (from left), Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, directors Joel and Ethan Coen, Oscar Isaac and T-Bone Burnett attend the <em>Inside Llewyn Davis</em> press conference at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19.
"It was the film of the festival," critic John Powers tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about Blue Is the Warmest Color, this year's Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival. When Powers says "film of the festival" he means "it was the film that people loved the most, some hated the most, and everyone talked about the most."
One year after Facebook's troubled initial public offering, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that it has "charged Nasdaq with securities laws violations resulting from its poor systems and decision-making ... [and that] Nasdaq has agreed to settle the SEC's charges by paying a $10 million penalty."
A small, child-like creature in a cone hat peers into a toy shop, happy at the sight of a snow globe, in a vignette called "Tininess" in <em>Darkness Outside the Night</em>, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/187048382/darkness-outside-the-night?tab=excerpt#excerpt">excerpt below</a>.
Credit Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with permission to reproduce the panels from Tabella Publishing LLP
Xie Peng, a 36-year-old Chinese graphic novelist, spent six years working on his first book, Darkness Outside the Night. It's been praised by China's first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan, as inspiring people on how to deal with life.
After receiving complaints that a billboard advertisement included an image resembling Adolf Hitler, JC Penney has reportedly taken the sign down. The move came after images of the billboard in California's Culver City spurred a controversy on Reddit and elsewhere online. The retailer says any resemblance to the late leader of the Third Reich was unintended.
It's not confirmed that he's dead. But if a suspected U.S. drone strike on Wednesday did kill Waliur Rehman, as Pakistani officials say it did, then a top Pakistani Taliban commander with a $5 million price on his head has been taken off the battlefield.
As some states become friendly to medical marijuana, many users are opting to eat their pot instead of smoking it. And that means marijuana dispensaries are doing heavy business in brownies, cookies, sodas, candy and other treats heavily dosed with THC.
But unlike drugs that come in bottles, these tasty marijuana foods haven't been childproofed. And in Colorado, doctors say that kids who apparently get into their parents and grandparents' stashes are getting sick.