For decades, Myanmar was isolated diplomatically, an economic backwater that seemed almost frozen in time amid a Southeast Asian region that was modernizing at a rapid pace.
But the political reforms under way in Myanmar, also known as Burma, are redefining its place in the world. President Obama's visit in November was a sign of the dramatic turnaround in relations with the United States.
In Sumter, S.C., home of Shaw Air Force Base and the 20th Fighter Wing, cars sport bumper stickers that say, "Jet noise is the sound of freedom."
Throughout the day, F-16s on training runs blast from a runway on base, disappearing into the foggy sky. But if automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts slated for March 1 go into effect, there will be a lot less of that sound.
"To cut to that level, we just could not pay for the amount of flying hours that we currently have," says Capt. Ann Blodzinski, the base's chief of public affairs.
This year's flu vaccine looks like it's not doing much to protect older people. New numbers in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the vaccine has only been effective about a quarter of the time for people 65 and older. NPR's Rob Stein joins me to explain what that means. And Rob, tell us more about these numbers coming from the CDC.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The Japanese flag flew over Blair House in Washington today. That's where foreign leaders stay when they visit the White House. Japan's new prime minister is here for his first meeting with President Obama, and they've been discussing economic and security issues as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 8:04 am
Disease detectives are kind of the rock stars of public health.
They travel around the world, on a moment's notice, to track down an Ebola outbreak in Uganda or stop a cholera epidemic in Haiti. And Kate Winslet and Lawrence Fishburne played them in the movie Contagion, for crying out loud.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 6:26 pm
Writer and critic Stephen Holden has covered everything from film to cabaret for The New York Times, as well as for TV programs such as 60 Minutes and 20/20. While he'd hoped to become a pop singer in his adolescence, Holden later embraced poetry and was published in The New Yorker.
Music remained a passion for Holden and became a key subject of his writing. He covered the singer-songwriter explosion of the 1970s, and his 1980 satirical novel Triple Platinum was based on his experiences as a journalist and executive with RCA.