The provincial town of Mage seems a world away from the violence and drug dealing that plague Brazil's larger cities. On a recent afternoon, the central square is a picture of calm. Children play around a fountain; older people sit on the many park benches dotting the area, under the shade of trees.
Mage, about 35 miles northwest of Rio, is close enough that people can commute to the city, which many of them do. Yet it's far enough away that nothing much really happened here in the past. But residents say that is changing.
In 1993, a freighter ran aground off Queens, N.Y. The Golden Venture had nearly 300 people on it who were being smuggled into the U.S. from China.
Passengers cited China's forced-sterilization program and governmental persecution from political expression as reasons to climb aboard the Golden Venture. Some paid the smugglers $30,000 to board the ship. An organized crime syndicate would front the money, and the passengers would have to work off the debt, often in restaurants like indentured servants.
For the past 42 years, José-Luis Orozco has been entertaining children with songs he sings in English and Spanish. He's passionate about teaching children to be bilingual through music, and he's also written books for kids.
"Let's say hello to each other," he says to a crowd of preschoolers at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. "Buenos días," he sings.
This month on Heavy Rotation — the series in which public-radio hosts and DJs share their favorite new songs — we have music from all over the map. Hip-hop, punk, EDM, folk, pop: It's all here. Meet this month's panel of pickers:
David Dye, host of NPR's World Cafe
Rita Houston, program director of WFUV in New York City
David Brown, host of Texas Music Matters for KUTX in Austin
Jessi Whitten, music director at Colorado Public Radio's OpenAir indie station
President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping are meeting this weekend at Sunnylands, an exclusive retreat center near Palm Springs, Calif. On top of 11 lakes, a private golf course and a world-renowned art collection, the compound holds more history than even a 200-acre estate should be able to contain. Obama is the eighth U.S. president to have spent time there. Frank Sinatra married his fourth wife there.
It's an overstatement to say that it's beginning to look like President George W. Bush's fourth term.
Still, that characterization by former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer carried the ring of truth Thursday with the report that a National Security Agency telecommunications program that Americans first became aware of under Bush has continued under Obama.
Singer Justin Bieber is the latest celebrity to score a booking on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, destined for its first suborbital test flight sometime this year.
The Bieb and manager Scooter Braun join the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie on the elite passenger list of those willing and able to pay $250,000 for a seat on Richard Branson's commercial space-flight venture.