Afghan delegates to the Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, listen to Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday. Some 2,500 elders and community leaders have gathered in Kabul to discuss a U.S.-Afghan security agreement that would define the role of U.S. troops after the combat mission ends next year.
Credit S. Sabawoon / EPA/Landov
Karzai told the gathering he supports a security deal with the U.S., but he didn't hide his troubled relationship with the Americans. "They don't trust me, and I don't trust them," he said.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:25 pm
The U.S. military has been fighting in Afghanistan for 12 years, and its future role could be determined, or at least heavily influenced, in the next few days by an Afghan Loya Jirga.
So, what is a Loya Jirga?
It's a "grand assembly," an Afghan tradition dating back at least three centuries, that brings together elders and community leaders from across the land to discuss matters of major national importance.
If Americans were writing the Constitution over again in 2013, would it make sense to include the right to bear arms? Or has it become outdated?
Some argue that states should have the ability to decide the laws they want around guns, instead of having a national standard. And they point to the Second Amendment's language about the need for well-regulated militias as evidence of its anachronism.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 8:04 pm
Thirteen billion dollars is a lot of money, but it's not going to add up to a huge windfall for many consumers.
Thousands of homeowners will receive significant financial relief under the terms of a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. that was announced Tuesday by the Justice Department. But the bulk of the funds will be going either to investors or government coffers.
A very disturbing story is emerging from the U.K.:
-- "Two people have been arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude at a house in London sparked by a report on Sky News. The inquiry was launched after one of three alleged victims told a charity she had been held against her will for more than 30 years." (Sky News)
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:09 pm
(We added to the top of this post at 2:08 p.m. ET.)
There was high drama Thursday on the floor of the Senate as Democrats significantly changed the way business in the chamber is done.
In what Republicans cast as a "power grab" but Democrats defended as a way to break gridlock, the Senate's rules were changed to make it much more difficult for a minority of the members to hold up action on key presidential nominees.
By a 14-8 vote that saw three Republicans join 11 Democrats in saying "aye," the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday morning approved the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next head of the Federal Reserve.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 7:31 am
When we asked American members of the NPR community who are living in other countries to let us in on their plans for Thanksgiving 2013, we received hundreds and hundreds of responses.
Some expatriates say they plan to trot out the turkey and dressing and Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish. Others say they don't plan to celebrate one whit. Many folks sent us stories and photos of past Thanksgivings spent abroad.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:49 pm
Parents who have a child struggling with serious mental illness live in fear that the worst will happen.
The apparent suicide of a young man in Virginia after he allegedly attacked his father, a state senator, shows how difficult it can be for families to get help in the midst of a mental health crisis.
The recession brought deep cuts in states' spending on mental health. The reductions made it harder for people to get help before they're in crisis, mental health advocates say, and even harder to find a hospital bed in an emergency.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:02 pm
Back in 2002, french fry lovers around the world received a nasty bit of news: Those crunchy, fried strips of potato contained a known carcinogen. Now, all these years later, a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration has consumers once again puzzling over whether to fear the chemical acrylamide.
A Leopard 2 A6 tank is in operation during the German army exercise in Bergen, Germany, on Oct. 2. Germany said it would sell 270 of the tanks to Saudi Arabia last year. According to official figures, the Saudis were the top buyers of arms from Germany.