As diplomatic talks in Geneva have failed to resolve the three-year-old civil war in Syria, the U.S. is undertaking a new covert program to send weapons in support of rebel forces there.
Syria will likely meet an upcoming deadline to hand over its declared chemical weapons. But the agreement seems to have emboldened the Syrian regime to use other brutal tactics, including a chemical not covered by the deal.
The Marshall Islands, the site of 66 U.S. nuclear weapons tests between 1946 and 1958, says the Non-Proliferation Treaty requires nuclear states to disarm.
[2014-04-24 13:00:00] S.E. Hinton became a literary star while still a teenager when her novel The Outsiders was published in 1967. It’s remained a popular title over the years and has been chosen as the focus of the 2014 Big D Reads program. This hour, Hinton joins us to talk about the origins of the book and the role it’s played in her life.
[2014-04-24 12:00:00] More than 54,000 survivors of torture call Texas home. They come from Nepal, Myanmar, Iraq and other places around the world. We’ll talk this hour about how they are cared for locally with Celia VanDeGraff, executive director of the Center for Survivors of Torture.
The fashion world has always been notoriously fickle. What's hot this season may be considered passé in a few months. But one fashion accessory has had a spectacular run: the Nike Air Jordan. This is the 30th anniversary of the iconic sneaker, which has had a huge impact on the sneaker business. It spawned the era of the signature athletic shoe, and a whole generation of underground sneaker collectors known as sneakerheads, that today are not so underground.
In the early days, sneakerheads logged on to online message boards to buy and trade rare shoes. "Most of these people, they were located in the Midwest and down South and the West Coast," says Brooklyn native Joe Guerrero. Everyone calls him Sneaker Joe. He was one of the first sneakerheads who figured out how to make money buying and selling rare shoes that weren't available in big retail stores.
"I saw a demand," says Sneaker Joe. He set out to meet that demand by "hitting up all these stores in downtown Brooklyn and the Bronx, Harlem, all these mom and pop shops that had urban accounts. I just started selling on eBay."
Sneaker Joe's business grew. Soon, he had international customers. He was cutting deals with stores and buying in bulk. He sold online until 5 p.m., took a break for a couple of hours, then started his second business, hand-delivering rare sneakers to celebrities like Jay-Z and LeBron James.
"That was up until 2007," Joe says. "Then the market became oversaturated. It became harder to acquire shoes once all these blogs started reporting and hyping up stuff."
By 2007, sneaker collecting had reached new heights. Camping outside a store for a new shoe release was common. "What changed the way sneakers are looked at is information, the internet," says DJ Clark Kent. "If you didn't know that a new Jordan was coming out, you wouldn't be hyped up to get it."
He was one of the people Sneaker Joe used to deliver to. Kent is a record producer and a sneaker aficionado who has designed several shoes for Nike, and hosts an online talk show about shoes. He says sneaker companies have mastered the art of hype. The limited edition special release is now a standard marketing strategy. "Everybody is hyped for what's coming out on Saturday," he says. "Saturday comes. Whoever gets it, gets it, and then next Saturday there's something else, and then they are hyped all over again."
For Sneaker Joe, camping out overnight for a shoe was never something he was willing to do. Today there are sneaker conferences and brick and mortar stores that have taken the place of entrepreneurs like him. So he has evolved with the times and altered his business model. He invented the Sneaker Pimp tournament, where sneakerheads compete for who has the coolest kicks.
In an interview with NPR's Scott Simon, Stevens compares making pot illegal to the attempt to prohibit alcohol. Like alcohol, he said, there will soon be a consensus that it is not worth the cost.
Parents, cities and software companies have advocated or developed apps that block texts and calls when you're driving. But an Apple patent for locking phone functions could make a big impact.
The New York Times photojournalist happened to be nearby when Islamist militants launched an attack on shoppers inside an upscale Kenyan mall — he rushed inside and took photos as the event unfolded.
From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up April 25:
The University of Michigan releases its final April consumer sentiment survey to show you how others have been affected by current economic conditions.
Ford is scheduled to release quarterly earnings.
And you hear him on The Simpsons as Moe, Apu and others. Actor Hank Azaria turns 50.
Pie lovers from around the country convene in Orlando for the National Pie Championships. Imagine having to think about pie for days.
If after eating all that pie you need some exercise, climb a tree. It's National Arbor Day.
Over 100 teenagers spent a recent Saturday outside liquor stores across the state of California, asking adults to buy them alcohol. An outbreak of teen drinking? Just the opposite. These kids were part of a statewide effort to keep alcohol away from the under-21 set.
Volunteer Youth Decoys are recruited from high schools, sold on the idea that they can help "clean up the streets." The teens just need to complete a brief training, and get their parents to sign off on it.
In a recent coordinated day-long effort with over 100 police and sheriffs departments across California, young decoys netted 544 arrests... and got a unique window into a possible career.
I rode along in an unmarked car to watch the action. At one point, we were driving towards a startled man in a black Chevy. The sergeant jumped out of the driver’s seat and ran towards the suspect on foot, while out of sight officers in bulletproof vests swarmed in, cutting off the man’s escape routes.
His crime: buying a six pack of Coors Light for an undercover teen.
“I’m the decoy-- I’m the guy that messes up people’s days I guess," says 18-year-old Daniel Gardener.
Gardener, who is plainclothes and not wearing a bulletproof vest, is undercover with the Alameda County Sheriffs. The officers just arrested a middle-aged man in a sweat suit. The violator, a guy named Fred, is the fourth person busted for buying alcohol for a minor at this location in the past hour and a half.
Fred has his reasons, as he explains to Gardener, “I’m gonna tell you why I did it. You’re the same height as my son… and you look kinda like him-- you're white, though. But you look kinda like him-- same build, you feel me?”
Even though Fred is facing a possible $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service, he praises the Youth Decoy who set him up saying, “Hey thank you young man. You’re a good actor, dude.”
Let’s meet another cast member of this youth production. Lisset Araugio is 16, but is no stranger to the game. “They call me, ‘the veteran’,” she says.
This is Araugio’s third year as a youth decoy, where she works on tobacco stings -- going into corner-stores and buying flavored cigars, called Swishers.
“I usually walk in the stores, I give them a smile and I say, ‘Oh, can I get a Swisher Sweet?’ And then I say, ‘Please.’ And if they give them to me, I say, ‘Thank you, and have a nice day.’ And I smile.”
That’s cold blooded. Evidently, being a youth decoy means putting duty before empathy.
“This lady, she didn’t speak any English -- I was talking to her in Spanish,” recalls Araugio. “And then when she got the citation, she was like, ‘Can you please tell them that they’re going to kick me out of my job because I did this?’ And I was like, ‘I’m sorry, but next time you should be more careful.’ And she’s like, ‘Please help me!’ And she got so mad she started crying."
All that drama, plus a $200 to $1000 fine may seem like a severe penalty for selling tobacco to a minor. Back at the alcohol decoy operation, Sergeant Scheuller says these stings sometimes catch people engaged in worse crimes.
“A lot of times, what we find is the people that are willing to buy alcohol for a minor -- a lot of times they’ve been involved in other criminal activity,” says Scheuller.
According to the statewide agency that sponsored these operations, about 10 percent of people cuffed today actually went to jail on crimes ranging from drunk driving, illegal drug possession, to resisting arrest. Apart from sending people to jail, Sergeant Scheuller says the Youth Decoy program also brings some kids into the force.
“So maybe you might wanna think of pursuing a career in law enforcement?" Sergeant Scheuller asks me with a nudge. "You could do this as your job. And get paid. It’s the best job in the world if you ask me.”
Decoys like Daniel Gardener don’t need persuading. He intends to be a sheriff. He knows some kids who have gone from the decoy program straight into the police academy.
For me, trapping somebody who thinks they’re doing me a favor is too much. It makes me feel callous and dishonest.
But Fred, the guy who bought the six pack, says a citation does get the message across: “Everybody makes mistakes in life, this was mine, you don’t have to worry about me ever doing this again."
This story was produced by Youth Radio.