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Afghanistan
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

When Most U.S. Forces Leave Afghanistan, Contractors May Stay

A helicopter from the American security contractor DynCorp provides air support as members of an Afghan eradication force plow opium poppies on April 3, 2006, in the Helmand province, Afghanistan.
John Moore Getty Images

Should the Afghan government sign a security agreement, the U.S. plans to keep between 6,000 and 9,000 American troops in Afghanistan even after the U.S. and NATO's combat mission officially ends late in 2014.

Beginning in 2015, the remaining troops would train Afghan soldiers and mount operations against any remnants of al-Qaida.

But they wouldn't be the only ones who stay behind: U.S. troops would almost certainly be outnumbered by civilian contractors.

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World
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

How A South Pacific Island Celebrates Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American holiday. And on tiny Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, it's a somewhat imported holiday.

Arts & Life
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Tale: 'A Fountain Of Snake'

In an annual tradition, writer Bailey White spins a fictional tale of love and life. This year's entry is about a woman dying of cancer who is attended to by a series of old boyfriends, each of whom contributes some sort of minor service. The story ends with a symbolic event at an old hollow tree in the woods, where a coiled snake meets a violent end.

Music
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

The Electric Bassist With An In-House Composer

Steve Swallow switched from acoustic bass to bass guitar in 1970, and hasn't looked back.
Klaus Muempfer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 2:15 pm

Steve Swallow started playing jazz as a teenager. While a student at Yale University, he played mostly in with Dixieland bands. And then the 20-year-old bassist got a gig with the avant-garde-leaning pianist Paul Bley at a nearby college, went home, went to bed — and dropped out.

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Music Interviews
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

'It's Hard To Stay Patient': A Conversation With John Mayer

John Mayer in Studio 1 at NPR's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Amy Ta NPR

John Mayer has a lot to be thankful for this year, including his return to the stage. A Grammy winner and a multi-platinum seller, Mayer is one of the most successful musicians of the past decade-plus — but a few events in his life have left him uncharacteristically quiet of late. He took a break from press after a pair of controversial interviews in 2010; not long after, he underwent surgery for damage to his vocal cords and had to stop speaking and singing publicly for more than a year.

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