David Rowell is an editor with The Washington Post. His first novel, The Train of Small Mercies, is just out in paperback.
When I was growing up in North Carolina, my family went to the same beach every year; it had the sand, the water and pretty much nothing else. Mostly that was OK, but the idea of a boardwalk, which I caught glimpses of on TV or in movies, seemed wondrous to me — like a carnival rolled out from a wooden carpet.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, right, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, gestures next to Rabbi Avichai Appel, left, a board member of the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany, during a news conference in Berlin, Germany on Thursday.
In Germany, the past few weeks have been marked by an intense debate over religious liberties.
Today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel jumped into the fray saying her administration would work to protect religious circumcision.
"It is absolutely clear to the federal government that we want Jewish, we want Muslim religious life in Germany. Circumcisions carried out in a responsible way must not be subject to prosecution in this country," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 3:05 pm
Three-time Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin is a contemporary folk legend. Colvin started playing guitar at the age 10 and went on to cut her teeth on the folk circuits of Illinois and San Francisco before moving on to the Fast Folk cooperative of Greenwich Village in New York City. During her solo music career, Colvin has appeared in off-Broadway shows and episodes of television shows such as The Simpsons and Treme.
Support group members Pamela Travis (from left), Dominique Martin, Yovanda Dixon, Shanna Chaney and Ramona Shewl hold a meeting as part of the Family Independence Initiative. The Oakland nonprofit encourages low-income families to form small groups to help each other get ahead.
Credit Pam Fessler / NPR
Yovanda Dixon washes vegetables in her San Francisco home to prepare a demonstration for her support group.
Credit Pam Fessler / NPR
Yovanda Dixon (left) shows fellow group member Pamela Travis some of the bath oils she sells outside a San Francisco grocery store as part of her business Scentuality.
Militiamen from the Ansar Dine Islamic group, an al-Qaida affiliate, ride on a vehicle in northeastern Mali in June. Mali is one of the places where al-Qaida-linked groups are trying to take over territory and win over local residents to their cause.
Members of Ansar al-Sharia, another al-Qaida-affiliated group, man a checkpoint at the southern Yemeni town of Jaar in April. Government troops recently retook areas in the country's restive south from militant control after a two-month offensive.
Al-Qaida has been subtly testing a new strategy. In the past couple of years, the group's affiliates have been trying their hand at governing — actually taking over territory and then trying to win over citizens who live there. It happened with various degrees of success in Somalia and Yemen, and recently in the northern deserts of Mali.