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Parallel Lives
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Hawaii Prep School Gave Obama Window To Success

Barack Obama in a 1975 photo from the Punahou School yearbook. He and his eighth-grade homeroom classmates pose with a slide projector as part of the yearbook's theme of "Nostalgia."
Punahau School 1974-1975 Yearbook

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 9:15 am

From now until Nov. 6, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at Obama's time at a Hawaii institution called Punahou.

Punahou School was founded by missionaries in 1841 — the campus is just up the hill from Waikiki, and it's built around a historic spring.

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Europe
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Cyprus' Divided Capital A Last Vestige Of War

At the Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia, Cypriots must show a passport to cross the border between the Turkish North and the Greek South.
Petros Karadjias AP

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 6:32 pm

There is one corner of the European Union where a kind of war still rages.

Nicosia, on the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, is the last divided capital city in Europe. In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, taking over the northern part of the island — including half of the capital.

History teacher Maria Chrysanthou says she's blunt with students who ask her if the two sides of Cyprus — one Greek-speaking and Christian, the other Turkish-speaking and Muslim — will ever be united.

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Europe
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Spanish Crisis Revives Calls For Catalan Secession

Supporters of independence for Catalonia gather in Barcelona on the Spanish region's national day, on Sept. 11.
Josep Lago AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 9:17 pm

On a recent day in Barcelona, the capital of northeast Spain's Catalonia region, José Maria Borras and his lifelong friend Antonio Canosa sip coffee in the same square where they went to grade school.

The two retirees — both in their mid-60s — grew up under Spain's military dictator Francisco Franco, who prohibited the Catalan language, festivals and any talk of independence.

"It's been a long struggle for freedom," Borras says. "Back in those years, if you were in this very schoolyard speaking Catalan you'd be punished."

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World
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

New French President Sees Popularity Crash

Just a few months ago, supporters rallied in the streets for the election of Francois Hollande. Now, some of the same people are protesting against the French president. Leftist parties and unions organized this anti-austerity protest in September.
Bertrand Langlois AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 4:47 pm

Just five months after electing President Francois Hollande, many French are now despairing that he cannot deliver on the vision they voted for. What's worse, some wonder if Hollande has a plan at all.

The new president's ratings have plummeted, and his once-lauded "steady approach" is now perceived as dithering.

Protesters shouting "Resistance!" in the streets of Paris this month included people who voted for him and now feel betrayed. They were demonstrating against the European fiscal treaty, approved this week by the Socialist-dominated French parliament.

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Technology
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

One Child, One Laptop ... And Mixed Results In Peru

Students use a laptop at the Jose Maria public school in a shantytown on the outskirts of Lima, Peru on June 8. Peru has sent more than 800,000 laptop computers to children across the country, one of the world's most ambitious efforts to leverage digital technology in the fight against poverty. Five years into the program, there are doubts about its success.
Karel Navarro AP

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 9:15 am

Five years ago, Peru plunked down $200 million on more than 800,000 low-cost laptops to distribute to schoolchildren. The purchase was part of the global One Laptop Per Child initiative that aimed to end poverty with computers.

But now there are a lot of questions about how successful Peru's effort has been, especially in rural areas like the village of Lacachi.

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