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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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The Salt
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

When It Comes To Falafel, The Flavors Of Home Can Vary

The reporter's mother, Nawal Elbager, of Khartoum, Sudan, shows off her falafel.
Rashad Baba Courtesy Nawal Elbager

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 4:38 pm

Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.

But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.

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Author Interviews
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

A Year's Worth Of Facts From An NPR Librarian

Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons

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

The people who host NPR programs are often credited with — or accused of — being knowledgeable.

But really, the most important bit of knowledge they have is just a four digit extension that connects to Kee Malesky in the NPR Reference Library. If you want the names and contact numbers for every left-handed plumber in Kuala Lumpur, she'll fix you up. She's the longest-serving member of a stellar company of reference librarians who check, double-check and mine miles of information, urban legend and spin for cold, hard, glittering facts.

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