On America's Independence Day, we take a listen to moments from our history alongside a far different struggle for more democracy and independence during the Arab Spring, from Yemen to Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Hugo Chavez hasn't been seen in public for weeks, reportedly due to mysterious health issues he developed while traveling, forcing him to undergo emergency surgery in Havana, Cuba. This week, his absence led to the postponement of a summit of Latin American leaders that was scheduled to take place next week. Chavez was expected to host the summit, on the 200th anniversary from Venezeula's independence from Spain. The last photo of Chavez was released on Tuesday, and showed him in Cuba chatting with former leader Fidel Castro.
This morning, the Greek Parliament voted in favor of a package of austerity measures that includes tax hikes and spending cuts. The vote comes despite two days of protests in Athens, where polls say 80 percent of Greeks were against the measures. The package is an effort to avoid defaulting via a second bailout from the European Union. The vote is being met with violence on the streets of Athens.
Greece is preparing this morning to vote on drastic austerity measures that have sparked nationwide strikes and rioting in the country's capital, Athens. 5,000 police were deployed to Athens over the past two days, to combat protesters with tear gas. Meanwhile, the climate inside Parliament is calm as they prepare to vote. If the austerity measures pass, Greece will be able to obtain a second bail-out from the European Union, and avoid defaulting.
As we await the news of the Greek Parliament's vote in Athens on the austerity measures, reporters in the area give us an update on the climate there.
The number of adults worldwide with Type 2 diabetes—formerly called adult-onset diabetes—has doubled over the past three decades, to 350 million people, according to a new study by the British medical journal The Lancet. Nearly 25 million Americans have the disease, and the study also shows that a healthy diet—over excercise—is the best method for treating it.
In his speech to the nation last Wednesday, announcing troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, President Obama said we needed to refocus on nation-building here at home. This idea echoes the massive ambitions of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s. Johnson’s situation seems to somewhat mirror President Obama’s: Johnson brought us the Civil Rights Act, Medicare and Medicaid, but his broader ambitions were eventually sidelined by the fiscal necessity of Vietnam.
Google's eight-month-old think tank, Google Ideas, is paying for 80 former Muslim extremists, neo-Nazis, U.S. gang members, and other former radicals to gather in Dublin today, to discuss what draws people to violent extremism and how technology can carry out de-radicalization efforts. Google is calling the group "formers," and they'll be participating in the talks with 120 activists and business leaders.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning, according to an official statement from the team. The news follows a bitter divorce battle between Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, who reached a settlement earlier this month, and reports last week that Major League Baseball blocked the team from signing a television deal in order to raise funds for their payroll.
Though we're only halfway through 2011, natural disasters have already cost the U.S. $32 billion, and that number will continue to climb. Over the weekend, the Suris River crested in Minot, North Dakota, leaving 4,000 homes underwater. Fewer than 400 residents of the city—the state's fourth largest—have flood insurance. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S., and one of the fastest growing economies.
This morning, the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and Gadhafi's intelligence chief, for crimes against humanity. They are wanted for orchestrating the killing, injuring, arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians during the first twelve days of the uprising to topple him from power, and for trying to cover up the alleged crimes. The warrants will complicate efforts to bring an end to more than four months of fighting in Libya.
New data that's just been released from NASA's Mercury Messenger spacecraft could reveal how Mercury formed and changed over the 4.5-billion-year history of the Solar System. The planet appears to have shrunk as it has aged. Denton Ebel is the curator of Meteorites at the American Museum of Natural History and is involved in educational outreach programs for the Mercury Messenger mission at the museum. He explains why scientists are finding new reasons to study the planet.
A former National Security Agency employee who was charged with leaking classified information has brokered a plea deal just days before his trial was set to begin. Thomas Drake pleaded guilty to a minor misdemeanor charge, and will face no jail time. Had he been convicted of the ten felony counts he was indicted for in April under the 1917 Espionage Act, he could have served over 30 years in prison. Drake pleaded guilty to misusing a government computer to share classified information with someone not authorized to receive that information.
American hedge funds are buying massive amounts of land—larger in size than the state of California—in Africa, often without proper contracts, according to the Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank. The hedge funds say that it's an effort to uplift the economies of African nations, but some critics say it's a "land grab;" an opportunity to buy cheap land to grow food crops that will be exported to richer countries, ultimately depleting Africa's natural resources and raising global food prices.
Citibank has confirmed that hackers accessed credit card information for over 200,000 US customers (1% of the bank's 21 million account holders). The bank says the hacking occurred over a month ago. It's one more occurrence in what seems like a season of hacking attacks, with Lockheed Martin, Sony's PlayStation network, and Google in China also falling victim to recent hackings.
The largest flare on the sun since December of 2006 has erupted, sending up a large cloud of charged magnetic particles, which appeared to cover almost half of the solar surface. The National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center warns that this will likely lead to geomagnetic storm activity. Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks with us. deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York's American Museum of Natural History, and host of NOVA scienceNOW, produced by our partner WGBH.
NATO unleashed its most punishing attacks yet on Tripoli yesterday, in Libya, with 60 air strikes all around the capital. John Burns, London bureau chief for our partner The New York Times, speaks with us from Tripoli.
Jim Lehrer will no longer be the main face of PBS' "NewsHour." He was the show's anchor for 36 years, but there has not been a lot of fanfare around his departure. "I didn't want to make a big to-do about it," he says. He reflects on reporting on the Kennedy assassination and what he has learned about politics and history. His new book, "Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain" comes out in the Fall; he will continue moderating Shields and Brooks on Fridays. So what's next? "I want to write better books," Lehrer tells us.
The NFL lockout continues, and the real fight now is between each sides' lawyers. The NFL has brought in Paul Clement, while Ted Olsen argues for the players. Both are former Solicitor Generals, and both are experts at arguing before the Supreme Court. Nando di Fino, sports writer for the Wall Street Journal, tells us what happens next.
Germany's "supertoxic" variant of E. coli has infected more than 1,500 people and killed at least 17. Scientists still don't know where the virus came from, why it's so deadly. The outbreak seems to be affecting women more than men, likely because women eat more salads. The strain is also reportedly resistant to 14 different antibiotics.