A man walks through a former unofficial, or "black," jail in Beijing, in 2009. It's estimated that thousands of Chinese lodging protests against the government are illegally detained in secret sites such as this one, even though the government says they don't exist.
Credit Elizabeth Dalziel / AP
It may appear cute and quaint and sit in the midst of a sprawling Shanghai park, but this cottage is used as a "black jail."
People often say China is a nation of contrasts: of wealth and poverty, of personal freedom and political limits. But that observation doesn't begin to capture the tensions and incongruities of modern life here.
For instance, in today's Shanghai, you can sip a $31 champagne cocktail in a sleek rooftop bar overlooking the city's spectacular skyline, while, just a few miles away, ordinary citizens languish in a secret detention center run by government-paid thugs.
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 10:36 am
On Monday, Sandy brought heavy rain, winds and storm surges to the Northeast, causing widespread flooding and extensive damage to hundreds of communities, particularly in New Jersey and New York.
But the drenching from all that water varied greatly by region.
In areas south of Atlantic City, N.J., where the storm made landfall Monday night, the wind was pushing out toward the ocean. This prevented high storm tides along the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware coasts and in Chesapeake Bay. But the same arm of the storm that held the ocean at bay carried a lot of rain.
Skeletons: Skeleton imagery pervades this holiday. In pre-Columbian times, the Day of the Dead was celebrated in August. It now takes place on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, coinciding with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
Credit Karen Castillo FarfÃ¡n / NPR
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
Altar: Altars are used to welcome the ancestors' spirits into the home. It is also practice to visit the ancestral burial ground to celebrate with picnics and music.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 3:19 pm
Sugar skulls, tamales, and spirits (the alcoholic kind) — these are things you might find on homemade altars to entice those who've passed to the other side back for a visit. The altars, built in homes and around tombstones, are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition originating in central Mexico on Nov. 1 and 2.
Three closely watched employment indicators are out this morning:
-- Unemployment Benefits. There were 363,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, down from 372,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. So, as they have all year, claims remain in a range between 350,000 and 400,000.
The campaign calm after the storm is about to end.
Both President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will be out stumping for votes today. The race for the White House, which was just about put on hold as Superstorm Sandy bore down on the East Coast and then roared ashore, is back on with just five days to go before Election Day.
Romney will be in Virginia. The president will be in Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada.