Mali's popular Festival of the Desert, held each year near Timbuktu, attracts both local and international music stars. The festival took place in January, but the Islamists who have taken control of the area have since banned all entertainment.
Credit Serge Daniel / AFP/Getty Images
A Tuareg band from Mali, Tinariwen, performs in Nice, France, in July. The band has developed an international reputation and won a Grammy this year. <a href="http://www.npr.org/event/music/144431409/tinariwen-tiny-desk-concert">See them perform at NPR headquarters.</a><strong></strong>
Credit Valery Hache / AFP/Getty Images
This video still shows Islamist militants destroying an ancient shrine in Timbuktu on July 1. The International Criminal Court warned their campaign of destruction was a war crime.
Mali is a country rich in culture, both old and new.
The banging of hammers on silver echos through the main crafts market in Bamako, Mali's capital. It's usually teeming in a place where you can buy anything, from silver earrings to batik fabric, all of it handmade.
And despite its remote location, Mali has enhanced its cultural reputation in recent years with an annual international music and arts festival in the Sahara Desert near Timbuktu, drawing both African and Western artists.
Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am
The stock market rallied on Friday's jobs report, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 200 points. But what do the numbers mean for the political stocks of President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney? That's harder to measure.
Scorched pastures are spreading across central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest. Technology and techniques developed from previous droughts like the Dust Bowl are helping to save some of today's crops, but there's no substitute for water.
Credit Scott Olson / Getty Images
Charles Hildenbrand surveys the family's corn crop outside Thawville, Ill. He doesn't remember much from the Dust Bowl days, but says technology has saved what little corn the farm does have this year.
Credit David Schaper / NPR
A gigantic dust cloud engulfs a ranch in Boise City, Okla., in 1935.
This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.
"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.
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