Qatar is a tiny place that insists on being heard.
The Arab nation just off the coast of Saudi Arabia has made itself a major diplomatic player, a generous donor of foreign aid, and a leader in modernizing education in the region. The ultra-modern capital Doha is full of skyscrapers, museums and history, much of it dating as far back as ... the 1990s.
Qatar is also a commercial capital that aims to become a cultural, sports and tourist center for the Gulf region despite having just 260,000 citizens.
The digital currency Bitcoin is becoming more prevalent, both for benign purchases and as a way for criminals to conduct illicit transactions. Bitcoins have been used on underground websites to facilitate sales of narcotics and child pornography. But even those most concerned about criminal activity agree that the emerging digital currency has arrived and can have beneficial uses.
An undercover NYPD officer was arraigned Wednesday in connection with a road rage incident that's been viewed thousands of times on YouTube. Det. Wojciech Braszczok is one of several motorcycle riders who've been arrested for their roles in an attack on Alexian Lien, an SUV driver who led bikers on a high-speed chase last month and that ended in his beating.
The International Olympic committee (IOC) has elected a new president, Thomas Bach of Germany. He assumes leadership of an organization that faces criticism over politics, costs and what some view as its insular approach to which sports are offered during the games. The new president succeeds Jacques Rogge, who lead the IOC for 12 years.
The NFL has agreed to a $765 million settlement with more than 4,500 former players and families over concussions. The money will fund medical exams and treatment and provide compensation to players and families.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel and we begin this hour in California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, not far from Yosemite National Park. That's where fire crews are starting to make some progress in their fight against the massive Rim Fire that's been burning for nine days now. It has scorched nearly 150,000 acres. Relatively few structures have been lost so far, but thousands of people remain under evacuation orders.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. One criticism of baseball is that it's too prone to long stretches of inaction, players sitting around not doing much. Well, if that's what baseball is, then Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been Mr. Baseball this season. He's been on the disabled list, but he claims he's healthy enough to play. His team begs to differ. Here to talk about the confusion is NPR's Mike Pesca, who joins us from New York. Hi, Mike.
In addition to Georgia, a handful of other states — Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Alabama — have dropped out of or scaled back their participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in College and Career (PARCC) consortium. Florida's education commissioner is mulling a similar decision. We discuss what it could mean for the success of the standards.