Saying that each one of the recipients has touched countless lives, President Obama presented 13 Presidential Medals of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House today.
All of the people on the stage, Obama said, "are my heroes individually." He said that if it were not for John Doar, the Justice Department official who personally escorted University of Mississippi's first black student to campus, he would not be president.
For the past two months, the Philippines and China have been locked in a standoff over territory in the South China Sea that both countries claim.The Philippine navy accused Chinese boats of fishing illegally in the area. Protesters in the Philippines are shown here marching in Manila earlier this month.
Credit Pat Roque / AP
Filipino naval personnel look at giant clam shells onboard a Chinese fishing vessel at the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea last month. Both countries claim the area, but say they are seeking a diplomatic solution.
This week in The New York Times Magazine, Adam Davidson writes about the surprising diversity of Syria's economy. Economic reforms opened up the economy to foreign investors and a growing class of entrepreneurs. But according to Ayham Kamel, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, the reforms undercut Syria's rural poor. We asked him to elaborate in the following post.
In The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die In Battle, Michael Stephenson describes how soldiers fight and die, how those who have lived deal with the experience of combat, and what it reveals about warfare and human nature.
He acknowledges it's a sensitive subject, but he argues it's an important one. Understanding how soldiers die, Stephenson tells NPR's Neal Conan, "is central to an understanding of what combat is. And I think we have to engage with it."
Countries around the world expelled Syrian diplomats today, explaining that the representatives of a country that slaughters its own people are not welcome. United Nations observers confirmed the massacre of over 100 men, women and children, many of them children, in the village of Houla last Friday. U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus today to demand that his government abide by a cease-fire agreement that now lies in bloody taters.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In another dramatic turn in Egypt, the first free democratic presidential election in the nation's history set up a run-off vote next month between two divisive candidates: Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik the last prime minister under former President Hosni Mubarak. Between them, the two top candidates received just under 50 percent of the votes.