After more than a year's worth of appalling news about atrocities in Syria as President Bashar Assad's regime cracks down on dissent, now there's this:

"New crises have caused enormous suffering for children and continue in 2012. In Syria, children were victims of killing and maiming, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence, by the Syrian Armed Forces, the intelligence forces, and the Shabbiha militia.

The dB's: After A 25-Year Absence, A Vital Return

Jun 12, 2012

For even the most distinguished of bands, the phrase "first album in a quarter-century" is cause for concern. Who among us is anything close to what we were "back then"? By what means of dark magic could any group reunite after such a layoff and reproduce anything resembling its previous chemistry? Band reunions come and go, and most often the result is forgettable at best.

Alan Furst is fixated on a place on the verge of all-out war — and his many readers are grateful for his obsession.

Furst is the wonderfully inventive author of a series of novels set in Europe on the eve of World War II. He's often been compared to John le Carre, Graham Greene and other masters of fictional espionage. But it's time to consider him on his own merits.

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Massachusetts Town OKs Fines For Profanity

Jun 12, 2012



Google Settles E-Book Deal

Jun 12, 2012



And we have more on another debate involving books and technology. It focuses on whether the question rare and out-of-print literary book should be digitized. In 2006, publishers and authors in France sued Google for copyright violation after the Internet company digitized a number of French books.

It's the epic quest of campers everywhere: How do you get the perfectly toasted marshmallow? In our inaugural installment of NPR's Summer Science series, we gave some guidance on the first key ingredient: how to build the campfire. (Later this summer, we'll attempt to answer the vexing question of how to stave off brain freeze.)

Starbucks Order Gives Ohio Mug Maker A Jolt

Jun 12, 2012

For decades, when you slid into a booth at a diner or a local coffee shop, the waitress probably arrived with a standard-issue, off-white mug. More than likely that mug came from the Ohio River town of East Liverpool, which calls itself "The Pottery Capital of the Nation."

A lot of that city's pottery business is long gone. Now, one of the few remaining pottery factories in the battered town is pinning its survival on a major corporation.

To step inside American Mug and Stein in East Liverpool is to step into another era.

In 1980, the world was transfixed by the question of "Who shot J.R.?" Of course, we're talking about the archvillain from the nighttime soap opera Dallas. Three hundred fifty million people worldwide tuned in to find out. Now the TNT cable network is rebooting the show and hoping for even a fraction of that passion.

New strains are emerging between China and its old ally, North Korea, six months after the death of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The recent North Korean hijacking of Chinese fishing boats has shaken those ties considerably, leading to public pressure on China to stand up to North Korea.

Fishing boats returning to their home port in China don't normally make the news. But they did last month, because three boats — and 28 fishermen — had been detained for almost two weeks in North Korea.