Demonstrators march in the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, in Los Angeles in 2009.
Credit David McNew / Getty Images
The U.S. Justice Department is stepping up its scrutiny of troubled police departments. Federal civil rights lawyers are investigating 15 departments from Arizona to New Jersey, asking whether officers are discriminating against minorities or using too much force.
When it comes to federal oversight of local police, there's only one place to start: the brutal attack on Rodney King. A Los Angeles police chief admitted King had been hit with batons more than 50 times, kicked at least seven times and shocked with a stun gun.
In 2002, seven women were secretly ordained as priests by two Roman Catholic bishops in Germany. After their ordination, a kind of domino effect ensued.
Those seven women went on to ordain other women, and a movement to ordain female priests all around the world was born. The movement, named Roman Catholic Womenpriests, says more than a hundred women have been ordained since 2002, and two-thirds of them are in the U.S.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is signaling that he's prepared to give public schools relief from federal mandates under No Child Left Behind if Congress does not pass the law's long-awaited overhaul and re-authorization this year.
"This is absolutely plan B," Duncan told reporters during an embargoed conference call on Friday. "The prospect of doing nothing is what I'm fighting against."
That relief could take the form of granting waivers on test scoring to flexibility on how schools spend federal dollars. "We can't afford to do nothing," he said.
The new top cop in Mexico's deadliest city, Juarez, gained notoriety for using an iron fist to reduce the violence in Tijuana's streets. And Julian Leyzaola now plans to use that fist to beat down the drug cartels in Juarez.
On his first day, thugs left Leyzaola a greeting on a tortured, duct-taped body. It said, "Welcome to Juarez, Julian Leyzaola. This is your first little gift and it's going to keep happening." It was signed, the Sinaloan cartel.
As legal experts debate the strength of the campaign finance case against former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, details are emerging of how the indictment came about.
Lawyers for Edwards had pressed Justice Department officials for weeks to end the two-year investigation of the once-prominent Democrat with no criminal charges, a decision that would have carried profound political fallout. It would have been a hard sell even in an ordinary prosecution, let alone one completely interwined with politics.
Many listeners remarked on guest host Jacki Lyden's commentary last week about author V.S. Naipaul's misogyny. Food commentator Bonny Wolf also offered a piece about how Sicily's history gives it a multicultural food tradition that is distinct from the rest of Italy. Host Jacki Lyden reads from listeners' letters.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is touring U.S. aid projects in Tanzania Sunday, part of her big push to have women and girls at the center of development efforts in Africa. Food security is another key issue, as rising food prices spark fears of instability. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
President Obama's itinerary this week includes a trip to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, a significant event for Puerto Ricans both on the island and the mainland. The island is buzzing at the prospect of the first official presidential visit since John F. Kennedy went there in 1961. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks to Puerto Rico's secretary of state, Kenneth McClintock, about the significance of the visit.
Earlier this year, the city of Providence, R.I., fired all of its nearly 2,000 teachers, shut down five schools and consolidated some programs. Most of the fired teachers were rehired, but when the dust settled, 400 teachers were left without jobs. To give them a chance to apply for 270 positions elsewhere the district, Providence officials are using an unusual device. From member station WRNI, Elisabeth Harrison reports.