For a while now, Paul Simon has been shuffling and reshuffling the basic ingredients of his 1986 masterwork Graceland, trying new combinations of exotic, often African rhythms with elements of American blues and roots music. It's a rich area that has led him to some amazing songs, and also some retreads.
Since a contested presidential election in November, the West African nation of Ivory Coast has fallen into chaos. The country has long been in the decline, but at one point, it was considered the jewel of West Africa, its economy fortified by profits from cocoa exports. NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks with Yale professor Mike McGovern about the Ivory Coast's history and the events that led up to the current humanitarian crisis.
The government of Japan has established a 12-mile evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Within the 12- to 20-mile zone, people can remain where they are, but they must stay indoors because the reactors are leaking radiation into the air.
Outside the danger zone, people are trying to resume normal lives, but it's not so easy, as NPR's John Burnett reports from the city of Soma.
The battle for control of Ivory Coast appears to be reaching a decisive moment. Forces loyal to presumptive President Alassane Ouattara have seized control of much of the nation and now are battling for the final prize — the main city of Abidjan. NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks with reporter Marco Chown, who's in Abidjan for the latest about the heavy fighting.