Anti-government protesters carry a Thai national flag as they march in Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced Monday she will dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call elections in an attempt to calm the country's deepening political crisis.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the country's Parliament on Monday, and called early elections in the face of anti-government protests that began last month. But protest leaders said their goal was to rid Thai politics of her family's influence, and to that end they want to replace Yingluck's elected government with an unelected "people's council."
A government spokesman said a new vote would be held Feb. 2, but the date must be approved by Thailand's Election Commission. Yingluck says she'll remain as caretaker leader until a new prime minister is named.
An American volunteer in the Peace Corps, Juliana Peluso, 24, lives in Kanel, Senegal, West Africa.
What does your life sound like? Or your job? Or the place where you live? Please send a recording of four sounds that tell the story of your life or job or town — at this moment in time — to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, age and where you live. You may be contacted for a follow-up interview.
The NSA and other U.S. agencies have deployed agents into several virtual worlds, according to reports, including the online game World of Warcraft. In this file photo, gamers play at an IT fair Germany.
U.S. and British intelligence agencies have worked to infiltrate networks of violence-prone individuals who might unite for a common cause. And in some cases, the spies are also targeting networks that aren't regional terrorist cells — they're online gaming communities, according to the latest revelation from documents given to the media by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Activists who had backed Ukraine's plan to form closer ties to the European Union try to give food to riot police officers preparing to block the Independence Square in Kiev Monday.
Credit Efrem Lukatsky / AP
At right, Ukrainian protesters stand atop a ruined monument to Vladimir Lenin in central Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 8 — one week after police protected the statue during protests, left. The statue of the Bolshevik leader was toppled and broken apart with sledgehammers.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 9:03 am
Ukraine's government on Monday deployed riot police near Independence Square outside Kiev's City Hall, which has been occupied by anti-government protesters for more than a week.
NPR's Corey Flintoff, reporting from Kiev, says police told protesters last week that they must vacate the government building by today or be forcibly ejected.
Opposition leaders have been trying to calm the situation, which was sparked by outrage over President Viktor Yanukovich's decision to reject closer ties with the European Union in favor of joining a trade pact with Russia.
As President Obama travels to South Africa for Nelson Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday, it might seem as though Mandela was an eternal object of admiration for U.S. presidents and the American public. But that wasn't the case by a long shot.
During Mandela's 27 years behind bars, successive U.S. administrations worked with, or at least tolerated, South Africa's white leaders. Only in his final years of incarceration did Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement become a cause that that gained traction in the United States.
Eight tech giants — including Google, Apple and Facebook — have written an open letter to the president and Congress warning that current government surveillance practices are undermining freedom. This follows leaks showing tech firms were part of widespread NSA surveillance programs of email and phone records.
David Greene talks with Sylvain Groulx, head of mission for Doctors without Borders in the Central African Republic, about the state of the violence there and the hopes for peace now that French troops have arrived.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:18 am
In 1970, the Saints' Tom Dempsey — who was born with no toes on his right foot — hit a 63-yard field goal to win the game, and it stood as the record for decades. Until Sunday's kick by Denver's Matt Prater.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:18 am
Tom Wagner was on his way from Louisiana to California when his plane landed for a layover in Houston. The airline said it's not sure how the crew missed him during their sweep of the plane after the flight. They gave him a voucher.
A winter storm is hitting an area from Virginia to New England, snarling traffic and closing schools. On Sunday, heavy snowfall changed the look of an NFL game in Baltimore, Md., where Ravens players stood for the national anthem at 1 p.m.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 8:52 am
Winter won't officially begin for nearly two more weeks, but a winter storm continued to plow across much of the eastern part of the U.S. on Monday, bringing a dangerous mix of snow, ice and freezing rain. The storm knocked out power in some areas, fouled morning commutes and caused more than a thousand flights to be cancelled.
"Heavy snow fell Sunday in the Mid-Atlantic, with more than 8 inches reported in Philadelphia and a foot in nearby Newark, Del.," The Associated Press reports.
One group of voters that the GOP has traditionally been able to count on are those over 65. But a new survey of battleground congressional districts show some cracks in that foundation, possibly enough to swing some closely contested seats.
New York's health insurance marketplace has been running relatively smoothly, compared with healthcare.gov, the site the federal government is running for 36 states.
But that's a low bar, and even though about 50,000 New Yorkers had signed up in the first two months, almost every day still brings complaints and glitches. Donna Frescatore, the head of the New York State Of Health, says there are no serious patterns of trouble, just individual issues that the state and its contractors address one by one.
As the holiday season approaches, the TV cupboard may seem a bit bare; the industry winds down like everything else, filling cable and broadcast networks with holiday specials, reruns and also-ran reality shows.
But there are bright gifts, too: TNT offers Mob City, a three-week, lavishly produced noir-ish TV show about cops and crooks vying for control of 1947-era Los Angeles, airing Wednesdays.
On Dec. 8 and 9, A&E presents a four-hour miniseries on Bonnie and Clyde, retelling the story of the Depression-era outlaws and lovers.
Reed Holway spent 13 months in Iraq. He says PTSD brought on a drinking problem when he returned to the states — and that eventually led to a bad-conduct discharge. Vets with "bad paper" have trouble getting any VA health benefits — even for PTSD.
Credit Marisa Penaloza / NPR
Brandon Bailey worked as a flight nurse evacuating wounded troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. After a blow to the head and being diagnosed with a TBI and PTSD, he was court-martialed for theft and drug use, sentenced to 3 months in prison and dismissed from the Air Force.
Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special-operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.
None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."
With a new White House push to promote the Affordable Care Act well underway, the question is whether an improved HealthCare.gov site and onslaught of positive talking points will be enough to bolster Senate Democrats facing tough races in 2014.
One re-election fight to watch is Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's in New Hampshire. , where she's been taking heat for supporting the new health care law.
In 2007, Benazir Bhutto — twice prime minister of Pakistan and then-leader of the Pakistan People's Party — was killed in a suicide bombing attack that claimed 38 lives. The factors at play in her assassination, however, reached deeper than many imagined.
In his new book, Getting Away With Murder, Heraldo Munoz portrays the tense political climate that surrounded Bhutto's return to politics and examines the circumstances of her death.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 7:54 am
Aside from racial and ethnic slurs, there aren't many words that prompt a more immediate and visceral response than "hipster." Many associate the term with craft beer, smugness and, of course, Brooklyn. Modern-day hipsters have inspired a huge number of Tumblrs, memes and trend pieces in the media.
It may seem like hipsters sprang up out of nowhere sometime in the late 1990s, but the original hipsters were around several generations before that. And they were strongly associated with another uniquely American phenomenon — jazz.
Not long ago, Nick Lowe was approached by his American record label about releasing a Christmas album. The esteemed UK songwriter, who gave the world "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Cruel to Be Kind," says the idea seemed laughable.
"But I was confused by how snooty I felt when they asked me about doing it," Lowe says. "I think it's a Brit thing, really: Making Christmas records is seen as a not very cool thing to do. And I thinkg it's all bound up with strange ideas from the 1960s, about selling out and things like that."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just published a blockbuster story that's today's must read: Based on court records, police reports and dozens of interviews, the paper details how the ATF used "rogue" tactics — including providing underage youths with alcohol and allowing them to smoke pot — to run storefront gun and drug stings across the country.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:27 pm
A U.S. company is taking what it hopes to be a small step toward eventually mining the moon.
Moon Express, based in Mountain View, Calif., just unveiled the design for a small robot spacecraft about the size of a coffee table that it says could move about the moon's surface powered only by solar panels and hydrogen peroxide.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 12:06 pm
The national debate about income equality and low-wage labor ramped up this week as fast-food workers across the country rallied for better pay and President Obama assailed the nation's growing income gap as the "defining challenge of our time."
Meanwhile, an $11.50 minimum wage bill was approved in the nation's capital, and giant discount retailer Wal-Mart opened its first Washington stores — accompanied by a flurry of ads defending the company's often-criticized pay and benefits practices.
It's always chic to make fun of holiday letters. People can't win, whether they earnestly recount their fellowship missions to poor countries (self-important), brag about European vacations (must be nice) or simply bore with accounts of school plays or travails in their gardens.
The habit of knocking holiday letters is now not just snark shared between friends, but has become an annual journalistic tradition.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 4:46 am
Some women are notoriously sensitive about their age. Not Diana Nyad.
At 64, the inspirational long-distance swimmer says she's in her prime. At the TEDWomen conference in San Francisco Thursday, she recounted her successful fifth attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. Through her harrowing trip, there was a lot of singing Beatles tunes to herself, hallucinating and determination. Since first reaching for Florida in her 20s, Nyad said her motivations had changed.