This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. Egypt's transition to democracy has taken a blow, one so serious that opposition forces are calling it a coup. The country's Supreme Constitutional Court yesterday issued two rulings. One dissolved Egypt's first freely elected parliament, now filled mostly with Islamists. The other threw out a law that forbade members of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's regime from running for high office.
We've got good news to pass along regarding the open heart surgery performed Thursday on seven-year-old Max Page, the child actor who captivated viewers as "Little Darth Vader" in a 2011 Volkswagen commercial.
I try my best to keep up on new sounds out of the Middle East and North Africa, but the name Youssra El Hawary was completely new to me until just a couple of weeks ago. But now, I'm totally hooked on music by this 28-year-old folkie-ish, indie-ish, chanson-ish singer/songwriter from Egypt armed not with a guitar, but ... an accordion.
In recent months, economic growth in China has not only slowed — it's slowed faster than most people expected. Last week, for the first time since the depths of the global financial crisis, the government actually cut lending rates to try to spur growth. All of this has people wondering: Where is the world's star economy headed?
The famous paintings on the walls of caves in Europe mark the beginning of figurative art and a great leap forward for human culture.
But now a novel method of determining the age of some of those cave paintings questions their provenance. Not that they're fakes — only that it might not have been modern humans who made them.
The first European cave paintings are thought to have been made over 30,000 years ago. Most depict animals and hunters. Some of the eeriest are stencils of human hands, apparently made by blowing a spray of pigment over a hand held up to a wall.
Nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that people accused of a crime deserve the right to a defense lawyer, no matter whether they can afford to pay for one. But there's no such guarantee when it comes to civil disputes — like evictions and child custody cases — even though they have a huge impact on people's lives.
For decades, federal and state governments have pitched in to help. But money pressures mean the system for funding legal aid programs for the poor is headed toward a crisis.
Jurors in the trial against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky heard from three more alleged victims during the fourth day of testimony today. Amid more graphic testimony, they told similar stories about how they say Sandusky made them feel special.
During a heated debate on the floor of the Michigan state House, Rep. Lisa Brown made an impassioned speech against a bill that seeks to put new regulations on abortion providers and ban all abortions after 20 weeks.
Brown, a Democrat, argued that her Jewish faith allowed for therapeutic abortions when the mother's life is in danger without regard to length of pregnancy.
Ohio could very well be the state where what's expected to be a very close presidential race gets decided.
And every indication is that the economy will be the issue that drives the majority of voters to either President Obama or Mitt Romney.
Which explains why on Thursday both the Democratic president and the all-but-official Republican nominee were, again, in Ohio to argue why he and not his opponent should be president starting January 20, 2013.
It was a scenario many have imagined: Retiring to a lonely beach in Mexico after a few minutes of a heart-pounding crime — like Bonnie and Clyde riding into the sunset with a good stash of money attained through a handful of bank heists.
As car companies struggle to meet growing demand, the third shift is making a comeback. But many factories running on three shifts are doing it differently from in the past. And that new "three crew" shift pattern could make what's normally a hard job even harder.
At Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, employees work 10-hour shifts four days a week. The so-called A crew gets days, while the B crew gets afternoons. But the C crew shift rotates its start time every week. On Fridays and Saturdays, workers start at 6:00 a.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays, they start at 4:30 p.m.
As far as recreational drugs that could have health benefits go, ecstasy doesn't exactly have a lot of champions. Instead, the drug, so often associated with raves, has been fingered as responsible for fatal overdoses, depression and problems in fetal development.
Alaska Natives are twice as likely to get colon cancer and die from it as the white population in the United States. When Mayo Clinic doctor David Ahlquist took a trip to Bethel, Alaska, in the mid-1990s, that startling statistic caught his attention.
"Here they had one of the world's highest rates of colon cancer and one of the world's poorest outcomes in terms of survival from cancer, because of late diagnosis," Ahlquist says.
While Mitt Romney has a virtual lock on the Republican presidential nomination, fans of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas aren't quite giving up.
While they know he won't be president, they're still working to promote Paul's ideas. And they've started with state conventions, like the one in Iowa this weekend, where political observers are anticipating some fireworks.
Steven and Jeffrey Gluckstein are in a tough spot. They're brothers. They're world-class athletes. They train together six times a week, side by side, at the same gym. And only one of them can make the U.S. Olympic team as a trampolinist.
Steven, 21, is precise on the bounce mat. He rockets up to the ceiling, twists his body into a jackknife, flips around a couple times and hits the trampoline for less than a second before he shoots back up. Every time he comes down, his feet stab the red X in the center.
Today at All Things Considered, we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month, we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.
Jamie Lynn Stevenson can still remember the smell of walnut meringue cookies wafting from her great-grandmother's kitchen. The "little piles of heaven," also known in her family as bussels, or "kisses" in German, were dense but chewy, with hints of caramelized nut flavor inside.
"I was just salivating waiting for them," Stevenson recalls. "And the great thing about these cookies is that they didn't take very long to bake!"
ICANN, the corporation that rules the Internet's address book, plans to increase the number of "top level" domains from the current 22 to 1,000 domains starting in early 2013. But not everyone is happy with that plan — and many say it's an open call to price-gougers and con artists.
Others complain that with 1,930 applications, ICANN — a non-profit corporation — raised just over $357 million. The U.S.-created entity was also in the news last spring, when it approved the .xxx domain.
R. Allen Stanford, the billionaire financier and cricket fanatic who was convicted earlier this year of "bilking investors out of more than $7 billion over 20 years in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history," has been sentenced to 110 years in prison, The Associated Press reports.
You don't have to listen very long to what passes in American politics for debate about the economy before you hear that phrase. Usually it's wielded by Republicans against their Democratic opponents although Democrats occasionally resort to it, too.