Politics & Government

Political news and news about government; who runs it and how it works.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) has moved the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to disaster. It now stands at three minutes before midnight.

The BAS was created in 1945 by the scientists who had participated in the Manhattan Project, developing the atomic bomb. They came up with the Doomsday Clock in 1947, after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, to alert the public to the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Midnight represents a global catastrophe.

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia has died. He was 90 and had been hospitalized for a lung infection.

Abdullah was born before Saudi Arabia was even a country. It was the early 1920s, and his father, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, set out to conquer the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. In one famous battle, ibn Saud surrounded the capital of a rival tribe.

"Famously, instead of executing everybody, he invited them to be his guests," says Robert Lacey, author of two books on Saudi Arabia.

Like it or not, our seafood increasingly originates not in the deep ocean but on fish farms hugging the coasts. Aquaculture already supplies about half of the world's seafood, and global production is going to have to more than double by 2050 to meet demand, according to the World Resources Institute.

The business opportunity here is tremendous. Thousands of operations around the world now produce huge numbers of salmon, shrimp, mussels, tilapia and catfish, to name a few fish species that thrive on farms.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has died. The health of Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud had previously been the subject of rumors; word emerged earlier this month that he was indeed ill with a lung infection.

Abdullah was 90 years old. He ruled Saudi Arabia for nearly 10 years, having assumed the throne after his brother King Fahd died in 2005.

The kingdom's new ruler is King Salman, Abdullah's half-brother, according to state TV. Salman is reportedly 79.

The news has just emerged. We'll update this post as we learn new details.

Among the sweeping changes France is proposing in the aftermath of this month's terrorist attacks in Paris are new measures to fight Islamic radicalization in its prisons. It is an enormous problem brought into starker relief because two of the suspects in the attacks earlier this month were products of the French penal system.

"Making aliyah," or returning to Israel, is usually a cause for celebration among Jews. But recently fear has pushed many Jews to leave France — a record 7,000 departed last year.

And that was before the recent Paris attacks that included the killing of four Jews at a kosher grocery store.

Jean Marc Illouz, a former senior correspondent for French television, who is also Jewish, says he's been pushing back against what he calls ridiculous comments on the Internet about anti-Semitism in France. He says Americans seem to think it's a resurgence of Nazism.

The Great Recession hobbled the U.S. economy and crushed many businesses, but some companies thrived, including the so-called "dollar" stores.

Shoppers flocked to them because you could buy a lot with not much money. And as the economy rebounds, people are still going to some. But one chain, Family Dollar, hasn't kept pace with its competitors.

Did you know?

But it wasn't always this way...

Enter Donald Mullally, former General Manager and Director of Broadcasting for Illinois Public Media. Twice an NPR Board member and an early pioneer of the network's current structure, Mullally is credited by many for saving NPR from early financial ruin. Mullally passed away on January 21, 2015, at the age of 77.

To better understand Mullally's legacy in public media, let's do a quick recap of NPR's early years:

Alvvays On World Cafe

Jan 22, 2015

The much buzzed-about Toronto-based band Alvvays joins us today. We first heard about Molly Rankin and the band in 2013 when Frank Yang of the blog Chromewaves presented them as a band to watch on our Sense of Place visit to Toronto. Their self-titled debut came out last year and within a month had become the most played album on college radio. They join us in the studio today. Make sure to download the band's performance of "Adult Diversion."

Seven years ago, Carmen Guadalupe Vasquez Aldana went to jail in El Salvador. She was initially charged with abortion but prosecutors elevated the charge to aggravated homicide, arguing that the fetus was viable. Vasquez always contended that she did not have an abortion but had lost her unborn son due to medical complications late in the pregnancy.

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