Regular listeners to this program know we are using numbers to highlight some of the stories of 2013. And today, we look at the situation in Iraq. The number here is 6,639. That's how many people have been killed in violence in Iraq so far this year, up to December 21st, according to a regular tally kept by Baghdad bureau of the French Press Agency, AFP.
We're joined now by Will Dunlop, an AFP correspondent in Baghdad. Welcome to the program, sir.
You might think underwear maker Hanes would be worried about competition from Jockey or Fruit of the Loom. In fact, Hanes seems far more concerned about being confused with chickpea dip. The American manufacturer has threatened to sue a Canadian company, Hanes Hummus, for trademark violation.
Host Arun Rath talks with Los Angeles Times reporter Robert Faturechi about the troubles facing the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. More than a dozen current and former deputies face federal charges stemming from allegations of abuse and corruption.
Raed Fares, a pro-democracy activist from the Syrian town of Kafr Nabl, has helped lead that town's anti-government protests since the very early days of the Syrian conflict in 2011. This week, Fares is in the U.S., on only his second trip outside of Syria. Fares is attempting to rebuild support for the revolution among Syrian Americans. He speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about the conflict and the toll it has taken on his town.
As the U.S. recovers from the Great Recession, one fact that's emerging is that while jobs are coming back, most are either high- or low-paying. NPR's Kelly McEvers is reporting on the disappearing middle. Host Arun Rath talks with Kelly about her first piece of the project, a look at her hometown of Lincoln, Ill. They also discuss her upcoming work.
At 10 on a crisp West Texas morning, five camel-trekkers stand under the open sky of the Davis Mountains. A few feet away, guide Doug Baum and Jason Mayfield load up five camels.
Baum, a former zookeeper, runs the Texas Camel Corps. The group guides camel treks around the world. In the Big Bend region, camels were for a brief time widespread, and the guides have brought them back.
'As Good As They Come'
You have to like a man who brings his own camel to a camel trek. On Mayfield's arm is a tall, beautiful blond named Butter.
Before we come back to Earth, here's a little space history with a holiday touch. Fifty-five years ago this week on December 19, 1958, the first radio broadcast was transmitted from space. An American satellite beamed down the voice of Dwight D. Eisenhower via shortwave.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: This is the president of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space.
This morning, astronauts Michael Hopkins and Richard Mastracchio stepped outside the International Space Station. Their mission: to conduct one of three urgent spacewalks to repair a coolant system. Mission Control seemed happy with today's effort.
(SOUNDBITE OF MISSION CONTROL RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: OK. Really nice work, guys. We're about an hour and a half ahead. Let's take some steps beforehand. First, we want to do an ammonia inspection.