In Chinua Achebe's novel The Anthills of the Savannah, one of the characters says, "Poets don't give prescriptions. They give headaches."
The same is true of novelists, and none more so than Philip Roth. If any writer has ever enjoyed rattling people's skulls, it's this son of Newark, N.J., who's currently enjoying something of a victory lap in the media on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The celebration reaches its peak with a new documentary — Philip Roth Unmasked — that will screen on PBS next week as part of the American Masters series.
Lawmakers in Cyprus are trying to ease rage over a proposed tax on all bank deposits by exempting people who have relatively small accounts. It's part of a bailout plan for that Mediterranean country negotiated with the E.U. and IMF over the weekend, but the compromise on taxes may not be enough for Cyprus' parliament to pass the plan.
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(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS RINGING)
INSKEEP: That's the sound of bells in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, as Pope Francis celebrated his inaugural Mass today. The ceremony was infused with meaning, both in the substance of what the new pope said and the symbolism of how he was presented.
NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Rome.
A guilty conscience needs no accuser. The Barry County Sheriff's Department in Michigan received $1,200 in cash yesterday with an emotional letter. The writer admitted stealing $800 from a convenience store some 30 years ago; writing, quote, "I can't begin to say how sorry I am, but have lived with this guilt too long."
A noble gesture but keeping up with inflation, the robber would technically owe another $600.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
An Iraqi policeman stands guard at a checkpoint decorated with plastic flowers in Baghdad in 2008.
Credit Ali Yussef / AFP/Getty Images
In this Wednesday, March 13, 2013 photo, traffic drives through Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, Iraq. Ten years after the start of the war, bullet holes still pockmark buildings, and towers wrecked by U.S. missiles and tank shells have not fully been rebuilt.
And the Republican Party has issued a blistering assessment of why it lost the 2012 election. The Republican National Committee Growth and Opportunity Project told the party that if it wants to win national elections in the future, it needs to change the way it communicates with voters and runs its campaigns.
That's the ancient Chinese ethic of young people showing care and respect to their parents and older relatives. Now it's the law in China. Starting this summer, if kids don't pay enough attention to their folks, mom and dad can sue.