This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Most would describe the Middle East peace process as stuck somewhere between impasse and stalemate and not likely to budge anytime soon. Still, a delegation of respected world leaders is visiting Middle East capitals to see if moral power can effect change. They're members of The Elders, some of the most respected leaders of recent history. They look to restart dialogue on some of the world's most intractable disputes and call attention to violations of human rights.
Whenever I hear someone called a "cult writer," my hackles jump toward the ceiling. It's not only that the phrase calls up images of self-congratulatory hipsters, but that writers who become cultish tend to do so because their work is steeped in bizarro sex, graphic violence, trippy weirdness or half-baked philosophy.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Two dozen dead and hundreds sickened from contaminated drugs with probably more to come. The outbreak of fungal meningitis has scared many thousands more who received injections of what may have been tainted steroids from a now-closed facility in Massachusetts, which called itself a compounding pharmacy.
People around the world asked questions after a court in Italy issued prison sentences for scientists convicted of failure to warn the public of an earthquake. In 2009, a temblor devastated the city of L'Aquila and killed more than 300 people shortly after a group of geologists had met to talk about a series of smaller shocks, but scientists around the world say there is no way to predict an earthquake with any kind of accuracy. Aside from that trial, Italy plays a crucial role in the euro crisis.
Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 3:32 pm
Little rooibos, the humble red tea buttressing the "decaf" side of the after-dinner menu, must be growing up: First, featured in a Starbucks latte. Now, important enough to need its own gourmet lexicon.
But the total amount of unclaimed benefits was nearly 10 times larger, economists estimate: $108 billion. They estimate that during the 2007-2009 recession, only about half of those eligible for them were collecting the benefits.
The decisive role female voters may play in the key battleground state of New Hampshire hasn't been lost on President Obama and his political allies.
If Democrats sweep the swing state's major races on Election Day, New Hampshire would become the first state to have women hold its entire congressional delegation and the governor's office. Obama would also pick up four potentially crucial electoral votes.
"We have held hundreds of events targeting women voters," said Harrell Kirstein, a spokesman for the Obama campaign in New Hampshire.
Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, put the release of the company's new operating system in dramatic terms: "Windows 8 shatters perceptions of what a PC truly is," he said during an introductory event in New York.
Windows 8, Ballmer said, "marks a new era" for Microsoft.