Around the Nation
4:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Solitary Confinement: Punishment Or Cruelty?

A hallway at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The prison, opened in 1829 and closed in 1970, pioneered the use of solitary confinement.
Jacki Lyden NPR

An estimated 80,000 American prisoners spend 23 hours a day in closed isolation units for 10, 20 or even more than 30 years.

Now, amid growing evidence that it causes mental breakdown, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has decided for the first time to review its policies on solitary confinement.

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Author Interviews
4:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

A Twin Carries On Alone In 'Her: A Memoir'

Christa and Cara Parravani were identical twins. When they were 28, Cara died of a drug overdose, and Christa spiraled into depression.

In her new book, Her: A Memoir, Christa explores their bond of sisterhood, which went beyond blood into the elliptical world of twinhood.

Both were artists, one a writer and the other a photographer. Both married young. Both lived through a hardscrabble childhood with a troubled mother. But Cara's path diverged after she was attacked and raped at age 24.

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Theater
4:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

'The Last Five Years' Returns To New York

Adam Kantor and Betsy Woolfe star in the current off-Broadway revival of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years.
The Hartman Group / Second Stage Theatre

The Last Five Years originally ran off-Broadway in 2002. Cited as one of Time magazine's "Ten Best of 2001," it won Drama Desk awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics.

There are only two characters in the musical, Jamie and Cathy. Jamie is a young novelist and Cathy is a struggling actress. Told in reverse chronological order, the drama shows what happens when an artistic couple's romance fizzles out.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Militants In Nigeria Kill Seven Hostages, Including Westerners

A man in Kano, Nigeria, reads a local newspaper Sunday that carries a story about the killing of seven hostages by a militant group.
Sunday Alamba AP

Militants in Nigeria have killed seven hostages, including three Westerners, in an act the British foreign secretary called "pure, cold-blooded murder."

The seven hostages — four Lebanese and one British, one Greek and one Italian citizen – worked for the Setrapo construction company. They were kidnapped Feb 16 from Jama'are, a town about 125 miles north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state. Ansaru, a group that's an offshoot of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement, claimed responsibility for the killings.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:51 am
Sun March 10, 2013

How Does A Jewish Composer Tell The Passion Story?

A coach and high school students work on Osvaldo Golijov's Passion According to St. Mark with the composer (right) in November 2012.
Chris Lee courtesy of Carnegie Hall

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 5:45 pm

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Afghan President Karzai Claims Taliban, U.S. Colluding

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a nationally televised speech on Sunday that the U.S. and the Taliban are holding talks.
Ahmad Jamshid AP

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai claims the U.S. is holding talks outside Afghanistan with the Afghan Taliban.

The allegations come as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continues his first visit to the nation as Pentagon Chief – and after a deadly explosion in Kabul on Saturday that the Taliban called a message to the new defense secretary.

Karzai made his claims in a nationally broadcast address just hours before he was to meet with Hagel, reports NPR's David Welna, who is traveling with Hagel.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Sun March 10, 2013

The Queen Takes A Stand For Women, And Maybe Gay Rights, Too

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will sign a new charter for the 54-member Commonwealth on Monday.
Ian Gavan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 2:59 pm

With a stroke of her pen, Queen Elizabeth II is giving royal support to equal rights.

Her majesty is expected to sign a new charter for the Commonwealth on Monday. The charter declares the core values for the 54 member states, most of which were once under British rule. It's getting attention for statements on gender equality and what it may imply for gay rights.

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You Must Read This
5:21 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Darkness Visible: 'He Died With His Eyes Open' Is A Crime Novel Like No Other

A.L. Kennedy's latest novel is The Blue Book.

I've read He Died With His Eyes Open twice. I don't know if I could stand to read it again. Like all of Derek Raymond's work, it has a remarkable and disturbing physicality.

This book was the first of what came to be known as the Factory series. Its protagonist is an unnamed detective in London's Metropolitan Police. He will never rise above sergeant and works in the most despised branch of "the Factory": Unexplained Deaths.

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Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago.  Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association. 

Sandy has reported extensively on issues of concern to Virginians, traveling as far afield as Panama, Ecuador, Indonesia and Hong Kong for stories on how expansion of  the Panama Canal will effect the Port of Virginia, what Virginians are doing to protect the Galapagos Islands, why a Virginia-based company is destroying the rainforest and how Virginia wines are selling in Asia.

The Two-Way
4:53 am
Sun March 10, 2013

In Ancient Aleppo, Plotting The Future

Syrians carry a large revolution flag and chant slogans during a protest in Aleppo, Syria, where young people and children sang songs against President Bashar Assad and the Syrian regime, Dec. 21, 2012.
Virginie Nguyen Hoang AP

A soft-spoken, clean-shaven, 31-year-old aid worker hopes to determine, in part, the future of Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

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