A year ago, President Obama wowed the United Nations General Assembly by announcing that he looked forward to welcoming an independent Palestine into the community of nations in 12 months. Yet there he was last week, explaining why he would veto a Palestinian statehood bid in the UN Security Council. Mr. Obama, who made Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority from the outset of his administration, is now the US leader with incongruously bad relations with the Arab world. Here are three key causes of the deterioration in relations – and three steps that the United States can take to mend ties.
Each year during Banned Books Week, the American Library Association tells us which titles available in public US libraries and schools received the most complaints or challenges during the previous year. In 2010, it seems, it was modern bestsellers – rather than classics from earlier decades – that provoked the most heat. Banned Books Week 2011 is being observed from Sept. 24 - Oct. 1.
Falling satellite trackers at NASA say it will hit Friday night or Saturday morning and has a small chance of crashing in the US. But the precise track and timing of the falling satellite is still hard to predict. What is known is that events like this have happened before. From NASA rockets to Soviet satellites – including debris that actually hit someone – the history of falling space junk is long. Here are 10 other pieces of space junk that have survived the blazing voyage through Earth's atmosphere.
Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson scored a rhetorical winner in a Republican debate Thursday by saying that his neighbor's dogs 'have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.' But President Obama's latest jobs plan includes a call for more spending on roads and bridges, an idea that has at least some Republican support. Here's a look at the debate over infrastructure and the economy.
Ready or not, it’s the first day of fall, also known as the September, fall, or autumnal equinox. It’s a time marked as much by the emergence of wayfaring leaf peepers as it is by celestial coincidences. Sure, it happens every year, but this time you’ll be able to impress your friends with your budding seasonal knowledge. Take a look at the things you ought to know.
Stock markets have been swinging wildly of late. Even though corporate earnings have shown strength over the past year and not all economic indicators have been gloomy, investors are on edge. Uncertainty looms on several fronts – from concerns about the basic health of the economy to doubts about fiscal policies in the United States and Europe. Here's a look at the forces weighing on investors' outlook:
Members of the gay community responded to GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's less-than-flattering words about them by getting revenge on Google. A Google search for his name yields a less-than-flattering definition. But we're drawn to the moral of the story: casual Internet searching without context can be problematic for the subject of the search. Here are seven other politicians whose names yield curious search results.
Fortune 500 companies are supposed to be stable, rock-solid institutions, where CEO change rarely happens. But it doesn't always happen that way. Just ask Hewlett-Packard, which announced Thursday that Meg Whitman would be the company's new chief executive officer, the fourth HP CEO in six years. In the past six years, only 16 companies on the Fortune 500 or S&P 500 have had three CEOs, according to executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates in Hinsdale, Ill. Besides HP, only two have had four or more. Can you guess who these CEO change champions are? [Editor's note: This story was updated 9/23/2011.]
The two US hikers remaining in Iranian custody, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were released today after more than two years of detention. Here are the key points in their saga.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
At this year’s annual meeting the United Nations General Assembly in New York, one of the most high-profile issues is the Palestinian statehood bid. What is it, and how will it unfold?
In this month's roundup, three acclaimed writers approach the modern problem of isolation in three very different ways.
From the history of fonts to the unexpected consequences of a wild baseball throw, Amazon editors' picks for best books of the month include a lively mix of titles. Here are a few of the September books that Amazon's staff ranked the highest.
So you’re about to tie the knot. Let me offer my congratulations! I do worry, though, about your bank account. Getting married is one of the costliest decisions of your life (financially, I mean). I remember the after-effects of our wedding on our finances … shock sums it up nicely. I don’t mean the wedding, which itself can cost a small fortune (an average $18,000, says the website Wedding Report). I mean the honeymoon. As someone who has researched honeymoon destinations and watched others decide their post-nuptials in exciting and different ways, I’ve compiled money-saving hints to keep you from incurring too much debt. Here are my Top 5 money-saving tips for a honeymoon destination:
According to Amnesty International’s annual Death Sentences and Executions report, at least 527 people were executed in 23 countries in 2010, plus thousands in China. The number of people executed worldwide since 2007 is more than 2,500. Here are the five countries registering the most executions since 2007:
It's not often that the US Supreme Court stays an execution, as it did late Thursday in the case of convicted murderer Duane Buck. But the justices routinely consider such requests, given that 34 states permit capital punishment. Since 1999, when a record 99 inmates were put to death, the number of executions has dropped slightly, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment. Can you guess which five states had the most executions over the past four years?
Dakota Meyer among soldiers who distinguished themselves: For going above and beyond the call of duty, Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer was awarded Thursday the Medal of Honor, the US government’s highest military decoration. He joins nine other distinguished soldiers who received the award for service in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. Take a look at these men who risked their lives to protect America.
Even as fighting in Libya continues, Pentagon officials and US commanders overseeing operations on the ground are wrestling with tough questions about the future of the campaign – and what military forces still need to do before they can consider it a victory. Here are the top three:
Collective reading is alive and well in the 2000s – thanks to large-scale online book clubs (think "One Book, One Twitter," for example) and also to community “One City, One Book” programs which encourage an entire metropolis to read the same book at the same time. What are cities reading this year? Here are the 2011 picks of five participating cities – all of them apparently drawn to books with strong cultural themes .
If you've read a newspaper or been anywhere online in the past few weeks, chances are you've seen the distinctive black cover of "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. Here are five reasons that this book is suddenly popping up wherever you go.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes hails from the southern African nation of Angola. She's only the fourth African to win the title since the beginning of the worldwide pageant. She’s only the second African of African descent to win.
While Americans and Europeans bemoan the cost of gasoline at the pumps, people in some other parts of the world enjoy filling up their tanks cheaply thanks to subsidies provided by wealthy, oil-rich governments. But fuel subsidies tend to benefit the rich (who own motor vehicles) more than the poor. The IMF estimated that 65 percent of the fuel subsidies in Africa benefit the richest 40 percent of households (2010). Only 8 percent of the $410 billion in government fuel subsidies worldwide went to the poorest 20 percent of the population (International Energy Agency - estimates, 2010). The British insurance firm Staveley Head has released the latest list of the world’s gas pump prices. Here are the 10 cheapest countries on Earth to fill a gas tank.
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, fundamentally transformed the way the United States military wages war. With the invasion of Afghanistan and, months later, Iraq on the heels of 9/11, the wars have caused the Pentagon to rethink the way it fights, how it spends money in times of crisis, and what it values in both its highest and lowest-ranking commanders. The Monitor asked experts to weigh in on the Top 5 ways in which 9/11 has changed the US military.
This fall is crowded with new releases from literary heavyweights from Tom Perrotta and Jeffrey Eugenides to Joan Didion and Haruki Marukami. But it also offers two new names worth searching out: Erin Morgenstern and Chad Harbach, both of whose debut novels offer readers a chance to dive into fully realized worlds. In one, it’s a 19th-century traveling circus that’s open only at night; in the other, it’s a Midwestern baseball field. Both novels feature protagonists who are the very best at what they do. (Morgenstern and Harbach are no slouches, either.)