More than 2 million unemployed people awoke Wednesday to the prospect that they may no longer have unemployment checks to help them pay rent or buy food and gas. Congress on Tuesday failed to renew an extension of unemployment benefits that it passed at the end of July. Democrats have argued that with unemployment at 9.6 percent, many people still need help. Republicans say they would like to help the jobless, but want the $5 billion per month cost to be funded by a spending cut somewhere in the federal budget.
In 2010 Monitor reviewers critiqued hundreds of books. Here's a list of the 11 fiction titles they considered the most outstanding. To assist you with your holiday shopping, each title here has a link that allows you to purchase the book – even as you help to support The Christian Science Monitor
In 2009, more than 33 million people worldwide were living with HIV. That's up from 26.2 million in 1999. Despite that staggering statistic, UNAIDS and other AIDS organizations are making progress in their efforts to control and eventually eradicate HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day is a chance to take stock of how well these organizations are doing and where the world stands today.
The WikiLeaks controversy pits one hallowed purpose of US government – preventing security threats from abroad – against another, that of protecting constitutional rights of expression by the media and individuals. Striking that balance has become difficult in an age of the Internet hackers, bloggers, self-appointed public policy watchdogs, and thousands of online “publications” marked by ideology and attitude. So far, WikiLeaks has released more than 700,000 sensitive or classified documents about US military and diplomatic activity – 92,000 on the war in Afghanistan, 392,000 on the Iraq war, and now nearly 250,000 diplomatic cables that US officials say are damaging to foreign relations and intelligence operations. Within weeks, WikiLeaks says, it’ll release inside information on business interests – starting with a major American bank. WikiLeaks 101 is your guide to understanding what happened. Here are answers to five key questions.
We continue our effort to provide you with gift ideas this holiday season. In this installment, we're looking at classic movie and television show DVD collections. Earlier this week, we posted a list of "DVDs for the family" (see link below). If you decide to purchase a particular DVD, you might consider using the link below the item and help the Monitor at the same time.
The Senate's passage of the Food Safety Act, the most sweeping food-safety law in 70 years has thrown a spotlight on the US food supply. Here are five of the most recent high-profile food safety cases:
In 2010 Monitor reviewers critiqued hundreds of books. Here's a list of the 28 nonfiction titles they considered the most outstanding. To assist you with your holiday shopping, each title here has a link that allows you to purchase the book – even as you help to support The Christian Science Monitor
The latest WikiLeaks trove of 250,000 diplomatic cables, obtained in advance by five news outlets, has generated enough fodder in the US alone to occupy American readers. But people all over, from Germany to Lebanon to Australia, are also talking about the sometimes troubling, sometimes mundane cables that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is gradually releasing for public consumption.
Music is appreciated throughout the year and makes a great holiday gift for family and friends. Here are some suggestions – ranging from Ken Burns' 'Baseball' soundtrack to Dave Brubeck – recommended by the Monitor staff. Click on the link at the end of each item to purchase on amazon.com, and a small percentage will go to support the Monitor.
The release of US diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks contains some serious stuff: US diplomats have been trying to steal the credit card numbers of top UN officials, Saudi Arabia is putting pressure on the US to attack Iran, Iran has obtained advanced long-range missiles from North Korea. Other cables are not so earth-shaking, but they nonetheless reveal personalities and events that are comical, surprising, or just plain weird. Here's our top five.
It’s common knowledge that the Israeli government considers Iran an existential threat, and that it has been trying to persuade the US to act more forcefully. And while there have always been rumblings of discontent with Iran among Arab nations, the WikiLeaks release Sunday provides concrete evidence that Israel isn’t the only one in the region to feel worried. The now-disclosed but formerly secret diplomatic cables reveal that several Sunni-led Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, also sought to curb Shiite-led Iran. Below are five Arab countries keeping a watchful eye.
Identity theft has been around forever. Even in ancient times, impersonators would pretend to be someone they were not – a prince, a long-lost heir to a great fortune, a merchant who had died at sea. The Internet has made the theft much easier. A hack here, a lost flash drive there, and tens of thousands of people can find themselves with false credit-card charges or drained bank accounts. In 2008 alone, 10 million Americans had their identity stolen. Here are five practical tips to keep your identity safe:
World leaders smile and back-slap like old friends at summit meeting photo-ops. But behind the bonhomie they may be judging each other’s strengths and weaknesses with the brutal candor of high school students sizing up rivals. The huge cache of diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks contain frank assessments of many top geopolitical players – and predictions as to how their personalities might affect US politics.
Now that we're fully into the holiday shopping season, Monitor staff writers have compiled a list of items you might consider as Christmas or Hanukkah gifts. We begin with some family-friendly DVDs. Each item has a link to amazon.com, where you can purchase the item and help support the Christian Science Monitor at the same time.
The newest WikiLeaks release comprises 251,287 cables from more than 250 United States embassies around the world, including thousands classified "Secret." With historical cables dating back to the 1960s, the trove is seven times the size of "The Iraq War Logs," making it the world's largest classified information release. The New York Times, Der Spiegel, El País, the Guardian, and Le Monde had early access to the logs. According to their analysis of the myriad issues discussed in the cables, these five are among the most striking revelations.
Amid all the hype about e-readers, let's not forget audiobooks, an alternative to traditional print that’s been around since vinyl records. Here are some of the audiobook titles now topping bestseller lists in the English-speaking world.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
North Korea shelled South Korea's Yeonpyeong island Tuesday, killing two South Korean marines and injuring more than a dozen people. South Korea returned fire. Both sides claimed that the other fired first. While the South has engaged in past attacks – notably in November 2009, when it fired on a North Korean patrol boat, and in June 1999, when it sunk a North Korean vessel – history shows that Pyongyang is often the instigator. A 2007 report from the US Congressional Research Service documents dozens of provocations, ranging from low-level naval warfare to assassinations of South Korean cabinet officers. Here are seven examples of the North's military provocations over the past decade.
Sarah Palin's new book, "America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag," includes numerous references to Americans – and occasionally non-Americans – of whom she approves. Many of Palin's choices are not surprising (Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Thomas Jefferson) while others (Judd Aptow, Simon Cowell, Elvis Presley) are. Often, Palin praises one figure by disparaging another. Taken together, her likes and dislikes offer a quick recap of her worldview.
Royal wedding date-watchers need speculate no more. When the long-awaited engagement of Prince William and longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton was announced last week, they and their wedding planners were bombarded with questions. Where did that gorgeous ring come from? Who will design the wedding dress?And – when will the wedding of the decade be? Some of those questions were answered immediately (the ring originally belonged to William's mother, the late Princess Diana), some have since been answered, and some remain up in the air (rumors run rampant about who will design Kate's wedding gown, but nothing has been confirmed). Here are some of the details that have been finalized.
Security screening at US airports has undergone waves of changes in the years since 9/11. Here are five of the biggest changes to affect air travelers in recent years.
It's enough to create a royal tizzy. With Prince William and Kate Middleton engaged to be married, they must now settle on a wedding date – while dodging obstacles posed by friends' weddings, a major political referendum, and, of course, Britain's cold and rainy months. Sources are speculating, guessing, estimating, and guesstimating on the possible day. It's of importance to more than royal watchers, friends, and family of William and Kate. Many brides-to-be are concerned that their special day will be overshadowed by what tabloids are calling the biggest wedding of the decade. Here are the four likely wedding dates being bandied about:
Full-body scans and enhanced pat-downs have become America’s “primary screening” technique, but have also generated a rising tide of criticism for being too invasive. At each of the 68 major airports where the 385 new full-body scanners are in place, passengers will be directed to them, says Sarah Horowitz, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Here's what to expect – and what protections you can demand:
See a lot of people squatting in the open today? Don't be offended. The so-called "big squat" was held worldwide to coincide with the 10th annual World Toilet Day, an initiative to bring awareness to the need for adequate sanitary facilities. Every day, some 1.1 billion people go to the bathroom without any type of toilet, according to the World Health Organization. And even with a toilet, facilities are not necessarily sanitary. WaterAid America estimates that roughly 2.5 billion people – nearly 40 percent of the global population – do their business unsafely, often in public spaces. World Toilet Day is organized by the Singapore-based World Toilet Organization, which has 235 member organizations in 58 countries "working toward eliminating the toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation." Here's a list of the world's worst nations in terms of people lacking access to sanitary facilities.
This year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on Dec. 10 won't only be missing its honoree, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is under house arrest in China. The number of countries that have declined invitations to attend has risen from six to 19 in the past two months. Nobel committee members suspect that has something to do with China's "you're either with us or against us" tone urging other nations to join its boycott of the Oslo ceremony. Beijing boasted Tuesday that most countries would stay away from attending the ceremony. In fact, only the 65 countries with embassies in Norway were invited, and 44 of those had accepted, according to the Nobel Prize Committee. Who's standing with China? Here's a list. (click on the blue circle in the upper right corner of this page to move through the slides)