New York City lawmakers voted Feb. 2, 2011 to ban smoking outdoors in public parks, public beaches, and even Times Square. The Big Apple is the latest major US city to prohibit smoking in parks and other public spaces, adopting laws that are tougher than its home state's. Such laws are a boon to public health and reduce litter in urban parks, say supporters. Critics say they are yet another instance of "big government" encroachment on personal freedoms and are almost impossible to enforce. In all, almost 500 cities, counties, and towns have banned smoking in public parks. Here are five big cities that have done so.
Those who said that "winds of change" were blowing through the Middle East were right. The past few weeks have seen a series of political shifts in response to widespread discontent and popular opposition that once went unacknowledged. On Friday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ceded to protesters in Cairo and stepped down. As Egyptians' cries, first of anger and now of jubilation, beam into living rooms throughout the Middle East, here is a look at where those "winds of change" are taking us. (Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story that originally ran on Feb. 2)
As unrest continues to swell in Egypt, books about the country are suddenly turning into hot reads. Not too surprisingly, the release date of "The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times" by Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel laureate and protest leader, has been moved up to April 26. While waiting for "The Age of Deception," here are five other recommended books about Egypt.
Americans in 33 states from Oklahoma to Massachusetts are now dealing with a highly dangerous winter storm that will dump a combination of snow and ice on roads, houses and power lines. A significant amount of the precipitation is expected to be ice either in the form of freezing rain – rain that freezes on contact with the ground – or ice pellets, such as sleet. Experts say these are five things you can do to cope with the storm:
You may think of yourself as technologically savvy, but if you're using your smartphone only to make calls, check your email, surf the Web, manage your schedule, take photos, shoot video, listen to music, watch movies, navigate via GPS, play video games, and update your Twitter and Facebook statuses, then you're really nothing more than a Luddite. Here are 10 uses for smartphones that can help bring your backward lifestyle into the 21st century.
Concerned about ending up on the wrong side of history, world leaders have appeared hesitant to vocally support either the Egyptian government or the growing number of protesters in Cairo. Below are the reactions from five regional and world players to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, his government, and the protests.
The winds of change that swept aside Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali have swiftly blown east to test the long-serving leaders of Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan. Yet if these winds can blow east across North Africa to the Middle East, can't they also blow south to sub-Saharan Africa? Surely there are plenty of dictators in Africa's other countries who have outworn their welcome after 20-plus years in power? Perhaps, but different societies respond to the same conditions in very different ways, and the 53 countries of the African continent each has its own social structure and attitudes toward those in power. Here are four reasons why, despite the massive protests in North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa remains silent.
With the Republican takeover of the House, the shortlist of lawmakers on the rise in both houses of Congress flips, too. Notable is the number of younger members to watch, especially those swept into prominence by the tea party surge. Because this House freshman class - 96 strong, including 87 Republicans - is the largest since 1992, those who speak for them, or claim to, have a leg up. So do those Democrats nimble enough to engage them. Here are ten to watch.
The US economy grew at a relatively healthy 3.2 percent annual rate in the final quarter of 2010, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That is an improvement from a 2.6 percent rate in the third quarter. But to many Americans, it's hard to tell if anything is really better. Buried in the new report are clues to why that is – and what might happen to the economy in the year ahead. Here are five things that the government’s preliminary report on gross domestic product reveals about the health of the economy.
Twenty-five years ago Friday, the space shuttle Challenger came to a tragic end, exploding on liftoff and claiming the lives of seven astronauts. We remember the loss of the Challenger and its crew, yet we often forget the contributions it made to space exploration. The night of the disaster, President Ronald Reagan told the nation: “The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.” Here are five ways the Challenger pushed spaceflight forward. Join The Monitor's discussion on Facebook.
Foreclosures have been huge in cities that rode the real estate bubble in the West and in Florida. But the fastest rise in foreclosures is taking place primarily in far less frothy metropolitan areas of the Southeast, according to a new report by RealtyTrac. North Carolina alone was home to four of the Top 10 fastest-rising foreclosure metros last year. While their foreclosure rates are still quite low compared with most places, these metros and their plight illustrate how the poor economy is driving the housing crisis now.
All those book critics – the ones who devour several books a week – what did they like best last year? Here's your chance to find out. The National Book Critics Circle Awards are sort of the Golden Globes of the book world – lower profile, perhaps, than the National Book Awards but very prestigious, nonetheless. The winners will be announced in March.
In advance of President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, Richard Greene, author of 'Words That Shook the World: The 1st Decade of the 21st Century,' has ranked the top five presidential orators since 1933. Mr. Greene analyzed not only the content of the speeches, but also how the presidents communicated that content. Body language, tone of voice, and vision all contribute to a president’s oratorical skills, says Greene.
Al Jazeera's release this week of the so-called 'Palestine papers' – a collection of secret documents from the past decade of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations – revealed a US suggestion made in 2008 that Palestinian refugees be permanently resettled in Chile and Argentina. The disclosure was a slap in the face to the many Palestinian refugees and descendants – the UN Relief and Works Agency estimates at least 4.7 million worldwide – hoping to eventually return to what is now Israel. But it wasn't the first time the idea of permanent resettlement has been floated. Here are some of the countries proposed as permanent resettlement locations.
US home prices fell 1 percent in November compared with the previous month, according to a widely followed 20-city index released by Standard & Poor's Tuesday. It's the latest sign that, five years after home prices peaked, the housing market remains an important weak link in the economy. Still, housing experts say 2011 could be a pivotal year when home prices bottom out and a more stable environment begins to emerge. Here's a look at the key issues.
Noticed a chill in the air? You're not alone. A blast of subzero temperatures has swept the Northeast, closing schools, stalling cars, and collectively freezing billions of nose hairs. The coldest temperature on Monday was recorded in New York's Adirondack Mountains, where Lake Saranac saw a low of –36°F. Boston woke up to temperatures of –2°F, actually colder than parts of the Arctic Circle. Many Americans outside the Northeast weren't much warmer. Even Tallahassee, Fla., saw temperatures drop to 25°F. Outside the US, South Koreans are seeing the lowest temperatures in almost a century, prompting the government to require public agencies to keep the thermostat set below 64°F to save energy. Still, these temperatures are downright balmy when compared to some places on Earth. Here's a list of sites that will make today seem like T-shirt weather.