Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:03 pm
NPR's Anthony Kuhn has lived in and covered Asia for the past two decades. The majority of his time has been in China — where he is currently based — though he spent most of the past three years covering Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, from his base in Jakarta.
Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose appearance at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela angered many in South Africa's deaf community and has led to an apology from the government. His sign language interpretation was just meaningless gestures, say those who understand that language.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:39 am
A top official in South Africa's government on Friday offered the most direct apology so far for the sign language interpreter who appeared on stage with world leaders this week at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
"We sincerely apologize to the deaf community and to all South Africans for any offense that may have been suffered," Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said.
We've long known that the fish we eat are exposed to toxic chemicals in the rivers, bays and oceans they inhabit. The substance that's gotten the most attention — because it has shown up at disturbingly high levels in some fish — is mercury.
Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., listens as President Obama announces his nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt was nominated in May, but Republicans blocked his confirmation until this week.
Credit Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
More than 90 percent of home mortgages flow through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration. Fannie and Freddie get to decide who can qualify and who can't for loans they guarantee. And they just got a new top boss.
Seven months after his was nominated, the U.S. Senate this week confirmed former Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant companies that control much of the mortgage market.
The vote occurred after Democrats changed the rules on filibusters — now the Senate can confirm presidential nominees with a simple majority.
For people who watch the U.S. housing market, Watt's confirmation is a very big deal that could mean easier credit.
The year may have suffered a couple of black eyes in the form of shuttered opera companies and orchestras in labor disputes, but as far as recordings go, don't let anyone tell you classical music is dying — the music and musicians are thriving.