4:54pm

Sun February 10, 2013
Space

To Infinity And Beyond: Would-Be Astronauts Keep Faith In Uncertain Era

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 4:58 pm

A child poses for a picture in front of an astronaut space suit at the Kennedy Space Center on the eve of the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour July 14, 2009 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Space exploration has stirred imaginations and piloted hopes and dreams, but the future of space travel looks very different from the age in which Neil Armstrong made it to the moon.

Since NASA is no longer doing manned missions, astronaut hopefuls have turned their sites on the private sector.

Private Adventurism

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3:52pm

Sun February 10, 2013
Religion

West's Allure Dulls Monkhood's Luster For Some Buddhists

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 4:58 pm

Telo Tulku Rinpoche, left, prays with Buddhist monks in front of inmates in a prison colony in Kalmykia, Russia, on Sept. 7, 2010. After renouncing his monkhood, Telo Rinpoche can no longer wear traditional robes, but still serves as the region's Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader.
Yuri Tutov AP

In Philadelphia in 1972, an immigrant couple of Kalmyk origin gave birth to a boy they named Erdne. A few years later, the Dalai Lama renamed him Telo Tulku Rinpoche and identified him as one in a long line of reincarnations of an ancient Buddhist saint. The boy was then taken to a monastery in the mountains of southern India to learn the teachings of the Buddha.

Telo Rinpoche was one of the first of his kind: someone from the West learning thousand-year-old traditions a world away from his family.

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3:29pm

Sun February 10, 2013
Religion

As Islam Grows, U.S. Imams In Short Supply

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 4:58 pm

Muslims pray during a special Eid ul-Fitr morning prayer at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Aug. 30, 2011, in Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Islam in America is growing exponentially. From 2000 to 2010, the number of mosques in the United States jumped 74 percent.

Today, there are more than 2,100 American mosques but they have a challenge: There aren't enough imams, or spiritual leaders, to go around.

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3:28pm

Sun February 10, 2013
Author Interviews

Small Objects Reveal 'The Real Jane Austen'

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 4:58 pm

Harper Collins

Flotsam and Jetsam: of such things are stories made. Writers use objects to give their stories weight, attachment and verisimilitude, like Gary Paulsen's The Hatchet; Jean Shepherd's Red Ryder BB Gun inspired A Christmas Story; and how about Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon?

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10:13am

Sun February 10, 2013
Politics

Eerie Echoes From The First State Of The Union

This print shows George Washington holding a proposed plan for the new capital city of Washington.
Edward Savage Library of Congress

Guns, immigration, support for diplomats abroad, and the nation's financial situation.

These are key issues facing President Obama as he delivers the first State of the Union address of his second term on Tuesday night, Feb. 12.

Surprisingly, these were also key issues facing President George Washington some 223 years ago, when he gave the very first state of the union speech.

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10:02am

Sun February 10, 2013
The Two-Way

Chinese 'Pingpong Diplomacy' Player Dies

The Chinese table tennis player who was instrumental in the pingpong diplomacy that paved the way for President Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China has died. Zhuang Zedong was 73.

Here's more from the BBC about the 1971 incident that led to pingpong diplomacy:

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7:03am

Sun February 10, 2013
The Two-Way

Will Syria Become An Islamist State?

A Syrian rebel prays on a street in the northern city of Aleppo in January. Many Syrians are debating what role Islam should play in Syria if the current secular government is toppled.
Muzaffar Salman Reuters/Landov

The author, a Syrian citizen living in Damascus, is not being identified by NPR for security reasons. Many Syrians interviewed for this piece asked that their full names not be used, for their safety.

In most every Arab country where there's been an uprising in the past couple of years, Islamists have gained influence or come to power. Is the same thing destined to happen in Syria if President Bashar Assad's secular government is ousted?

Syrians may not know the answer, but they certainly are talking about it.

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7:03am

Sun February 10, 2013
The Two-Way

Islamists Make Sufi Shrines A Target In North Africa

A woman tries to salvage items from a burnt out Sufi shrine outside the Tunisian capital, Tunis, last October. Hard-line Islamists, known as Salafists, have attacked many Sufi shrines in Tunisia recently.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

When radical Islamists lash out at cultural sites they consider un-Islamic, a frequent target is Sufi Islam shrines.

Islamists in Tunisia have attacked almost 40 Sufi shrines in recent months, Sufi officials told AFP.

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7:03am

Sun February 10, 2013
You Must Read This

The Splendor Of Suffering In 'The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne'

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 8:16 am

Ann Leary's latest book is The Good House.

I tend to read funny books when I'm happy and tragic books when I'm sad, but when I'm truly depressed, when I want to be fully immersed in the horrible splendor of the most desperate human suffering, I always return to Brian Moore's The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne.

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6:34am

Sun February 10, 2013
Business

Bloomingdale's Lays Out Welcome Mat To Chinese Shoppers

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 8:04 pm

To mark the Lunar New Year, Bloomingdale's is catering to affluent Chinese tourists with an array of pop-up shops.
Courtesy of Bloomingdale's

A number of luxury retailers are rolling out tactics this year to mark the beginning of the Lunar New Year. For Bloomingdale's in New York City, though, reaching out to Asian shoppers during the cultural celebration is a decades-long tradition.

The upscale department store's marketing strategy traces back to 1971, the year President Nixon lifted the U.S. trade embargo with the People's Republic of China. Immediately, Marvin Traub, then-president of Bloomingdale's, decided he wanted to sell Chinese goods in his flagship store on the Upper East Side.

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