Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

32 minutes ago
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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Donald Trump picked a military town, Virginia Beach, Va., to give a speech Tuesday on how he would go about reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

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The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

More than 4 in 10 working Americans say their job affects their overall health, with stress being cited most often as having a negative impact.

That's according to a new survey about the workplace and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

While it may not sound so surprising that work affects health, when we looked more closely, we found one group was particularly affected by stress on the job: the disabled.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.

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Indigo: The Indelible Color That Ruled The World

Nov 7, 2011

You probably take the blue in your favorite jeans or denim bean bag chair for granted now, but it was once prized by slave traders, spiritual leaders, royalty and rag traders alike.

A decade ago, Catherine McKinley embarked on a trip through nine West African countries, armed with a fellowship and her fascination for the blue dye. She tells her story in her book Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World.

The History of Indigo

While indigo traces its roots to India, the African slave trade made it exceedingly valuable on that continent.

"Indigo was more powerful than the gun," McKinley tells Tell Me More host Michel Martin. "It was used literally as a currency. They were trading one length of cloth, in exchange for one human body."

Enslaved Africans carried the knowledge of indigo cultivation to the United States, and in the 1700s, the profits from indigo outpaced those of sugar and cotton.

"At the time of the America revolution, the dollar had no strength, and indigo cakes were used as currency," McKinley says.

The original American flag was also made from indigo textiles.

African Women and the Story of Cloth

Across the ocean, on the African continent, indigo-dyed cloth helped financially empower many African women. Although nowadays, most cloths on the continent are dyed with a much cheaper synthetic color, owning cloth is considered a huge asset. During her stay in Ghana, McKinley learned that cloth is valued more than many women's bank accounts and insurances.

"If you have 300 pieces of good cloth, like a real Madame, well then you have something. A person's spirit is in their cloth," McKinley says.

Each cloth has a name based on its pattern, and it usually tells a cautionary story full of folksy wit: "When my husband goes out, I go out," "Attending school does not mean one would be wise," or "My head is correct."

But for McKinley, tracing the significance of indigo also sets her a on a more personal journey.

"I learnt through looking at the dye pot and how cloth is used and worn, really the value of life and how the color represents life," she says.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.