The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Pages

Mexico's 'Crisis Of Disappearance': Families Seek Answers

Feb 21, 2013
Originally published on February 21, 2013 8:47 pm

Maximina Hernandez says she begged her 23-year old son, Dionicio, to give up his job as a police officer in a suburb of Monterrey. Rival drug cartels have been battling in the northern Mexican city for years.

But he told her being a police officer was in his blood, a family tradition. He was detailed to guard the town's mayor.

In May 2007, on his way to work, two men wearing police uniforms stopped Dionicio on a busy street, pulled him from his car and drove him away. That same day, the mayor's other two bodyguards were also abducted. Witnesses say the kidnappers wore uniforms of an elite anti-drug police unit. The three men haven't been seen since.

'It's So Bleak'

At a weekly meeting at a downtown Monterrey human-rights center, relatives of the disappeared hold hands and pray. There is no shortage of heartbreaking stories here, says Sister Consuelo Morales Elizondo.

Morales is a petite woman. A large cross hangs from her neck. She's been a thorn in the side of authorities in Monterrey, pushing officials to do more to aid relatives of the disappeared.

"What is happening to us here in Mexico these past years, the thousands of disappeared, it is so painful, it's so bleak," she says in Spanish. "We have to stick together for the family members that are left behind. They are the ones who suffer the most."

Family members are left with many questions: not only who took their loved ones but why. The motives for disappearances are murky, sometimes involving drug traffickers, sometimes state security forces, or both.

Hernandez says she was so frustrated with a local investigator, she told him to get out of his chair and get to work.

"I told him you never leave the office; I always see you here drinking your soda, with your feet up, eating your chicken — no one is looking for my son," she says in Spanish.

She says that's when the investigator threatened her.

"He said I better shut my trap or they would shut it for me," she says. "I told him if he wasn't going to do his job then get out of the way and let someone else do it."

Many families complain that authorities require relatives to do the bulk of the investigating.

That's not true, says Javier Enrique Flores Saldiva, the assistant attorney general for the state of Nuevo Leon. Monterrey is the state's capital.

Flores says he can't comment on specific cases, but he says his investigators have gotten results and are setting an example for the rest of the country on how to work with victim's groups.

Staggering Numbers

Nuevo Leon has done more than other states when it comes to solving cases of disappeared, says Nik Steinberg of Human Rights Watch. But, he adds, that is not much of a compliment given that the vast majority of cases in the state remain unsolved.

The New York-based group released a report Wednesday documenting hundreds of disappeared cases throughout Mexico. Steinberg says the numbers are staggering: around 25,000.

"With a number that high, we are dealing with a crisis of disappearance in Mexico that is nothing like anything we've seen in Latin America in decades," he says.

Human Rights Watch says many disappearances occur at the hands of security forces. That's what happened in the case of Jehu Sepulveda Garza.

At his family's modest home in a Monterrey suburb, his mother, Elba Garza, breaks down at the dinning room table. She says her son was a good man, that it's just not fair.

His wife of six months, Janet Olazaran Banderas, says her husband was picked up two years ago by local transit cops for parking on the wrong side of the street. He was taken to the local station where she was able to reach him on his cell. He told her not to worry.

When she called back 15 minutes later, he didn't answer. A videotape at the station shows her husband being handed over to state police; from there they believe he was transferred to the navy. None of the police forces will say what happened next, and like thousands his case remains open and unsolved.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We begin this morning with what a human rights group calls a crisis in Mexico. For years, we've been hearing about the dead in Mexico's six-year-long drug war - 60,000 so far. But that grisly statistic tells only part of the story. Thousands of people have disappeared during this period. A leaked government document puts the number as high as 25,000.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Monterrey, Mexico.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Maximina Hernandez says she begged her 23-year old son, Dionicio, to give up his job as a police officer in a suburb of Monterrey. Rival drug cartels have been battling in the northern Mexican city for years.

MAXIMINA HERNANDEZ: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: But he told her being a police officer was in his blood, a family tradition. He was detailed to guard the town's mayor. But in May of 2007, on his way to work, two men wearing police uniforms stopped him on a busy street, pulled him from his car, and drove him away. That same day, the mayor's other two bodyguards were also abducted. Witnesses say the kidnappers wore uniforms of an elite anti-drug police unit. None of the three men have been seen since.

SISTER CONSUELO MORALES ELIZONDO: (Spanish spoken)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Spanish spoken)

ELIZONDO: (Spanish spoken)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: Relatives of those disappeared hold hands and pray at this weekly meeting at a downtown Monterrey Human Rights center. There's no shortage of heartbreaking stories here, says Sister Consuelo Morales Elizondo. Morales is a petite woman. A large cross hangs from her neck. She's been a thorn in the side of authorities in Monterrey, pushing officials to do more to aid relatives of the disappeared.

ELIZONDO: (Through translator) What is happening to us here in Mexico these past years, the thousands of disappeared, it is so painful. It is so bleak. We have to stick together for the family members that are left behind. They're the ones who suffer the most.

KAHN: Family members are left with many questions - not only who took their loved ones, but why. The motives for disappearances are murky, sometimes involving drug traffickers, sometimes state security forces, sometimes both.

Maximina Hernandez says she was so frustrated with a local investigator one day, she told him to get out of his chair and get to work.

HERNANDEZ: (Through translator) I told him: You never leave the office. I always see you here, drinking your soda, with your feet up, eating your chicken. No one is looking for my son.

KAHN: She says that's when the investigator threatened her.

HERNANDEZ: (Through translator) He said I better shut my trap, or they would shut it for me. I told him if he wasn't going to do his job, then get out of the way and let someone else do it.

KAHN: Many families also complain that authorities require relatives to do the bulk of the investigating.

JAVIER ENRIQUE FLORES SALDIVA: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: That's not true, says Javier Enrique Flores Saldiva, the assistant attorney general for the state of Nuevo Leon. Monterrey is the state's capital.

SALDIVA: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: Flores says he can't comment on specific cases, but he says his investigators have gotten results and are setting an example for the rest of the country on how to work with victim's groups.

Nuevo Leon has done more than other states when it comes to solving cases of disappeared, says Nik Steinberg of Human Rights Watch. But he adds that is not much of a compliment, given that the vast majority of cases in the state remain unsolved.

Yesterday, the New York-based group released a report documenting hundreds of disappeared cases throughout Mexico. Steinberg says the numbers are staggering, in the tens of thousands.

NIK STEINBERG: With a number that high, we're dealing with a crisis of disappearance in Mexico that's unlike anything we've seen in Latin America in decades.

KAHN: According to Human Rights Watch, many disappearances occur at the hands of security forces. That's exactly what happened in the case of Jehu Sepulveda Garza.

ELBA GARZA: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: At his family's modest home in a Monterrey suburb, Jehu's mother, Elba Garza, breaks down at the dinning room table. She says her son was a good man. It's just not fair.

His wife, Janet Olazaran Banderas, says two years ago, her husband was picked up by local transit cops for parking on the wrong side of the street. He was taken to the local station, where she was able to reach him on his cell. They'd only been married six months. He told her not to worry.

JANET OLAZARAN BANDERAS: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: When she called back 15 minutes later, he didn't answer. A videotape at the station shows her husband being handed over to state police. From there, they believe he was transferred to the Navy. None of the police forces will say what happened next, and like thousands, his case remains open and unsolved.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Monterrey. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.