as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taste Test: Obama Soda A Hit With French Teens

The election of Barack Obama has inspired one French entrepreneur to create a new soft drink. The maker of Obama Soda says he hopes his beverage, and its namesake, will inspire young people living in some of France's grimmest housing projects by giving them a little taste of the American dream.

La Courneuve is a working-class suburb only 5 miles from the center of Paris, but it seems a different world from the glittering City of Light. In the drab housing projects — or cites, as they are called here — rows of gray cinder block apartments dominate the landscape. It is here that 31-year-old Jean-Jacques Attisso has decided to base his advertising business. Attisso grew up in a nearby housing project; like most young people here, his parents were immigrants from Africa. The energetic entrepreneur says one of the biggest problems in La Courneuve is the apathy and hopelessness among young people.

"There is like a gap between this area and Paris," says Attisso. "And for me, it's really important to be here and to try to give a positive message."

Attisso gives back to the community by mentoring young people in his spare time. He says President-elect Obama has inspired young people like nobody else. That, and the fact that one of his clients is a can manufacturer, gave him the idea to create Obama Soda. The drink comes in a red and blue can featuring Obama's photo and the slogan "Yes We Can." It's the perfect tool to get young people to listen to his message, says Attisso — even if the success story is from another country.

"They know that Barack Obama is American, and here in France, the situation is a bit different," says Attisso. "But still, if someone is able to do that in the biggest country in the world, why not? It could happen in other countries."

-excerpt from NPR

Monday, December 15, 2008

Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoes At President Bush.

President Bush made an unannounced trip to Iraq on Sunday. He and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a ceremonial copy of a U.S.-Iraq security agreement. Bush also dodged a pair of shoes flung by a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television during a news conference in Iraq. The president joked the shoes were a size 10.

-excerpt from NPR

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Carter: African Leaders Must Pressure Mugabe

Former President Jimmy Carter says reports of humanitarian conditions from inside Zimbabwe are "horrifying and even much worse than we had feared." He and a group of advisers known as "The Elders" were prohibited from entering the country and surveying the situation on the ground personally. A continuing power struggle in government combined with a widening cholera outbreak is gripping the nation.

"[Zimbabwean President Robert] Mugabe had made every effort, successfully, to conceal the fact that there's an absolute, total humanitarian crisis in his country," Carter tells NPR's Renee Montagne. Carter says the "campaign of oppression" in the country to restrain dissenting voices is contributing to the problem.

-excerpt from NPR

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Puppycam Lives On

Last week, we broadcast a story about six Shiba Inu puppies, made famous by a puppycam on ustream.tv. We posted links to it and other puppycams, and the story has been one of the most-emailed npr.org for days.

We have an update: The Shiba Inu pups are now 8 1/2 weeks old, and this weekend the first of them goes off to a new home.

Ustream.tv users' comments on the departure of the puppies promised tears and deep sadness when they'll be taken by their new owners. Well, we have good news. The breeders have decided to keep one of the dogs, and so the puppycam will continue. The other pooches have all been sold to nearby families. The breeders say that they will arrange a reunion and will post updates and pictures as the litter grows. For now, you can still visit the puppycam through the link below.


-excerpt from NPR

Friday, December 5, 2008

Finding Health Insurance Can Be Tricky For Grads

For those who have aged out of their parents' health plan — and don't get benefits through an employer — the best option is to shop around for an individual health plan, experts say.

Lacey Schweitzer, 29, a part-time massage therapist and waitress in Denver, went almost seven years with no insurance. "I thought I couldn't afford it," says Schweitzer.But then she found an HMO through Kaiser Permanente in Colorado. The plan costs about $100 per month.

Schweitzer says she couldn't afford a premium plan — and she didn't anticipate needing to see specialists — so the preventive care plan from Kaiser Permanente is a good fit. "I can go to the doctor and do a co-pay. And I can get a prescription if I'm sick," she says. Schweitzer says the policy gives her peace of mind.

One place to start shopping for individual health plans is eHealthInsurance.com.

"There are lots of plans being offered out there," says Jennifer Libster, a lawyer and analyst at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. "But I think it can be very confusing."

A general rule of thumb is that the higher the monthly premium and the lower the deductible, the more coverage a policy offers. But plans vary. And the devil is in the details. "It's important to sit down and read your plan," says Libster. There can be lots of surprises when you sift through the details.

- excerpt from NPR