Maria Colmenares lives in a concrete-block house on a mountainside overlooking the presidential palace in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. Her story says much about the oil-rich and turbulent Latin American nation.
In the days before elevators, there was no such thing as a penthouse on the top floor. The highest floors of a building had cheaper rents because the stairs were hard to climb.
Caracas, Venezuela, is organized roughly the same way, with many poor neighborhoods climbing up the sides of a mountain valley. Some of the poorest homes are among the most remote, accessible not by any road but by alleyways and long flights of stairs.
Tonight, in Flint, Michigan, a limousine is going to pull up to a nursing home and take a 79-year-old patient for a long-awaited night out on the town. Seven years ago, Evie Branan suffered a stroke that left her in a semi-coma. In May of 2011, she tumbled out of her bed, bumped her head and woke up, and her very first words were a request.
EVIE BRANAN: I said I wanted to go to a Bob Seger concert.
Now to Paris, France - where a walkout briefly shut down one of the world's most visited museums. Our last word in business: Pickpocket Protest.
The Louvre is famous for its priceless works of art - think the Mona Lisa - which it protects with high-tech security. But apparently, the Paris museum is less effective at protecting the valuables of patrons and staff.
Well, the first round of golf's first major tournament of the year tees off today. And if people are not excited enough about the Masters, there is added drama this year. The most recognizable golfer on the planet, Tiger Woods, is a bonafide favorite to win his fifth green jacket. NPR's Tom Goldman has been wandering, strolling the grounds of golf's most storied course. He joins us now from Augusta, Georgia. And, Tom, how did you get this assignment?
Venezuela's acting president, Nicolas Maduro, fist-bumps a worker of the state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., last month. Maduro faces opposition candidate Henrique Capriles in Sunday's presidential election. Whoever wins will have to tackle the legacy of Chavez's oil programs.
As Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez thought in grandiose terms, and his country's vast oil riches enabled him to act on his vision. But Chavez died before he had to deal with the flaws in his model, and some hard choices await his successor.
Key to Chavez's notion of "21st Century Socialism" was the redistribution of Venezuela's oil earnings. The country's oil reserves — estimated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to be the largest in the world — are worth tens of billions of dollars a year in potential revenue.
In director Gilles Bourdos' biopic <em>Renoir</em>, Christa Theret plays Andree Heuschling, who served as a muse for both the aging Impressionist master and his young filmmaker son.
Credit Samuel Goldwyn Films
While art critics sometimes call Renoir's late period overly emotional, works like <em>Blonde a la rose</em>, shown here, were an inspiration to film director Gilles Bourdos. Andree Heuschling, a main character in the film, is credited as the model for this painting.
Credit RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY
Renoir's <em>The Bathers (Bathing Women) </em>also used Andree Heuschling as inspiration. Critics say the young model gave the aging artist a needed boost of inspiration during his final years.
Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 8:56 pm
On an April day in Washington that felt more like a dog day in August due to temperatures spiking into the 90s, the heat on Capitol Hill wasn't just thermal but political.
There was very visible political heat in the form of thousands of people who came to march on and rally in front of Congress as part of their push for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.
There was also heat in the form of activity and rhetoric on gun control and the federal budget.
Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 6:05 am
A SWAT team moved into a Suwanee, Ga. home, killing a suspect who was had been holding a group of firefighters hostage on Wednesday.
Cpl. Edwin Ritter, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department, said during a televised press conference that one officer appeared to have been shot in the hand and the four firefighters had superficial wounds caused by an explosion set off by the SWAT team.
"All of them will be going home today," Ritter said.