This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Today, Egypt's defense minister warned that rising conflicts and chaos in the country could result in the collapse of the state and that it poses a threat to the future of coming generations, this after days of violent anti-government protests and demonstrations in cities across Egypt, including Cairo, the capital, and Port Said, just north of the Suez Canal.
Sen. John Kerry was confirmed Tuesday by the Senate to become the next secretary of state. Former Sen. Chuck Hagel awaits his turn before the Senate Armed Services Committee to become secretary of defense.
Both men are decorated Vietnam War veterans, and their critics and supporters point to their experiences in Vietnam as essential to their qualifications.
Hagel volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was wounded twice. Kerry commanded a swift boat in the Mekong Delta, and on his return home, he angrily threw away his decorations to protest the war.
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 3:03 pm
A federal judge has approved a guilty plea by BP to manslaughter charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
The approved deal includes a record $4 billion in criminal penalties.
Eleven workers on the Deep Water Horizon rig died in the April 2010 explosion. BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges for those deaths and to lying to Congress about the amount of the oil spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Haiti used to be a tourist hot spot in the Caribbean. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton regularly recounts how he and Hillary honeymooned in Haiti in 1975. There used to be a hopping Club Med just outside Port-au-Prince, but it closed in the '90s.
Now, the Haitian government is trying to revive some of its former allure, launching an aggressive campaign to market the poorest country in the hemisphere as a vacation hub.
President Michel Martelly says tourism could be a major driver of economic growth and could help lift Haitians out of poverty.
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 11:00 am
The pollution in China's capital has intensified again, and some residents are turning to gas masks to breathe. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing is tracking the current air quality, and it's most recent reading finds that even late at night, the air is hazardous: "Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low."