It's been a few decades, and many published books, but Robert Crais can tell you exactly when mystery writing first caught his attention: He was a bright 15-year-old living in Baton Rouge, La., when he read Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister, which depicted the shady side of sunny Los Angeles through the eyes of private investigator Philip Marlowe.
Since then, Crais has found huge success with his own crime novels, also set in LA. The city is the perfect canvas for a modern mystery, and Crais' eyes still grow wide when he talks about what Chandler painted on it.
It's one of the ultimate images of summer: a woman in a short, pink slip sits on a bed, her knees pulled up to her chest, gazing out a window. Her hair is tucked back into a bun. Her bare arms rest lightly on her bare legs.
Edward Hopper painted her in 1952 for a work called Morning Sun. The picture has been widely reproduced for decades. But on a recent visit to its home at the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, it was nowhere to be found.
Attorneys Cheryl Curtis and her husband, Dana Foster, live in Washington, D.C., and donate generously to a nearby nonprofit that helps low-income residents. "Now that I have more, I want to give to organizations that provide just basic food for people," Curtis says.
Ever wonder how charitable the people are who live in your state or community? It turns out that lower-income people tend to donate a much bigger share of their discretionary incomes than wealthier people do. And rich people are more generous when they live among those who aren't so rich.
Aamir Liaquat, 41, is one of Pakistan's most famous and controversial TV hosts. During the holy month of Ramadan, he broadcasts live for 11 hours a day while fasting and drawing record audiences. Back in 2008, remarks he made about a religious minority in Pakistan were followed by a wave of deadly violence. He was fired and recently rehired.
Credit Courtesy of Geo TV
Liaquat has recently returned to Geo TV, Pakistan's top TV channel, amid much fanfare and an even bigger salary. The president of Geo TV, Imran Aslam, says one condition of Liaquat's rehiring is that he sign a new code of ethics.
Credit Lauren Frayer / NPR
Mohammad Aslam Bhatti, 34, shares photos of himself taken after he was shot in the head, torso and arm by militants he says were motivated by Aamir Liaquat's TV program.
As Pakistan's media has expanded in recent years, there's been a rise in Islamic preachers with popular TV call-in talk shows. And they've had their share of scandal. One famous TV host fled the country after embezzlement allegations. Others are accused of spewing hate speech.
That's the case for Pakistan's most popular televangelist, Aamir Liaquat, who's just been rehired by the country's top TV channel despite accusations that he provoked deadly attacks in 2008.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. She's no sheep dog, but Zoe the dog has adopted a little lamb. The lamb was born on a farm in Australia and abandoned by his mother. That's when farmers brought him to their Dalmatian, how immediately began doting on Dotty. Actually, not that surprising, since Dotty - as his name suggests - is a white lamb covered in unusual black spots, looking exactly like a Dalmatian. What you might call a sheep in dog's clothing. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Sometimes it can feel like a lot of what we hear is bad news. Well, we're going to hear next about some stories that inspire. All month, we've been collecting stories on NPR.org about good things Americans are doing, how they're working together to improve their communities.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
We call it Participation Nation. You've told us about a California doctor who turned a two-room free clinic into a community health center.
GREENE: A writing program to help young people in Maine become storytellers.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene. In Russia today, a judge has delivered a guilty verdict for three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot. The band members were given a two-year sentence. They were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, after staging a protest in Moscow's main cathedral last February.