One hundred years ago Wednesday, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team were the first to reach the South Pole on skis. Veteran traveler Felicity Aston is nearing another first: becoming the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone.
Reached by NPR by satellite phone early Wednesday morning, Aston was about a degree and a half — 100 miles — from the South Pole. For Aston, a degree is about four days skiing. She's been skiing for 20 days. Overall, Aston will travel about 1,000 miles.
Attorney General Eric Holder is asking state legislatures to take care not to violate the Voting Rights Act, as the country approaches the 2012 elections. He gave a speech in Austin, Texas, last night about new electoral district boundaries and anti-vote fraud measures.
Italy's new prime minister is trying to impose a strict austerity plan to rein in runaway debt and reassure the markets. But it's not going down well. Particularly hard to swallow is the announcement that the retirement age will be immediately raised by five or six years.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Let's get a look, now, at two war-torn countries. One that Americans are leaving, and another that they would like to leave. One is Iraq whereas, we'll hear in a moment, departing U.S. troops leave behind some unresolved conflicts.
The share of all U.S. adults who are married has dropped to a record low 51 percent, according to a new report. If the trend continues, the institution will soon lose its majority status in American life.
The report being released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center finds new marriages dropped a sharp 5 percent last year, which is very likely related to the bad economy. Pew senior writer D'Vera Cohn says it fits with a larger trend.
There is no set menu for the southern Italian Christmas Eve tradition called the Feast of the Seven Fishes — and no one seems to know why there are seven. Stumped about what to make for your own feast? Here, a dish for stuffed squid submitted as part of this series on holiday food traditions.
The southern Italian Christmas Eve tradition known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes has become a tradition for Italian-American families as well.
Cindy Coddington, who grew up with the traditional meal in her family, remembers the day as a whirlwind of family and fry pans.
"Ours was fried shrimp, fried scallops, pan-fried smelts, calamari cut up in rings and fried. And I'll tell you after the holidays, you really couldn't stand the sight of any more fried food...for a while," Coddington says.
A Libyan security guard stands next to African immigrants in the port of Tripoli on Dec. 5, 2011, after authorities foiled their attempt to illegally immigrate to Europe. Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans have been stranded or imprisoned in Libya, suspected of being mercenaries for former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans are either stranded or imprisoned in Libya in the wake of the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi — and they haven't been having an easy time. Many have been detained and abused, accused of being mercenaries in Gadhafi's army.
On a recent day at the military airport in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, a Libyan fighter lines up 115 Nigerians to be deported.
More than ready to leave, the women and men gather their meager belongings.