Brazil has undergone a demographic shift so dramatic that it has astonished social scientists. Over the past 50 years, the fertility rate has tumbled from six children per woman on average to fewer than two — and is now lower than in the United States.
Demographers say the fertility rate is declining because the country is richer and more urban, but they also point to Brazil's hugely popular soap operas and their portrayal of small, glamorous families.
One of the nation's least densely populated states has hit a major milestone. Montana's population crossed over the 1 million person mark around the first of the year. While the governor says that's a good sign for the future, some residents say the state's already too crowded.
Fewer than 2,000 people live in Townsend, Mont., a small farming community surrounded by national forests and just south of the gigantic Canyon Ferry Reservoir.
At Penny's Breakfast Station, cook Amber Burchett fries up hash browns in the early afternoon.
Earlier this week, 32-year-old nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was killed by a bomb blast on his way to work in Tehran, Iran.
The attack, carried out with a magnetic bomb placed on Roshan's car by a man on a motorcycle, was like something out of a spy novel. In Iran, however, it's very much a reality. Assassins have targeted five Iranian nuclear scientists in the past two years; four of the attacks have succeeded.
When we talk of inquisition it is usually prefaced with a definite article — as in, The Inquisition. But, as Vanity Fair editor Cullen Murphy points out in his new book, God's Jury, the Inquisition wasn't a single event but rather a decentralized, centuries-long process.
Murphy says the "inquisitorial impulse" is alive and well today — despite its humble origins with the Cathars in France, where it was initially designed to deal with Christian heretics.
The captain of the Italian cruise ship which ran aground off the coast of Tuscany last night has been arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter. The majority of the ship's 4,000 passengers reached land by lifeboat, but three people are confirmed dead. About 30 are reportedly injured and some 50 are still unaccounted for. It is still unclear what caused the ship to come so close to the rocky shore.
One upon a time, the largest glass telescope mirror was 100 inches in diameter. Today, scientists are casting a mirror 27 feet in diameter that will be part of one of the most powerful telescopes on Earth. NPR's Joe Palca speaks with weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz from the mirror laboratory, located under the football stadium at the University of Arizona.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: A story of greed, playing the system for a quick buck, a group of corporate raiders led by Mitt Romney, more ruthless than Wall Street.
RAZ: That's part of an anti-Mitt Romney ad now running in South Carolina. The video is being distributed by pro-Newt Gingrich superPAC. And its message may be a sign of a growing philosophical split among the GOP candidates.
Private equity firms are under the microscope this week as a pro-Gingrich superPAC hounds GOP candidate Mitt Romney for his role as head of Bain Capital. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with Dan Primack, senior editor of Fortune Magazine, about how these firms operate and the legitimacy of these attacks.