Last week, 10 foreign aid workers, including 6 Americans, were killed in an ambush in a remote part of Afghanistan. The U.S. victims, who worked with the International Assistance Mission, spent years helping the world’s most impoverished. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the slayings, claiming that the victims were spying for American forces and proselytizing, which is illegal under Afghan law. There are roughly 1,600 NGOs currently operating in Afghanistan alone, staffed by thousands of volunteers. Why do people do this kind of risky work? How do charity organizations cope with this kind of loss?
It’s a terror for parents of allergic children. Somehow, your kid shares a peanut butter sandwich with a friend, and suddenly he’s having trouble breathing and has to go to the emergency room. The response has been for schools to try and ban peanuts from schools. But food allergies, researchers are finding, are not that simple. Some studies say doctors sometimes misinterpret tests and over-diagnose food allergies. Failing to expose young children to these foods can create actual allergies later in life. What should the policy be on foods where allergic children study and play? And how can parents better protect their children from potentially lethal foods?
As the nation’s economy is plagued with high unemployment numbers, First Lady Michelle Obama and her youngest daughter jetted off to Spain for a 5-day stay at a lavish hotel outside Marbella. While President Obama is urging fiscal frugality, right-wing politicians are criticizing his wife’s expensive vacation, saying her trip makes her seem oblivious to the tough economic situation in the United States. Republican Chris Wilson says her opulent European getaway could fuel opinions that the Obamas are “elites, out of touch with struggling American families.” Should Michelle Obama be traveling overseas during the recession, or do you think she is better off spending her money here in the U.S.? Has her trip hurt the presidential family’s image in the eyes of the average American voter?
Let’s say you’re not an early adopter of new technology, but you’re getting ready to take the smartphone plunge. How should flip phone holdouts make the switch? iPhones are uber cool, but nearly everyone complains about AT&T’s service. Android-based phones are now outselling iPhones and their open source apps are as democratic as apple pie. But are they safe? Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is so irritated with the BlackBerry’s airtight encryption, they’re planning to ban data service. Does that imply other phones are less secure? How on earth does one pick a smartphone without feeling dumb?
The House ethics committee released formal charges today against Los Angeles-based Democratic House Representative Maxine Waters. She is charged on three accounts of violating ethics rules. The allegations stated that Waters requested federal assistance for a bank in which her husband owns stock, and he had also served on its board of directors. Waters is denying any wrongdoing and is refuting claims that she has any conflicts of interest. Larry talks with KPCC’s Washington D.C. correspondent Kitty Felde about the case.