"The best thing that ever happened to horses was that they ceased to be the automobiles and trucks of their day," says author Jane Smiley. "The automobile was invented and horses became pets, companion animals, leisure animals and so in general they became better treated.
NPR's Backseat Book Club is back! And we begin this round of reading adventures with a cherished classic: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Generations of children and adults have loved this book. With vivid detail and simple, yet lyrical prose, Black Beauty describes both the cruelty and kindness that an ebony-colored horse experiences through his lifetime — from the open pastures in the English countryside to the cobblestone grit of 19th-century England.
China is currently involved in several disputes with its neighbors over small islands, many of them uninhabited. Here, Chinese fishing boats sail off the island province of Hainan in the South China Sea in July.
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Chinese demonstrators carry their nation's flag during an anti-Japanese protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Sept. 15. The countries are involved in a dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japanese.
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As part of a demonstration against Japan, a Chinese protester destroys a Japanese-model police car in Shenzhen in southern China on Aug. 19.
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China's first aircraft carrier, shown here in the northeastern port of Dalian, was officially put into service on Sept. 25. The carrier is seen as a symbol of China's growing military might.
As China's global stature grows, Beijing appears to be flexing its muscles more frequently on the international stage. As part of NPR's series on China this week, correspondents Louisa Lim and Frank Langfitt are looking at this evolving foreign policy. From Beijing, Louisa examines the forces driving China's policy, while Frank reports on why China's neighbors are feeling increasingly edgy.
Most of the attention heading into Election Day may be on the presidential race, but the stakes are also high in the battle for the U.S. Senate, where there are close contests in about a dozen states.
According to an NPR analysis of Kantar Media CMAG data, outside groups are spending more than $100 million blanketing the airwaves. This won't come as a surprise if you live in a state with a competitive Senate race.
New Yorkers were ready to get back to work on Thursday, but the region's transportation system wasn't ready to handle all of them. At bus and subway stops there were long lines and frustration, while drivers had their own long waits for the city's bridges and tunnels.
Residents of Moonachie and Little Ferry, N.J., are beginning to clear the damage after their communities were inundated by floodwaters. The flooding occurred when a system of levees and berms was unable to control the storm surge pushed ashore by Superstorm Sandy.
Geologist Jeffrey Mount of the University of California, Davis, isn't surprised. "There really are only two kinds of levees," he says, "those that have failed, and those that will fail."
A man walks through a former unofficial, or "black," jail in Beijing, in 2009. It's estimated that thousands of Chinese lodging protests against the government are illegally detained in secret sites such as this one, even though the government says they don't exist.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
It may appear cute and quaint and sit in the midst of a sprawling Shanghai park, but this cottage is used as a "black jail."
People often say China is a nation of contrasts: of wealth and poverty, of personal freedom and political limits. But that observation doesn't begin to capture the tensions and incongruities of modern life here.
For instance, in today's Shanghai, you can sip a $31 champagne cocktail in a sleek rooftop bar overlooking the city's spectacular skyline, while, just a few miles away, ordinary citizens languish in a secret detention center run by government-paid thugs.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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The most populous city in the country is drying out, and beginning a long and complicated recovery. One positive sign: Tomorrow, some New York City subway routes are scheduled to reopen. But today, gridlock ruled as people took to their cars. And that means it's carpool time.