You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
In Romania, new churches are popping up at the rate of 10 a month. That's one every three days, according to a BBC report. It also includes a vast cathedral under construction in the capital city, Bucharest.
This building boom is taking place in one of Europe's poorest countries, and it has Romanian-born commentator Andrei Codrescu wondering what's really going on.
Colombia. The drug trade. Multiple plane crashes, drive-by shootings, Peace Corps hippies who peddle drugs, and an actual hippo on the loose. Despite all of that, there's actually not much plot to this novel. This is more of a metaphysical detective story where cause and effect can be difficult to pin down — a book where the events that matter most occur inside the characters.
Rocky, windswept Eastern Egg Rock, about 6 miles off the coast of Maine, was once a haven for a hugely diverse bird population. But in the 1800s, fishermen decimated the birds' ranks — for food and for feathers.
When ornithologist Stephen Kress first visited 40 years ago, the 7-acre island was nearly barren, with only grass and gulls left. Not a puffin in sight. Not even an old puffin bone.
Digging a trench under the punishing midday sun, Thomas Lokinga stops only when he needs to wipe the sweat from his face. He is determined to find a nugget of gold amid the hard-baked ground in Nanakanak, in the eastern part of South Sudan, the world's newest nation.
David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about how his father would have loved getting his ring back
"I can't touch it or pick it up without thinking about him and I can't pick it up without thinking about this journey of the ring."
That's David C. Cox Jr. of North Carolina talking Wednesday about the rather amazing saga of the ring his father had to trade for food in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II — a ring that has now made it back to the Cox family after seven decades.