Despite what the book section of your local supermarket would have you believe, publishers don't really expect you to turn off your brain for the summer. Sure, every June brings a stampede of fluffy paperbacks with tired plots and hilariously unfortunate covers, but your summer reading experience doesn't have to be 50 shades of mediocre.
The first free presidential election in Egypt is in its second day. Thirteen candidates are vying to replace Hosni Mubarak. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the overall vote, there will be a runoff next month between the top two vote getters.
Mitt Romney laid out his education agenda on Wednesday. In a speech in Washington, he compared the American public education system to that of a third world country. But Romney's plan to deal with what he called a national education emergency does not appear to be a major departure from the policies that have been in place since 2001, under both Presidents Bush and Obama. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.
Now let's talk about another icon, one with a light saber. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of "Star Wars." Thirty-five years ago, moviegoers first paid to see a tale from a long time ago in a galaxy far away.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
It changed the life of John Booth, author of "Collect All 21: Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek."
JOHN BOOTH: There were no space movies to me before "Star Wars."
The world's leading PC manufacturer has announced it will lay off 27,000 workers over the next two years — a third of those job cuts will be in the U.S. The CEO of Hewlett-Packard says the layoffs are part of a restructuring that will include greater spending on research and development.
Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers resumed this morning in Baghdad. The United States and its allies are pressing Iran to freeze its production of highly enriched uranium, but are refusing to offer the kind of easing of economic sanctions that Iran is seeking as a concession. These talks are described as long and hard, and NPR's Peter Kenyon is covering them in Baghdad, Iraq. Hi, Peter.
American customers have not been able to buy a new Chevrolet Caprice since 1996. Now the car is back, as a police car. The 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV and Detective goes beyond the old black-and-white. Its computer system is voice activated, "Knight Rider"-style. It has eight cameras positioned to scan thousands of license plates per shift, which police computers can then check against a database to find if drivers have outstanding warrants or tickets.
One of the candidates running in Egypt's presidential election is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group, Egypt's largest and best-organized political group, won almost half the seats in Parliament earlier this year. But the presidential election is more of a challenge.