It’s Queen's Elizabeth’s 90th birthday and Britain is all over it.

But she's not just the Queen of the United Kingdom, she's the queen of a number of other commonwealth countries. So how's this for a present?

Jamaica is thinking of ditching her as its official head of state.

New Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he wants to make the island a republic — that's monarchy-free — and has pledged to hold a referendum.

Earlier this year, in response to a story about Greenland, an astute reader of this blog commented:

Charles Tudora month ago

She loved to run. In India, she stopped. It was unhealthy.

Apr 21, 2016
Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

I moved to New Delhi in the fall of 2013 and my body reacted almost immediately to the city’s air quality, which is among the worst in the world.

I developed a perpetually a stuffy nose. When I first blew my nose into a tissue, I realized with horror that my boogers had turned black, a fact I came to accept and even forget over time. But it wasn’t easy to forget just how polluted the city’s air really is.

I was reminded of it every time I set foot outside.

Editor's note: This week, to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, we will be running a series of stories examining the links between food and the Bard.

"Life ... consists of eating and drinking," quips Twelfth Night's over-indulging Sir Andrew Aguecheek. It seems that Shakespeare's audiences felt the same.

Between 1988 and 1990, when archaeologists excavated The Rose and The Globe theaters (where Shakespeare's plays were performed), they were able to learn as much about the audiences as the playhouses themselves.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Saudi Arabia's fighter jets are American.

So are its tanks.

And even though the kingdom is reliant on tens of billions of dollars in US weaponry, Washington hasn't been able to use its clout to rein in the kingdom's brutal air campaign in neighboring Yemen. 

That's according to Reuters investigative reporter David Rohde. He's written a new piece about Washington's backing of the Saudi armed forces, co-authored with Angus McDowall and Phil Stewart.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman, along with other women and civil rights leaders, will be joinging the ranks of iconic faces featured on US dollar bills.

Tubman will replace President Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20. She's only the second woman to be featured on a US bill — the first briefly being Martha Washington more than a century ago — as well as the first African American. Jackson, who was a slave owner, will be pushed to the back of the bill. The announcement was made Wednesday by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

Ina Fassbender/Reuters

German carmaker Volkswagen agreed Thursday to buy back or fix almost half a million cars in the US that it rigged to cheat on emissions test.

The framework deal allows owners to choose whether they’d like their cars to be purchased by the carmaker or fixed, but details of the deal between the carmaker and US regulators, including buyback prices, won’t be finalized for several weeks.

Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book, said regulators sent a clear message to car makers today.  

“Don’t mess with the government,” she said.  

I moved to Minneapolis for Prince

Apr 21, 2016

I moved to Minneapolis, sight unseen and without a friend in the city, in the fall of 2012. When people asked me why, the running joke was: "For Prince."

Except, it wasn't a joke.

Raed Saleh, a Syrian national, landed at Dulles International Airport outside Washington on Monday afternoon after an 11-hour journey from Turkey. In his passport was a visa for the U.S.

He was planning to attend a Tuesday evening banquet in the capital where he was being honored for his rescue work in Syria. But as Saleh tried to make his way through immigration, he says, he was pulled aside by security at the airport.

Rebecca Collard

In September 2014, Dana Maghdeed Aziz decided he could no longer stay in Iraq. ISIS seized control of his town, Mahkmour, and the future looked bleak. He sold his taxi and some of his wife’s jewelry and borrowed money from his family. Then he flew to Turkey. 

“In Turkey, I bought a fake passport and tried to get into Bulgaria but they caught me and put me in jail,” Aziz says. “I told them I’m not criminal. I’m just a regular refugee looking for asylum.”

<a href="">Ted Eytan</a>/<a href="">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>

The British government has a new message for LGBTQ travelers going to North Carolina or Mississippi: caution.

This week, the UK’s Foreign Office updated its travel advisory for citizens, in the wake of recent laws enacted in both states that have come under criticism for targeting LGBTQ people.

“The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country,” the Foreign Office’s statement says.