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Pop Culture And The American Image

As the U.S. has cut its public diplomacy programs, cultural critics say Hollywood -- and the distorted image it exports -– has become the de facto U.S. ambassador. We talk to cultural critic and author Martha Bayles about how our pop culture affects how Americans are perceived in foreign countries, and learn how those on the front lines of public diplomacy can alter that image.


China To Boost Defense Spending Amid Regional Tensions

Beijing has proposed increasing its military outlays by 12.2 percent due in part to what one official called "severe security challenges."

Sanctions On Russia: Why The Europeans May Say Nyet

The U.S. has threatened sanctions following Russia's actions in Crimea, but European countries have been more circumspect. Part of the reason: Europe's dependence on Russian money and energy.

A New Look At 'The Bright Continent'

Nigerian-American journalist Dayo Olopade talks about finding optimism in Africa and her new book The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa.

Push Is On To Get Russia To Take The 'Off-Ramp'

Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart meet in Paris as the crisis in Ukraine continues. The U.S. has condemned Russia's "aggression" in Crimea.

Zello App Gains Popularity With World's Protesters

Linda Wertheimer talks to Patrick Tucker, the technology editor for Defense One, about Zello — a walkie-talkie app. That app is becoming a key tool for protesters in Ukraine and Venezuela.

Will Scotland Go Independent? A Primer On The Secession Vote

Scotland will vote Sept. 18 on whether it wants to break away from the United Kingdom. NPR's Ari Shapiro provides the basics on the likelihood of secession and what it might mean.

Preview: Steve Inskeep Travels U.S.-Mexico Border

Steve Inskeep has begun a journey along the U.S.-Mexico border — from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. NPR reporters are also pursuing stories of people, goods and culture crossing the border.

Venezuela Marks 1 Year Since President Chavez's Death

The government tries to control protests fueled by middle-class Venezuelans, who blame Chavez for inflation, food shortages and crime. David Greene talks to Girish Gupta, a reporter based in Caracas.

Nigeria Pressed To Do More For Civilians Caught In Insurgency

Militants seeking to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria have killed 150 people in attacks in the last 4 days. The Boko Haram sect launched its uprising in 2009 but has ramped up its violence.