A rebellion in northern Mali, followed by a military coup in the south, has shattered the veneer of stability in a country that was hailed for 20 years as a model democracy in turbulent West Africa.
Now Mali is facing twin crises, prompting regional and international fears that the north — currently controlled by jihadists — is a terrorist safe haven. And the politicians who are meant to be fixing the problems are bickering.
When visiting another country for the first time, you probably turn to a guidebook for travel information — recommendations for hotels, restaurants and sightseeing. First-time visitors to the U.S. turn to guidebooks for that information, and also for advice on navigating the complexities of American culture.
Barry Bonds will be in the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this November. Whether he deserves a spot in Cooperstown will no doubt be debated endlessly. One side are those who say you can't take away the 762 home runs that made Bonds the sport's most successful slugger. Others will say that he and others like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are forever tarnished because of their connection to performance enhancing drugs.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Tom Gjelten, in Washington, sitting in for Neal Conan. It's bad enough that a visit to the doctor's office can be expensive. Maybe you worry about the quality of care you'll receive. But that's not all. A common complaint these days is the length of time we have to wait before we see someone who can help us.