The mine at Oyu Tolgoi, Turquoise Hill in Mongolian, will be one of the world's largest copper mines in about five years. An employee holds up a small sample of the oxidized copper that gave the mine its name.
Oyu Tolgoi, a massive mine in Mongolia's South Gobi province, begins producing copper ore in June, 2012. Within five years, it's expected to become the world's third largest copper mine. An employee at Oyu Tolgoi — which means "Turquoise Hill" — holds up a chunk of oxidized copper.
Even while it was under construction, Oyu Tolgoi accounted for about 30 percent of Mongolia's GDP, according to mine officials. But many Mongolians are wary of how the mining explosion has begun to affect their country, where two out of every five people are herdsmen.
In South Gobi province, a local politician (right) and a herder sit inside a traditional yurt, or ger, and discuss the lack of water in the area. Herdsmen worry that mines — which require massive amounts of water to process ore — will deplete already diminishing supplies.
The cowboys in Mongolia — where horses were first domesticated — are considered some of the best horsemen in the world. Mongolian horses are shorter and furrier than Western versions. It's another part of traditional Mongolian life that is fading away.
The herdsmen's livestock also supply Mongolia's cashmere manufacturers, traditionally one of the country's main industries. At the Gobi cashmere factory in Ulan Bator, workers sort through newly arrived piles of goat fur, sorting by color and texture.
A seamstress performs delicate work on a piece of cashmere cloth at the Gobi factory. The cashmere industry is also feeling the effects of mining — as inflation has driven up the cost of raw materials, and water shortages and shrinking pastureland threaten herds.
So-called ger villages — actually a mix of yurts and more permanent shelters — spread out onto the hills surrounding Ulan Bator. Some plots are legally purchased; others are occupied by squatters. Most residents have left lives as herders to look for jobs in Mongolia's capital. One-third of Mongolia's population lives in Ulan Bator.
The Central Asian nation of Mongolia is undergoing vast change, thanks to a booming mining industry. A guard in Ulan Bator, the capital, surveys central Sukhbaatar Square; behind him stands a giant statue of Genghis Khan, the country's founder.
Horses were first domesticated in the area that is Mongolia today. The original cowboys, Mongolians ride on wooden saddles and are some of the best horsemen in the world. They're a part of Mongolia's traditional culture, which is under pressure from the mining boom.
Mongolia, the land of Genghis Khan and nomadic herders, is in the midst of a remarkable transition. Rich in coal, gold and copper, this country of fewer than 3 million people in Central Asia is riding a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade. The rapid changes simultaneously excite and unnerve many Mongolians, who hope mining can help pull many out of poverty, but worry it will ravage the environment and further erode the nation's distinctive, nomadic identity.
Unlike a lot of people I know, my summer reading doesn't differ significantly from the reading I do the rest of the year. I'm always looking for new authors, older titles I might have missed, books I want to reread, and a nice mixture of fiction and nonfiction. While I understand the concept of beach reading, for me it doesn't mean light reading, but rather choosing books whose ultimate destruction by sand and water won't concern me overly much because I know that I can easily replace them.
The latest deadline for the presidential candidates and the major superPACs to disclose their finances was Sunday night. The public and the media can find out who has been giving to the candidates, and how that money was spent. But there's a lot of political spending that isn't being reported.
Outside money groups are spending millions of dollars, and the donors remain anonymous. Two recent court rulings could force those groups to file public disclosures, but there already seems to be a way around that.
In the lull between the Supreme Court arguments over the federal health overhaul law and the decision expected in June, we thought we'd ask Americans who actually use the health system quite a bit how they view the quality of care and its cost.
Most surveys don't break it down this way.
When the results came back, we found that people who have a serious medical condition or who've been in the hospital in the past year tended to have more concerns about costs and quality than people who aren't sick. No big surprise there.
Karlton Hill was only 12 years old when when he found out he had diabetes. Even though he was only in seventh grade, Karlton knew what diabetes was; he had watched the disease destroy his great-grandmother's life.
"I was really upset. I cried," he says. "I didn't want any of this to happen to me. I was like, 'Why is this happening to me?' "
Public health experts have been worrying for years that the obesity epidemic would lead to an epidemic of Type 2 diabetes among kids.
The end of Round 8 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest has finally arrived. With help from our readers at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, New York University, the University of Oregon and the University of Texas, at Austin, we've read through more than 6,000 stories.
Submissions had to be original works of short fiction — no more than 600 words. They also had to begin with this sentence: "She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door."
And if you're just tuning in, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
Here's a terrible statistic: Once a veteran is home from Iraq or Afghanistan, he or she is more likely to die by suicide than from injuries sustained in the combat theater. There is new research that suggests those injuries may actually be contributing to the suicides.
Friends and relatives take part in the funeral ceremony of Sergei Magnitsky at a cemetery in Moscow in 2009. The tax lawyer was arrested after he began investigating fraud at Hermitage Capital, which had been seized by the Russian tax police. He later died in prison.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
The Roger Clemens perjury trial continues tomorrow. And for a sixth day, the prosecution's star witness will be back on the stand. Brian McNamee, Clemen's one-time trainer, is the only witness who has directly linked the former baseball pitcher to steroid use. Clemens, of course, is a seven-time Cy Young Award winner who's accused of lying to Congress when he denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs.