April 14th Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, progress in Afghanistan, and the future of Ivory Coast. In the second hour, answering the call to duty, and advice to potential restaurateurs.
NPR logo April 14th Show

April 14th Show

In our second hour, soldiers talk about how the experience of serving in the military changed their lives. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Fighting Season In Afghanistan
President Obama ordered 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan last year in a surge that helped NATO forces drive the Taliban out of strategic areas, especially around Kandahar. The strategy: put intense pressure on the Taliban during the winter months in an effort to see significant progress by spring, when the fighting season resumes. Spring is now arriving in Afghanistan. Host Neal Conan talks with Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who returned from the region last week, and with Andrew Exum, a fellow with the Center for a New American Security about what's changed in Afghanistan and whether NATO's strategy in the fall will produce results this spring.

A New Future For Ivory Coast
After months of sometimes heavy fighting, Ivory Coast's former president, Laurent Gbagbo, was captured last week and is being held under heavy guard in Abidjan. His arrest has given democratically elected president Alassane Ouattara a chance to officially take office and focus on pacifying the country. Now, Ouattara faces the challenge of taking over amid ongoing violence, economic woes and political strife. Host Neal Conan talks with NPR's West Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about what's next for Ivory Coast.

Answering The Call To Duty
As a young man, Joe Haldeman joined the U.S. Army not as a career, but hoping to become a scientist after serving in the war in Vietnam. He came out of the jungle with a bullet wound, a Purple Heart and a new calling: to become a writer. He's since published more than two dozen novels — including the The Forever War, an award-winning and highly popular antiwar book. In the April issue of Proceedings Magazine from the U.S. Naval Institute, Haldeman shares his story in an ongoing series called "Answering the Call." Neal Conan talks with Haldeman about the time he served in the military and how that experience changed his life.

Advice To Potential Restaurateurs
Legions of food lovers dream of owning their own restaurant — be it a quaint bistro that will become a neighborhood favorite, or a flashy hotspot that will wow critics with inventive cuisine. Being your own boss, working your own hours — what's not to like? Plenty, say Nina and Tim Zagat, co-founders and publishers of the popular Zagat restaurant surveys. Sixty percent of new restaurants fail within three years or less, and simply being a good cook, the Zagats say, is nowhere near enough to ensure a venture will stay afloat. The industry veterans explain why their best advice for would-be restaurateurs is, "Don't do it!"