Amsterdam is not quite the wide-open city you thought it was. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, and nobody prosecutes the possession of small amounts of marijuana. It's sold openly in shops. The mayor, though, wants to prevent you from doing those two things together. A court has upheld his effort to ban marijuana cafes within the Red Light District. So, it does not matter what you do in Amsterdam, but it does matter where you do it.
This new high-tech offering is not exactly footwear. SuperShoes are squishy insoles that fit inside your shoes.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And inside those insoles are vibrotactile ticklers that are linked to your mobile device. You enter a destination and apparently these ticklers will guide your way, with a tickle to the left or a tickle to the right.
OK, we know mom and pop shops have been struggling for some time now, trying to compete against big-box stores and online retailers. Just in the last quarter, online sales jumped by 16 percent. But all is not lost for the shop around the corner. Some small retailers are actually embracing their size by making their businesses very, very specialized.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. President Obama is on the first leg of a four-country trip to Asia and today he reassured Japan that the U.S. will defend it in territorial disputes with China. China is not on the president's itinerary this time, but that country looms large over the trip all the same. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from Seoul, which is the president's next stop. Anthony, good morning.
The CIA is ramping up a program to ship arms to rebels in Syria - more powerful weapons than in the past. The United States had resisted this step until now. We're learning about it from NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman who's in our studios once again. Tom, good morning.
TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: What kind of weapons are we talking about here?
President Obama kicked off the first leg of his tour of Asia on Wednesday with some sushi diplomacy.
He dined with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a revered and tiny temple of sushi in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro. The subterranean restaurant, with just 10 seats at the counter, was made famous by the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.