The dolphin roundup by a Japanese community is an annual hunt. But this time, new U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has weighed in with displeasure. That puts her on the side of several wildlife and animal rights advocates who've condemned the annual slaughter. The Japanese defend it as traditional — just as the U.S. does with native Alaskans who kill whales.
The death toll in Iraq this month is nearly 700 and rising — the result of a wave of bombings and open clashes between government-led Iraqi security forces and Sunni extremists with ties to al Qaida. Steve Inskeep talks to former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey, who says the U.S. should be doing more in Iraq.
In 2013, the battle lines were drawn within the Republican Party. This year, war may be breaking out across the country.
The Tea Party has already proven it has the energy, influence and cash to change elections and shape the landscape of Congress. Now, moderate and establishment-oriented Republicans are trying to match their intensity.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:24 am
Update at 1:20 p.m. ET. No Peace As Long As Assad Remains, Kerry Says:
After what appeared to be a difficult start to talks aimed at eventually ending the civil war in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry repeated the U.S. position that President Bashar Assad must give up his post.
"You can't have peace and stability, you cannot restore Syria or save Syria as long as Bashar al-Assad remains in power," Kerry said, according to NPR's Michele Kelemen.
Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 12:47 pm
Richard Powers, whose novels combine the wonders of science with the marvels of art, astonishes us in different ways with each new book. His 11th, Orfeo, is about a 70-year-old avant-garde composer who has sacrificed family and fortune to his relentless pursuit of immortal, transcendent music.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:34 am
With a major push from the U.S., a new Syrian peace conference opened Wednesday in Switzerland, the first such effort since the middle of 2012. It wasn't easy getting everyone there, and it will be harder still to achieve a breakthrough.
Here are a few key things to know about the conference:
Let's go next to Switzerland, where the Syrian peace conference began this morning, with diplomats making public statements filled with accusations and acrimony - just how you'd want to start a peace conference. The civil war has gone on for almost three years now, killing well over 130,000 people and displacing some nine million others. Much of the fight hinges on whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should remain in power. Let's go now to NPR's Deborah Amos, who's covering the talks. Deborah's on the line. Hi, Deborah.
New laws to curb protests are in effect in Ukraine but anti-government demonstrators remain on the streets of the capital Kiev. For more on the protests that have turned deadly, Renee Montagne talks to David Stern, a reporter for the BBC.