Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 4:06 am
This post was updated at 4:35 p.m. ET.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has withdrawn an invitation to Iran to participate in Syrian peace talks after groups opposing President Bashar Assad's regime threatened a boycott of the discussions if Tehran got a seat at the table.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 2:38 pm
American missionary Kenneth Bae, who's been held for more than a year in North Korea following his arrest and trial on espionage charges, spoke to reporters for Western media on Monday, calling for the U.S. government to help win his freedom.
People in the Bay Area are familiar with San Francisco's many complicated parking laws, and the very expensive consequences of disobeying them. Nearly half of all parking tickets are dismissed in court but fighting a ticket takes time and knowledge. David Hegarty started Fixed, an app that fights parking tickets for you.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 2:10 pm
Lots of consumers are smitten with local food, but they're not the only ones. The growing market is also providing an opportunity for less experienced farmers to expand their business and polish their craft.
But they need help, and increasingly it's coming from food hubs, which can also serve as food processing and distribution centers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 240 of them in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 12:00 pm
Can a meeting in Switzerland, known as Geneva-2, solve the crisis in Syria?
The expectations are low. The warring parties are reluctant. Some of the most important players, including powerful armed rebel groups, are not on the invitation list.
The superpower hosts, the U.S. and Russia, fully back the peace conference, set for Wednesday. They hope to kick-start a political process and end the armed conflict that has ravaged Syria and destabilized the region.
Day one of a six-month period of reduced Iranian nuclear activity and a slight easing of economic sanctions begins Monday. The interim accord may be a high-water mark for nuclear diplomacy, but soon negotiators must begin to fashion a comprehensive nuclear accord in the face of widespread skepticism.
Each side is sniping at the other's interpretation of the relatively modest steps agreed to thus far.
Syrian opposition groups threatened to skip the talks on ending Syria's civil war after the United Nations invited Iran to attend. The U.S. is also trying to figure out if Iran would agree to terms calling for an end to the Assad regime. Renee Montagne talks to Rami Khouri, director of the Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut.
Roger Ailes is a hero to the political right and a boogeyman to the left for leading the Fox News Channel to become the top-rated force in cable news --- the competition is not even close. Ailes and Fox refused to cooperate with author Gabriel Sherman.
MONTAGNE: Paramount Pictures will be the first major Hollywood studio to stop releasing movies on 35 millimeter film. The Los Angeles Times reports the motion picture studio is now distributing its films to U.S. theaters in digital format only.
Every hospital has a price list but it is hard for the average consumer to figure out what a hospital really charges for care. Traditionally, the price on that list is nowhere near what it actually expects you or an insurance company to pay.
In South Sudan, the fighting that began in December continues between groups loyal to two powerful rivals: President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, his former vice president. The conflict, which has left thousands dead, and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes caught many by surprise. It was just a short time ago - 2011 - that South Sudan became an independent nation after a decades-long rebellion against Sudan.
Non-governmental organizations and restaurants are raising security protocols in the Afghan capital Kabul after last week's attack on a popular Lebanese restaurant. Twenty-one people, mostly foreigners, were killed. Some members of the international community say they anticipate more violence as elections draw closer.
When Melissa Shenewa and her husband imagined their first weeks with their new baby, they pictured hours of cuddling. Instead, they're enduring hours of inconsolable crying.
Their 6-week-old son, Aladdin, is a colicky baby. He cries for hours, usually in the middle of the night. They've tried everything they could think of. Nothing helps.
"Being a parent when your child is screaming in pain for hours on end and there's nothing you can do, you feel helpless," says Shenewa, 24, who lives in Houston. "You feel like you're not a good parent."
President Obama has a new phrase he's been using a lot lately: "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone."
He's talking about the tools a president can use if Congress isn't giving him what he wants: executive actions and calling people together. It's another avenue the president is using to pursue his economic agenda.
The U.S. Olympic team is taking shape in the run-up to next month's Winter Games in Russia. This week, the Olympic cross-country ski team names the athletes who'll be going to Sochi, and veteran Kris Freeman is vying for another spot.
The 33-year-old Freeman already has been to three Olympic Games, and he's considered the country's best long distance racer over the past decade.
On a recent Friday evening in Langley Park, Md., police officer Juan Damian drives his patrol car past fast food restaurants, discount stores and Hispanic groceries.
Damian estimates that at least two-thirds of the people here are undocumented, and that has made it a magnet for robberies over the years. Gangs know undocumented day workers are especially lucrative targets, he says. Their pockets are often stuffed with a day's or even a week's worth of wages. The street term for these men: "walking ATMs."
A quarterly review over the past 11 years of NPR's coverage of Israel and the Palestinians—a self-assessment that may be unique in the annals of American journalism—comes to an end with the attached last report that finds lack of completeness but strong factual accuracy and no systematic bias.
Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 6:32 pm
Update at 8:27 p.m. EST State From U.S. Department of State:
State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday that Iran's invitation must be rescinded unless Iran makes "explicit and public support for the full implementation of the Geneva communique including the establishment of a transitional governing body by mutual consent with full executive authorities."
"I don't know why you're on Mars, but whatever the reason for going to Mars is, I'm glad you're there and I wish I was with you."
That was a part of astrophysicist Carl Sagan's message, recorded a few months before he died in 1996, to the future human inhabitants of Mars.
Some of the earliest science fiction imagined voyages to the Red Planet. We now have the space-faring technology, and getting humans to Mars actually seems within reach. It would certainly involve massive resources and a lot of danger, but some believe the rewards would be massive.
"Captain Phillips" is one of those films, a true life story of war and drama. It's based on the story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. Five years ago, pirates attacked the freighter ship off the coast of Somalia. The film star is Tom Hanks as the title character, Captain Richard Phillips, and Barkhad Abdi as the man who leads the charge to capture the ship and crew.
For months, the 50th anniversary 2015 Ford Mustang was cloaked in secrecy. But an upcoming car can't stay in the garage forever. It has to undergo rigorous testing, and that means taking it out in traffic to monitor its handling on roads across the U.S.
To keep the redesign out of the public eye before December, Ford completely covered the car with camouflage.
"Underneath that material is a whole science and art, all-in-one," says Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak. "They're creating a new exterior over the exterior."
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Rhinoceros horns now sell for more on the black market than cocaine or heroin. Demand from Southeast Asian consumers is primarily to blame. In order to cash in, thieves have begun targeting a different kind of rhino habitat: museums. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with journalist Adam Higginbotham about the so-called "Rathkeale Rovers," a gang suspected of several thefts.
On Monday, the nuclear deal between six world powers and Iran officially kicks in. But this agreement is just a first step in a long negotiation process. NPR's Arun Rath talks to Karim Sadjadpour, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about what to expect from additional disarmament talks.