At about 2 p.m. on a recent day, hospital personnel at Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel got a text message from the Israeli army: We're on our way with four wounded Syrians. Half an hour later, two army ambulances pulled up to the emergency room.
Two soldiers carried in the injured Syrian, his hands covering his head. Then, another was brought in on a wheelchair.
Teams of army paramedics and hospital doctors huddled around the Syrians, asking their ages, tearing away their clothes and quickly assessing their injuries.
We're going look more closely at whether the United States is providing arms to Syria's rebels. The commander of the Free Syrian Army General told Morning Edition on Thursday that his group was not receiving weapons. But American officials contend they are providing weapons to the rebels.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 3:32 am
The past couple of weeks have sometimes felt like an international thriller as American and Russian leaders moved their chess pieces around the board. Renee Montagne talks to Washington Post columnist and novelist David Ignatius about the strategies involving Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov resume meetings in Geneva on Friday. The talks are aimed at working out the details of a program in which Syria's Bashar Assad would give up his chemical weapons.
Something peculiar is happening to rivers and streams in large parts of the United States — the water's chemistry is changing. Scientists have found dozens of waterways that are becoming more alkaline. Alkaline is the opposite of acidic — think baking soda or Rolaids.
Research published in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology shows this trend to be surprisingly widespread, with possibly harmful consequences.
What's especially odd about the finding is its cause: It seems that acid rain actually has been causing waterways to grow more alkaline.
To mark the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Jews fast from sundown to sundown. But before the sun sets, friends and family gather to enjoy one final meal. And for the Jews of Eastern Europe, that meal traditionally includes kreplach.
Thomas Weller would have died in a snow bank in 1964 had a stranger not helped him. Weller, 65, has been helping strangers in the same way ever since.
"I've been called the Lone Ranger. And I've been called an angel more times than I can count," he says. "But, I'm no angel! When you help somebody else, you help yourself. And, it's ... real gratifying."
Click on the audio link above to hear Weller's story.
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 8:13 am
For a while in Jamie Meltzer's mesmerizing documentary Informant, I wondered whether subject Brandon Darby, the lefty activist turned FBI informer, was being played by an actor.
But no: It's Darby, and he's a handsome fellow, with haunted eyes blazing out of a bone structure to die for, and with a Montgomery Clift dimple in his chin. Staring straight into the camera, he testifies with the intense calm of a messiah or a madman, which all too often comes to the same thing. Among other things, this powerfully confused man is a study in American extremity.
NASA's two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, have made history in a dramatic fashion by exploring the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now one of the vehicles, Voyager I, has made another pioneering leap. It is the first spacecraft to leave the vast bubble of hot gas that surrounds our solar system.
At long last, Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:09 pm
Leaders who respect each other and have a good relationship don't mock each other.
Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin do not have a good relationship.
Just as Russia and the U.S. are attempting to work out a delicate deal to rid Syria of chemical weapons, the Russian president published an op-ed in The New York Times thumbing his nose at President Obama.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:04 pm
At least two waterspouts were seen over Lake Michigan on Thursday, near the Wisconsin border, amid strong winds and a marine warning issued by the National Weather Service.
The Associated Press says the waterspouts — tornadoes that form over the water — merged into one and then split again. The video below, taken by an amateur in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., appears to be a single, merged, waterspout:
Evidently it was quite fortuitous. Just a couple of days after MTV's Video Music Awards, Oxford Dictionaries Online released its quarterly list of the new words it was adding. To the delight of the media, there was "twerk" at the top, which gave them still another occasion to link a story to Miley Cyrus' energetic high jinks.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:51 pm
From the start, Mother of George looks at its two protagonists, Adenike (Danai Gurira) and Ayodele (Isaach de Bankole), across distinct gender lines. The film opens at their traditional Yoruba wedding with two contrasted, tightly framed, straight-on shots of the groom and bride's parties.
Later, after the ceremonies, the differences between the two groups become more defined: We watch the women give Adenike child-rearing advice, while the men talk about how best to hide their infidelities.
Women's tennis champion Billie Jean King is best remembered for her 1973 exhibition match, known as "The Battle of the Sexes," with self-proclaimed male chauvinist Bobby Riggs. But King also had a remarkable career, both as a tennis player and as a trailblazer for women: She won a record 20 Wimbledon titles, six of them for singles, and she led an uprising of underpaid female players to demand fairer treatment and compensation in professional tennis.
In Wonder, R.J. Palacio tells the story of Auggie, a tough, sweet, 10-year-old boy, who was born with distorted facial features — a "craniofacial difference" caused by an anomaly in his DNA.
Palacio tells NPR's Michele Norris that the book was inspired by a real-life encounter with her own kids six years ago. They were at an ice cream store and sat next to a little girl with a severe facial deformity. Palacio's 3-year-old son cried in fear, so the author grabbed her kids and fled. She was trying to protect the girl but also avoid her own discomfort.
For Tunisia's ruling Islamist party, Ennahda, what happened this summer in Egypt is a cautionary tale and a constant reminder of the risks it faces as it navigates through its own political crisis.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood easily dominated all post-revolutionary elections, only to be ousted by the military in July. Brotherhood supporters now carry yellow placards, a reminder of the military crackdown, and that same placard now hangs on Ennahda's headquarters in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:56 pm
Thirty-five years after the assassination of Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov by a ricin-tipped umbrella as he waited for a bus in London, no one knows for sure who was responsible. And now it's quite possible that no one ever will.