British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a long-awaited speech on Britain's relationship to the European Union on Wednesday. Cameron is under pressure from the growing U.K. Independence Party to pull Britain out of the EU and he has said he is seeking "fresh consent" from the British public to continue in the EU on "renegotiated" terms. He promised to hold a referendum on whether Britain should withdraw if his party retains power after elections in 2015. If the U.K. pulls out, it would weaken the EU significantly.
The Algerian government was criticized for its handling of the gas plant hostage crisis which left 37 foreigners dead, including three Americans. But Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told a press conference he was proud of how the security forces handled the crisis.
Gen. Carter Ham, who heads the U.S. Africa Command, meets with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last September. Amid upheaval in the region, AFRICOM is still attempting to define its mission.
Credit Guo Jun / Xinhua/Landov
U.S. soldiers at the closing ceremony for a two-week joint military training exercise with the Botswana Defense Force. The U.S. Africa Command was created, in part, to help train African military forces before crises begin.
Controversial experiments on bird flu could resume within weeks because leading influenza researchers around the world have finally called a halt to an unusual moratorium that has lasted more than a year.
The voluntary pause in the research started back in January 2012. Scientists had genetically altered the bird flu virus H5N1, changing it in ways that allowed it to spread through the coughs and sneezes of ferrets — the lab stand-in for people.
In a May 9, 2012 photo, Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. Female soldiers are moving into new jobs in once all-male units as the U.S. Army breaks down formal barriers in recognition of what's already happened in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decided to lift a ban that prohibited women from serving in combat, a congressional source tells NPR's Tom Bowman. The move opens up thousands of front-line positions.
Panetta is expected to announce the decision along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:21 pm
NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin recaps the week in politics, from Obama's inaugural address to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony on Benghazi. Jack Pitney, political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, discusses the Republican decisions on the debt ceiling and the future of the Republican party.
After yesterday's election in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu will remain prime minister but with sharply diminished leverage and new coalitions to calculate. Opinion polls made Netanyahu an overwhelming favorite after his Likud bloc aligned with another right wing faction, but that alliance emerged with fewer seats than expected and with a new centrist rival.
Joining us now from Israel is Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times. Good to have you with us today.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:56 am
Choosing hospice care is never an easy decision. It's an admission that the end is near, that there will be no cure.
But even after a family has opted for this end-of-life care, some still face an unexpected hurdle: Twelve percent of hospices nationwide refuse to accept patients who don't have a caregiver at home to look after them, according to a recent survey of nearly 600 hospice providers published in Health Affairs.
Customers chat at a Beijing cafe modeled after the Central Perk cafe in the hit American sitcom Friends, in2010. Nearly a decade after the series ended, the popularity of Friends continues among young Chinese, who use the show as a language-learning tool and enjoy its depiction of young Americans.
Credit Loiusa Lim / NPR
Du Xin, the "Chinese Gunther," owns Central Perk in Beijing. That's not all he has in common with Gunther on the show. "I love Rachel," he sighs.
Credit Getty Images
The six Manhattan singles of Friends (from left, Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Monica (Courteney Cox), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Ross (David Schwimmer) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) congregate at Central Perk in this 1999 still photo from the program.
Almost a decade since the end of the hit American TV series Friends, the show — and, in particular, the fictitious Central Perk cafe, where much of the action took place — is enjoying an afterlife in China's capital, Beijing. Here, the show that chronicled the exploits of New York City pals Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey is almost seen as a lifestyle guide.
Tucked away on the sixth floor of a Beijing apartment block is a mini replica of the cafe, orange couch and all, whose owner Du Xin introduces himself by saying, "Everyone calls me 'Gunther' here."
A well-traveled root: A vendor sells sweet potatoes at a market near Manila in 2011. The Portuguese brought the root to the Philippines all the way from the Caribbean.
Credit Courtesy of Caroline Roullier/PNAS
The sweet potato made three independent trips to Southeast Asia. The Polynesians probably introduced it in 1100 A.D. (red). While the Spanish (blue) and Portuguese (yellow) brought other varieties from the Americas around 1500.
The Polynesians had sophisticated, double-hulled canoes that were built for deep sea voyages. An artist aboard Capt. Cook's ship drew a picture when they arrived in Hawaii.
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 9:15 am
When it comes to spreading food around the world, Christopher Columbus and his European compatriots get most of the credit.
Yes, they introduced some quintessential ingredients into European and Asian cuisine. Who could imagine Italian food without the tomato? Or Indian and Chinese dishes without the spicy kick of chili peppers?
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 1:55 pm
A large study is providing a rare glimmer of hope for patients with pancreatic cancer, perhaps the deadliest of all malignancies.
By the time they're diagnosed, most patients with pancreatic cancer have advanced disease that's spread to the liver and lung. And the primary tumor may be inoperable because it's wrapped around vital blood vessels and nerves.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the Supreme Court case that established abortion rights in this country is now 40 years old, but the political and cultural fights about abortion are going on still. We'll talk about this with our panel of women commentators. That's our Beauty Shop roundtable and that's in just a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, President Obama's vision for reducing gun violence includes improving access to mental health care. So we decided to ask two mental health professions who've thought a lot about violence, especially gun violence, for their perspectives on what kinds of changes they think would be helpful.
This month, Jimmy Kimmel's late-night ABC talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, joins the 11:35 p.m. nightly lineup — which puts him in direct competition with two reining comedy kings: Jay Leno and Kimmel's idol, David Letterman.
Kimmel, who paid tribute to Letterman at the Kennedy Center Honors in December, didn't break the news to Letterman himself.
It was probably a first for Norway when a truck trailer full of sweet goat cheese caught fire near the town of Narvik late last week, blocking a road tunnel. it took four days for firefighters to put out the flames. No one was hurt. Norwegian Broadcasting says the tunnel was so badly damaged that geologists are checking it for safety, and any lingering toxic gases.
"Britain's prime minister said Wednesday he will offer citizens a vote on whether to leave the European Union if his party wins the next election, prompting warnings from fellow member states about the soundness of such a move," The Associated Press writes.
The wire service adds that:
"Cameron proposed Wednesday that his Conservative Party renegotiate the U.K.'s relationship with the European Union if it wins the next general election, expected in 2015.