Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 10:41 am
Jordan's King Abdullah says his country stands ready to respond to any threat from a spillover of the civil war in neighboring Syria, a day after the U.S. announced it would leave fighter jets and Patriot missiles in his country after joint military exercises end this week.
"If the world does not help as it should, and if the matter becomes a danger to our country, we are able at any moment to take the measures to protect the country and the interest of our people," Abdullah said, speaking to graduating military cadets.
Hasan Rowhani's stunning presidential election victory in Iran has opened the door for improved relations with the West, but the U.S. and Israel remain cautious about making progress on their key demand — dismantling Iran's nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the international community "must not give in to wishful thinking or temptation and loosen the pressure on Iran for it to stop its nuclear program."
The conflict in Syria may be first and foremost a civil war, pitting the Shiite-dominated regime of President Bashar Assad against mostly Sunni insurgents. But the region's turbulent geopolitics have turned it into a proxy fight that has drawn in the rest of the region as well as the U.S and other global powers.
There are a lot of things that get a bad rap and then will never shake said bad rap no matter what: canned beanie-weanies come to mind, for example. They're never going to be thought of as high cuisine, let's face it. The song "Escape" by Rupert Holmes - though it has a kicking chorus - probably will not become a better song with time.
Colorado is often the site of devastating forest fires, but the city of Colorado Springs has been hit particularly hard as of late. In the span of just one year, more than 800 homes have been destroyed from wildfires in and around the city. This time last year, it was the Waldo Canyon fire, and now it's the Black Forest fire. NPR's Kirk Siegler spent the week in Colorado Springs and sent this report.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
President Obama leaves tonight on a quick trip to Europe. He'll attend a G8 summit of industrialized nations in Northern Ireland. He'll also pay a visit to Germany, where his plans include a public speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate.
NPR's Scott Horsley will be traveling with the president. He joins us now. Hi, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Rachel.
Like a lot of Northern Ireland, County Fermanagh, where the G8 Summit is being held has been hit hard by the recession in recent years. A lot of businesses there have had to close their doors. But before world leaders started pouring in for the G8 Summit, county officials decided to give their town a bit of a facelift. With money from a government grant, they put fake storefronts on some of the shuttered businesses. Imagine big stickers plastered to store windows to make them look like thriving stores; a real butcher shop or a busy cafe.
We've started hearing from some of the Internet companies implicated in the NSA data collection scandal. On Friday, Facebook and Microsoft disclosed for the first time that last year they received thousands of requests from the government to hand over information about their users. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency is still on the defensive. The agency's head spoke on Capitol Hill last week in an effort to reassure lawmakers that the NSA is not spying on Americans.
Ambassador Crocker is watching what's happening in Iraq with a careful eye. So are the many Iraqis who fled the country several years ago, when sectarian tensions there escalated to something close to civil war. Haider al-Jumaili was one of them. He is a mechanical engineer but he lost his job after the U.S. invasion and found work as an interpreter for U.S. organizations. Eventually, the sectarian violence started to overwhelm him.
HAIDER AL-JUMAILI: I left my country because of these two words: The Sunnis and the Shias.
Google scientists have been testing a way to link computers to the internet in rural, war torn or disaster areas where high speed internet does not exist. We hear from Steven Levy, a senior writer with Wired magazine who was embedded with the Google team.
Steven's father had been diagnosed with cancer. The doctors didn't think he would make it. Pale and bald, he didn't look himself. Steven wanted to take a picture, made a video, just in case. Dad refused. "I got so mad," Steven remembers. "I regret not just coming up to him and saying, 'Dad, five minutes.' "
Steven's dad died on June 12, 2011. "The only time I can hear his voice is on our answering machine for two seconds," Steven says. "Hi, Heinz family, leave a message."
Each week,Weekend Edition Sundayhost Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Ryan Crocker is a long-time U.S. diplomat who served as ambassador in six Muslim countries. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush.
Born into a military family, Crocker says he was drawn to the foreign service because he grew up overseas and spent time traveling in the Middle East.
In the late 1970s, activists in Iran had a brief moment of hope. The revolution had succeeded; the shah's repressive regime had been overthrown. But things quickly turned for the worse. The newly formed Islamic Republic threw vocal dissenters in prison, and in 1988, it quietly executed thousands of them.
The Supreme Court may rule on gay marriage this week. Advocates both for and against are glad the issue didn't reach the court any sooner.
They didn't want a repeat of the abortion issue. With its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the high court stepped in and guaranteed a right to abortion but also triggered a backlash that has lasted for 40 years.
With same-sex marriage, by contrast, legislators and voters in nearly every state had the chance to make their feelings known before the Supreme Court weighs in.
My dad was a mild-mannered guy. Never bragged. Hated sports. Mom won the arguments. He was an avocado farmer near Santa Barbara, but being dad was his No. 1 job.
He read me bedtime stories, never missed a piano recital or a family dinner. And he played it safe: Dad's idea of adventure was driving his Ford Taurus to town without the wiper fluid filled to the top.
On the morning of Oct. 28, 1971, Egypt woke up to a shock: The Khedivial Royal Opera House was on fire. The 100-year-old, rococo-style architectural gem in downtown Cairo burned to ashes. Ballet costumes, theater sets, musical instruments and velvet curtains were all gone.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts SI and the second word starts with T. For example, given "unadorned set of facts," you would say, "simple truth."
Last week's challenge: Name a movie in two words — five letters in each word. Both words start with vowels. Take one letter in the first word, move it two spaces later in the alphabet, and rearrange the result. You'll get the second word in the movie's title. What movie is it?
So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.
Rivers don't follow political boundaries — they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.
So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?
Rebecca Solnit begins her new memoir, The Faraway Nearby, with a question: "What's your story?"
"It's all in the telling," she says. "Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of the world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice."