Julie McCarthy

Julie McCarthy has traveled the world as an international correspondent for NPR, heading NPR's Tokyo bureau, reporting from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and covering the news and issues of South America. McCarthy is currently NPR's correspondent based in New Delhi, India.

In April 2009, McCarthy moved to Islamabad to open NPR's first permanent bureau in Pakistan. Before moving to Islamabad, McCarthy was NPR's South America correspondent based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. McCarthy covered the Middle East for NPR from 2002 to 2005, when she was dispatched to report on the Israeli incursion into the West Bank.

Previously, McCarthy was the London Bureau Chief for NPR, a position that frequently took her far from her post to cover stories that span the globe. She spent five weeks in Iran during the war in Afghanistan, covered the re-election of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and traveled to the Indian island nation of Madagascar to report on the political and ecological developments there. Following the terror attacks on the United States, McCarthy was the lead reporter assigned to investigate al Qaeda in Europe.

In 1994, McCarthy became the first staff correspondent to head NPR's Tokyo bureau. She covered a range of stories in Japan with distinction, including the Kobe earthquake of 1995, the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and the turmoil over U.S. troops on Okinawa. Her coverage of Japan won the East-West Center's Mary Morgan Hewett Award for the Advancement of Journalism.

McCarthy has also traveled extensively throughout Asia. Her coverage of the Asian economic crisis earned her the 1998 Overseas Press Club of America Award. She arrived in Indonesia weeks before the fall of Asia's longest-running ruler and chronicled a nation in chaos as President Suharto stepped from power.

Prior to her assignment in Asia, McCarthy was the foreign editor for Europe and Africa. She served as the Senior Washington Editor during the Persian Gulf War; NPR was honored with a Silver Baton in the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for its coverage of that conflict. McCarthy was awarded a Peabody, two additional Overseas Press Club Awards and the Ohio State Award in her capacity as European and African Editor.

McCarthy was selected to spend the 2002-2003 academic year at Stanford University, winning a place in the Knight Journalism Fellowship Program. In 1994, she was a Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii.

Monitors flash Kaji Sherpa's vital signs as he recovers in the ICU of Katmandu's Norvic International hospital. Miraculously, the 39-year-old senior climber survived the wall of deadly ice and snow that crushed 16 of his colleagues in the largest loss of life in a single day on Everest, the mountain Sherpas call "Mother Goddess of Earth."

The team had been preparing a path for their clients, fixing ropes on a treacherous stretch known as the "Popcorn" ice field, so-called for its bulging chunks of ice.

"There was a small hill" that acted as a buffer, Kaji says.

The signs came early that Abhina Aher was different.

Born a boy biologically and given the male name Abhijit, Aher grew up in a middle-class neighborhood of Mumbai, India. The son of a single mother who nurtured a love of dance, Aher would watch enthralled as she performed.

"I used to love to wear the clothes that my mother used to wear — her jewelry, her makeup," Aher, now 37, recalls. "That is something which used to extremely fascinate me."

It's indestructible. It's fungible. It's beautiful. And for Indians, gold – whether it's 18-, 22- or 24-carat — is semi-sacred.

The late distinguished Indian economist I.G. Patel observed, "In prosperity as in the hour of need, the thoughts of most Indians turn to gold."

No marriage takes place without gold ornaments presented to the bride. Even the poorest Indian outfits girls in the family with a simple nose ring of gold.

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Today marks a milestone in India's marathon national election for a new Lower House of Parliament. One-fifth of the 543-seats will be decided. Nationally, the big fight is between the ruling Congress Party and the opposition BJP. But one of the most closely watched contests is in Delhi, where corruption and anti-incumbency are hot button issues.

S.Y. Quraishi, the former chief election commissioner, sums up voting in India this way: "The Indian election is not only the biggest election of the world — probably this is the biggest human event of the world."

Indians streamed to the polls Monday in the first stage of a nearly six-week-long national election, and the outcome is very much in doubt. The sheer size sets the election apart: A record 814 million people — more than the electorates of the United States and Europe combined — are eligible to cast ballots.

A watershed moment occurred in global health Thursday: The World Health Organization said that its Southeast Asian region is now officially polio-free.

The milestone means that 80 percent of the world's population now lives without fear of the paralyzing disease.

India announced Wednesday that national elections for the lower house of Parliament will be staggered over nine separate days and begin April 7.

The voting to elect the 543-seat body will occur in stages to accommodate the scale of voters in what is expected to be the world's largest democratic exercise.

It's one of the most dangerous sports at the Olympic Games. And when Indian slider Shiva Keshavan crashed from his sled during a training run at the luge track Friday, his miraculous recovery went viral.

Flying through icy curves feet first, Keshavan thundered down the frozen tunnel, the scraping blades or "steels" of his small sled sounding like a runaway train.

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Atrocious instances of gang rape over the past year or so have shaken India, but the one this week in West Bengal has a particularly sinister twist.

An all-male village tribunal, said to be upset that a 20-year old tribal woman had fallen in love with a man outside the community, is alleged to have ordered she be gang-raped as punishment.

In New Delhi an unprecedented two-day sit-in that pitted the local government against the national authorities has come to an end following altercations between police and protesters.

Some 30 people were injured during the demonstration that was led by newly elected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the local administrator who rallied members of his Aam Aadmi Party, named for the "Common Man," against the central government.

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Northern India is recovering from its coldest temperatures in 20 years by doing what it loves to do: stage a festival.

Across the country this week, Indians frolicked around bonfires in traditional festivities meant to herald the end of winter.

The Punjabis of northern India celebrate this annual ritual with particular gusto in a centuries old festival known as Lohri.

By custom, Lohri falls on the auspicious Jan. 13, and is seen as marking the longest night of the year in northern India. In the southern part of the country, it's called Pongal.

India's Supreme Court is set to hear a petition Wednesday against one of its own retired judges over allegations that he sexually harassed a former intern — the second such case to be made public in as many months.

The alleged incidents have cast a cloud over the country's highest court and pressure has mounted for it to comply with its own 1997 rulings requiring panels in the workplace to hear harassment complaints. Critics say such a panel for the Supreme Court itself is long overdue.

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The relationship between the world's biggest two democracies is under strain over an incident involving a low-ranking diplomat. U.S. prosecutors are preparing to indict a government representative from India. She's accused of lying on a visa application for her housekeeper. That indictment and the diplomat's treatment by American authorities have ignited a furious response in India. And the Indian government is retaliating.

Bangladesh's parliamentary election Sunday proved to be among the most violent vote in the country's short history. At least 18 people were killed, including an election officer who was beaten to death, and scores of polling stations firebombed, according to local media reports.

Just how far does a dollar go? We'll try to answer that question as part of an occasional series on what things cost around the world. In this installment, NPR's Julie McCarthy takes us on a gastronomic tour of New Delhi and tells us what you can buy for $5, $20 and $100.

With over a billion people, India's $1.7 trillion economy is as varied as its culture. But if you still think of it as a land of endless bargains, then you'd better think again.

As India marks the anniversary of the infamous gang rape in New Delhi, it is ending the year as it began: in upheaval over its treatment of women. In a recent series of cases, men in positions of privilege are alleged to have sexually harassed or assaulted female employees. The episodes spotlight the absence of women's rights in the Indian workplace.

Think Taj Mahal and then try to imagine what came before it. What was the inspiration for that masterpiece?

Archaeologists and architects say a 16th century tomb tucked in the southeast corner of Delhi presaged the jewel of Muslim art in India.

The recent restoration of the mausoleum built to memorialize the Muslim emperor Humayun has created a sensation in the city, drawing sightseers, schoolchildren and history buffs to the site that is now a showcase for India's architectural patrimony.

Sachin Tendulkar: The very name evokes Indian national pride, and it resounded through Wankhede Stadium Thursday in the cricket superstar's hometown of Mumbai.

That's when Tendulkar took the field for the final test match of his fabled 24-year long career. There are fevered celebrations for the 40-year-old batsman who has dominated the Indian imagination on and off the field, and whose self-effacing demeanor masked a steely determination to win.

The atmosphere was electric as India's favorite son stepped onto the field.

The main opposition party in India has anointed Narendra Modi as its candidate for prime minister in next year's general election. Critics say Modi is a hardline Hindu nationalist who helped foment deadly anti-Muslim riots in 2002.

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A market rally in India is at the top of NPR's business news.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: We are all connected, of course. And like Wall Street, Indian markets soared, after the Federal Reserve's surprising decision to continue its stimulus program in the United States.

From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy reports.

JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: The U.S. Fed's decision to keep unchanged its massive bond-buying program to spur the U.S. economy cheered Asian markets.

The four men convicted of rape and murder in an Indian court were sentenced to death in New Delhi Friday. Last December, the men lured a young woman onto a bus, and then raped and tortured her before throwing her off the vehicle. She died of her injuries two weeks later. The death sentences were greeted with approval by the victim's family, and there have been widespread calls for the men to hang ever since details of their crime became known.

The four men convicted of the New Delhi gang rape that took the life of a 23-year-old woman last December will learn their fate on Friday.

The court considered Wednesday whether they should get capital punishment or life in prison.

In sentencing arguments that stretched to three hours, public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan called on the court to impose the death penalty for what he called a "diabolical" crime.

In Kashmir, the Shalimar Gardens of Srinagar, a relic of Mughal-era emperors, has been restored to its imperial tranquility with murmuring fountains, shallow pools and manicured beauty.

Raghuram Rajan, the new governor of India's central bank, swept into office this week infusing a sense of optimism.

He announced hard-headed measures Wednesday that remove uncertainty that has characterized the Reserve Bank of India's moves.

By Friday, Indian equities and the rupee were clawing back.

But analysts say the exuberance — and honeymoon with the suave MIT-trained economist — is unlikely to last.

After decadelong high growth rates, India is now the sick man of Asia.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed a steep slide in the country's currency in recent weeks in a rare public speech on Friday, hoping to assuage concern over the rupee's sudden depreciation and blaming the opposition for inaction in Parliament that he said was sending the wrong signals to the markets.

For an introduction to India's cultural and culinary delights, you might hop a flight to Delhi or book a trip to Mumbai. But to meet the country sans passport free of airport indignities, you could just curl up with the crime novels of Tarquin Hall.

Vish Puri, Hall's opinionated private investigator, is a 50-something Punjabi super sleuth with a fondness for family and food. The mustachioed detective cracks open India's underbelly with a caseload that delves into forbidden love, corruption in Indian cricket and the deadly clash between science and superstition.

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Hope is fading for any survivors to be found aboard an Indian submarine that sank at port in Mumbai. An 18-man crew was aboard. A massive explosion ripped through the boat as it sat at the naval docks.

As NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi, it's being called India's worst naval disaster in peacetime.

India has accused Pakistani troops of killing five Indian soldiers after firing across the Line of Control, the de facto border in disputed Kashmir. Pakistan denies any firing from its side, and calls the allegation "baseless."

This latest incident comes amid attempts to renew diplomatic overtures for peace between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian officials say Pakistani soldiers fired into Indian territory overnight, ambushing a patrol of Indian troops.

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