With the U.S. combat role over in Afghanistan, the country's security now depends on men like Sgt. Maj. Faiz Mohammed Wafa, one of the leaders of the Afghan commandos.
On this day, the Afghan sergeant is screaming at trainees at Camp Commando, a training center built by the Americans in the hills south of Kabul. Two dozen trainees are seated in the dirt in full combat gear. Wafa is trying to teach them the proper way to clear a house, searching room to room for insurgents.
"I told you 10 times," he says. "Hold your weapons correctly!"
Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 9:28 am
Six writers have withdrawn from the PEN American Center's annual gala on May 5 in protest against the free-speech organization's decision to give the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award.
Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 10:19 am
Nepal's devastating earthquake that hit Saturday is now blamed for at least 4,000 deaths. Reconstruction is estimated to cost billions. International aid efforts are underway, but aftershocks are rattling survivors' nerves and making the recovery even more challenging.
Update at noon, ET: Death Toll Rises Above 4,000
We've updated this post with the latest figures from officials in Nepal.
Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 10:27 am
Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is in the U.S. this week for a tightly packed visit that will focus largely on the strong ties between the U.S. and its closest Asian ally.
There was a time not so long ago that the prime minister's office in Tokyo appeared to have a revolving door. Japan went through four prime ministers during President Obama's first three years in office.
Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 6:20 am
Smartphones have become an essential part of many people's lives — 64 percent of Americans own one. And just as smartphones grew in popularity, so too have emojis. There are now more than a thousand emojis and some of them can really say a lot about how people are using language and communicating.
Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 4:34 pm
This week, the bodies of 24 unidentified migrants were laid to rest in Malta, the European island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. They were among more than 800 people who lost their lives last weekend off the coast of Libya when their ship capsized as they were trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach a better life.
Lieutenant Keith Caruana of the Armed Forces of Malta spoke with NPR's Arun Rath about the situation in the Mediterranean — and the toll it has taken on rescuers after more than a decade of trying to save the lives of desperate people seeking safety.
In a new documentary in Russia, President Vladimir Putin says that the annexation of Crimea just over a year ago was justified and righted a historical wrong.
In the film titled The President, Putin denies that the importance of the Black Sea peninsula is not strategic. "It's because this has elements of historical justice. I believe we did the right thing and I don't regret anything," he says, according to RIA news agency.
Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 12:57 pm
In his first London Marathon win, Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge edged past his countryman and defending champ Wilson Kipsang to win the distance race by five seconds, with a final time of 2:04:47. Fellow Kenyans, including the world-record holder, rounded out the third and fourth spots.
Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 12:59 pm
Following a powerful quake that has killed more than 2,000 people in Nepal, a high-altitude effort is underway on the slopes of the world's highest peak to rescue trapped climbers and recover the bodies of those killed when the temblor triggered a massive avalanche that swept base camp.
Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 4:23 pm
Some murder cases are harder to solve than others. The investigation into the killing of Mellory Manning — a 27-year-old woman who was assaulted and murdered in 2008 while working as a prostitute in Christchurch, New Zealand — confounded police.
They conducted an investigation and interviewed hundreds of people, but months later, they still had no solid leads.
Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 4:23 pm
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
ARUN RATH, HOST:
We've heard a lot about how the group that calls itself the Islamic State, or ISIS, has mastered social media like Twitter. Ellie Hall, a reporter for BuzzFeed News, has been tracking the tweets of female ISIS recruits. Recently, a woman with the handle Umm Jihad caught her attention.
Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 1:39 pm
Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET
Two Australians and a woman from the Philippines convicted nearly a decade ago of drug smuggling in Indonesia have been informed by authorities that their execution by firing squad is imminent.
"Indonesian authorities today [Saturday] advised Australian consular officials that the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be scheduled imminently at Nusa Kambangan prison in central Java," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.
Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 12:30 pm
An orange streetlight glows over the sandy street corner. The surrounding alleys and cement buildings disappear into darkness at the edge of the light. It is 11 p.m. on this July night, temperatures are still in the high 80s and a cool breeze is nowhere to be found.
Young men hustle to arrange hulking, rusted speakers on either side of a small wooden platform. Others hover by the streetlight. They wear crisp T-shirts with bold lettering and splashes of color.
Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 12:56 pm
A century after Ottoman forces massacred an estimated 1 to 1.5 million Armenian Christians, some of the remaining Armenian Turks are taking tentative steps out into the open. They survived because their ancestors were taken in by Muslim families and raised as Muslims.
Now, thanks in part to a somewhat more tolerant climate in Turkey, their descendants, known as "hidden Armenians," are coming out of hiding.
Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 4:55 pm
High on a West Bank hilltop, the extended Dissi family gathered on a recent weekend for a day out in the Palestinian countryside.
Aunts, uncles and cousins came to see the half-built weekend home of Taysier Dissi, an electrician and father of three. The concrete-block shell, with windows set and stairs roughed in, is placed just right for the view.
This will be the family's getaway from their home in the cramped confines of Jerusalem's often tense Old City. Dissi paid about $30,000 for one-third of an acre here, bought from a Palestinian-Canadian company, UCI.