World News

Goats and Soda
5:03 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Just Your Typical Teenagers Helping To Fight World Poverty

They're members of the global-minded teens club: (left to right) Toluwanimi Sola-Adeyemi of Lagos, Chloe McGill of Seattle and Emine Arcasoy of Chapel Hill.
Courtesy of Tolu Sola-Adeyemi, Chloe McGill and

On Jan. 15, 15-year-olds around the world took a stand. Their goal was to make the world a better place 15 years from now by getting rid of poverty and disease. They shared their worries and their dreams with leaders around the world as part of the newly launched "action/2015" effort, supported by the ONE Campaign, a nonprofit group that the rock star Bono founded.

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Goats and Soda
3:33 am
Sat January 31, 2015

A Former Child Soldier Finds Escape, Heaven Through His Music

"Through music," says former child soldier Emmanuel Jal, "I was able to become a child again."
Courtesy of Gatwitch

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 5:37 am

Emmanuel Jal was only 8 when he was dragged into Sudan's long civil war. Like 12,000 other children, he was recruited as a soldier, fighting and killing alongside South Sudanese armed groups.

Only a few, like Jal, have managed to escape.

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Middle East
1:38 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Efforts To Free Japanese ISIS Captive 'Deadlocked'

A top Japanese diplomat says efforts to free a captive journalist from the militant Islamic State group have reached a "state of deadlock."

The fate of veteran war reporter Kenji Goto has been linked to that of another hostage, Jordanian fighter pilot Lt. Muath Kaseasbeh, whom the extremist also have threatened to kill.

Jordan and Japan are reportedly conducting indirect negotiations with the militants who control a third of both Iraq and Syria.

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The Two-Way
7:16 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

In Qatar, Released Taliban Member Raises U.S. Concerns

One of the Taliban officials who were released last year in exchange for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has raised U.S. officials' suspicions that he might attempt to reconnect with the group.

The exchange of five men who had been detained at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been captured in 2009, occurred on May 31, 2014. It set off a range of reactions, from happiness at the soldier's safe return to anger that the Obama administration had released five senior members of the Taliban.

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Goats and Soda
4:26 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Measles Is A Killer: It Took 100,000 Lives Worldwide Last Year

A Vietnamese boy is treated for measles in a state-run hospital in April 2014.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 4:35 pm

The number of measles cases from the outbreak linked to Disneyland has now risen to at least 98. But measles remains extremely rare in the United States.

The rest of the world hasn't been so fortunate. Last year roughly 250,000 people came down with measles; more than half of them died.

Currently the Philippines is experiencing a major measles outbreak that sickened 57,000 people in 2014. China had twice that many cases, although they were more geographically spread out. Major outbreaks were also recorded in Angola, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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Parallels
4:19 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Argentine Official Says He Sought Cooperation With Iran, Not Cover-Up

Argentina's Foreign Minister Hector Timerman on Jan. 15 shows a letter he said was sent in 2013 to Interpol informing it of an agreement reached with Iran's government to investigate the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association that killed 85 people. Timerman says he met with Iran in an attempt to solve the case and denies accusations he was part of a cover-up.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:49 pm

Shortly before Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead with a bullet in his head, he accused Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez, and others in her government of covering up what he said was Iran's involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.

Nisman claimed that those involved in the cover-up included Foreign Minister Hector Timerman โ€” a particularly sensitive accusation not only because of his position but because of his background.

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Europe
3:14 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Latvia Keeps Careful Eye Trained On Russia

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 4:29 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Edgars Rinkevics is the foreign minister of Latvia. His country now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Minister Rinkevics, thank you very much for joining us today.

EDGARS RINKEVICS: My pleasure.

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Europe
3:14 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Civilians In Eastern Ukraine Flee As Fighting Intensifies

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 4:29 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Close Friend Of Putin Awarded Contract For Crimea Bridge

In a photo taken in Aug. 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, is shown with businessman and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, right, mourn during a farewell ceremony for Putin's first judo coach, Anatoly Rakhlin in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Mikhail Klimentyev AP

Moscow has awarded a $3 billion contract to build a bridge linking Russia with the newly annexed Crimean peninsula to a close friend of President Vladimir Putin.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Jeremy The Koala, Rescued From Australian Brush Fire, Goes Home

Jeremy the Koala.
BBC Weather

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 2:31 pm

Jeremy the koala โ€” who became a social-media sensation after a photo went viral showing him recuperating from injuries sustained in an Australian wildfire โ€” is being released back into the wild.

The three-year-old male koala, nicknamed after his rescuer, was removed from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia after a massive brush fire swept through the area. His paws had been burned and he was badly in need of treatment.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Bomb Attack On Shiite Mosque In Pakistan Leaves At Least 55 Dead

Pakistani protesters in Karachi condemn a bombing at a Shiite mosque in Shikarpur on Friday.
Fareed Khan AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 1:33 pm

At least 55 people are dead and dozens injured after a blast ripped through a mosque in southern Pakistan where worshipers had gathered for Friday prayers.

Jundullah, a Sunni militant group with links to the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack on the mosque in Shikarpur, Sindh province.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Balloonists Crossing Pacific Set Distance Record

In this photo provided by the Two Eagles balloon team, Troy Bradley of New Mexico and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia set off from Saga, Japan.
Troy Bradley AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 9:36 am

Two balloonists have unofficially left a distance record in their wake as they head east over the Pacific Ocean. They lifted off from Japan, and now they're getting ready for a landing on Saturday somewhere on Mexico's Baja peninsula.

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Jailed Saudi Blogger Granted Another Reprieve From Flogging; Reason Unclear

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 1:55 pm

Saudi authorities have once again canceled the scheduled flogging of blogger Raif Badawi, who is being punished for insulting Islam, according to Amnesty International, the human rights group that has been closely following the case.

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Fri January 30, 2015

China Cracks Down On University Textbooks Promoting 'Western Values'

A Chinese paramilitary police officer stands in front a portrait of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong outside the Forbidden City in Beijing, in November.
Aaron Favila AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 6:54 pm

China's education minister has told universities to stop using textbooks that promote Western values, reports NPR's Frank Langfitt from Shanghai, a move seen as part of a larger ideological crackdown.

At an educational forum, Yuan Guiren said universities should also forbid criticism of China's leaders and the country's political system, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Frank says the edict comes as the government disrupts virtual private networks, or VPNs, which help people access foreign websites that China's Internet cops have already blocked.

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Europe
4:22 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Civilians In Debaltsevo Flee Russian-Backed Separatists

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:46 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Europe
3:33 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Turkish Officials Seem To Ignore Threats Of Extremist Violence

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:46 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
5:06 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Ebola Cases Plummet In West Africa, As Endgame Begins

Ebola cases have steadily declined in Liberia and Sierra Leone over the past several weeks.
World Health Organization

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:33 pm

The tide may have turned on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Last week, only 99 cases were reported. That's the lowest weekly count since June.

Cases have plummeted in the two countries hit hardest by Ebola, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In December, Sierra Leone was reporting more than 500 cases a week. It tallied only 65 last week.

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Parallels
4:10 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Arctic Circle's Coolest Accommodations Turn 25 Years Old

Icehotel is located 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. The temperature outside is well below zero, but inside the hotel โ€” while still, of course, below freezing โ€” it's much warmer, hovering in the low 20s.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:07 am

On a recent winter's day in the village of Jukkasjรคrvi, Sweden, it's 22 degrees below zero โ€” or -30 Celsius. Whatever you call it, it's way below freezing.

Sculptor Jens Thoms Ivarsson stands over a block of ice with a razor-sharp chisel, turning a bare room into an ornate Spanish mosque made entirely of ice.

Here, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle, sits a frozen institution: Icehotel, the original.

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Afghanistan
4:07 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

U.S. Report On Spending In Afghanistan Classified For First Time

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 4:16 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Latin America
3:58 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Senators Work To Open Up Travel For Americans To Cuba

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:39 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Latin America
3:44 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Prosecutor's Murky Death Could Impact Argentina's Elections

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 4:16 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
3:20 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Woman Held By Jordan Has Close Ties To Islamic State

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:07 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Latin America
3:11 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Guantanamo Bay A Sticking Point Between U.S., Cuba Since 1903

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 4:16 pm

Guantanamo Bay is home to the United States' oldest overseas base. And since it was established in 1903, the base has been a bone of contention in U.S. and Cuban relations. Melissa Block talks to Vanderbilt History professor Paul Kramer.

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Goats and Soda
1:42 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Girls Get Good Grades But Still Need Help. As For Boys ... SOS!

Girl students in Bangkok tend to do better than boys. That's the finding of a new study.
Christophe Archambault AFP/Getty Images

A new study shows that when it comes to the classroom, girls rule.

They outperform boys in math, science and reading in 70 percent of the 70-plus countries and regions surveyed by the Organization for Economic Development Cooperation and Development. Girls do better even in countries that rank low on U.N.'s gender equality index and that tend to discriminate against women politically, economically and socially โ€” like Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

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The Two-Way
1:16 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

British Fighters 'Escort' Russian Bombers Near U.K. Airspace

A photo taken in October and provided by Britain's Royal Air Force shows a Russian "Bear" bomber similar to the one that grazed U.K. airspace on Wednesday.
Robyn Stewart AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:56 am

The British government has summoned Russia's ambassador to the United Kingdom, asking him to explain why a pair of nuclear-capable Russian long-range "Bear" bombers flew alarmingly close to U.K. airspace.

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Gunman Reportedly Kills 3 U.S. Contractors In Attack At Kabul Airport

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 1:36 pm

Three Americans who were working as contractors in Afghanistan died in a gunman's attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport complex Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

The news agency adds:

"It was not immediately clear who did the shooting or whether the shooter was a member of the Afghan security forces.

"The U.S. defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the incident was in the early stages of investigation."

In addition to the U.S. casualties, an Afghan citizen also died, the AP says.

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The Two-Way
10:26 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Portugal To Offer Citizenship To Descendants Of Expelled Jews

A woman walks Wednesday past a monument to the Jews in Lisbon believed to have been killed in a pogrom in 1506. Portugal is following Spain and granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Jews it persecuted 500 years ago.
Francisco Seco AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 4:21 pm

Portugal's Cabinet approved a law Thursday that would offer citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled, burned at the stake or forcibly converted to Christianity 500 years ago.

"I do not want to say this is an historic amendment because I believe that for this matter, there is no possibility to amend what was done," Portuguese Justice Minister Paula Teixeira da Cruz said, according to The Associated Press. "I would say it is the attribution of a right."

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Thu January 29, 2015

French Police Question 8-Year-Old Over Alleged Support For Paris Gunmen

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:11 am

French police questioned Wednesday an 8-year-old boy in the southern city of Nice who allegedly made comments praising the gunmen who staged the deadly attack on the weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Third-grader Ahmed, whose last name has not been released, refused to observe the minute of silence with his class following the attack on the magazine. He also allegedly expressed solidarity with the brothers who carried out the Jan. 7 attack.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Sri Lanka Plans Probe Into Alleged Atrocities During Civil War

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena waves to supporters shortly after his election earlier this month. Sirisena looks to be trying to turn a new page in the island nation, which defeated a protracted insurgency in 2009.
Eranga Jayawardena AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 8:40 am

In a further sign that Sri Lanka's newly elected president wants to deal with the country's troubled past, a government spokesman said today that a new probe is planned to investigate allegations of human rights abuses during the island's 26-year civil war.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Thu January 29, 2015

U.S. Nuclear Scientist Caught In FBI Sting Is Jailed For Espionage

Former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni was sentenced Wednesday to five years in jail.
Heather Clark AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 1:27 pm

A scientist who worked for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and pleaded guilty two years ago for promising undercover FBI agents he could build nuclear weapons for Venezuela, has been sentenced to five years in jail.

Argentina-born Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, a 79-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, told the agents posing as Venezuelan officials that he could design and supervise the building of 40 nuclear weapons for Caracas โ€” including one targeted at New York City โ€” in exchange for an unspecified amount of money.

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