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I'd been renting a Toyota Camry to give free rides around the city for my series Streets of Shanghai, about the lives of ordinary Chinese. But the monthly rental fees were killing me, so I figured I could save money by buying a used car.

I went to a reputable used car dealership. The first hint that this would be different than shopping in the U.S. came when I met my salesman, a fresh college grad.

Greeks Brace For The Fallout As Deadline Looms

Jun 29, 2015

Giorgos Koronis is welcoming tourists from the U.S. and England at the old Olympic Stadium in Athens, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

Koronis, 50, has worked for the state for 25 years, mainly at ticket counters at various tourist sites around the Greek capital. But today he's struggling to smile.

He spent Monday morning at the ATM in line with a few retirees from his neighborhood, including his mother.

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"It was Greek to me."

Shakespeare used that phrase in one of his tragedies to suggest that a complicated matter was beyond understanding.

Many Americans may be muttering those words again as this week's Greek tragedy plays out.

The situation in Athens really is complicated, but it's also important. So let's walk through the basics together, and then consider what it might mean to Americans.

Here's what has happened so far:

-- The Greek government has way too much debt and can't pay its creditors.

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The world needs to count its girls!

That's the message that President Obama sent earlier this month when he signed the Girls Count Act into law. Congress had previously approved the act by unanimous vote.

There are 220 million children around the world who are uncounted. They were not registered at birth, and they don't have birth certificates.

Sri Lanka, a palm-fringed island in the Indian Ocean, is in the sixth year of peace. But as the country prepares for elections in August, the legacy of its long civil war still casts a shadow.

The intervening years have been especially painful for the families of the thousands who disappeared in three decades of conflict and remain unaccounted for.

Tunisia was in shock after at least 38 foreign tourists were killed Friday at a beachside hotel, apparently by one man: Saifeddine Rezgui, who was in turn killed by police.

Amid the horror, there was defiance in the air in the seaside town of Sousse. Hundreds of foreign tourists decided to stay, and were out on the beaches. And local residents held a patriotic demonstration, waving the red national flag and chanting about unity in a palm-fringed square.

Looking to escape the staggering costs of a university education in the United States? You are not alone. And German education officials say a growing number of Americans are heading to the land of beer and bratwurst to get one.

At last count, there were 4,300 Americans studying at German universities, with more than half pursuing degrees, says Ulrich Grothus, deputy secretary general of the German Academic Exchange Service.

The suicide bomber who attacked a Shiite mosque in Kuwait last week, killing 27 people, was a Saudi national who flew into the neighboring Gulf nation hours before carrying out his deadly mission, Kuwaiti officials say. The self-declared Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced Sunday that banks will be closed and capital controls imposed in order to stave off a run on the euro after negotiations with the country's international lenders broke down.

He said the Athens stock market would also be closed.

However, Tsipras blamed the European Central Bank for the latest crisis after it decided not to increase the amount of emergency liquidity amid a run on the banks that saw people lined up at ATMs, many of which ran dry amid the onslaught.

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Jeremy Smith has written a new book called Epic Measures: One Doctor. Seven Billion Patients. It profiles the work of Christopher Murray, a Harvard-trained doctor and health economist who looked at a lot of numbers about how people live and die around the world and found that it's all a guess.

Nearly 500 people were injured at a water park in Taiwan after an explosion at a music event caused a fire to break out Saturday night.

The fire started during an evening rap performance in New Taipei City, NPR's Frank Langfitt, reporting from Shanghai, tells our Newscast unit. The accident at Formosa Fun Coast was caught on cellphone video.

"At one point, green powder shot out from the stage over the audience," Frank says. "The powder quickly ignited, enveloping fans. Some people staggered around on fire, while others collapsed to the ground."

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Police in France are questioning a suspect they believe was responsible for an explosion and the beheading of a man at a factory near Lyon on Friday. Officials reportedly say he took a "selfie" with the slain victim — his boss at the plant — and sent it to an unidentified Canadian mobile phone number.

Kurdish forces have retaken the key border town of Kobani from militants with the self-declared Islamic State, the second time the Islamist extremists have been ousted from the region this year, according to a British-based monitoring group.

Farther east, ISIS fighters had also attacked the government-held Syrian city of Hasaka.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which keeps close tabs on the situation on the ground, says that ISIS fighters, who are said to have captured the town mere days ago, have been forced to withdraw.

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

Across Greece, people lined up outside banks and at ATMs to withdraw euros today after their prime minister called for a surprise referendum on a proposed international bailout for the troubled country — a move that has pushed Athens to the brink of default and an exit from the eurozone.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

The man who opened fire on tourists at a Tunisian beach resort, killing 39 and wounding 36 others, has been identified by the country's prime minister as a 23-year-old aviation student studying at the nearby University of Kairouan.

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Greeks To Vote On Bailout On July 5

Jun 27, 2015
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