World News

The Day Shimon Peres Returned To His Boyhood Village

Sep 28, 2016

In 1992, just months after the Soviet Union collapsed, Shimon Peres walked through a small town graveyard in Volozhon, overrun by weeds, searching for a tombstone with Hebrew writing on it in the newly independent state of Belarus.

Peres, who died Tuesday, was Israel's foreign minister at the time. He was looking for the graves of his relatives, as well as his boyhood home.

U.S Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the U.S. has agreed to send an additional 600 troops to Iraq, in anticipation of the major upcoming operation to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.

These additional troops "will increase the number of U.S. forces in Iraq to around 5,000," NPR's Tom Bowman told our Newscast unit. American troop levels in Iraq peaked at 170,000 in November 2007.

It's believed to be a first — and it certainly came as a surprise: Ancient Roman coins have been found in the ruins of a castle in Okinawa, Japan, that dates to the 12th and 15th centuries. The copper coins were found in 2013; X-ray analysis shows that they bear an image of Constantine the Great.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Cubans are bracing for a tough end of the year, after what has already been a rough summer. The island's economy is in trouble. Venezuela, Cuba's main patron and supplier of cheap oil, has slashed its generous subsidies, while Cuba's other top cash commodities are facing worldwide price plunges.

Since the U.S. and Cuba improved relations and President Obama made his historic trip to the island in March, expectations had been running high among Cubans that better economic times were coming.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Riccardo Fregoso, executive creative director of McCann Paris, discusses the firm's Clio Award-winning ad called "The Girls of Paradise," which draws potential johns in for a rude surprise.

The campaign starts with a website that looks like many your could find on the Internet, a page that promised a gallery of potential escorts for one to choose from. But it's a fake: As soon as the visitor clicks through enough times, the website tells the visitor about the fate of the woman he has chosen — death, usually by violence.

In the past two days, Typhoon Megi has pounded Taiwan and the coast of southeast China and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate amid rising floodwaters.

At least four people died in Taiwan, as the storm blasted across the island en route to China, NPR's Anthony Kuhn tells our Newscast unit. In mainland China, at least one person was killed when several buildings collapsed in Quanzhou, in Fujian province.

The Americas Are Now Officially 'Measles-Free'

Sep 28, 2016

The Americas are now free of measles, the first region in the world to achieve that goal, the Pan American Health Organization announced this week. The success is credited to the effectiveness of mass vaccination programs over the past 22 years.

The Senate voted Wednesday to give families of 9/11 victims the right to sue the Saudi Arabian government, overriding President Obama's veto for the first time.

The vote was lopsided, with 97 Senators voting in favor of the override, well above the two-thirds majority needed to overcome the president's objection. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid cast the lone "no" vote. Senators Tim Kaine, D-Va. and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt. did not vote.

The last surviving leader of Israel's founding generation, Shimon Peres was a three-time prime minister, the architect of the country's secretive nuclear program and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to make peace with the Palestinians.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

The World Health Organization says 92 percent of the world's population breathes air containing pollutants exceeding WHO limits, in new research released Tuesday.

Few things inspire more loathing in the hearts of high school students than the words "extra homework." But as Florence Mattei hands out a pamphlet to her homeroom class at the Southlands School in Rome, she tells them they may want to give this assignment a chance.

"Who would like to read what it's about?" she asks the room full of 18-year-olds.

A senior named Alessio translates from Italian into English: "For the people born in 1998 there is a 500-euro bonus that you can spend on cultural things, such as going to the cinema, visiting museums and this kind of stuff."

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Along one side of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a fence lines a sorghum field where a family of gorillas readies for a nap a few hundred feet away.

Virunga, Africa's oldest national park, is about double the size of Rhode Island. It's home to hundreds of the world's 880 wild mountain gorillas.

But agricultural encroachment poses a major threat. Fields of crops are creeping into the habitat of the park's wildlife, so there's less forest — and less food, water and shelter — for the animals.

Fidel Castro and his rag-tag band of fighters assembled on the shores of Mexico, stealthily navigated their overcrowded boat to southeastern Cuba, and unleashed a 1956 insurgency that rocked all of Latin America. That temblor lasted 60 years and ended, more or less, on Monday.

A militant has been found guilty of a war crime for intentionally destroying cultural sites — a first for the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Ahmed al-Faqi al-Mahdi has been sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in the destruction of nine mausoleums and the door of a mosque in the Malian city of Timbuktu in 2012. The sites were destroyed by "individuals, some armed with weapons, with a variety of tools, including pickaxes and iron bars," according to court documents.

The U.S. is targeting a Chinese company and the people who run it for allegedly helping North Korea with its nuclear weapons program. It closely follows the North's fifth nuclear test, which took place earlier this month.

"Each new nuclear test...spurs this kind of scramble to do something," says John Delury, a professor of international relations at Seoul's Yonsei University. "And sanctions is the kind of preferred choice."

It's well-known that Dear Leader was crazy about movies. What's less known — at least in the West — is that infamous North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il was so crazy about them that he kidnapped a South Korean actress and a movie director in 1978 and forced them to work for him for years. That story is the subject of a new documentary called The Lovers and the Despot.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head to head Monday night in the first presidential debate.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact check.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that he's interested in offering trade alliances and long-term land leases to China and Russia.

Duterte said he realized he'd be "crossing the Rubicon" with the U.S., his country's close ally and former colonial ruler.

Republican lawmakers are accusing the Obama administration of allowing countries like Russia, China and Iran to take control over the Internet. Their beef with the administration focuses on a relatively obscure nonprofit overseen by the U.S. government that is scheduled to become fully independent Saturday.

The organization is called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN for short. Its history traces back to a graduate student at UCLA named Jon Postel.

A shriek went up around the young executives of a start-up company as they made their way to a beaming Bill Clinton. They had just won the million dollar Hult Prize for an idea they dreamed up and launched over the last 12 months.

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