The Tomatina Festival, the famous free-for-all in which partiers pelt one another with ripe tomatoes, was held in Bunol, Spain, Wednesday. The big party that has become an international sensation in recent years was smaller than usual in 2013 — for the first time, the town sold a limited number of tickets for 10 euros (about $13.25) to indulge in the huge food fight.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:11 pm
NPR's Larry Abramson is traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus, or ASEAN Plus. Larry sent us this dispatch:
You cannot hear the drums of war here in Brunei, but you can hear the surf from the Brunei coast, or the sounds of splashing from the humongous pools here at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:51 pm
The Netherlands is a famously tolerant and welcoming place. But the Dutch social affairs minister says he's worried about too many immigrants coming from Bulgaria and Romania, and he's tapped into wider fears in the European Union about foreign workers.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:41 pm
India says it has nabbed the co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen, a terrorist organization that has been blamed for attacks throughout the country.
NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi that Yasin Bhatkal was arrested near India's border with Nepal. He's wanted in connection with several attacks, including a 2010 bombing at a bakery that killed 17 people in the western Indian city of Pune.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:26 am
It's not news that Hong Kong, which brags one of the world's most stunning skylines, has been gradually losing it behind a curtain of smog.
But the Chinese territory's latest solution is new: To placate camera-clicking tourists unable to get those iconic shots of the skyscraper-studded waterfront, Hong Kong has set up a panoramic backdrop with clear, blue skies.
The Chinese website Netease published a series of pictures of tourists posing in front of the backdrop.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:28 am
Saying that there are "no plausible alternative scenarios," the U.K.'s Joint Intelligence Organisation released a statement Thursday to support the conclusion reached by U.S. and British officials that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for what's said to have been a chemical weapons attack last week near Damascus.
That attack, U.S. and British officials say, killed more than 300 people and may have injured several thousand more.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
This morning in Syria, U.N. inspectors continue their investigation into last week's chemical weapons attack, which apparently killed hundreds of civilians. The U.N. plans for the inspection team to be in Syria's capital, Damascus, until Saturday.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:25 am
In London, Prime Minister David Cameron had planned to get backing from Parliament Thursday – approving a possible military intervention. Instead, he's been forced to back down. The Labour Party announced it would vote against military action in Syria.
Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 6:34 am
When you go to the Dead Sea for a float in its extraordinarily buoyant waters, signs warn you not to drink a drop. "Did you swallow water?" one Dead Sea do's and don'ts list asks. "Go immediately to the lifeguard."
So what legal justification might the Obama administration use to justify military strikes on Syria? To help us better understand the legal rules behind intervention, we turn to John Bellinger. He was legal advisor for the State Department and the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration. Welcome to the program.
JOHN BELLINGER: Thanks, Melissa, it's nice to be here.
The Obama administration appears poised to attack Syria after concluding Bashar Assad's government used chemical weapons, but many members of Congress say they haven't been briefed enough about why military action is warranted.
Opinions about Syria are all over the map, with many lawmakers saying the president cannot proceed without first getting authorization from Congress.
Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 6:33 am
While much of the world is lining up against Syria, the country is not entirely friendless, and it's hoping its allies can provide at least some cover in the confrontation over its apparent use of chemical weapons.
Russia and China are almost certain to block any U.N. resolution that could be used to authorize force against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The New York Times' website isn't working for us, and many other users, again this morning. As All Tech Considered reported Tuesday evening, the Times appears to be the victim of another hacking by the Syrian Electronic Army — a pro-Assad organization that has previously taken over the websites of other U.S.
From 'Morning Edition': Alastair Crooke on the crisis in Syria
Some of the latest developments related to the crisis in Syria and the increasing likelihood that the U.S. and its allies will soon launch missile strikes on targets there in response to last week's alleged use of chemical weapons by the regime of President Bashar Assad:
And now let's hear another skeptical view of the benefits of U.S. military strikes in Syria. Alastair Crooke has been a Mideast adviser to the European Union and also a British intelligence officer. He runs Conflicts Forum, which says it seeks to increase Western understanding of Islam.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
A possible strike on Syria could move closer to reality today.
GREENE: British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the U.K. will put a resolution before the U.N. Security Council, quote, "authorizing necessary measures to protect civilians caught up in the civil war there."
A strike against Syria will almost certainly fail to win the support of the U.N. Security Council. That is because of Russian opposition, and the Chinese also oppose it. Why are the Russians so determined in their support of the Syrian regime despite Western claims that Bashar al-Assad's army has committed an atrocious war crime?
If the United States takes military action against Syria, it will not act alone. Its allies will certainly play a role, including Britain. NPR's Philip Reeves says the British government has already launched an offensive to win public support for military intervention.
PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: U.N. inspectors in Syria have yet to deliver their conclusions. But Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, seems pretty sure he already knows who's to blame for last week's attack that killed hundreds of Syrian civilians.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The Arab League says those behind last week's chemical weapons attack in Syria must face justice. The call came at an emergency meeting in Cairo, one day after the U.S. announced it has little doubt that Bashar al-Assad's regime was responsible for gassing civilians. The Obama administration says it has not yet decided whether to strike Syria but is consulting with allies, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 1:54 pm
The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified out of safety concerns.
Most residents of Damascus believe that a U.S. military strike is on the horizon, but few think it will have a dramatic impact on the course of a war that has already been raging for more than two years.
Those who follow the government line often speak about a U.S. conspiracy to overthrow the country's leader, Bashar Assad, as other Arab leaders have been toppled in recent years.