This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The trial of a former high-flying Chinese politician began this week. Bo Xilai is accused of corruption, bribery and stealing millions of dollars, and the possible implications for China's leadership could be huge. We're joined now by Cheng Li. He's the director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
Sandwiched between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, the island of Idjwi had no Internet access until last month. Host Scott Simon speaks with Jacques Sebisaho, a doctor and native of Idjwi Island, about how the community has responded to the Internet.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Egypt continues to grapple with fallout from the military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in July. President Morsi was propelled to electoral power through the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, the organization is under intense pressure as security forces arrest its members. Many hundreds have been killed in a security crackdown and a political solution seems all but impossible. And some fear that Egypt is returning to a military state. NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.
China's Communist Party had hoped a high profile corruption trial this week would send a message that the party punishes its own and operates under the rule of law. But so far, the trail of former Politburo member Bo Xilai hasn't quite worked out that way. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports on how China's biggest case in decades is toying with the expectations of the millions of people following the trial.
The partial reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, which was the focus of a recent terror alert, suggests that the immediate threat of a terrorist attack has passed. Officials cannot be certain whether the alert disrupted planning for a possible attack, whether the threat was a bluff or whether the intelligence that led to the alert was flawed. The issuance of warnings is a specialty within the intelligence community, but the recent episode underscores how much uncertainty surrounds the field.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. There are growing calls for international military action if it's proved that Syria used chemical weapons in an attack this week that's believed to have killed more than 1,000 people. Britain, France and Turkey are among those calling for a forceful response. In an interview today on CNN, President Obama sounded a cautious note.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama continued his back-to-school bus tour today, visiting college campuses in New York and Pennsylvania. Back here in Washington, D.C., administration officials wrestled with how the U.S. should respond to this week's alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Obama says Wednesday's attack around Damascus, if verified, raises grave concern and could threaten core national interests of the United States.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 2:14 pm
A military jury has sentenced Robert Bales, the U.S. Army staff sergeant who admitted to killing 16 Afghan civilians in 2012, to life in prison without parole. During the punishment hearings held this week, Bales was confronted by family members of victims and people who survived the attacks of March 11, 2012.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 12:04 pm
Syria's war has reached another grim milestone: Two United Nations agencies announced Friday that 1 million Syrian children have now fled their homeland in an uprising and civil war that's well into its third year.
The accompanying slide show provides a glimpse of some of these children and the conditions they are living in.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee, Michel Martin is away. Coming up, for some music fans, Robin Thicke's megahit "Blurred Lines" sounds distinctly familiar, kind of like an old Marvin Gaye song. The Barbershop guys step to the mic with their verdict. That's ahead. But first, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington has given the nation an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King and the movement that he helped to shape.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 10:17 am
Authorities in India say they've arrested one man and identified four others in the alleged gang rape of a young photojournalist, apparently the latest victim in a series of recent sexual assaults that have shaken the country.
NPR's Julie McCarthy reports that the woman, in her early 20s, and a male colleague were doing a photo shoot of old buildings in south Mumbai when the incident took place early Thursday evening local time.
From 'Morning Edition': Anthony Kuhn on the trial of Bo Xilai
Chinese authorities clamped down Friday on information coming out of the high-profile corruption trial of one-time rising political star Bo Xilai.
As NPR's Anthony Kuhn reported on Morning Edition, during Thursday's opening day in court Bo appeared to run circles around the judges and prosecutors. He denied any guilt, claimed a confession he gave had been coerced and called the testimony of his own wife "laughable."
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 12:05 pm
While the U.S. and its allies cannot move militarily against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime "without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence" that Assad's forces have used chemical weapons, the time within which a decision about such action must be made has been shortened, President Obama tells CNN.
A Canadian dentist bought one of John Lennon's molars at auction for $31,000. And now, Michael Zuk plans to use the tooth to clone the former Beatle. The DNA sequencing is already underway. But cloning technology is not quite there yet, so Zuk is biding his time in other ways. He released a parody song called "Love Me Tooth," as in...
(Singing) Love, love me tooth.
Sorry, I just did that. What would John Lennon think of all of this? Probably just say, let it be.
Chinese politician Bo Xilai is in court for a second day — accused of corruption and involvement in an attempted cover-up of his wife's murder of a British businessman. The trial opened on Thursday, and Bo put up a fierce defense. But on the second day, it appears he has been silenced.
In Egypt, members of the Muslim Brotherhood are trying to get supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi back into the streets.
But the military appears to be consolidating its power.
There were signs of Egypt's shifting fortunes on Thursday when former President Hosni Mubarak was flown from jail to house arrest in a hospital. A few dozen people celebrated outside the prison as Mubarak, 85, was ferried away by helicopter.
Mubarak's move to house arrest was just one development in a tumultuous week in the Middle East. The civil war in Syria also took a stunning turn. It appears chemical weapons were used in an attack on a rebel area on a far larger scale than anything that's been alleged before.
To reflect on the state of the region we called Shadee Hameed. He's an analyst with the Brookings Center in Doha and a frequent guest on our program. Good morning.
The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant is back in the news more than two years after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a series of meltdowns. New leaks found this week prompted regulators to consider raising the alert level there in Japan. NPR's science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel joined us to explain. Geoff, good morning.
Our next guest says the only thing that can unite all Egyptians is soccer. American Bob Bradley is coach of Egypt's national soccer team. They're closing in on a spot in next year's World Cup, something Egypt hasn't done since 1990. We reached Coach Bradley earlier in Cairo. Good morning to you, Coach, thanks for coming on the program.
BOB BRADLEY: No problem. It's good to be with you.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was released from prison on Thursday and immediately flown to a military hospital in Cairo. The court-ordered release does not mean the end of his problems. The 85-year-old Mubarak is still facing charges of conspiracy and murder in a re-trial that could begin as early as this weekend. A small group of Mubarak supporters gathered outside the prison for his release, but overall the decision to transfer him to the hospital has not ignited any street protests.
April 5, 2014 — that's the day Afghans are scheduled to head to the polls to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai. He's constitutionally banned from running for a third term. But, in a country that loves a good conspiracy theory, many think that Karzai will find some way to stay in power. Even if he doesn't, there are still many questions about how free and fair next year's vote will be.
The former politician Bo Xilai offered a spirited defense in court in China on Thursday, surprising observers who had expected a quick show trial to end the country's biggest political scandal in decades. However Bo was allowed to cross-examine witnesses and tell judges he had been framed in the bribery charges against him. He said he had confessed to the charges under psychological pressure during interrogation.
Hundreds of people are believed to have perished in an alleged government-launched chemical weapon attack earlier this week on the rebel stronghold of Ghouta, outside of Damascus. Melissa Blocks speaks with Abo Abdulrahman, a doctor from a field hospital there, who reports an enormous influx of patients coming into his clinic.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 3:43 pm
The international community once again rose in near unanimity to condemn a mass killing of civilians in Syria. But, as with so many previous episodes, no one proposed concrete action intended to prevent such bloodshed in the future.
The White House on Thursday expressed "deep concern" and urged a U.N. investigation into what the Syrian opposition says was a chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Wednesday that left hundreds dead.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 5:07 pm
In China, recent Communist Party show trials have featured cowed defendants acknowledging their crimes and offering apologies. Not this one.
The country's biggest trial in decades kicked off Thursday with the defendant, former politburo member Bo Xilai, denying guilt, claiming his confession was coerced and branding the testimony of one of his accusers — in this case his wife — "laughable."
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:38 am
When Hosni Mubarak was whisked out of prison by helicopter on Thursday, he did not become a free man. The former Egyptian leader, 85, was taken to a military hospital in Cairo, where he's under house arrest and still faces criminal charges.
But to many, the move was highly symbolic, the latest sign that the 2011 revolution is being rolled back and that the country's future is growing messier and more complicated by the day.