World News

Middle East
5:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

U.N. Inspectors Leave Damascus

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Middle East
2:58 am
Sat August 31, 2013

How A Reluctant Obama Ended Up Preparing For A Strike

President Obama discusses the situation in Syria on Friday from the White House Cabinet Room.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 10:06 am

Is President Obama falling into a trap of his own making?

The Obama administration has assiduously avoid intervening in Syria, where more than two years of conflict has left upwards of 100,000 people dead.

Even against that backdrop of so much suffering, there's a case to be made that the use of chemical weapons is an entirely different matter.

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It's All Politics
5:33 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

6 Things To Keep In Mind As Obama Confronts Syria

President Obama pauses after answering questions from the news media during his meeting with Baltic leaders at the White House on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 6:07 pm

As President Obama attempts to make good on his threats to punish Syrian officials for crossing a "red line" by allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, he's being buffeted by political crosscurrents.

Some arise from the structure of U.S. democracy itself, and the balance of powers between the branches. Others emerge from the nation's particular state of mind after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here are six points to keep in mind as Obama considers how best to demonstrate American resolve to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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Parallels
3:46 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

How Do You Say ...? For Some Words, There's No Easy Translation

Ella Frances Sanders Maptia

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Just as good writing demands brevity, so, too, does spoken language. Sentences and phrases get whittled down over time. One result: single words that are packed with meaning, words that are so succinct and detailed in what they connote in one language that they may have no corresponding word in another language.

Such words aroused the curiosity of the folks at a website called Maptia, which aims to encourage people to tell stories about places.

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Middle East
2:55 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

More Than 400 Children Among Those Killed In Syrian Attack

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:01 pm

The U.S. intelligence community has released its declassified analysis of the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria. The analysis concludes that Syria's government is likely responsible for the attack, which, it says, killed some 1,400 people.

Food
2:55 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Following Spain's Roast Suckling Pig From Farm To Table

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 1:53 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

All summer we've been traveling the world hearing about what other cultures put on their grills. We call it the Global Grill. Today, reporter Lauren Frayer brings us a treat enjoyed throughout the Spanish-speaking world, but she offers her apologies. The Cochinillo asado isn't exactly cooked on a grill, but it is cooked on an outdoor fire in a clay pot. Lauren tells us the dish comes from the ancient kingdom of Castile in central Spain and has made literary appearances dating back hundreds of years.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Sports
2:55 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Li Na One Of Few Athletes To Break From China's Sports System

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The U.S. Open is underway in New York. The top tennis players from all over the world are competing. On the women's side, Li Na of China, the sixth ranked female player in the world, today advanced to the fourth round with a win over Laura Robson of Britain. Li Na has had a remarkable career. She won the French Open in 2011, making her the only athlete from Asia to win a Grand Slam singles title.

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Middle East
2:55 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

In Damascus, Army And Civilians Scramble For Safe Havens

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. U.N. weapons inspectors visited a military hospital in Damascus today. There, they saw the effects of what the Syrian government says were chemical weapons attacks by rebel fighters. The inspectors have already collected samples from a rebel-held suburb that was allegedly struck with chemical weapons more than a week ago, early on August 21st.

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World
2:44 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Examining Jamaica's Homophobia

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 10:03 am

Jamaica is known for beaches and warm weather, but for many gay and lesbian people living on the island, it's a place of hatred. A documentary, The Abominable Crime shines a light on homophobia and anti-gay violence in Jamaica. Host Michel Martin finds out more from filmmaker Micah Fink and human rights activist Maurice Tomlinson. This segment initially aired July 22, 2013 on Tell Me More.

The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

What's Next In Syria? A Sampling Of Opinion

A Tomahawk cruise missile lifts off from the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) in 2011. If a U.S. strike against Syria goes ahead, what comes next?
U.S. Navy Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:36 pm

As a U.S. military strike on Syria looks increasingly likely in the next few hours or days, various publications are weighing in on what such an attack would accomplish and what would happen next.

Here's a sampling of opinion:

The BBC's Tara McKelvey says:

"The US military would most likely use Tomahawk cruise missiles for an attack on the Syrian government forces. These missiles are now stored on destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Bag It, Trader Joe's Tells 'Pirate' Grocer In Canada

"I bought the stuff at full retail. I own it," says Michael Hallatt, owner of the _irate Joe's grocery in Vancouver. His store faces a lawsuit from Trader Joe's for infringing on its trademark and possibly confusing customers.
_irate Joe's

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 1:24 pm

For the past year and a half, Mike Hallatt has been driving across the U.S.-Canada border and back, bringing loads of groceries back to Vancouver. There's no food shortage in Canada — but there's an absolute lack of Trader Joe's grocery stores, and that created an opening for an entrepreneur who doesn't mind making a long drive.

Originally called Pirate Joe's, Hallatt's store serves a niche market: Canadians who wish Trader Joe's was in their country and who will pay a bit extra for triple ginger snaps and fanciful trail mixes.

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Parallels
10:16 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Where U.S. Allies Stand On A Strike Against Syria

Anti-war protesters rally outside Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Britain's Parliament rejected the country's involvement in any military action against Syria. The U.K. government had been among those seeking a strong response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:15 pm

International outrage was palpable last week following reports that Syria used chemical weapons near the capital, Damascus. But now, as President Obama contemplates a strike against Syria, there's only limited support for military action.

Here's a look at countries that have criticized Syria and where they stand on intervention:

Britain

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Defectors Think Most North Koreans Approve Of Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Mr. Popularity?
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 11:45 am

While public opinion polling hasn't exactly caught on in North Korea, a survey of defectors estimates that more than half of the country they left behind approves of the job leader Kim Jong Un is doing.

Seoul's Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, as reported by Yonhap news agency, asked 133 defectors to hazard a guess as to Kim's actual approval rating in the country, which at least publicly buys into the absolute cult of personality surrounding its leadership.

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Middle East
2:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

White House Presses On With Plans To Strike Syria

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Preparations for a military strike against Syria continue. The Obama administration says action is necessary, because the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people last week, killing hundreds.

WERTHEIMER: All week, the administration has been claiming their case is open and shut.

(SOUNDBITE OF STATEMENTS)

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Middle East
2:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

If The U.S. Strikes, What Are The Targets Inside Syria?

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, one of the people urging President Obama to act on intelligence findings and strike against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is retired General Jack Keane. He served in an advisory role in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and he's now chairman of the board of the Institute for the Study of War. Keane says he has not been involved in the most recent talks about Syria, but he has a long history of military planning at the highest levels, and he gave us a window into the planning that's going on now.

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Middle East
2:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Iran Warns Against U.S. Military Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 6:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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World
4:24 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

U.K. Vote Against Syria Strike A Major Setback For Obama

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So where does this leave the Obama administration? For more on that, I'm joined by NPR's Mara Liasson. And Mara, what's the White House reaction been to this vote in the British Parliament tonight?

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World
4:19 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

U.K. Lawmakers Vote Against Syria Strike

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 4:04 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

British Parliament Closes Door On Syria Intervention

The Houses of Parliament are silhouetted against a setting sun as lawmakers debate possible British military action in Syria.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:35 pm

After debating deep into the night, the British House of Commons refused a precursory resolution on military strikes in Syria. The resolution, which failed 272-285, called for a second vote to authorize military action once the U.N. inspectors have issued their findings on whether the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against its own people.

"It is clear to me the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action," Prime Minister David Cameron said. "I get that and the government will act accordingly."

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Middle East
3:34 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Why Syria Is More Complicated Than Libya

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:23 pm

The Arab spring has brought large-scale protests and violence to at least half a dozen countries in the past three years. Until now, the U.S. has only intervened militarily in one of them — Libya.

Now, as President Obama considers a strike on Syria, here's a look at some of the differences between the two scenarios:

1. Syria's Not Standing Alone

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Business
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Threat Of U.S. Strike In Syria Drives Up Oil Prices

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Crude oil prices are up about 20 percent over the past two months. On Tuesday, the price of the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, hit $109. Events in Syria are driving the price spike. Syria doesn't produce much oil, but there is great concern that the conflict there might spill over and involve other Persian Gulf nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Middle East
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Reporter Describes Apprehensive, Frightened Mood In Syria

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Melissa Block talks to BBC reporter Jeremy Bowen about the situation on the ground in Syria from the capital of Damascus.

Middle East
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

U.K. Position Makes Syria Strike More Complicated For U.S.

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

A UN weapons inspection team is due to leave Syria on Saturday, but it will take time for them to review all of the material they've gathered about an alleged chemical weapons attack. The British government now says it will wait to hear the report before taking any military action to punish Bashar al-Assad's regime. That leaves the U.S. in an awkward position. It has written off the UN route because of Russia's opposition to any action.

Europe
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Cameron Has A Hard Time Selling Syria Strike To Parliament

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Around the world today, there are deliberations about Syria. The governments of the U.S., France and Britain are pushing for action in response to last week's alleged chemical weapons attack. They blame the Syrian government for the deaths of hundreds of people outside Damascus.

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The Salt
1:17 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Your Kitchen Spices Can Often Harbor Salmonella

Pepper is the spice most commonly contaminated with salmonella and other pathogens.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 2:59 pm

Spice may be nice, but spices also can carry very bad bugs. About 7 percent of spices tested by Food and Drug Administration researchers were contaminated with salmonella, which can cause serious illness and death. Because of this finding and others, the FDA and international food safety organizations are putting more effort into how to reduce the risk.

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Parallels
12:16 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

A Rare Wedding Offers Syrians A Brief Respite From War Talk

The bride, groom and wedding party celebrate Thursday in the Syrian capital, Damascus. It was a brief respite for residents of the neighborhood who were expecting U.S.- or NATO-led airstrikes.
For NPR

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:26 pm

The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified for safety reasons.

In a west Damascus neighborhood Thursday, a drumbeat all too rare drew people to their windows and balconies. Passersby stopped to investigate. Traffic came to a halt. Some drivers honked to the beat.

They were the drums of a wedding, a tradition known in Damascus as an arada. It involves a troupe of professional drummers, along with dozens of members of a wedding party, that picks up the groom from home.

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Parallels
11:57 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Too Weird To Be True? In China, You Never Can Tell

A zoo in central China's Henan province swapped a dog — a Tibetan mastiff like the one shown here — for a lion, in another story that recently swept Chinese cyberspace.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:47 pm

Here are some of the recent news stories that went viral in China that you may have missed:

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Spain's Tomato Festival Shrinks, As Town Pares Crowd Size

Ammunition in the form of tomatoes are thrown to a crowd gathered for the annual Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain, near Valencia, Wednesday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

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.

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Africa
10:01 am
Thu August 29, 2013

In Egypt's Political Turmoil, Middle Ground Is The Loneliest

The protesters who opposed Hosni Mubarak two years ago, like these demonstrators in Cario's Tahrir Square on Feb. 8, 2011, have been pushed to the sidelines in the current confrontation.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Egypt is quieter these days. Protests against the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi have subsided for now. And the military-appointed interim government is firmly in charge.

Yet, Egypt remains deeply polarized. And the middle is a lonely place to be.

Some of the young revolutionaries who led the 2011 uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak feel they are back to square one, battling authoritarian forces on both sides.

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Parallels
9:39 am
Thu August 29, 2013

The Drums Of War, Poolside Edition

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, center, chains his hands with his counterparts from Vietnam, right, and Thailand before the ASEAN meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, on Thursday. The trip's message: The U.S. is committed to its "rebalance" toward the Asia-Pacific region.
Vincent Thian AP

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.

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