Voters go to the polls in Honduras to elect a new president on Sunday. It's the first open election with all parties participating since a coup overthrew the left-leaning government in 2009.
The elections come at a difficult time for the longtime U.S. ally. Two-thirds of its people live in poverty, unemployment is soaring and the murder rate is one of the highest in the world due to drug traffickers and gang violence.
In Afghanistan, a grand assembly of some 2,500 tribal elders, politicians and civil society elites are meeting to decide whether to approve a security agreement with the United States. Approval by the grand assembly, called a loya jirga, would be in addition to the OK of the Afghan government. But as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has noted, the agreement can't go forward without the backing of the Afghan people. The security agreement would allow as many as 9,000 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after the current NATO mission ends next year.
Public transit vehicles may be the key to China's success in the U.S. auto market. Chinese company BYD, based in Shenzhen, is manufacturing electric buses. It's an appealing option for a place like California, where emission standards are strict.
At BYD's North American headquarters in Los Angeles, one of the 40-foot electric K9 buses sits on display. BYD Fleet Sales Manager James Holtz sits in the driver's seat and pushes the power button on the dashboard.
Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 10:15 am
The anti-poverty group Oxfam is asking Pepsi's shareholders to approve a resolution that, if passed, would force the company to disclose its sugar suppliers and investigate whether those suppliers are implicated in "land grabs" that unfairly take land from the poor.
Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 12:22 pm
Once again raising expectations that a deal over Iran's nuclear program is at hand, Secretary of State John Kerry joined the foreign ministers of the U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany in Geneva to try to hammer out an agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear work in exchange for the loosening of some sanctions.
In 1944, on the orders of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the entire population of Tatars on the Crimean Peninsula was rounded up and sent to the deserts of Soviet Central Asia.
Nearly 70 years after that wartime atrocity, the Tatar population is still working to reassert itself in its homeland.
Mullah Ziyatdin, 82, was just 12 when he and his family were rousted in the middle of the night, ordered to gather a few belongings and shoved into freight cars for a nightmarish three-week journey. The freight-car doors were opened every few days.
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 2:06 pm
It looks like our ancestors from the Bronze Age were way bigger lushes than we had ever realized.
Archaeologists have discovered a personal wine cellar in a palace that dates back to 1700 B.C. It's the oldest cellar known, and the personal stash was massive.
More than 500 gallons of wine were once stored in a room connected to the palace, located in modern-day northern Israel, scientists said Friday at a conference in Baltimore. That's enough vino to fill 3,000 wine bottles — or a seven-person hot tub.
While international relief efforts in the Philippines are in high gear, efforts by the Philippine government have been hampered. There are bitter rivalries among the country's political clans. And two major political families - including that of the president - are sparring over the response to the disaster. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has that story.
It's been two weeks since the typhoon devastated Tacloban city in the Philippines. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy is in Tacloban overseeing U.S. military relief efforts in the Philippines, and he says the city is picking up the pieces, businesses are re-opening and he sees signs up hope in the residents. Kennedy gives Melissa Block an update on the state of affairs in the country.
Now we take a moment to highlight and salute another artist. Jazz-great Arturo Sandoval received the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week from President Obama. Sandoval was born and raised in Cuba, where he was once jailed just for listening to jazz music. So he packed up his trumpet and moved to the United States. A country he says gave him the freedom to fill the air with his music. Here's what the president said about him at the ceremony.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we visit the Barbershop and ask the guys to reflect on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination in Dallas. That's in just a few minutes.
In Norway, it's "Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, all of the great days" rolled into one: That's because 22-year-old Magnus Carlsen has beaten the defending champion, India's Viswanathan Anand, to be crowned chess world champion.
The world No. 1's victory Friday over Anand, the world No. 8 and an Indian fan favorite, came after 10 games in Chennai, India. Carlsen won three and drew seven, and earned the highest rating of all time with the 6.5-3.5 win.
Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
" 'Protest' doesn't seem accurate to me," she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "We weren't thinking of a 'protest' song, we're thinking of a 'let's get together and do something pro-active, creative and productive' song."
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 7:10 am
As feared, the number of confirmed deaths in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan continues to rise as authorities search through destroyed buildings and as they reach remote areas that were devastated when the storm blew through on Nov. 8.
This Sunday, a presidential election will be held in Honduras. Nine candidates are vying to lead the Central American country. The top two contenders are the candidate from the ruling party that took power in a 2009 coup and the wife of the former president who was deposed in that coup. Crime and the economy are the big issues in a country with the world's highest homicide rate, rampant drug and gang violence, and a government that's mired in debt. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from the Honduran capital.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:44 pm
Seven EU countries say they want to join forces and start making their own military drones by 2020 rather than relying on the Americans.
The EU Observer website reported that the proposed "Medium Altitude Long Endurance (Male) craft ... can be used to strike military targets or for surveillance of migrant boats in the Mediterranean Sea."
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:25 pm
The U.S. military has been fighting in Afghanistan for 12 years, and its future role could be determined, or at least heavily influenced, in the next few days by an Afghan Loya Jirga.
So, what is a Loya Jirga?
It's a "grand assembly," an Afghan tradition dating back at least three centuries, that brings together elders and community leaders from across the land to discuss matters of major national importance.
A very disturbing story is emerging from the U.K.:
-- "Two people have been arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude at a house in London sparked by a report on Sky News. The inquiry was launched after one of three alleged victims told a charity she had been held against her will for more than 30 years." (Sky News)
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:53 am
The family and friends of an 85-year-old California grandfather have appealed to North Korean officials to release the man, who reportedly has been held by authorities in the communist state since Oct. 26.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 10:15 am
As Afghan elders debate whether to approve a proposed security agreement with the U.S., there's word that President Obama has said the U.S. will respect Afghanistan's sovereignty and carry out raids on Afghan homes only under extraordinary circumstances, The Associated Press writes.
The wire service says Obama made that pledge in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. It adds that:
Steve Inskeep talks to William Dalrymple about his upcoming piece in The New York Times Magazine entitled: "How is Hamid Karzai Still Standing?" Dalrymple recently wrote the book, Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42.