Ten years after the Iraq War began, NPR is catching up with people we encountered during the conflict. Back in 2008, NPR's armored car was targeted with a so-called sticky bomb in Baghdad. Ali Hamdani, an Iraqi who worked for NPR as a translator and producer, narrowly escaped. Shortly afterward, he left Iraq for the Unites States as a refugee.
In practical terms, a project known as E-1 would provide 3,000 or so new housing units for Israelis in an area between east Jerusalem — which the Palestinians hope will someday be their capital — and the large Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumim.
But numbers can be deceiving: Palestinians are renewing their objections to the growing number of Israeli settlements, and many fear E-1 could tip the balance in a way that makes an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement impossible.
Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 12:42 pm
Cyprus lawmakers rejected a $13 billion bailout package that included controversial taxes on bank deposits. The proposed tax would have helped to pay for the bailout of crumbling banks. NPR's Marilyn Geewax explains how the events in Cyprus could affect the global economy and what may happen next.
Colin Wolfe was killed in Iraq in August 2006. A roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Anbar province just a few weeks after he arrived. He was one of almost 4,500 U.S. service members killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012. Nearly seven years later, on the heels of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, his mother paid tribute to her son with a ballet.
"You're taking something which is horrible ... and turning it into something which is beautiful and life-affirming," Amy Wolfe tells NPR's Lynn Neary. "That's the way art is."
The tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are one of many long-standing conflicts often described as intractable. Conflict negotiation experts employ various strategies to tackle big problems, ranging from divorce and property management to ethnic, religious and international conflict.
Heron Island is located on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, about 25 miles off the northeast coast of Australia.
Credit Richard Harris / NPR
Sophie Dove (right) and Annamieke Van Den Heuvel of the Coral Reef Ecosystems Laboratory at the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, check on part of an experiment on the effects of water temperature and carbon dioxide levels on coral reefs.
Credit Courtesy of Sophie Dove
This composite image of pots used in the experiment shows how healthy coral (left) is dramatically affected by higher carbon dioxide levels and sea temperatures (right).
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 9:02 am
NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 1: Richard gets a hefty dose of bad news.
Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:23 am
While state-controlled media in Syria are claiming that opposition forces are responsible for what may have been a chemical weapon attack Tuesday in the city of Aleppo, rebel spokesman Qassim Saadeddine is telling Reuters that the opposition was "not behind this attack."
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS RINGING)
INSKEEP: That's the sound of bells in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, as Pope Francis celebrated his inaugural Mass today. The ceremony was infused with meaning, both in the substance of what the new pope said and the symbolism of how he was presented.
NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Rome.
Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:14 am
With less silk, lace and gold than many of his predecessors displayed, Pope Francis on Tuesday was inaugurated at a Holy Mass in St. Peter's Square during which he appealed to world leaders to be protectors of the poor and the environment, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
President Obama lands in Israel tomorrow for his first visit to that key American ally as president. He'll also visit sites in the West Bank. The White House has tried to keep expectations low for this visit, but many Israelis are excited and have attached high hopes to Obama's trip.
NPR's Larry Abramson spoke with Israelis and Palestinians, and has this report.
Pope Francis is formally inaugurated in a mass in St. Peter's Square Tuesday. Leaders from all over the world are attending. In less than a week, the pope has made himself known to the Catholic world and beyond for his direct and simple words and gestures.
Syria's opposition coalition in exile has elected a prime minister who, until recently, hailed from Texas. The new leader is charged with putting together an interim government to oversee rebel-held areas of the country. After months of infighting, the coalition selected an information technology executive to do the job. NPR's Peter Kenyon has more from Istanbul on the challenges he'll face.
An Iraqi policeman stands guard at a checkpoint decorated with plastic flowers in Baghdad in 2008.
Credit Hadi Mizban / AP
In this Wednesday, March 13, 2013 photo, traffic drives through Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, Iraq. Ten years after the start of the war, bullet holes still pockmark buildings, and towers wrecked by U.S. missiles and tank shells have not fully been rebuilt.
Cyprus is facing a run on its banks after the government proposed taxing bank deposits. The government has put off a vote on the plan in a bid to calm things down. Banks are set to re-open on Thursday after a bank holiday was declared on Monday.
As Jim Zarroli mentioned, Russians are the main foreign depositors in Cyprus. They've used the island as an offshore haven, thanks to low taxes and lax regulations, same things that have lured some rich Americans to bank in, say, the Cayman Islands. Well, according to Moody's Investor Services, Russian banks and businesses have around $30 billion in Cypriot accounts and that's why today, Russian President Vladimir Putin lost no time in denouncing the tax on bank accounts as unfair, unprofessional and dangerous. Those were his words.
The winners of the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering were announced Monday in London. Five Internet pioneers — Marc Andreessen, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn, and Louis Pouzin — will share the honor and the one million pound prize. The new U.K.-based award aims to be a "Nobel Prize" for engineering. Robert Siegel talks to Lord Browne of Madingley about the winners.
Guatemala's former dictator Efrain Rios Montt arrives in court Jan. 31 in Guatemala City to stand trial on genocide charges. On Tuesday, the prosecution will present its case in the trial.
Credit Moises Castillo / AP
Members of the Ixil ethnic group who lost relatives in a massacre during Guatemala's long civil war wait to enter a courtroom where former ruler Efrain Rios Montt (1982-1983) faces charges of genocide.
In a Guatemalan courtroom Tuesday, prosecutors will present their case against a former military dictator who ruled during one of the bloodiest periods in the Central American nation's 36-year civil war.
Efrain Rios Montt is accused of genocide in the murder of tens of thousands of Guatemala's Indians. Human rights advocates and the families of victims have struggled for years to bring him before the court, and they say it is the first trial in Latin America of a former president in the country where he ruled.
Ten years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. This is an NPR news special. I'm Tom Gjelten. Neal Conan is away. March 2003, U.S. troops sped up across the desert from Kuwait into Iraq. The goal was to topple Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator. Resistance to the invasion was light. Within weeks, the Hussein regime had fallen.
As Syria's revolt enters a third year, Syria's political opposition is meeting in Istanbul this week to choose a rebel government, despite opposition from the Obama administration.
Twelve candidates are in the running to lead the efforts, including an economist, a former agriculture minister and an IT specialist who is overseeing the Syrian National Coalition's aid operation on the Turkish border.
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 8:46 am
The U.S. still leads the world in one area — arms sales. But even there, China is closing the gap.
Made-in-China weapons have moved into the No. 5 slot, displacing U.K.-manufactured arms, but the Asian giant still trails far behind the U.S. and Russia, whose weapons account for 30 percent and 26 percent of the market, respectively, according to a new report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on Monday.
About 80 percent of Afghans live in the countryside, so what happens there is key to that country's future. Let's go now and hear now about a successful effort at involving communities in their own development. It's called the National Solidarity Program. Funded by international aid, it distributes small grants to rural villages so villagers can choose what projects they need most. They do this through democratically elected community development councils, councils that include both men and women.
We're also marking a milestone today. Two years ago this week, the Arab Spring spread to Syria. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest against their government. Back then, they called it a revolution. Some still do. But Syria's uprising has become a civil war with tens of thousands killed. Many more Syrians are now living in exile, including the young Syrians NPR's Rima Marrouch found in Beirut.
Despite Afghanistan's fierce winter, it's rare to find a house with insulation or a modern heating system. So Afghans rely on bukharis, stoves that look like an oil drum with a big rusty pipe growing out of the top that bends off into a hole in the wall.
That fact keeps the hundreds of wood vendors around Kabul quite happy. This winter, NPR staff fed several tons of firewood into their bukhari — and that's just one house in a city of about 5 million people.
People queue to use an ATM outside of a Laiki Bank branch in Larnaca, Cyprus, on Saturday. Many rushed to cooperative banks after learning that the terms of a bailout deal with international lenders includes a one-time levy on bank deposits.
There's news from Cyprus that could have broader implications for Europe when the eurozone's banks open Monday.
It comes a day after officials from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund signed off on a $13 billion bailout for Cyprus. The money was needed because Cyprus' banks lost 4.5 billion euros on their Greek bond holdings, which were written down last year after Greece's second bailout.