World News

The Two-Way
6:57 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Israel, Jordan, Palestinians Strike Water-Sharing Deal

The Gulf of Aqaba, near the Jordanian city of the same name. Under a new agreement, Jordan would build a desalination plant near here.
Jamal Nasrallah AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 8:59 am

Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians have agreed to a water-sharing pact that would see the construction of a desalination plant on the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea and bring "a long-awaited Red Sea-Dead Sea pipeline one step closer to completion," according to Reuters.

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Art & Design
3:47 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Royal Gardener Planted The Seed Of Urban Planning At Versailles

Andre Le Notre pumped in water from the Seine River to create the Grand Canal at Chateau of Versailles.
Boris Horvat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:45 am

France's Chateau of Versailles has pulled out all the stops for one of its favorite sons, gardener Andre Le Notre, who designed the palace's famous gardens. This year, to mark the 400th anniversary of Le Notre's birth, several of the garden's fountains are being restored and the chateau is hosting an exhibit on his life through February 2014.

Experts say Le Notre's work was so groundbreaking, it continues to influence contemporary urban architecture.

'The Interlocutor Of Kings'

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Asia
2:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Kim Jong Un Dismisses Uncle From Defense Post On State Television

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:45 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The signal from North Korea could not be anymore emphatic: Kim Jong Un is decisively in control. And he's gone so far as to purge his uncle, who was considered the number two power in North Korea, publicly on television.

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Europe
2:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Ukrainian Police Threaten To Drive Protesters Out Of City Buildings

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:45 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

We begin this hour in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. Riot police have surrounded the main square, the site of a week's long anti-government protest. Members of one of the main opposition party say armed troops raided their headquarters today and seized computer equipment. Police are also threatening to enforce a court order to drive protesters out of city buildings they've been occupying.

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
2:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Obama And Former Presidents To Attend Mandela Memorial

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

President Obama is leading a U.S. delegation to South Africa that includes three former presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to honor Nelson Mandela at a memorial service tomorrow. It's a unique show of respect for an extraordinary leader. But before he became a global icon, Mandela and his African National Congress had a complicated history with the U.S.

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Asia
2:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

For Working-Class Chinese, 'Picture Day' Is A Rare Treat

Zheng Jinrong poses with a portrait of herself and her grandson in a migrant village in Shanghai. She received the photographs as part of a global event to provide high-quality portraits for people who otherwise can't afford them.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:45 am

A holiday gift of sorts came early in more than 20 countries over the weekend, as volunteer photographers shot free, studio-quality portraits of more than 16,000 people who otherwise couldn't have afforded them.

A working-class neighborhood of Shanghai was among the more than 130 sites where the photo shoots took place, part of a global project inspired by Help-Portrait, a U.S.-based nonprofit.

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The Two-Way
11:22 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Singapore's Leader Urges Calm After Rare Riot

Riot police cordon off areas at Singapore's Race Course Road on Sunday to maintain order following a riot Sunday in the Little India neighborhood. Eighteen people were injured.
Then Chih Wey Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:47 pm

Singapore isn't usually known as a place simmering with tensions, but the city-state's first riot in more than 40 years has prompted the prime minister to urge calm.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Russia's Putin Scraps Major State-Run News Agency

Cars pass by the RIA Novosti information agency headquarters in Moscow on Monday. President Vladimir Putin named Dmitry Kiselyov, a controversial news anchor known for his ultraconservative views, to head a newly restructured state news agency.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:35 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin dissolved one of the country's official news agencies and an international radio broadcaster on Monday, setting up a new organization to be run by a news anchor known for his ultraconservative views.

RIA Novosti, the news agency, and Voice of Russia, the broadcaster, will be absorbed by a new entity, Russia Today.

Jessica Golloher is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Images Appear To Confirm Removal Of Top North Korean Official

A still image taken from North Korea's state-run television footage and released Monday shows Jang Song Thaek being forcibly removed by uniformed personnel from a meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang.
Yonhap/Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:42 pm

We told you last week about a report from North Korea that an uncle of Kim Jong Un, the country's leader, was dismissed from a key defense post.

The uncle in question is Jang Song Thaek, who is married to the sister of Kim's late father, Kim Jong Il. As NPR's Scott Neuman noted, there have been previous reports of Jang's dismissal only for him to be back in power, apparently rehabilitated. Well, not this time — or so it would seem.

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The Two-Way
9:12 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Thai Prime Minister Dissolves Parliament, Calls New Elections

Anti-government protesters carry a Thai national flag as they march Monday in Bangkok.
Sakchai Lalit AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:27 pm

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the country's Parliament on Monday and called early elections in the face of anti-government protests that began last month. But protest leaders said their goal was to rid Thai politics of her family's influence, and to that end, they want to replace Yingluck's elected government with an unelected "people's council."

A government spokesman said a new vote would be held Feb. 2, but the date must be approved by Thailand's Election Commission. Yingluck says she'll remain as caretaker leader until a new prime minister is named.

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Riot Police Dismantle Protest Camps In Ukraine's Capital

Activists who had backed Ukraine's plan to form closer ties to the European Union try to give food to riot police officers preparing to block the Independence Square in Kiev Monday.
Sergei Chuzavkov AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 10:44 am

Ukraine's government on Monday deployed riot police near Independence Square outside Kiev's City Hall, which has been occupied by anti-government protesters for more than a week.

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET: Police Reportedly Tear Down Protest Tents

Police have started to dismantle protest camps, the BBC and the AP report. The AP also says that police were tearing down barricades that had been erected in front of municipal buildings.

In another sign of tougher government tactics, an opposition party says their offices were raided.

From the AP:

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World
6:18 am
Mon December 9, 2013

A Boxing Champ Rises In Ukraine's Bare-Knuckle World Of Politics

Vitali Klitschko, head of the opposition UDAR party, waves a flag during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 1. The WBC heavyweight boxing champion has emerged as one of Ukraine's most popular political figures, as massive anti-government protests grip the country.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 2:35 pm

Vitali Klitschko is best-known to the world as "Dr. Ironfist," towering over opponents at a full 6 feet 7 inches, with a punch that delivered 45 victories, including 41 knockouts and only two defeats.

Now 42, Klitschko is the current World Boxing Council heavyweight champion, but he has his eye on a bigger title — president of Ukraine.

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Africa
6:18 am
Mon December 9, 2013

In Soweto, Remembering Mandela As A Figure Of Resistance

While the world remembers Nelson Mandela as the great reconciler, some ordinary South Africans are remembering him in their own way — as a powerful figure of resistance. And they're looking toward the country's future with both hope and uncertainty.

Africa
6:18 am
Mon December 9, 2013

French Troops Arrive In Central African Republic

David Greene talks with Sylvain Groulx, head of mission for Doctors without Borders in the Central African Republic, about the state of the violence there and the hopes for peace now that French troops have arrived.

Television
6:18 am
Mon December 9, 2013

American Dazzles Judges On 'Arabs Got Talent'

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the Arab world, TV watchers were buzzing this weekend about the finals of a popular contest show, "Arab's Got Talent." Runner up was the competition's dark horse contender, Jennifer Grout, a young American. She's not an Arab. She just loves Arabic music. And the presence of a Westerner in the running for this prize caused a bit of a stir. NPR's Deborah Amos was at the finale Saturday in Beirut and she sent this postcard.

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Africa
6:18 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Praise For Mandela Crosses Borders, Partisan Lines

When Nelson Mandela was in prison, the fight over imposing sanctions on South Africa was politically divisive. But it also produced a kind of unity in the end.

Africa
3:06 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

South Africa Holds Mandela In Mind As It Gathers In Prayer

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:12 pm

It has been National Day of Prayer and reflection in South Africa as the nation pays tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. Host Arun Rath speaks with NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about the day, and how white South Africans are reacting to the death of Mandela.

Europe
3:06 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Ukrainians Take Anger Over Trade Into The Streets

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:12 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Those are protestors who converged on the capital city of Ukraine today. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered for a massive anti-government protest. It's part of a struggle over whether the country will align itself with Europe or with its former Soviet partner Russia.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Kiev.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

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Middle East
3:06 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Assessing The Fallout From A Hezbollah Commander's Death

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 8:58 am

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Not far from the border with Syria, early this Wednesday, a street in Beirut, Lebanon, became the stage for a political murder.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORTS)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Hezbollah is searching for whoever is responsible for the death of its military leader...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ...a senior Hezbollah commander has been killed outside his home in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: ...leader Hassan Houlo al-Laqis was reportedly gunned down just after midnight outside his home.

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Middle East
3:06 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

So You Found The Chemical Weapons. How Do You Transport Them?

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:12 pm

The plan to dispose of Syria's chemical weapons is swiftly moving ahead. But the plan to get the materials out to sea to dispose of them is easier said than done, when it means transporting them through a war zone. Arun Rath talks to Amy Smithson of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies about what lies ahead.

The Two-Way
10:42 am
Sun December 8, 2013

In Kiev, Protesters Topple Statue Of Vladimir Lenin

Ukrainians break a monument of Vladimir Lenin in center Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday.
Efrem Lukatsky AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 1:06 pm

Anti-government protesters in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev have toppled a statue of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

Instagram user Arthur_potachik posted this video of the moment:

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Countering China, S. Korea Expands Its Own Air Defense Zone

Japanese Coast Guard vessels sail near a group of disputed islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan.
Emily Wang AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 12:19 pm

Another diplomatic shot was fired in the spate unfolding over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea on Sunday: Countering China, South Korea announced that it was expanding its air defense zone to partially cover some of the same area China laid claim to in November.

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Africa
5:58 am
Sun December 8, 2013

South Africans Celebrate Mandela On National Day Of Prayer

A sea of tributes grows outside the home of former President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 1:53 pm

The day of prayer and reflection for Nelson Mandela began Sunday morning at the African Gospel Church in Orlando, an area of Soweto, Mandela's hometown.

The anti-apartheid icon died Thursday night of complications from a lung infection. He was 95 years old.

Fleur Nomthandazo has been coming to this church, her great-grandfather's church, every Sunday for the past six months to pray for Nelson Mandela's recovery. Today, she's here to pray for his family.

"We never cry when somebody dies," Nomthandazo says. "We celebrate the life that they lived."

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The Sunday Conversation
5:58 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Husband Finding Peace After A Terrorist Attack

David Harris-Gershon wrote a book about meeting Mohammad Odeh's family, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist who Tried to Kill Your Wife?
Larry Roberts Post-Gazette

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 8:58 am

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Several years ago, David Harris-Gershon and his wife Jamie were studying in Israel, where they'd constructed their daily life in ways they hoped would protect them from a terrorist attack. They weren't so fortunate.

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Economy
3:35 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Economists Toast 20 Years Of NAFTA; Critics Sit Out The Party

A truck bearing Mexican and U.S. flags approaches the border crossing into the U.S., in Laredo, Texas.
Reuters /Landov

Twenty years ago, millions of Americans were cocking their ears — waiting to hear a "giant sucking sound."

They feared Mexico would begin vacuuming up U.S. manufacturing jobs as soon as President Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, on Dec. 8, 1993.

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The New And The Next
3:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

An 'Accidental Activist,' And England's World Cup Hope

Michael Regan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 1:47 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Watson tells NPR's Arun Rath about about a rising star in soccer who could turn things around for England in the World Cup, and a Bahraini woman who calls herself an "accidental activist." He also shares a clip from an Ozy interview with President Bill Clinton regarding Nelson Mandela's legacy.

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Africa
3:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

Mandela's Path, In His Own Words

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 4:33 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Nelson Mandela served as president of South Africa for five years, elected in the country's first free election with voters from all races. But Mandela decided not to run for a second term. Instead, he set the stage for new elections and a modern democracy. So in June 1999, South Africans and world leaders gathered to inaugurate Thabo Mbeki, the second freely elected president of South Africa. Here are excerpts from Mandela's words that day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Race
3:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

How U.S. Activists Helped Push South Africa Away From Apartheid

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 4:33 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Growing up when I did, going to high school and college in the '80s and early '90s, I don't think I saw real political activism until I encountered the anti-apartheid movement. My own church sent a busload of congregants to picket the South African embassy. We all felt like we had a moral stake in ending apartheid and freeing Nelson Mandela.

Richard Knight says the anti-apartheid movement helped put pressure on South Africa's white leaders.

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Remembrances
3:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

Nelson Mandela: From 'Second-Class Citizen' To World-Revered Leader

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 4:33 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

A great man died two days ago. The world is still mourning. Journalists still haven't run out of things to say, not even close. Because while great men and women die regularly, there's something very, very different about this one.

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

U.S. Veteran, Held By North Korea, Arrives Safely In Calif.

Merrill Newman (left) walks beside his wife Lee and son Jeffrey after arriving at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:57 am

Saying this was a "great homecoming," Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean War veteran who had been held by North Korea for weeks, walked out of San Francisco International Airport with his wife on Saturday.

As we reported, Newman was deported by North Korea on Friday, days after he appeared on state TV reading an apology for alleged war crimes.

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