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.
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'swork was so groundbreaking, it continues to influence contemporary urban architecture.
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.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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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.
From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Audie Cornish.
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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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.