Speed skater Shani Davis is the latest star American athlete to miss the medal stand. He's joined by Alpine Skier Bode Miller, who didn't do well in his run and Shaun White, among others. We look at where the Americans stand in the medal count.
The Obama administration has devoted considerable resources to the Central African Republic. Renee Montagne talks to Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., about U.S. efforts to end the crisis there.
Thousands of Muslim residents flee Central African Republic capital Bangui in a mass exodus using cars, trucks and motorcycles, escorted by Chadian troops, on Feb. 7.
Credit Jerome Delay / AP
Central African Republic government soldiers stand just outside the city center of Bangui, the country's capital. Christian militias have been attacking Muslims in the capital and elswhere, leading entire Muslim communities to flee.
Credit Gregory Warner / NPR
Wazili Yaya (right) stands outside the Ali Babalo Mosque in the capital Bangui. Once home to thousands of Muslims, the neighborhood is now virtually empty.
Credit Gregory Warner / NPR
A man covers his nose as he walks past a charred body on Feb. 9 in central Bangui.
Last year, Muslim militias helped overthrow the country's Christian president of the Central African Republic and marauded through Christian areas. Today, the circumstances are reversed, with Christian militias terrorizing Muslim communities and prompting a mass exodus.
French and African peacekeepers have mostly failed to stop the violence as the isolated country of 4 million continues to unravel.
Wazili Yaya, a Muslim, has witnesses the recent violence.
Greek vocal icon Marinella (center) sings "Children of Greece," a song once sung to Greek soldiers as Italian and German forces invaded the country. As they endure hard times today, Greeks are turning to theater that shows triumphs over adversity in the previous century.
Credit Badminton Theater
Michalis Adam, who heads the Badminton Theater in Athens, has been staging popular musicals that show the struggles Greeks endured, and overcame, in the previous century.
It's a full house at the 2,000-seat Badminton Theater in Athens. On stage is a musical about the singer Sofia Vembo, whose warm contralto voice comforted Greeks during World War II.
The song that is bringing the audience, mostly Greeks in their 60s and 70s, to tears and applause is called "Paida Tis Ellados, Paidia," or "Children of Greece." Vembo sang it to Greek soldiers as Italian and German forces invaded the country.
Silver medalist Denny Morrison of Canada celebrates his feat, made possible after a teammate gave him a slot in Wednesday's 1,000-meter speedskating race in Sochi. Morrison stands next to gold medalist Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:31 pm
Olympic athletes often endure weeks of anticipation as pressure builds toward their moment on the global stage. That wasn't a problem for Canadian Denny Morrison, who got his spot in the speedskating finals just one day ahead of the race. Now he has a silver medal.
Many Americans were following the race mainly because American speedskating superstar Shani Davis failed to get a medal in the 1,000-meter race. He finished in eighth place.
We're going to stay in the spirit of the Winter Olympics. You might be keeping an eye on the Jamaican bobsled team. Their first appearance at the winter games back in 1988 was immortalized in the popular Disney movie "Cool Runnings." Here's a clip.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "COOL RUNNINGS")
DOUG E. DOUG: (As Sanka Coffie) ...I am Sanka Coffie, I am the best pushcart driver in all of Jamaica. I must drive. Do you dig where I'm coming from?
JOHN CANDY: (As Irv) Yeah, I did where you're coming from.
A visitor to a military exhibition in New Delhi, India, on Feb. 6. Global military spending is expected to increase this year for the first time in five years. The biggest increases are expected in China and Russia.
This week Belgium is expected to become the first country in the world to allow terminally ill children to choose euthanasia.
Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for those 18 and over, and the number of adults choosing a doctor-assisted death has been rising annually, reaching 1,432 in 2012.
But a bill before Parliament would lift age restrictions and allow terminally ill children to ask to be euthanized if they are in unbearable pain and treatment options are exhausted. In addition, their parents and medical team would have to agree.
In this handout image provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry, Kim Kyou-Hyun (right) the head of South Korea's high-level delegation, shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Won Tong-Yon before their meeting Wednesday in Panmunjom, South Korea.
Imagine living in China and missing Chinese food. It happens. American expatriates who grew up with popular takeout dishes like General Tso's chicken can't find it in China because it essentially doesn't exist here.
Much of the Chinese food we grew up with isn't really Chinese. It's an American version of Chinese food. Chinese immigrants created it over time, adapting recipes with U.S. ingredients to appeal to American palates.
We heard elsewhere in our program that conservation experts are meeting in London this week to try to crack down on the trade in illegal wildlife. Here in Washington, the White House announced yesterday new restrictions on the import and sale of African elephant ivory.
NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Elephant ivory goes for $1,500 a pound. Rhino horn is worth its weight in gold - $45,000 a pound. Dan Ashe heads the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Syrian peace talks are back in session in Geneva. U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi led the first joint session of this round on Tuesday. But there are no signs of progress, as the government and opposition delegates continue to bicker over the agenda for the talks.
Snowboarders have a new set of heroes who are not American. Last night, at the snowboard halfpipe event in Sochi, not a single member of Team USA was on the podium. The winners were Swiss and Japanese. Maybe the biggest disappointment was the fourth place finish by Shaun White. He's the American who, for years, has been the focal point of snowboarding's rise in popularity.
NPR's Robert Smith was there and tells us what it means for the sport.
Viviane Araujo, a Salguiero samba school queen, performs at a rehearsal for Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Marcello da Cunha Freire, vice president of the popular samba school, was murdered last month in a drive-by shooting.
Credit Lianne Milton for NPR
Salgueiro samba school performers rehearse for Carnival. The 12 top-tier samba schools fiercely compete to be crowned Carnival kings.
Credit Lianne Milton for NPR
Samba schools emerged in poor, marginal communities, mostly in the <em>favelas</em>, or shantytowns, like Salgueiro in Rio de Janeiro. Samba schools — and Carnival — have grown to be multimillion-dollar ventures with links to the criminal world.
Credit Lianne Milton for NPR
Fabricio Pereira dyes Rosangela Siqueira's hair along Salgueiro's main road.
Credit Lianne Milton for NPR
Residents hang out in Salgueiro, where the Salgueiro samba school has a smaller, informal samba group called Raizes Da Tijuca.
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a glittering affair that attracts tourists from all over the world. There is, however, a murky and sometimes violent underbelly to the celebrations that recently came under the spotlight after the murder of a top samba school official.
One evening last month, Marcello da Cunha Freire was leaving his office in Rio's Vila Isabel neighborhood when a car pulled up next to him.
Two adult white rhinos stand in an enclosure at South Africa's Entabeni Safari Conservancy in 2012. Entabeni is one of the world's only dedicated orphanages for rhino calves whose parents were poached for their horns — a trend that is rising.
Credit Stephane De Sakutin / AFP/Getty Images
In this photo taken in November 2012, Miles Lappeman, owner of Finfoot Lake Reserve near Tantanana, South Africa, walks past the carcasses of a rhino and its calf. Poachers killed the animals for their horns.
Credit Denis Farrell / AP
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers watch over confiscated ivory prepared for crushing at the National Wildlife Property Repository, at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, in Commerce City, Colo., in November 2013. The six tons of banned elephant ivory destroyed was accumulated from 25 years of seizures.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during an annual rally commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at the Azadi Square in Tehran, on Tuesday. Rouhani called for "respectful, constructive" nuclear talks with world powers — a departure from the hard line of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Credit Vahid Salemi / AP
Iranians hold pictures of Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during the 35th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran, on Tuesday.
Credit Maryam Rahmanian / UPI/Landov
Iranian girls get their faces painted in front of a backdrop of blown-up news images from the 1979 uprising against the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran, in Tehran, on Tuesday.
Iran on Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, a day when the country's religious conservatives and military hard-liners take center stage, and calls of "Death to America" echo across the country.
In Tehran's Azadi Square, one man waving an orange "Down with the USA" flag condemned the U.S. and Israel, and then, perhaps not sure of the nationality of the reporter standing nearby, threw in England and France for good measure.
Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, left, shakes hands with Zhang Zhijun, director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, before their meeting in Nanjing, China, on Tuesday.
Credit Alexander F. Yuan / AP
In this photo released by South Korean Unification Ministry, Lee Duk-haeng, right, the head of South Korea's working-level delegation, shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart, Park Yong Il, during their meeting at Tongilgak in the North Korean side of Panmunjom on Feb. 5. On Wednesday, the two sides are scheduled to hold their highest-level talks in years.
South Korea announced Tuesday it will hold its first high-level meeting in years with rival North Korea. If that development offered a glimmer of hope, another move was positively historic: Senior officials from China and Taiwan met Tuesday for the first time since the two rivals split more than six decades ago.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now to matters of personal finance as we get close to Valentine's Day, which is Friday. And don't say I didn't remind you. Romance is in the air, and you might be looking for ways to touch your beloved's heart. But some scammers are thinking about ways to touch your wallet.
Afghan presidential candidates Qayum Karzai (from left), Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah take part in a televised debate in Kabul on Saturday. With President Hamid Karzai stepping down, the presidential election set for April 5 will mark the first time the country has changed leaders at the ballot box.
Credit Wakil Kohsar / AFP/Getty Images
Afghan workers paste election campaign posters for presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul on the rusted remains of a Soviet-era military vehicle near the eastern city of Jalalabad on Monday.
Credit Noorullah Shirzada / AFP/Getty Images
Presidential candidate Abdul Rassoul Sayyaf at a campaign rally in Kabul on Thursday. Sayyaf, a former warlord who helped bring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida to Afghanistan in the 1990s, is perhaps the most controversial candidate.
Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:49 am
The United States is winding down more than 12 years of military involvement in Afghanistan, and for most Americans, the country is rapidly fading into the background.
At the same time, Afghans are entering uncharted territory. President Hamid Karzai, who has led Afghanistan since shortly after the Taliban were ousted in 2001, is barred from running for a third term.
So Afghanistan is poised to do what it's never done before: change leaders through a democratic election.
A former Iranian diplomat just got his first look at his country in years. Seyed Hossein Mousavian used to be part of Iran's nuclear negotiating team. Later he was accused of spying and left Iran for the U.S. Then, after years away, he was recently able to visit home. Mousavian's path, bouncing from one country to the other and back, reveals the complexity of U.S. relations with Iran.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Most Americans who own a house know something about housing bubbles. This country is still recovering from the last one.
MONTAGNE: In Afghanistan, a housing bubble created by the influx of international organizations and their thousands of workers over the past 12 years, is bursting, and it's taking a big bite out of the local economy. NPR's Sean Carberry can hear the last gasp of that bubble on his own street.
NBC says its coverage of the Winter Olympics drew more than 100 million viewers over the last weekend of the Games. That indicates lots of interest, which will fill more than 1,500 hours of coverage across all of NBC's platforms - broadcast network, cable channels and online. With all this coverage and so many ways to watch, we turn to NPR television critic now, Eric Deggans for some tips. Good morning.
ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: How are fans getting their Olympics coverage these days - for the most part?
The U.S. soccer team got one of the toughest draws in the World Cup. The worst of the worst, as its head coach said. When they get to Brazil not only will they be playing in the opening round with some of the most talented teams in the world, but they'll be facing those teams in less than hospitable surroundings, namely the Amazon; it's hot and humid and thousands of miles away from where the U.S. team will be based.
There is a fake John Kerry wandering around Jerusalem these days. He stars in several satirical videos criticizing the U.S. effort to negotiate a peace agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The State Department suggests it is just the latest sign that Kerry has put real pressure on Israel to move toward a peace deal. NPR's Emily Harris reports.