A pigeon that set out on what was to be a 600-mile race in Japan lost his way, and ended up landing 5,000 miles across the Pacific in Canada. When it was found on Vancouver Island, the bird was exhausted and very skinny. Now he's been adopted by a pigeon racing club there. They're considering breeding the bird, figuring his offspring will be just as resilient, though hopefully the young ones will get their sense of direction from the mother.
Secretary of State John Kerry goes to Jerusalem today to meet with Israel's prime minister, an effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Kerry's effort wasn't helped, though, when yesterday Israel announced permits for dozens of new homes in east Jerusalem, an area that's central to Palestinian hopes for its own state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he supports the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Still, as NPR's Emily Harris in Jerusalem tells us, some of Netanyahu's own government are not on board.
China appeared perfectly happy to let Edward Snowden slip away despite a U.S. request for his arrest. Russia appears to enjoy thumbing its nose at Washington as Snowden cools his heels at a Moscow airport. Ecuador is toying with the notion of granting him asylum.
American Chip Starnes, co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies, waves Monday from a window where he is being held by angry workers inside his plant at the Jinyurui Science and Technology Park on the outskirts of Beijing. He remained confined to the plant on Wednesday.
When Chinese workers have a grievance, they are increasingly taking dramatic and direct action.
As we've reported, an American executive at a Chinese factory has been prevented by workers from leaving the plant since Friday. Chip Starnes of Specialty Medical Supplies says it's a misunderstanding following a decision to shut down part of his medical-supply business and move some jobs to India where wages are lower.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene.
President Obama flew home from Europe less than a week ago, and this morning, he is headed back overseas. This time, Air Force One is bound for Africa. It's a weeklong journey that will take the president and his family to three countries covering vastly different regions. This is Obama's first extended trip to the continent as president.
Jordan's King Abdullah vowed to make the desert kingdom a "free Internet" country as he began his rule more than a decade ago. On June 2, when local Internet providers were ordered to block hundreds of news websites across the kingdom, Web publishers protested the broken promise and international media watchdog organizations charged censorship.
Edward Snowden may have intended to stir things up about secret American surveillance programs. It turns out, he's also shaking up diplomatic relations between the U.S. and three countries where those relations are already edgy. The former intelligence contractor who leaked classified documents is believed to be still at a Moscow airport.
He arrived there from Hong Kong on Sunday. NPR's State Department Correspondent Michele Kelemen joins us to talk about the countries drawn into Snowden's travels. Good morning.
Inspired by "Standing Man" <a href="../../blogs/thetwo-way/2013/06/18/193183899/the-standing-man-of-turkey-act-of-quiet-protest-goes-viral">Erdem Gunduz</a>, protesters stand silently during an action at Istanbul's Taksim Square on June 23. Among the latest recommended reads from Tina Brown is a <em>Foreign Affairs</em> article on how Turkey's manipulates media coverage of political unrest.
Sometimes when there's a daily drumbeat of news — war, protest, unrest — it's good to find those moments to pause, dig deeper, and find layers of the story that are easy to miss.
Tina Brown, the editor of The Daily Beast, joins NPR's David Greene to help us do just that, as part of a recurring series Morning Edition calls Word of Mouth. This month, it's stories of global conflict and the media that — for good and for ill — cover those stories.
Dingding Mao is a professional mourner, who is paid for her talents at singing the funeral dirge. This is a tradition that began in the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago.
Credit Courtesy of Wu Peng
Dozens of friends and family of the deceased, Zhang Tujin, gather to feast on a big pre-funeral meal and celebrate his life. The meal takes place outside, in the shadow of a modern apartment block, and with skyscrapers going up in the distance. This funeral is a mix of ancient Chinese practices and modern entertainment.
Credit Angie Quan / NPR
An actor chants and burns paper offerings to the dead. His costume is similar to those worn by the monk in the Chinese epic "Journey to the West."
Credit Angie Quan / NPR
A young belly dancer, who is part of Dingding Mao's troupe of seven, performs in front of the coffin toward the end of the funeral.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Hu Xinglian is a professional mourner in the southwestern city of Chongqing, China. Known professionally as Dingding Mao, she is paid for her talents at singing the funeral dirge, a tradition that began in the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago. As she sings during a recent funeral, another member of her troupe joins her for a duet.
Credit Courtesy of Wu Peng
Hu Xinglian, known professionally as Dingding Mao, has been a mourner-for-hire for more than 10 years after being laid off from her position as a sales clerk in a department store.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Dingding Mao and the family of the deceased kneel in front of the coffin.
File under "one of the oddest jobs ever": professional mourner. China's funeral rituals date back 2,000 years to the Han dynasty, but were banned during the Cultural Revolution as superstition. Now these funeral rituals have become an income source to a select few who stage funeral extravaganzas, marrying ancient Chinese traditions with modern entertainment.
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Calm has been restored in southern Lebanon for now. Clashes between the army and followers of a radical Sunni cleric have left dozens dead over the past two days. It's been called the most violent spillover from the conflict in Syria to a neighboring country. And now, a manhunt is under way for that cleric, Ahmed al-Assir.
NPR's Kelly McEvers traveled from Beirut to the scene of the violence today in Sidon, also known as Saida in Arabic.
Today in the Afghan capital, Kabul, there was a coordinated assault on the diplomatic green zone. Men in at least two vehicles bluffed their way into a secure area before detonating bombs and getting into a firefight with government security forces. Three security guards were killed, as well as all of the attackers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to rebuff the United States when he said NSA leaker Edward Snowden was in Moscow but is a "free person" who is "entitled to buy a ticket and fly to wherever he wants."
Snowden, Putin said, is in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and has neither crossed the Russian border nor "committed any crime" on Russian soil.
Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:45 am
While a few states in the U.S. are debating mandatory labels for genetically modified foods, some African nations are considering a bigger question: Should farmers be allowed to plant genetically modified crops at all?
The question carries extra weight in countries like Uganda, where most people are farmers who depend on their own crops for food.
The emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, 61, abdicated on Tuesday in favor of his 33-year-old son. Sheik Hamad is shown here during an Oval Office meeting with President Obama in April.
Credit Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images
A man watches a televised address by Qatar's Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday. Qatar's ruler transferred power to his 33-year-old son, making him the youngest leader in the region.
The tenuous nature of efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan were dramatically underscored Tuesday morning when gunmen attacked buildings near Afghanistan's presidential palace in Kabul as journalists were gathering to hear from President Hamid Karzai about nascent plans for peace talks with the Taliban.
German police say they have arrested a 57-year-old trucker whom they accuse of carrying out 762 shootings on European highways over the past five years.
"We found the famous needle in a hay stack," said Joerg Ziercke, chief commissioner of the German Federal Criminal Police. "A dangerous criminal who on several thousands of kilometers of highway in Germany, France, Belgium and Austria would reach for a gun whenever, wherever to shoot at other vehicles and endanger people's lives. It's unprecedented in Germany criminal history."
A rare event has taken place in the Middle East - the ruler of an Arab country has voluntarily stepped down. The emir of the Gulf state of Qatar handed power over to his son in a quiet ceremony in Doha this morning. NPR's Sean Carberry has our report.
(SOUNDBITE OF CEREMONY)
SHEIKH HAMAD BIN KHALIFA AL THANI: (Through Translator) As I address you today, I declare that I will hand over the reigns of power to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani...
Qatar's ruler said Tuesday he has transferred power to the 33-year-old crown prince in an anticipated move that puts a new generation in charge of the Gulf nation's vast energy wealth and rising political influence.
Edward Snowden's travels have been underwritten in part by Wikileaks. That organization, of course, has also attracted scrutiny for publishing government secrets. Lately, Wikileaks has retreated from the headlines, but as we hear from NPR's Larry Abramson, the organization has been slowly staging a comeback.
To news of the civil war in Syria now. While the United States has wrestled with the questions of whether, how and when to arm the Syrian rebels, some of those rebels have been getting arms from Libya, that according to the New York Times.
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And as the paper points out, it is a turnabout. The inheritors of one strongman's arsenal, using them in the fight against another. Mark Mazzetti was one of three authors on that article. He joins us now. Welcome, Mark.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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In Italy, today, a guilty verdict for the controversial former prime minister. Silvio Berlusconi was convicted in a Milan court of paying a minor for sex at one of his notorious parties. He was also convicted of abuse of office for trying to cover it up. Berlusconi says he's the target of a left-wing judicial witch-hunt.