Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 6:49 am
The track record for Middle East diplomacy is pretty dismal, yet this is where President Obama is playing all his important diplomatic cards.
With the interim deal on Iran's nuclear program, the president is now engaged in his fifth major diplomatic initiative in five contiguous countries stretching from Afghanistan in the east to Israel in the west.
Many films have been made about Nelson Mandela. Danny Glover, Morgan Freeman, Dennis Haysbert, and now Idris Elba have all tried to step into the icon's shoes. Host Michel Martin speaks to Sean Jacobs, founder of the blog Africa Is A Country, about which actor played him best.
Christina Asima seems tired for a 13-year-old. I meet the shy-mannered girl in the remote farming village of Chitera, in the southern African nation of Malawi. She wears a bright pink zip-up shirt and a blue print cloth wrapped up to her chest. Snuggled in that, hugging her side, is a chubby-cheeked baby boy.
My gut assumption is that the infant must be Christina's little brother. I know 8-month-old Praise is actually her son. Still, it's startling when, as we speak, she shifts him around front to nurse.
Both candidates in Honduras' presidential election are claiming victory, a day after millions voted in an election that was expected to be close.
But with more than half the votes counted, Juan Orlando, of the ruling National Party, is ahead with about 34 percent of the votes. His main rival, Xiomara Castro, the wife of deposed leader Manuel Zelaya, has about 28 percent.
As we've heard elsewhere in the program, the nuclear agreement reached with Iran over the weekend is a temporary deal with a six-month timeline. There are plenty of unresolved issues and possibly tougher negotiations to come. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this look ahead.
The Central American country of Honduras held a presidential election yesterday. Honduras suffers from extreme poverty and it has one of the world's highest murder rates. The nation's politics have been dominated by elites and the military. Now, so far the vote count appears to favor the candidates from the right wing ruling party, but this election offered a little more choice than usual. Here's NPR's Carrie Kahn.
That's Pope Francis, the 266th Bishop of Rome, holding what the church believes are the bone fragments of St. Peter, the apostle and the first bishop of Rome.
Pope Francis cradled the relics during a mass at St. Peter's Square, which marked the end of the global church's Year of Faith. It was also the first time the Catholic Church has displayed the relics in public.
Iranians are used to bad news, so word of an international deal to halt the nation's nuclear program and the lifting of some sanctions was something extraordinary. Host Rachel Martin speaks with New York Times Tehran Bureau Chief Thomas Erdbrink.
Israel has already criticized this deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the agreement as a historic mistake. As NPR's Emily Harris reports from Jerusalem, Israel will keep a military option on the table.
EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Prime Minister Netanyahu not only called this deal a historical mistake, he said the world is in more danger now than before the agreement was signed.
Now to the war in Syria, where the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has gained ground against rebel fighters in recent weeks, shifting the outlook on the battlefield. According to activists, government warplanes struck rebel positions in northern Syria this weekend. At least 40 people were killed. These military advances, along with cooperation in dismantling its chemical weapons arsenal, make it harder to imagine that the regime will fall.
Voters go to the polls in Honduras to elect a new president on Sunday. It's the first open election with all parties participating since a coup overthrew the left-leaning government in 2009.
The elections come at a difficult time for the longtime U.S. ally. Two-thirds of its people live in poverty, unemployment is soaring and the murder rate is one of the highest in the world due to drug traffickers and gang violence.
A grand assembly of Afghan tribal elders and civil society leaders — the Loya Jirga — resoundingly approved an agreement to allow 3,000-9,000 U.S. troops to stay in the country after the NATO mission ends next year.
However, it remains unclear when — or if — President Hamid Karzai will sign the agreement.
In Afghanistan, a grand assembly of some 2,500 tribal elders, politicians and civil society elites are meeting to decide whether to approve a security agreement with the United States. Approval by the grand assembly, called a loya jirga, would be in addition to the OK of the Afghan government. But as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has noted, the agreement can't go forward without the backing of the Afghan people. The security agreement would allow as many as 9,000 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after the current NATO mission ends next year.
Public transit vehicles may be the key to China's success in the U.S. auto market. Chinese company BYD, based in Shenzhen, is manufacturing electric buses. It's an appealing option for a place like California, where emission standards are strict.
At BYD's North American headquarters in Los Angeles, one of the 40-foot electric K9 buses sits on display. BYD Fleet Sales Manager James Holtz sits in the driver's seat and pushes the power button on the dashboard.
Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 10:15 am
The anti-poverty group Oxfam is asking Pepsi's shareholders to approve a resolution that, if passed, would force the company to disclose its sugar suppliers and investigate whether those suppliers are implicated in "land grabs" that unfairly take land from the poor.
Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 12:22 pm
Once again raising expectations that a deal over Iran's nuclear program is at hand, Secretary of State John Kerry joined the foreign ministers of the U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany in Geneva to try to hammer out an agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear work in exchange for the loosening of some sanctions.
In 1944, on the orders of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the entire population of Tatars on the Crimean Peninsula was rounded up and sent to the deserts of Soviet Central Asia.
Nearly 70 years after that wartime atrocity, the Tatar population is still working to reassert itself in its homeland.
Mullah Ziyatdin, 82, was just 12 when he and his family were rousted in the middle of the night, ordered to gather a few belongings and shoved into freight cars for a nightmarish three-week journey. The freight-car doors were opened every few days.
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 2:06 pm
It looks like our ancestors from the Bronze Age were way bigger lushes than we had ever realized.
Archaeologists have discovered a personal wine cellar in a palace that dates back to 1700 B.C. It's the oldest cellar known, and the personal stash was massive.
More than 500 gallons of wine were once stored in a room connected to the palace, located in modern-day northern Israel, scientists said Friday at a conference in Baltimore. That's enough vino to fill 3,000 wine bottles — or a seven-person hot tub.
It's been two weeks since the typhoon devastated Tacloban city in the Philippines. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy is in Tacloban overseeing U.S. military relief efforts in the Philippines, and he says the city is picking up the pieces, businesses are re-opening and he sees signs up hope in the residents. Kennedy gives Melissa Block an update on the state of affairs in the country.
While international relief efforts in the Philippines are in high gear, efforts by the Philippine government have been hampered. There are bitter rivalries among the country's political clans. And two major political families - including that of the president - are sparring over the response to the disaster. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has that story.
Now we take a moment to highlight and salute another artist. Jazz-great Arturo Sandoval received the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week from President Obama. Sandoval was born and raised in Cuba, where he was once jailed just for listening to jazz music. So he packed up his trumpet and moved to the United States. A country he says gave him the freedom to fill the air with his music. Here's what the president said about him at the ceremony.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we visit the Barbershop and ask the guys to reflect on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination in Dallas. That's in just a few minutes.
In Norway, it's "Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, all of the great days" rolled into one: That's because 22-year-old Magnus Carlsen has beaten the defending champion, India's Viswanathan Anand, to be crowned chess world champion.
The world No. 1's victory Friday over Anand, the world No. 8 and an Indian fan favorite, came after 10 games in Chennai, India. Carlsen won three and drew seven, and earned the highest rating of all time with the 6.5-3.5 win.