The U.S. performance on the global stage has looked a little rocky in the past few weeks.
The Obama administration had to let Russia take a lead in managing the security challenge in Syria. The United States was also embarrassed when allies like Germany, France and Brazil reacted angrily to the news that the National Security Agency had monitored their leaders' communications.
Finally, the government shutdown and the congressional fight over the debt ceiling prompted critical comments about U.S. political dysfunction.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 4:31 pm
A 3-year-old girl born in Mississippi with HIV acquired from her mother during pregnancy remains free of detectable virus at least 18 months after she stopped taking antiviral pills.
New results on this child, published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, appear to green-light a study in the advanced planning stages in which researchers around the world will try to replicate her successful treatment in other infected newborns.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 3:55 pm
"Please Release Him."
That was the simple but startling front-page headline on Wednesday in New Express, a cutting-edge newspaper based in China's southern city of Guangzhou. "Him" is Chen Yongzhou, one of the paper's investigative journalists who New Express says was taken away by police after reporting "problems with the accounts" at Zoomlion Heavy Industries."
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 2:23 pm
Iran's justice minister says a convicted drug smuggler who survived an attempted execution by hanging earlier this month shouldn't go back to the gallows.
As we reported last week, the 37-year-old man, identified as Alireza M, was found alive in the morgue by his family following a 12-minute hanging. After the incident, an Iranian judge reportedly said Alireza would hang again once he had recovered from the botched execution.
President Obama recently announced that he would be turning his attention to immigration reform. But what's a realistic expectation, and what are immigrant communities really hoping for? Host Michel Martin talks with Fernando Espuelas of Univision, and Eduardo De Souza, a soccer coach at Longwood University.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:22 pm
Archimedes would be proud of the town of Rjukan, Norway. So would Sam Eyde.
Rjukan, home to about 3,500 residents and situated about 70 miles west of the capital, Oslo, has installed a trio of giant mountaintop mirrors to focus light into the valley town's square during the cold (and dark) winter months.
In order to turn China into an urban nation, local governments have demolished tens of millions of homes over the past decade. Homeowners have often fought back, blocking heavy machinery and battling officials.
In recent years, resistance has taken a disturbing turn: Since 2009, at least 53 people across China have lit themselves on fire to protest the destruction of their homes, according to human rights and news reports.
Sony's new PlayStation 4 won't be on store shelves until next month, but the gaming console has already raised eyebrows in Brazil, after reports that it would cost 3,999 Brazilian real โ or about $1,845 at today's exchange rate.
The company says the steep cost isn't a case of price gouging, but instead a sign of Brazil's heavy taxes and fees on imported electronics.
The game system will be released in the United States on Nov. 15 and in countries including Brazil later that month. Large retailers in the U.S. will offer the PS4 at a base price of around $400.
China's central and local governments are releasing a slew of new regulations aimed at cutting severe air pollution and mitigating its deadly effect on citizens. The seriousness of the problem is obvious in China's northeast, where smog in one city this week cut visibility down to a few yards, and particulate matter soared to 60 times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization.
Cuba will end the two-currency system it has used for nearly 20 years. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has used either American currency or a peso that's pegged to the dollar alongside its national peso.
The monetary unification will phase out a system that has become a symbol of exclusivity and foreign wealth. Many products that are imported into the country can be bought only with the dollar-based convertible peso. But most Cubans are paid in the standard peso, which is worth just a fraction of the other currency.
Forests cover about half of Russia's land mass, an environmental resource that President Vladimir Putin calls "the powerful green lungs of the planet."
But Putin himself acknowledges that Russia, the world's biggest exporter of logs, is having its timber stolen at an unprecedented rate.
The demand for high-value timber is fueling organized crime, government corruption and illegal logging in the Russian Far East. The hardwood cut in the endless forests often ends up as flooring and furniture in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.
Wildfires are burning to the north, south and west of Sydney, Australia, and smoke "has been rolling in for days," correspondent Stuart Cohen said Tuesday on Morning Edition.
While the fires are mostly in sparsely populated areas, Sydney is blanketed โ "you can smell smoke inside buildings" and health authorities are expecting a surge in cases of people with respiratory problems, Cohen added.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:44 am
The fallout from revelations about the National Security Agency's spying activities continues: A key European Parliament committee approved new rules strengthening online privacy and outlawing the kind of surveillance the U.S. has been conducting.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says the legislation could also have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies. Here's what she told our Newscast unit:
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:03 am
Greek officials who are trying to determine the origin of a young blond girl found living in a Roma settlement last week have received thousands of calls since releasing her photo. Some callers offer information; others say the girl may be their child. The head of a charity that's now caring for the girl says about 10 missing-children cases are being reviewed.
On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Philip Reeves discusses the Amnesty International report on U.S. drone strikes
Two reports released on the eve of a White House visit by Pakistan's prime minister allege that the U.S. has "violated international law with top-secret targeted-killing operations that claimed dozens of civilian lives in Yemen and Pakistan," as McClatchy Newspapers writes.
What is God? It's one of the eternal questions, and it's front-page news in Malaysia.
A recent court order said the word Allah can only be used by Muslims โ and not by members of the country's other faiths. But Malaysian Prime Minister Najik Razak said Tuesday that Christians in the states of Sabah and Sarawak can continue to refer to God as Allah.
Sydney, Australia, is suffering under a blanket of smoke and officials are sounding air quality alerts because of vast wildfires in the area. And it's still early in the fire season. Steve Inskeep talks to Stuart Cohen for the latest.
Voters across Israel choose new mayors and city councilors in local elections Tuesday. In one small town, a handful of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are defying the norms of their community by running for office.
On a recent day, children mob two women in skirts, stockings and purple T-shirts in a neighborhood park in El'ad, or Forever God. The women are candidates for town council. As part of their get-the-word-out campaign, they're blowing up balloons for kids.
Sunday was supposed to be a day of joy in Egypt at the Church of the Virgin Mary in suburban Cairo. There were four weddings scheduled. But after a drive-by shooting ripped through the celebrations, there were four burials today instead. At least 18 other people were wounded in the attack. It was the latest act of violence in a country experiencing divisions and great crisis. From Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.