This week saw the end of a years-long, international, multi-billion-dollar battle over one of the most boring things in finance: savings accounts.
At the center of the battle was Iceland, a tiny country where the banks grew into international behemoths during the credit bubble.
The banks got so big partly by convincing foreigners to open up online savings accounts. In particular, lots of people in England and Netherlands opened up "ICESAVE accounts" with a bank called Landsbanki. During the financial crisis, the bank collapsed.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
The New York Times revealed today that it was the target of a month's long cyber attack. The paper believes the attack came from Chinese authorities in response to an expose of cronyism among China's ruling elite. The hackers were able to breach The Times entire system and swipe passwords for every employee.
In Egypt today, rival political factions met with the nation's highest religious official. They were searching for ways to end the violence of the past week that has left some 60 people dead. The Sheikh of Al-Azhar secured pledges of non-violence and a commitment to dialogue from Egypt's ruling party and key opposition groups.
As we hear from NPR's Leila Fadel, this news will come as a relief to some Egyptians who are exhausted and frustrated by the turmoil.
Who should take over in Mali? That question is before the international community now that French and Malian government forces have retaken northern cities from Islamic insurgents. It's been three weeks since the French stepped in. Now they're looking for an exit, and getting out will not be as easy as dropping in.
In the U.S., farmers and farm workers alike say the current system to import temporary workers, especially in agriculture, is slow and fraught with abuses.
But the shape of a new guest-worker program is still being hashed out. Some say the U.S. should import temporary workers the same way Canada does. For nearly four decades, the governments of Canada and Mexico have cooperated to fill agriculture jobs that Canadian citizens won't do, and that Mexicans are clamoring to get.
Brazilian federal police patrol the Mamore River, which separates Brazil from Bolivia. The river is used by traffickers to ferry cocaine from Bolivia into Brazil, where cocaine consumption is rising rapidly.
Credit Juan Forero/NPR
An agent of Brazil's Forca Nacional, an agency made up of military policemen, stands guard in a largely abandoned border hamlet that is used by drug traffickers to ferry cocaine from neighboring Bolivia.
As cocaine consumption falls in the United States, South American drug traffickers have begun to pioneer a new soft target for their product: big and increasingly affluent Brazil.
And the source of the cocaine is increasingly Bolivia, a landlocked country that shares a 2,100-mile border with Brazil.
As Brazilian police officers and border agents can attest, the drug often finds its way to Brazil by crossing the Mamore River, which separates the state of Rondonia from Bolivia in the heart of South America.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton "got away with murder" for her handling of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who led the independent investigation into the attacks, talks about the future of diplomatic security.
It's been two years since Hosni Mubarak was ousted as Egypt's President. Today, there's new leadership, but the country is still in turmoil. And some Egyptians wonder if things are changing for the best. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR Cairo Bureau Chief, Leila Fadel, to learn more about the new Egypt.
Violent protests are breaking out in Egypt, just two years after a massive uprising led to the fall of the former dictator. One of the unexpected driving forces is soccer. Host Michel Martin talks to Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation about how the sport affects Egypt's political landscape.
Let's sort through what we know and do not know about Israel's reported airstrike on Syria. Syrian officials, the government of Bashar al-Assad, have affirmed that Israeli warplanes struck, although we have conflicting reports about what the target was. We're going to work through the information with NPR's Jerusalem correspondent, Larry Abramson. Hi, Larry.
LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Hi there, Steve.
INSKEEP: What do you know, and how do you know it?
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:22 am
Former Salafi, turned rapper, Omar Kamal left the Salafi fold during Egypt's revolution. He says that when Salafis came out of the dark they showed their hypocrisy. To the rhythm of beat boxing, he uses his lyrics to chronicle his own identity crisis — a crisis that reflects Egypt's struggle to find itself.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 4:43 am
Chinese computer hackers have been infiltrating the computer systems of The New York Times for the last four months, according to the paper. Renee Montagne talks to Nicole Perlroth, a Times reporter who covers cyber security.
On a Thursday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. The first phase of the French-led military intervention in Mali appears to be over. Radical Islamist fighters have been driven from the last major town they seized control of last year.
INSKEEP: France would like to step back now and play a supporting role for Malian troops and allied African forces. But as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Mali's capital, the biggest challenges really begin now.
Cambodia's forests are being destroyed at a dizzying pace, with much of the wood destined for China. Much of the logging is carried out illegally — and people who get in the way of the loggers face violence and in some cases death.
The U.N. estimates four million people inside Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. Add to that up to a million more Syrian refugees who fled to neighboring countries, also in need of help. The U.S. government has pledged tens of millions of dollars in aid, but that hasn't stopped some Syrian-Americans from taking matters into their own hands.
Ben Bergman, of member station KPCC, introduces us to some sending aid from Southern California.
A man attempts to salvage burnt manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu, Mali, on Tuesday. While some of the ancient manuscripts were destroyed by Islamist radicals, reports indicate that most were hidden and therefore survived.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:35 pm
Reports from Timbuktu, Mali, on Wednesday indicate that most of the ancient manuscripts at a famed library may have been saved by residents before Islamist radicals had the chance to burn them.
"I can say that the vast majority of the collections appear from our reports not to have been destroyed, damaged or harmed in any way," Shamil Jeppie, an expert on the documents who teaches at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, told Reuters.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews are not required to perform military service in Israel, and the issue is subject to intense debate following the country's election last week. Here, ultra-Orthodox men sign up for alternate civilian service earlier this month.
The dispute between Japan and China over small islands in the East China Sea is escalating. The two nations first dispatched unarmed vessels to stake their claims, then patrol boats, and then, unarmed aircraft.
Most recently, both countries sent fighter jets to the islands — known as the Senkaku in Japan, and the Diaoyu in China. The islands are uninhabited, but sit in a strategic location between Japan and Taiwan.
And as mentioned, Aaron David Miller is going to join us now, and we brought him on to talk about Chuck Hagel's nomination. But Aaron David Miller, the long-time Middle East peace negotiator and now a fellow at the Wilson Center, I have to ask you, Aaron - thanks very much for being with us, by the way.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 11:38 am
You'd be forgiven for thinking chicken Kiev got its start in the Ukrainian capital. After all, a hearty dish of chicken filled with butter, wrapped in bread crumbs, and deep fried is the perfect meal to withstand subzero temperatures and cold winds blowing across the Dniepr River.
Ukrainian chefs say they have the only authentic recipe for the dish, but they concede that chicken Kiev, despite its name, has a far more sophisticated provenance: It's French.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Photographs out of Syria show a river in the city of Aleppo. The river flows through a concrete channel, rather like the Los Angeles River in California. And along those concrete banks in Aleppo, the photos show a long row of bodies.
NPR's Kelly McEvers is monitoring this story from Beirut. She's on the line. Kelly, what happened in Aleppo as best you can tell?
He couldn't figure out how his wife, who suspected him of having an affair, knew the contents of his private conversations.
"His wife knew things that he said in his car and office, including conversations over the telephone," recalls Qi Hong, a former journalist from Shandong province in eastern China, and a friend of the official.
So Qi asked a buddy who owned bug-detecting equipment to help.
It's official - Democratic Senator John Kerry will be the next secretary of State. The Senate voted 94-3 in favor of his confirmation today. Kerry will replace Hillary Clinton, who had been hoping to spend her final days at the State Department on the road, but recent health scares have grounded her. So on this, her last week, Secretary Clinton decided to go around the world virtually. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on a global town hall where Clinton spoke with students and journalists over a video hookup.