This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, even for devoted Christians reading every word of the bible may be a once in a lifetime challenge. In a minute, we'll hear from a man who decided to copy the entire book by hand. And he tells us he's not even particularly religious. We'll think you'll be intrigued by what he has to say in a few minutes.
Pakistan holds elections this weekend. It's a milestone, as the balloting takes place as an elected civilian government finishes its entire five-year term. That's the first time that's ever happened. Steve Inskeep talks to Shuja Nawaz, director of the Atlantic Council, and the author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within.
Congressional hearings are beginning to shine a light on the drone program that for the past 12 years has been cloaked in secrecy. NPR's Kelly McEvers talked to a former Air Force pilot who operated drones for several years.
Garment workers sew T-shirts at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2009. Bangladesh, the world's second-largest clothing exporter, has lured clothing makers through a combination of low wages and light regulation.
Eight people died Wednesday in a fire at a Bangladeshi sweater factory. This follows the much deadlier collapse of the Rana Plaza building, where more than 900 people died.
The deaths are taking place in a garment sector that has seen explosive growth over the past three decades. The country has managed to lure clothing-makers through a combination of low wages and light regulation.
As a manufacturing center, Bangladesh has little to recommend it. The roads are poor. There's no port to speak of. The electricity is notoriously unreliable. It's politically unstable.
Ambassador Robert Ford, the State Department's point man on Syrian policy, crossed into northern Syria on Wednesday. The secret visit was confirmed by Syrian activists at the media office at the Bab al-Salama crossing on the Turkish frontier.
One of the few women competing in Pakistan's parliamentary election on Saturday is Naz Baloch, 33, a first-time candidate. She's the daughter of a politician, but is running for a different party than her father.
Flags of the competing political parties whip in the wind of seaside Karachi. But little else is stirring in this city of 18 million this day.
The MQM, a leading political party in the megacity, has shut Karachi down with a general strike in response to a deadly bombing at its election office. But as soon as the strike ends, the streets spring to life as if nothing were amiss.
This is the tale of turkey tail — it's convoluted arrival, disappearance and highly anticipated return to the Pacific island the Republic of Samoa (not to be confused with American Samoa).
It's hard to pinpoint precisely when turkey tails started being imported into Samoa from the U.S. and when they became a favorite, affordable dish. Meat byproducts (Spam and fatty lamb cuts from New Zealand) started showing up sometime after World War II, and turkey tails came shortly thereafter.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. This Saturday, Pakistanis head to the polls. The vote will mark the first transition between two democratically elected governments in the country's history. In the past, Pakistan's leaders have been overthrown, imprisoned or assassinated. The build-up to this election has been marked by a tremendous amount of violence and drama.
Just today, one candidate, the son of a former prime minister, was kidnapped.
Gunmen in Pakistan stormed an election rally and abducted the son of a former prime minister — the latest violence in a bloody campaign ahead of nationwide polling.
Armed men drove up to an election rally in the city of Multan, opened fire, grabbed Ali Haider Gilani and sped off, witnesses said. Gilani, who is running for a seat in the Punjab provincial assembly, is the son of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Eight people in New York have been charged as part of what prosecutors say was a global ring of cybercriminals who stole $45 million by hacking into prepaid credit card accounts and then using the data to get cash from thousands of ATMs around the world.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch described the alleged scheme as "a massive 21st century bank heist that reached across the Internet and stretched around the globe. In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. At the beginning of this week, as we absorb news of Israeli air strikes outside Damascus and questions about nerve gas and red lines, there was a report that a Shiite shrine near the Syrian capital had been ransacked by Sunni extremists and the body of a Shia holy man exhumed and hidden away.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later in the program, we will talk more about the story that's riveted the country, about those three women who were missing for a decade who were recently found alive. In a few minutes, we'll speak with a local columnist who stayed in touch with the mother of one of the missing women, who never gave up hope, but, sadly, did not live to see her daughter free. We'll hear more from columnist Regina Brett.
Chinese security forces are patrolling the streets of southern Beijing today in great numbers, apparently to try and send a message to protesters. This follows a large demonstration yesterday at a shopping mall in the southern part of the capital, where protesters accused police of mishandling an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old migrant woman who worked there. It is just the latest example of mass unrest in China, and with each incident, police presence seems to be growing.
British physicist Stephen Hawking has stepped into a political black hole.
He announced this week that he was withdrawing from a conference in Israel to protest that country's treatment of Palestinians, throwing his weight behind an academic boycott of the Jewish state. The Guardian reports:
A congressional committee on Wednesday heard testimony from three witnesses about the events that led to deaths of four Americans at Benghazi in September, 2012. The Benghazi attack has become a political controversy — Republicans accuse the Obama administration of mishandling security there and of misleading the American public after the attack. One new allegation: that a four-person team set to deploy to Benghazi the night of the attack was told not to go.
Three witnesses billed as whistle-blowers appeared before a House committee Wednesday to challenge the Obama administration's explanation of what transpired on Sept. 11, 2012, as the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked and the ambassador and three others killed.
A cargo ship slammed into a dock in Genoa, Italy, on Wednesday, killing at least seven people and toppling the control tower at one of the country's busiest ports.
The Associated Press reports that divers had found seven bodies in the wreckage. Four others have been hospitalized and two were still unaccounted for, Luca Cari, a spokesman for the fire rescue teams at the scene, told The Associated Press.
A photo taken by the Nazis during World War II shows a room filled with stolen art at the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris. Using improved technology and the Internet, the French government is making a renewed push to track down the rightful owners of art looted by the Nazis.
Credit Courtesy of Archives des Musees Nationaux A Paris
American Thomas Selldorff and Austrian art historian Sophie Lillie, who helped him identify the paintings, pose for the media during a ceremony at the Culture Ministry in Paris on March 19 to return paintings taken from their Jewish owners during World War II. Selldorff, 82, was a young boy when the Nazis took the paintings from his grandfather.
During World War II, the Nazis plundered tens of thousands of works of art from the private collections of European Jews, many living in France. About 75 percent of the artwork that came back to France from Germany at the end of the war has been returned to their rightful owners.
But there are still approximately 2,000 art objects that remain unclaimed. The French government has now begun one of its most extensive efforts ever to find the heirs and return the art.
Today marks the beginning of the pullback of thousands of militant PKK fighters from Turkey back to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. It's an important milestone in a delicate effort to end nearly three decades of bloodshed that have killed an estimated 35,000 people since 1984.
The resignation of veteran Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is an event causing ripples that go way beyond the island where the Scotsman spent his long and illustrious career.
Walk into a bar pretty much anywhere from Buenos Aires to Bangkok, mention Ferguson or his star-studded team of Red Devils, and you can be sure of a lively conversation — and perhaps a heated argument.
Let's turn to a conflict now, that has been simmering for three decades. Turkish forces have spent years battling militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK as it's known. Today, thousands of PKK fighters begin a withdrawal to northern Iraq and this could lead to the group's eventual disarmament. Despite entrenched animosity, both Turks and Kurds seem, so far, to be pushing ahead with a peace process.
Authorities in Europe are concerned about their countries being used as incubators for terrorist attacks. You will recall that some 9/11 attackers had lived in Germany. Two Boston Marathon bombing suspects had links to Russia. Even peaceful Belgium is now asking just who's living there and what they do when they go abroad. Teri Shultz reports.
(SOUNDBITE OF GUNFIRE)
TERI SHULTZ, BYLINE: Members of the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front in Syria exchange words amid gunfire and alarm a nation far away from the warzone.