This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's easy for us to overlook, given the violence elsewhere in the Middle East, but violence in Iraq has risen sharply. Since the start of April, more than 2,000 people have been killed in car bombings and other attacks. Iraq has not seen that level of killing since the worst of the sectarian war back in 2006 and 2007. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.
In his speech in Belfast, President Obama talked at length about the transformation of that city from conflict zone to a city bustling with normal healthy daily life. He got the biggest burst of applause when he tossed in a bit of Irish vernacular.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Students lounge at cafes asking each other, what's the crack?
BLOCK: What's the crack? Translation, how you doin'? Are you having fun?
OBAMA: So to paraphrase Seamus Hayden(ph), it's the manifestation of sheer bloody genius. This island is now chic.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Today, the new president of Iran vowed to follow the path of moderation and justice, not extremism. Hasan Rowhani talked of enhancing mutual trust between Iran and other countries. That marks a stark change in rhetoric from that of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rowhani campaigned as a reformist. He's also a cleric and Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, who became known as the Diplomat Sheikh.
In Pakistan, a new government started work this month. It faces a country awash in conflict. To get a sense of just how complicated it is to govern Pakistan, NPR's Philip Reeves focused on one 48-hour period. He chose this past weekend.
PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: For many Pakistanis, this was supposed to be a fun weekend. Their national cricket team was playing the old enemy, India.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. We begin this hour with the annual Group of 8 summit in Northern Ireland. Today, President Obama and the other G8 leaders huddled at a resort there. Among the many topics, the bloody civil war in Syria. President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down to talk about Syria, acknowledging that they have, as Mr. Obama said, differing perspectives.
Ever since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, the U.S. has been in search of moderate Iranian leaders who could steer the country away from its hostile standoff with America.
To cite one famous example, President Ronald Reagan's administration secretly sold weapons to Iran in the mid-1980s in the belief it could work with the country's "moderate" elements even as Iran remained under the control of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
In Tehran today, the first news conference of Iran's president-elect ended abruptly when a man in the audience jumped up to protest the absence of the man many believe was elected president four years ago, Mir-Hossein Mousavi has been held under house arrest since 2011. And after the interruption, President-elect Hasan Rouhani left the stage and state television pulled the plug on the live broadcast.
Few citizens are more honored than military veterans, and there's particular reverence for those who defeated the Nazis in World War II. Like any war, however, World War II was complicated and traumatic for those on the ground, and not a few deserted from the front lines.
Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 10:13 am
If economists were cheerleaders, their favorite shout-out might be: "What do we want? Growth! When do we want it? Now!"
They won't actually shout those words, but they may be thinking them as global leaders meet this week for a G-8 summit. Economists are hoping that at the gathering in Northern Ireland, leaders of eight major economies will discuss expanding global trade and investment to spur job creation.
This is Morning Edition from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. After weeks of protest, security forces in Turkey carried out a violent crackdown yesterday, arresting hundreds of people in Istanbul and other cities around the country. Riot police tear gassed protesters who were trying to return to Istanbul's Taksim Square Sunday.
Syria's Arab neighbors are increasingly being drawn into that country's conflict. Over the weekend, the Egyptian president cut all diplomatic ties with Syria and called for a no-fly zone to protect rebels there.
In Jordan - right next door to Syria - King Abdullah told graduates at the country's military academy that he would defend against any spillover from the fighting. That followed a Pentagon decision to base Patriot missiles and a squadron of F-16 fighter planes in the country.
And let's stay in this part of the world. Over the weekend, Iran overwhelmingly elected a new president, a man seen by many as a reformer. More than half the voters in that country opted for this change.
The relatively moderate cleric, Hassan Rouhani, replaces Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who's been in power since 2005. Rouhani campaigned on a message of ending Iran's international isolation.
For reaction from Tehran, we're joined by The New York Times bureau chief there, Thomas Erdbrink.
Calling it an era of wisdom and moderation, Iran's new president, Hasan Rowhani, vowed to integrate the country back into the international community and asked Western nations to adopt a more "respectful rhetoric" toward Iran.
His triumph Saturday with 18 million votes, slightly over half of the cast ballots, surprised many Iranians who had suspected that the leadership would repeat the controversial elections of 2009 that led to the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By accepting Rowhani's victory, the regime may be taking a step to restore some of its lost legitimacy.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday defended his order to forcibly evict thousands of anti-government protesters from Istanbul's Taksim Square, saying he had simply carried out his "duty" as the nation's leader.
In a speech to hundreds of thousands of supporters, Erdogan also railed against foreign media coverage and social media amid criticism of his government's handling of the protests, The Associated Press reports.
Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 11:36 am
There is no more graphic example of the daunting challenges facing Pakistan's new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, than the bloody events playing out in the west of his nation.
Just over a week after Sharif was sworn in for a third term, at least 24 people were killed in a day of violence that underscored the threat presented by violent militancy to the fabric of the Pakistani state.
Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 10:41 am
Jordan's King Abdullah says his country stands ready to respond to any threat from a spillover of the civil war in neighboring Syria, a day after the U.S. announced it would leave fighter jets and Patriot missiles in his country after joint military exercises end this week.
"If the world does not help as it should, and if the matter becomes a danger to our country, we are able at any moment to take the measures to protect the country and the interest of our people," Abdullah said, speaking to graduating military cadets.
Hasan Rowhani's stunning presidential election victory in Iran has opened the door for improved relations with the West, but the U.S. and Israel remain cautious about making progress on their key demand — dismantling Iran's nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the international community "must not give in to wishful thinking or temptation and loosen the pressure on Iran for it to stop its nuclear program."
Ambassador Crocker is watching what's happening in Iraq with a careful eye. So are the many Iraqis who fled the country several years ago, when sectarian tensions there escalated to something close to civil war. Haider al-Jumaili was one of them. He is a mechanical engineer but he lost his job after the U.S. invasion and found work as an interpreter for U.S. organizations. Eventually, the sectarian violence started to overwhelm him.
HAIDER AL-JUMAILI: I left my country because of these two words: The Sunnis and the Shias.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
President Obama leaves tonight on a quick trip to Europe. He'll attend a G8 summit of industrialized nations in Northern Ireland. He'll also pay a visit to Germany, where his plans include a public speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate.
NPR's Scott Horsley will be traveling with the president. He joins us now. Hi, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Rachel.