George Mason University professor Mark Katz is an expert on Russia's role in the Middle East. Russia is the Syrian government's main arms supplier. Professor Katz talks to David Greene about whether Russia's support for Damascus is flagging as the Syrian military continues to battle opposition rebels.
Just as soon as it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge, that would be Kate Middleton, was pregnant, a slew of breathless headlines followed. To hear what this royal baby really means for the British, we're joined by Ingrid Seward. She's the editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine.
Anyone who has visited Rome and its antique monuments has also seen their four-legged residents: the many stray cats that bask in the sun amid the ruins.
One site in central Rome is known as "cat forum," thanks to its adjacent cat shelter. But Italian archaeology officials have issued the Torre Argentina Cat Shelter Association an eviction notice, and feline lovers from around the world are bracing for a cat fight.
A Syrian rebel walks past the stairs of a bombed building in the Saif Al Duli district in Aleppo, Syria, on Sept. 10. The vast majority of those fighting against President Bashar Assad's regime are ordinary Syrians and soldiers who have defected, but Islamist rebels are also present among the fighters.
It's about 9 o'clock in the morning, and already it's been a long day for Abu Anas. He has lost two men to a sniper serving the Syrian regime. Four more have been injured.
But Abu Anas walks with a striking calm through the bombed-out, ruined streets of Aleppo, a city that has been at war for months. He wears a black headband bearing Islam's holy creed: "There is no God but God. And Muhammad is his messenger."
When Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was elected, some Egyptians jokingly referred to him as the Muslim Brotherhood's "spare tire." He was the backup candidate of the Islamist organization, whose first choice for the presidency was barred from running.
But Morsi has proved much more formidable than many Egyptians believed.
People originally from northern Mali carry signs that call for military action to retake that part of the country, now under the control of Islamist militants. The rally was held in Mali's capital, Bamako, in October.
In the southern part of Mali, which includes the capital, Bamako, it's not hard to find people who are angry about the Islamist militants who have taken over the country's north.
But there's little reason to believe the Islamists will be ousted soon. The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet this week to discuss plans for a 3,300-strong regional force to enter Mali. But it is unlikely any sort of military operation will take place in the near future.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. In Britain, palace officials have confirmed that Prince William's wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is in the very early stages of pregnancy. The former Kate Middleton has been hospitalized with severe morning sickness but her health is not believed to be in danger. From London, Vicki Barker has the story.
Life can be especially cruel for girls growing up on Kenya's Swahili Coast. Some families sell their daughters to earn the bride price, while others encourage them to become child prostitutes for tourists. The girls drop out of school and have babies, and their childhoods are stolen. Now, a coalition of educators, religious and traditional leaders is fighting back.
Thirteen teenage girls — all with babies on their laps — are gathered around a table in the town hall of Msabaha village, not far from the beach resort of Malindi.
Turkish soldiers stand guard in the town of Akcakale, just across the border from Syria, on Oct. 4. The Turks have often issued stern warnings and retaliated when shooting from the Syrian war has come across their border. But Turkey did not respond to an incident over the weekend.
For years the United States has urged the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a peace accord based on a two-state solution. Well, there are growing concerns within the international community that the chances of that ever happening are dimming.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The Palestinians angered Israel last week by securing a symbolically important vote at the United Nations General Assembly, upgrading their status from a non-member entity to a non-member state. Israel responded with reprisals.
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:21 am
One of the rising stars in the Latin American literary world is Hector Abad. The Colombian-born author has released a searing book, Oblivion: A Memoir, in the U.S. that took him a generation to write. It's the story of his father, a beloved doctor who was murdered in the 1980s.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who took power last June, is facing a rebellion against his rule. It all started with a set of controversial decrees by the president that put him above the law until a constitution is in place. That move has polarized the country. Judges are on strike and critics say the president is pushing through an illegitimate constitution.
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:00 am
Representatives from more than 190 countries are convening in Dubai to discuss the treaty regulating global telecommunications. It hasn't been updated since 1988, when the Internet was in its infancy. There is fear that countries known to censor or restrict Internet access will push for global governance that could hamper speech and innovation. Renee Montagne discusses the issues with Ambassador Philip Verveer, who coordinates U.S. policy on global communications.
The story of Afghanistan — its history, its culture — is a narrative writer Tamim Ansary says he "carries in his bones." Ansary was born there to an Afghan father, educated in the United States, and an American mother.
He spent much of his 1950s childhood in the town of Lashkar Gah. There, his father worked on a massive irrigation project, funded by the U.S. and aimed at turning a dusty valley into fertile farms.
London-raised Ahmed Jama won't give up on Mogadishu, Somalia, even though his restaurants have been attacked by suicide bombers more than once. In fact, he's leading the city's cultural revival, one dish at a time, by offering residents and visitors a taste of authentic Somali cuisine and hospitality. (This piece initially aired Nov. 26, 2012, on Morning Edition.)
High on a hill overlooking Pakistan's scenic Swat Valley sits a recently excavated cemetery. Italian archaeologist Luca Maria Olivieri walks across the site and lays a sun-beaten hand on a clay slab jutting out from a high, dun-colored wall. It's an ancient grave.
Olivieri says the remains still have to be carbon-tested, but archaeologists believe the graves contain members of a Dardic community, which dominated this part of Pakistan 3,000 years ago.
It's believed Alexander the Great fought one of his battles here, in the village of Udegram.
On Dec. 1, Kazakhstan celebrated a new holiday: "First President's Day." The central Asian country feted its long-time leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, though outside observers have criticized what appears to be a growing cult of personality around the president in the oil-rich country.
In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.
Afghan families walk along a dusty road in Kabul, the Afghan capital, last month. In the latest in a series of dramatic inflows and outflows, more Afghans are leaving the country than returning, fueled by unease about next year's withdrawal of NATO forces.
Credit S. Sabawoon / EPA/Landov
Passengers wait for their luggage at Kabul International Airport in March. Visas are difficult to come by, so many Afghans rely on smugglers to make their way out of the country.
Convulsed by war and civil strife for decades, Afghanistan has experienced some of the largest ebbs and flows of migration anywhere in the world.
It began with the Soviet invasion in 1979, which sent millions of Afghans fleeing to Iran and Pakistan. When the Taliban were driven from power in 2001, many Afghans began returning home.
Now, the country has hit another milestone: For the first time since 2002 and the beginning of the current war in Afghanistan, the country has a negative migration rate — more Afghans are leaving than returning.
Germans are famous for their efficiency and being on time. But a much-delayed, expensive new airport in the German capital, Berlin, is rapidly destroying that reputation.
Located in the former East Berlin neighborhood of Schoenefeld, the new airport is to replace three others that serviced passengers in the once-divided city. One of those, Tempelhof — made famous by the Allied airlifts of food and supplies during the Soviet blockade of the late 1940s — is already closed.
It's Inauguration Day in Mexico, and President Enrique Pena Nieto inherits a country with a mixed record.
Most of Mexico is embroiled in a deadly drug war that has claimed the lives of as many as 50,000 people, but Pena Nieto is also taking over an economy that is doing surprisingly well — thanks, many say, to the outgoing head of state.
The descendant of the ancient Aztec language is one of many endangered indigenous languages. Although there may still be a million speakers of Nahuatl, it is not being transmitted to a new generation. But there is an attempt to revive Nahuatl in New York City, and students eager to connect to their heritage are taking classes.
The Carousela cafe in West Jerusalem is one of a handful of restaurants and cafes in Israel staging a bit of a rebellion by defying Jewish religious authorities who claim they are the only ones who can certify restaurants as kosher, or in compliance with Jewish dietary laws.
Archaeologists call an excavation site on Istanbul's southern shore the world's largest shipwreck collection. The area, unearthed during construction of a railway station, was once a Byzantine-era port that harbored cargo and military vessels, and received goods from around the Mediterranean.
Credit Mustafa Ozer / AFP/Getty Images
Archaeologists in Istanbul work on the remnants of a Byzantine-era ship in June 2006.
Credit Mustafa Ozer / AFP/Getty Images
The archaeological finds include millions of shards of pottery.
In Istanbul, major public transit projects are back under way after years of paralysis. The problem wasn't a lack of financing, but the layer upon layer of ancient artifacts that turned up every time the earthmovers started their work.
The excavation began eight years ago on projects intended to ease Istanbul's notoriously clogged traffic.
The job included building a tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait and linking it to a rail and subway network. When the dig was stopped several years ago, eyes rolled and shoulders shrugged.
Sister Consuelo Morales puts her faith into action in a very dangerous place. She heads a human rights group in Monterrey, Mexico, where she pressures authorities to investigate killings, disappearances and other drug-related violence. She and Nik Steinberg of Human Rights Watch speak with host Michel Martin.