And in Egypt, a panel of Islamist lawmakers has approved a new draft constitution, but what should have been a welcome step in the country's transition to democracy is instead mired in controversy. NPR's Leila Fadel has our story from Cairo.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
PRESIDENT MOHAMMED MORSI: (Foreign language spoken)
At least two international airlines have cancelled flights to Damascus amid reports of heavy fighting along the Syrian highway that links the airport to the capital. There were also reports on Thursday that the Internet was down virtually throughout the country. Some land lines have also been cut off. Melissa Block talks to Kelly McEvers.
There was celebration in Palestinian territories tonight after Palestinians won an upgrade in their status at the United Nations. The U.N. General Assembly voted today overwhelmingly in favor of making Palestine a non-member observer state. That's the same status as the Vatican. The vote was 138 in favor, nine against, with 41 abstentions. The U.S. and Israel argue this will make peace negotiations even more difficult. The Palestinians say it's simply a move toward a more level playing field. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
A new draft constitution will be unveiled in Cairo on Thursday, but it is far from clear whether the move will help resolve or deepen the crisis between President Mohamed Morsi and Egypt's judges. Robert Siegel talks with Leila Fadel, who is in Cairo.
Early Thursday morning, the Internet in Syria went dark. Technology analysts suspect the Syrian government was behind the action, perhaps as part of an effort to blunt advances by rebel forces. Governments in recent years have become more mindful of the potentially subversive power of the Internet and also more knowledgeable about how to shut it down. The outage in Syria underscores the importance of current disputes over who should control the global Internet. That issue is the focus of a major international conference next week in Dubai.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan with a special broadcast today from the Joseph H. and Claire Flom Auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. Today's show is part of a project called The National Conversation, a joint production of the Wilson Center and NPR.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 12:19 pm
For decades, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were locked in a checkmate that brought the countries to the brink of nuclear war. Now, a new multipolar landscape exists where at least nine countries have nuclear weapons and China is projected to become the world's largest economy.
These developments come after a series of rebel victories in recent days and suggest that President Bashar Assad's government is facing increased pressure from the rebels in an uprising now 20 months old.
An online video, urging Africans to save Norwegians from frostbite, has gone viral. The tongue-in-cheek spoof features South Africans singing about sending radiators to Norway. The filmmakers hope to take on stereotypes of Africa that are reinforced by charities and the media. Host Michel Martin speaks to Erik Evans, one of the video's creators.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, a video that's going viral on the Internet is urging Africans to dig deep to help Norway. We'll find out what that's all about, in a few minutes.
In Britain, Brian Leveson, the judge who has spent eight months probing tabloid news excesses, has just issued his suggestions for reigning in Britain's sometime-rambunctious press. Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the wide-ranging inquiry in the wake of revelations of illegal phone-hacking at the Murdoch-owned News of the World and other newspapers. The victims included actors Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller, as well as the parents of a murdered teenager and other crime victims.
NPR's Philip Reeves, reporting on 'Morning Edition'
At the United Nations this afternoon, the General Assembly is expected to overwhelmingly approve a resolution that would shift the status of Palestinians from that of a "non-member observer entity" to a "non-member observer state."
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene. Good morning.
The United States is strongly against it. So even more strongly is Israel, but this will not deter the Palestinians from going to the United Nations today to secure a vote formally upgrading Palestine's U.N. status. There's little doubt the vote will pass easily, securing what the Palestinian leadership considers a significant diplomatic victory.
There are increasing signals from Iran that it's open to a new round of talks on its suspect nuclear program. The last round was held in Moscow in June. And with the American campaign season over, new diplomatic efforts are being explored.
But domestic politics - this time in Iran - may still limit what can be achieved at the negotiating table, as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:54 pm
Shaheen Dhada is an unlikely looking protagonist in the battle under way in India to protect free speech from government restrictions in the new media age.
Slight and soft-spoken, Dhada perches on the edge of her bed in a purple-walled room that has been her own for the past 20 years. Outside, police officers are posted for her protection in the town of Palghar, 2 1/2 hours outside Mumbai.
Miles Lappeman (left) and his son Marc with the carcass of a rhino that was killed for its horn at their Finfoot Lake Reserve on Nov. 24 in South Africa. This was one of eight rhinos slaughtered by poachers.
Writing for the New York Review of Books at the beginning of November, Robert Malley, the program director for the Middle East and North Africa with the International Crisis Group, and Hussein Agha described the current situation in the Middle East:
Details are still emerging in the wake of a factory fire that killed more than 100 textile workers outside the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. Melissa Block speaks with Reuters' South Asia bureau chief, John Chalmers, about the latest from Bangladesh, where protests have raged for three days.
Now to the fragile truce between Israel and Hamas. The fighting may have stopped but a lot of work needs to be done for the cease-fire to last. In Cairo, talks are underway mediated by Egypt, on key issues such as easing the blockade of Gaza.
NPR's Philip Reeves reports those talks are being followed closely by people on land and sea.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 10:28 am
Alexander Murphy recalls visiting a Guatemala museum some years ago and gazing up at a huge relief map of the country. Something about the borders struck the University of Oregon geography professor as out of place.
"And then I realized, 'Wait, all of Belize is shown as part of Guatemala,' " Murphy says. That's when he remembered a decades-old territorial dispute between the two Central American neighbors.
Mexico's President-elect, Enrique Pena Nieto, is promising to work closely with President Obama. Pena Nieto was in Washington this week ahead of his inauguration on Saturday. Host Michel Martin speaks with Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News, and Stephen Johnson from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 10:19 am
Earlier this week, European Union dairy farmers decided to protest milk price controls by spraying police with high-pressure hoses filled with milk. It certainly wasn't the first time that food has been both subject and symbol of unrest (see food riots). But this one stands out because of the dramatic images.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 7:51 am
For the past five months, University of California, Berkeley cartography professor Darin Jensen has been collecting maps about food. They fill the walls of his office, each one telling a different story — about meat production in Maryland, about the international almond trade, about taco trucks in Oakland. Some are local, some are regional, some are global, but in a few days they'll all be bound together between the covers of Food: An Atlas.