World News

Parallels
10:16 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Where U.S. Allies Stand On A Strike Against Syria

Anti-war protesters rally outside Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Britain's Parliament rejected the country's involvement in any military action against Syria. The U.K. government had been among those seeking a strong response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:15 pm

International outrage was palpable last week following reports that Syria used chemical weapons near the capital, Damascus. But now, as President Obama contemplates a strike against Syria, there's only limited support for military action.

Here's a look at countries that have criticized Syria and where they stand on intervention:

Britain

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Defectors Think Most North Koreans Approve Of Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Mr. Popularity?
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 11:45 am

While public opinion polling hasn't exactly caught on in North Korea, a survey of defectors estimates that more than half of the country they left behind approves of the job leader Kim Jong Un is doing.

Seoul's Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, as reported by Yonhap news agency, asked 133 defectors to hazard a guess as to Kim's actual approval rating in the country, which at least publicly buys into the absolute cult of personality surrounding its leadership.

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Middle East
2:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Iran Warns Against U.S. Military Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 6:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Middle East
2:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

White House Presses On With Plans To Strike Syria

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Preparations for a military strike against Syria continue. The Obama administration says action is necessary, because the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people last week, killing hundreds.

WERTHEIMER: All week, the administration has been claiming their case is open and shut.

(SOUNDBITE OF STATEMENTS)

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Middle East
2:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

If The U.S. Strikes, What Are The Targets Inside Syria?

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, one of the people urging President Obama to act on intelligence findings and strike against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is retired General Jack Keane. He served in an advisory role in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and he's now chairman of the board of the Institute for the Study of War. Keane says he has not been involved in the most recent talks about Syria, but he has a long history of military planning at the highest levels, and he gave us a window into the planning that's going on now.

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World
4:24 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

U.K. Vote Against Syria Strike A Major Setback For Obama

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So where does this leave the Obama administration? For more on that, I'm joined by NPR's Mara Liasson. And Mara, what's the White House reaction been to this vote in the British Parliament tonight?

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World
4:19 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

U.K. Lawmakers Vote Against Syria Strike

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 4:04 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

British Parliament Closes Door On Syria Intervention

The Houses of Parliament are silhouetted against a setting sun as lawmakers debate possible British military action in Syria.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:35 pm

After debating deep into the night, the British House of Commons refused a precursory resolution on military strikes in Syria. The resolution, which failed 272-285, called for a second vote to authorize military action once the U.N. inspectors have issued their findings on whether the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against its own people.

"It is clear to me the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action," Prime Minister David Cameron said. "I get that and the government will act accordingly."

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Middle East
3:34 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Why Syria Is More Complicated Than Libya

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:23 pm

The Arab spring has brought large-scale protests and violence to at least half a dozen countries in the past three years. Until now, the U.S. has only intervened militarily in one of them — Libya.

Now, as President Obama considers a strike on Syria, here's a look at some of the differences between the two scenarios:

1. Syria's Not Standing Alone

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Business
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Threat Of U.S. Strike In Syria Drives Up Oil Prices

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Crude oil prices are up about 20 percent over the past two months. On Tuesday, the price of the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, hit $109. Events in Syria are driving the price spike. Syria doesn't produce much oil, but there is great concern that the conflict there might spill over and involve other Persian Gulf nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Middle East
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Reporter Describes Apprehensive, Frightened Mood In Syria

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Melissa Block talks to BBC reporter Jeremy Bowen about the situation on the ground in Syria from the capital of Damascus.

Middle East
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

U.K. Position Makes Syria Strike More Complicated For U.S.

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

A UN weapons inspection team is due to leave Syria on Saturday, but it will take time for them to review all of the material they've gathered about an alleged chemical weapons attack. The British government now says it will wait to hear the report before taking any military action to punish Bashar al-Assad's regime. That leaves the U.S. in an awkward position. It has written off the UN route because of Russia's opposition to any action.

Europe
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Cameron Has A Hard Time Selling Syria Strike To Parliament

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Around the world today, there are deliberations about Syria. The governments of the U.S., France and Britain are pushing for action in response to last week's alleged chemical weapons attack. They blame the Syrian government for the deaths of hundreds of people outside Damascus.

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The Salt
1:17 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Your Kitchen Spices Can Often Harbor Salmonella

Pepper is the spice most commonly contaminated with salmonella and other pathogens.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 2:59 pm

Spice may be nice, but spices also can carry very bad bugs. About 7 percent of spices tested by Food and Drug Administration researchers were contaminated with salmonella, which can cause serious illness and death. Because of this finding and others, the FDA and international food safety organizations are putting more effort into how to reduce the risk.

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Parallels
12:16 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

A Rare Wedding Offers Syrians A Brief Respite From War Talk

The bride, groom and wedding party celebrate Thursday in the Syrian capital, Damascus. It was a brief respite for residents of the neighborhood who were expecting U.S.- or NATO-led airstrikes.
For NPR

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:26 pm

The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified for safety reasons.

In a west Damascus neighborhood Thursday, a drumbeat all too rare drew people to their windows and balconies. Passersby stopped to investigate. Traffic came to a halt. Some drivers honked to the beat.

They were the drums of a wedding, a tradition known in Damascus as an arada. It involves a troupe of professional drummers, along with dozens of members of a wedding party, that picks up the groom from home.

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Parallels
11:57 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Too Weird To Be True? In China, You Never Can Tell

A zoo in central China's Henan province swapped a dog — a Tibetan mastiff like the one shown here — for a lion, in another story that recently swept Chinese cyberspace.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:47 pm

Here are some of the recent news stories that went viral in China that you may have missed:

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Spain's Tomato Festival Shrinks, As Town Pares Crowd Size

Ammunition in the form of tomatoes are thrown to a crowd gathered for the annual Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain, near Valencia, Wednesday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

The Tomatina Festival, the famous free-for-all in which partiers pelt one another with ripe tomatoes, was held in Bunol, Spain, Wednesday. The big party that has become an international sensation in recent years was smaller than usual in 2013 — for the first time, the town sold a limited number of tickets for 10 euros (about $13.25) to indulge in the huge food fight.

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Africa
10:01 am
Thu August 29, 2013

In Egypt's Political Turmoil, Middle Ground Is The Loneliest

The protesters who opposed Hosni Mubarak two years ago, like these demonstrators in Cario's Tahrir Square on Feb. 8, 2011, have been pushed to the sidelines in the current confrontation.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Egypt is quieter these days. Protests against the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi have subsided for now. And the military-appointed interim government is firmly in charge.

Yet, Egypt remains deeply polarized. And the middle is a lonely place to be.

Some of the young revolutionaries who led the 2011 uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak feel they are back to square one, battling authoritarian forces on both sides.

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Parallels
9:39 am
Thu August 29, 2013

The Drums Of War, Poolside Edition

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, center, chains his hands with his counterparts from Vietnam, right, and Thailand before the ASEAN meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, on Thursday. The trip's message: The U.S. is committed to its "rebalance" toward the Asia-Pacific region.
Vincent Thian AP

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:11 pm

NPR's Larry Abramson is traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus, or ASEAN Plus. Larry sent us this dispatch:

You cannot hear the drums of war here in Brunei, but you can hear the surf from the Brunei coast, or the sounds of splashing from the humongous pools here at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.

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Parallels
9:06 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Dutch Migration Fears Mirror Sentiments Across Europe

A chocolate cake is shaped like Europe, with new EU members Romania and Bulgaria (far right), at a welcoming ceremony for their entry into the bloc on Dec. 14, 2006. Curbs on the movement of citizens of the two countries end on Jan. 1, raising fears in Western Europe of an influx of Bulgarian and Romanian workers.
Thierry Charlier AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:51 pm

The Netherlands is a famously tolerant and welcoming place. But the Dutch social affairs minister says he's worried about too many immigrants coming from Bulgaria and Romania, and he's tapped into wider fears in the European Union about foreign workers.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Thu August 29, 2013

India Nabs Top Terrorism Suspect

A poster of Yasin Bhatkal, an alleged founder of the Indian Mujahideen, burns after being set on fire by demonstrators celebrating his arrest in Bangalore on Thursday.
Manjunath Kiran AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:41 pm

India says it has nabbed the co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen, a terrorist organization that has been blamed for attacks throughout the country.

NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi that Yasin Bhatkal was arrested near India's border with Nepal. He's wanted in connection with several attacks, including a 2010 bombing at a bakery that killed 17 people in the western Indian city of Pune.

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Have Your Picture Taken With Hong Kong's (Smog-Free) Skyline

Tourists from mainland China take photos in front of a large outdoor banner showing what Hong Kong looks like on a clean air day, in Hong Kong on Aug. 21.
Alex Hofford EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:26 am

It's not news that Hong Kong, which brags one of the world's most stunning skylines, has been gradually losing it behind a curtain of smog.

But the Chinese territory's latest solution is new: To placate camera-clicking tourists unable to get those iconic shots of the skyscraper-studded waterfront, Hong Kong has set up a panoramic backdrop with clear, blue skies.

The Chinese website Netease published a series of pictures of tourists posing in front of the backdrop.

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The Two-Way
7:19 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Israeli Soldiers Go 'Gangnam Style' With Palestinians; Incur Wrath

An image taken from an amateur video shows an Israeli soldier dancing atop a Palestinian man's shoulders to the song "Gangnam Style." The soldier and his colleagues have been suspended.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:34 am

A group of Israeli soldiers who diverted their patrol into a dancehall earlier this week are facing their bosses' displeasure, after video captured the men — armed, wearing helmets and other gear — dancing with dozens of Palestinians in a club in Hebron. They were drawn into the building by hearing "Gangnam Style," the iconic dance hit song by South Korean rapper Psy.

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Assad Is To Blame For Chemical Weapons Attack, British Say

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday as he left 10 Downing Street in London.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:28 am

Saying that there are "no plausible alternative scenarios," the U.K.'s Joint Intelligence Organisation released a statement Thursday to support the conclusion reached by U.S. and British officials that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for what's said to have been a chemical weapons attack last week near Damascus.

That attack, U.S. and British officials say, killed more than 300 people and may have injured several thousand more.

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The Two-Way
4:56 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama Hasn't Made Case For Striking Syria, Rumsfeld Says

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2011.
Michael Reynolds EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 6:02 am

As the U.S. and its allies seemingly move closer to some type of military action in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons to kill hundreds of his own people, one of the policymakers who led the U.S.

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Middle East
2:45 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama 'Concluded' Syrian Regime Conducted Chemical Attack

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

This morning in Syria, U.N. inspectors continue their investigation into last week's chemical weapons attack, which apparently killed hundreds of civilians. The U.N. plans for the inspection team to be in Syria's capital, Damascus, until Saturday.

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Europe
2:45 am
Thu August 29, 2013

British Prime Minister's Call For Action In Syria Stalls

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:25 am

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron had planned to get backing from Parliament Thursday – approving a possible military intervention. Instead, he's been forced to back down. The Labour Party announced it would vote against military action in Syria.

The Salt
3:13 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

The Latest Frontier In Gourmet Salt, From The Lowest Point On Earth

An Israeli man bathes in the Dead Sea. Spas have long touted the health benefits of the Dead Sea. So does Naked Sea Salt.
Sebastian Scheiner AP

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 6:34 am

When you go to the Dead Sea for a float in its extraordinarily buoyant waters, signs warn you not to drink a drop. "Did you swallow water?" one Dead Sea do's and don'ts list asks. "Go immediately to the lifeguard."

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Shots - Health News
3:13 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

In South Africa, A Clinic Focuses On Prostitutes To Fight HIV

A prostitute in Johannesburg waits for a client on a street corner. An estimated two-thirds of sex workers in South Africa are HIV positive.
Yoav Lemmer AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 7:25 pm

South Africa has come a long way in dealing with AIDS. The country has been successful in getting drug treatment to millions of people infected with HIV.

But the country still has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world — and the virus continues to spread. Nearly 400,000 South Africans are infected with HIV each year.

One health clinic in the heart of Johannesburg is attempting to break the HIV cycle by focusing on people at extremely high risk for infection — prostitutes.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

How Will U.S. Legally Justify Military Strikes In Syria?

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 4:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So what legal justification might the Obama administration use to justify military strikes on Syria? To help us better understand the legal rules behind intervention, we turn to John Bellinger. He was legal advisor for the State Department and the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration. Welcome to the program.

JOHN BELLINGER: Thanks, Melissa, it's nice to be here.

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