World News

Strange News
2:46 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Finns Dominate Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And we wrap up this week's All Tech Considered with a story out of Finland.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This past weekend, 80 people from six countries competed in the annual Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships. The Finns shut out the competition, winning first, second and third place overall.

SIEGEL: The top tosser threw his handheld device an impressive 320 feet. The top woman on the field was a 31-year-old Swede - Asa Lundgren. Her distance: 132 feet. She's a newcomer to the sport but threw javelin in her youth.

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Latin America
2:46 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Months After Nightclub Kidnappings, Bodies Found In Mexico

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Mexican officials say they've identified five more bodies found in a mass grave outside the capital. The dead were among a group of 12 young people kidnapped from a night club three months ago. As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, the case has rocked Mexico City, once considered an oasis from the country's brutal drug war.

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Middle East
2:46 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

U.S. May Fire Cruise Missiles On Syrian Military

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And we turn now to NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman for more on what the Obama administration might do in Syria. And, Tom, as we just heard in Michele's report, Secretary Kerry made the case today that Syria's government did use chemical weapons last week against its own people. Did he provide any evidence?

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Middle East
2:46 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Kerry: Syria Has To Be Held Accountable For Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 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.

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Parallels
12:11 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

What Are The U.S. Options In Syria?

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:01 pm

After long and costly U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama has been deeply reluctant to act forcefully in Syria. But reports last week of a possible chemical weapons attack in Syria appear to have changed the White House's tone. As NPR's Larry Abramson said on Morning Edition, the issue now appears to be "how to respond, not whether to respond."

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The Two-Way
11:47 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Amateur Ko Wins LPGA Event Again; Says Goodbye To $300K Again

Lydia Ko of New Zealand reacts as she birdies the final hole to win her second consecutive Canadian Women's Open Sunday. Because Ko is an amateur, she didn't receive the winner's check for $300,000.
Stephen Dunn Getty Images

Lydia Ko, the New Zealand golfer who last year became the youngest person ever to win an LPGA event, has played her way into the record books again. By successfully defending her title at the Canadian Women's Open this past weekend, Ko, who's now 16, is the only amateur to win two LPGA events.

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The Salt
11:43 am
Mon August 26, 2013

The Great Dumpling Debate: What Makes The Cut?

When we first started thinking about dumplings for NPR's Dumpling Week, we presumed that there wasn't much to the little balls of dough. They seemed simple, universally beloved and unencumbered by controversy.

But the semantics of the dumpling turns out to be far more fraught that we imagined. This became clear when we started wondering whether tamales, or samosas, counted as dumplings. The deeper we waded into the pool of quasi-dumpling snacks, the more we realized we needed some expert input to set us straight.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
10:53 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Debate: Does The U.S. Have A Dog In The Fight In Syria?

John Donvan moderates an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on Syria at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colo. Those debating are: (from left) Graham Allison, Richard Falkenrath, Nicholas Burns and Nigel Sheinwald.
Riccardo Savi Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 11:19 am

  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

While some American lawmakers have urged increased involvement by the United States in the Syrian civil war, so far the Obama administration has been reluctant to intervene in a major way.

The question has taken on a new sense of urgency following an attack last week near the Syrian capital Damascus that left hundreds dead. The Syrian opposition says it was a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government, a charge the government denies. The Obama administration is now weighing possible responses.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Mon August 26, 2013

New Details On How U.S. 'Helped Saddam As He Gassed Iran'

Then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (at right) behind an artillery piece during the Iraq-Iran war. (An undated photo from the 1980s.)
Reuters/Landov

Newly declassified CIA documents "combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States' knowledge of how and when Iraq" used chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980s, Foreign Policy reports.

According to the magazine:

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The Two-Way
4:57 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Talk Of Strike On Syria Moves From 'Will It Happen?' To When

Ammunition was stacked up Saturday in an area near Damascus that is controlled by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
Khaled al-Hariri Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 5:06 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Aaron David Miller speaks with Renee Montagne about the situation in Syria
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Larry Abramson talks with David Greene about the military options

With U.S. officials saying there's little doubt that President Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons on the Syrian people last week, and with U.S. Navy ships moving toward that country's coast, it now seems to be a question of "when" not "whether" America will strike military targets inside that nation.

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Middle East
3:13 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Hagel's Indonesia Trip Consumed By Thoughts On Syria

The Syria government says it will allow U.N. weapons inspectors to access the site of an apparent chemical weapons attack outside Damascus. Last week's attack left hundreds of civilians dead, and could lead to a military response by the U.S. and other western nations. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is on a planned trip to Indonesia.

Middle East
3:03 am
Mon August 26, 2013

What Are The U.S. Options Regarding Syria?

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:33 am

When it comes to action in Syria, the U.S. has moved from will it — to what will it do? Analyst Aaron David Miller, a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, tells Renee Montagne that it is "almost inevitable that the president will authorize some form of military action" in Syria after last week's alleged chemical attack against civilians.

Parallels
1:45 am
Mon August 26, 2013

For Pakistan And Afghanistan, Soccer As Reconciliation

Afghanistan and Pakistan, countries that have a history of tense relations, played their first soccer match in nearly 40 years when they met Aug. 20 in Kabul. Afghanistan (in red) won 3-0.
Omar Sobhani Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:03 am

Afghanistan and Pakistan are better known for their verbal fights and occasional border clashes, but for the first time since 1976, they battled on a soccer field in Kabul.

Some 6,000 rabid Afghan fans cheered on their team, clad in red uniforms. There were horns, flags, and face paint. It looked like any soccer game in the world, except for all the riot police, snipers, and Blackhawk helicopters passing overhead periodically.

Ahmad Mirwais, a 27-year-old tailor, was one of those lucky enough to score a ticket.

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The Two-Way
12:53 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Pain, Loss And Tears Come With Medal Of Honor

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ty Michael Carter near Dahla Dam, Afghanistan in July 2012.
Ho/AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 2:04 pm

Update at 3:14 p.m. ET. Carter Receives Medal Of Honor:

Saying he represented "the essence of true heroism," President Obama presented Army Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter with the nation's highest military honors, this afternoon.

"As these soldiers and families will tell you, they're a family forged in battle, and loss, and love," Obama said, according to the AP.

Our Original Post Continues:

The Army staff sergeant who Monday afternoon will receive the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony has mixed emotions.

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Middle East
3:08 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

World Reacts To Alleged Syrian Chemical Attack

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Coming up, a look at the minority Christian population in the Middle East. But first, this week, video out of Syria showed shocking images of civilians, many of them women and children, choking and convulsing on the floor of a hospital near Damascus. The opposition called it the evidence of a chemical attack.

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Middle East
3:01 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

For Arab World's Christians, An Uncertain Fate

The Amir Tadros Coptic Church in Minya, Egypt, was set ablaze on Aug. 14.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 3:16 pm

As Egypt plunges into unrest amid the military-backed government's crackdown on demonstrators, the country's Christian minority has been targeted by Islamic extremists.

Dozens of churches have been burned, ransacked and looted since the government began fighting against supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohammed Morsi two weeks ago.

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Books
2:52 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

'Heart' Of Iranian Identity Reimagined For A New Generation

In "The Nightmare of Siavosh," the young exiled Iranian prince dreams of his impending demise. Upon waking, he tells his wife, Farigis, about his fears regarding the tragic events to come.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:14 am

A thousand years ago, a Persian poet named Abolqasem Ferdowsi of Tous obtained a royal commission to put the ancient legends and myths of Iran into a book of verse.

He called this epic Shahnameh, or "Epic of the Persian Kings." It took him more than three decades and comprises 60,000 couplets — twice the length of The Iliad and The Odyssey combined.

Author Azar Nafisi, who wrote the memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran, says the importance of this foundational myth epic to Iranians can't really be overstated.

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Middle East
6:04 am
Sun August 25, 2013

Evidence Points To Chemical Weapon Use In Syria

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 9:22 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

You heard him mention his concerns about a possible chemical weapons attack last week outside Damascus. U.N. inspectors are being allowed to visit the sites in question tomorrow. Gary Samore worked in the Obama White House as the coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction. He explains that once inspectors arrive on site, they'll work to figure out what substance was used.

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Middle East
6:04 am
Sun August 25, 2013

Tens Of Thousands Flee Syria After Alleged Chemical Attacks

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 9:22 am

Thousands of Syrian refugees entered Iraq last week, fleeing the violence between extremist groups and Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin speaks with Alan Paul of the charity Save the Children about the flow of refugees entering Iraq.

Parallels
12:29 pm
Sat August 24, 2013

After 'Night From Hell,' People Of Damascus Ask: Are We Safe?

Men wearing masks walk along a deserted street that was hit by what activists said was a gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Ain Tarma on Wednesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 8:32 am

The writer is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus who is not being further identified out of safety concerns.

Damascenes are shedding tears for the fallen and expressing fear and confusion in the aftermath of what could prove to be one of the worst chemical attacks in recent years. Residents are left unsure of how to protect their health in the wake of the incident.

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Tons Of Molten Glass Go Into Making Mirror For Giant Telescope

An artist's concept of the completed Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)
Giant Magellan Telescope

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 2:08 pm

Technicians on Saturday are set to cast 20 tons of glass for the third of seven ultra-precise primary mirrors that will make up the 72-foot Giant Magellan Telescope, scheduled for completion in northern Chile's arid Atacama Desert in 2020.

The parabolic mirror will be cast at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The molten borosilicate, made by the Ohara Corporation, will be spun cast at 2140 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The Two-Way
8:41 am
Sat August 24, 2013

U.S. Weighs Options On Syria After Reported Chemical Attack

Female rebel fighters gather in Syria's northern city of Aleppo on Saturday to protest what they claim was a chemical attack by pro-government forces in a suburb of Damascus.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 2:29 pm

(This post last updated at 4:20 p.m. ET)

President Obama has been meeting with his national security team to discuss reports of the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons, a White House official said Saturday, amid strong hints that a U.S. military strike was on the table.

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Asia
5:55 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Corruption Trial Begins For China's Bo Xilai

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 9:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The trial of a former high-flying Chinese politician began this week. Bo Xilai is accused of corruption, bribery and stealing millions of dollars, and the possible implications for China's leadership could be huge. We're joined now by Cheng Li. He's the director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

Thanks very much for being with us, Mr. Cheng.

CHENG LI: Thank you for having me.

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Digital Life
5:55 am
Sat August 24, 2013

A Tiny Island Finally Connects To The World Wide Web

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 5:27 pm

Sandwiched between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, the island of Idjwi had no Internet access until last month. Host Scott Simon speaks with Jacques Sebisaho, a doctor and native of Idjwi Island, about how the community has responded to the Internet.

Middle East
5:55 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Military Rides Wave Of Public Support In Egypt

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 9:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Egypt continues to grapple with fallout from the military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in July. President Morsi was propelled to electoral power through the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, the organization is under intense pressure as security forces arrest its members. Many hundreds have been killed in a security crackdown and a political solution seems all but impossible. And some fear that Egypt is returning to a military state. NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.

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Middle East
3:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Obama Still Wary Of U.S. Military Intervention In Syria

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama continued his back-to-school bus tour today, visiting college campuses in New York and Pennsylvania. Back here in Washington, D.C., administration officials wrestled with how the U.S. should respond to this week's alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Obama says Wednesday's attack around Damascus, if verified, raises grave concern and could threaten core national interests of the United States.

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Planet Money
3:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Cash, Cows And The Rise Of Nerd Philanthropy

A family in western Kenya received this cow as part of a Heifer International program.
NPR

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:12 pm

For more of our reporting on this story, please see our recent column in the New York Times Magazine, and the latest episode of This American Life.

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Asia
3:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Corruption Trial Not Working Out As Communist Party Had Hoped

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

China's Communist Party had hoped a high profile corruption trial this week would send a message that the party punishes its own and operates under the rule of law. But so far, the trail of former Politburo member Bo Xilai hasn't quite worked out that way. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports on how China's biggest case in decades is toying with the expectations of the millions of people following the trial.

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Middle East
3:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Did Publicizing The Terror Alert In Yemen Help?

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:12 pm

The partial reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, which was the focus of a recent terror alert, suggests that the immediate threat of a terrorist attack has passed. Officials cannot be certain whether the alert disrupted planning for a possible attack, whether the threat was a bluff or whether the intelligence that led to the alert was flawed. The issuance of warnings is a specialty within the intelligence community, but the recent episode underscores how much uncertainty surrounds the field.

Middle East
3:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Former Ambassador: Syria Will Fight No Matter What U.S. Does

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There are growing calls for international military action if it's proved that Syria used chemical weapons in an attack this week that's believed to have killed more than 1,000 people. Britain, France and Turkey are among those calling for a forceful response. In an interview today on CNN, President Obama sounded a cautious note.

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