Robert Siegel speaks with former top diplomat Thomas Pickering, who led the State Department's investigation into the September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Pickering's report was criticized by witnesses at this week's congressional oversight hearing about the administration's handling of the attacks.
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee began marking up an immigration bill. We used to speak of immigration reform, but in recent years it's become circumspect to say overhaul, which is presumably more neutral. Our Friday political commentators don't seem especially neutral about the issue. E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution, good to see you here.
World Shattered, a cocktail by Tyler Fry of the Chicago bar The Violet Hour. The drink includes R. Franklin's Original Recipe Malort, and tames the bitterness with lemon, honey syrup, raspberry and mint.
Credit ThreeIfByBike / Flickr
A photo from the Flickr group Malort Face, memorializing the facial expressions of people who try malort.
The people who make Jeppson's Malort, a harshly bitter spirit that's consumed in shots or cocktails, don't mind that their product makes people grimace. Instead, they celebrate it.
Carl Jeppson Co., a Chicago company, has built a minor social media empire around malort's "brutal" flavor; one winner of its slogan contest described the drink as "turning taste buds into taste foes for generations."
The giant panda Lin Ping, a star in Thailand whose mandatory trip to China was due at the end of May, can spend up to 15 years in Thailand, under a deal announced this week. The 43-day-old Lin Ping was held by her mother, Lin Hui, in this 2009 photo.
The citizens of Thailand are breathing a sigh of relief, after a breakthrough moment in panda relations was reached with China Friday. After much negotiation, Lin Ping, a female giant panda who became a reality TV star after being born in Thailand's Chiang Mai Zoo, will be allowed to stay in Thailand for 15 years.
The pact comes just weeks before Lin Ping was to travel to China; under the terms of the deal that brought her parents to Thailand, zoo officials were obligated to send Lin Ping to China by her fourth birthday, on May 27.
A supporter greets Imran Khan at a campaign rally on May 6, in Multan, Pakistan. Pakistan's parliamentary elections will be held on Saturday, and Khan's party is hoping the large, enthusiastic crowds at rallies will translate into a strong showing at the polls.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, even for devoted Christians reading every word of the bible may be a once in a lifetime challenge. In a minute, we'll hear from a man who decided to copy the entire book by hand. And he tells us he's not even particularly religious. We'll think you'll be intrigued by what he has to say in a few minutes.
Pakistan holds elections this weekend. It's a milestone, as the balloting takes place as an elected civilian government finishes its entire five-year term. That's the first time that's ever happened. Steve Inskeep talks to Shuja Nawaz, director of the Atlantic Council, and the author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within.
Congressional hearings are beginning to shine a light on the drone program that for the past 12 years has been cloaked in secrecy. NPR's Kelly McEvers talked to a former Air Force pilot who operated drones for several years.
Garment workers sew T-shirts at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2009. Bangladesh, the world's second-largest clothing exporter, has lured clothing makers through a combination of low wages and light regulation.
Eight people died Wednesday in a fire at a Bangladeshi sweater factory. This follows the much deadlier collapse of the Rana Plaza building, where more than 900 people died.
The deaths are taking place in a garment sector that has seen explosive growth over the past three decades. The country has managed to lure clothing-makers through a combination of low wages and light regulation.
As a manufacturing center, Bangladesh has little to recommend it. The roads are poor. There's no port to speak of. The electricity is notoriously unreliable. It's politically unstable.
Ambassador Robert Ford, the State Department's point man on Syrian policy, crossed into northern Syria on Wednesday. The secret visit was confirmed by Syrian activists at the media office at the Bab al-Salama crossing on the Turkish frontier.
One of the few women competing in Pakistan's parliamentary election on Saturday is Naz Baloch, 33, a first-time candidate. She's the daughter of a politician, but is running for a different party than her father.
Flags of the competing political parties whip in the wind of seaside Karachi. But little else is stirring in this city of 18 million this day.
The MQM, a leading political party in the megacity, has shut Karachi down with a general strike in response to a deadly bombing at its election office. But as soon as the strike ends, the streets spring to life as if nothing were amiss.
This is the tale of turkey tail — it's convoluted arrival, disappearance and highly anticipated return to the Pacific island the Republic of Samoa (not to be confused with American Samoa).
It's hard to pinpoint precisely when turkey tails started being imported into Samoa from the U.S. and when they became a favorite, affordable dish. Meat byproducts (Spam and fatty lamb cuts from New Zealand) started showing up sometime after World War II, and turkey tails came shortly thereafter.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. This Saturday, Pakistanis head to the polls. The vote will mark the first transition between two democratically elected governments in the country's history. In the past, Pakistan's leaders have been overthrown, imprisoned or assassinated. The build-up to this election has been marked by a tremendous amount of violence and drama.
Just today, one candidate, the son of a former prime minister, was kidnapped.
Gunmen in Pakistan stormed an election rally and abducted the son of a former prime minister — the latest violence in a bloody campaign ahead of nationwide polling.
Armed men drove up to an election rally in the city of Multan, opened fire, grabbed Ali Haider Gilani and sped off, witnesses said. Gilani, who is running for a seat in the Punjab provincial assembly, is the son of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Eight people in New York have been charged as part of what prosecutors say was a global ring of cybercriminals who stole $45 million by hacking into prepaid credit card accounts and then using the data to get cash from thousands of ATMs around the world.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch described the alleged scheme as "a massive 21st century bank heist that reached across the Internet and stretched around the globe. In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. At the beginning of this week, as we absorb news of Israeli air strikes outside Damascus and questions about nerve gas and red lines, there was a report that a Shiite shrine near the Syrian capital had been ransacked by Sunni extremists and the body of a Shia holy man exhumed and hidden away.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later in the program, we will talk more about the story that's riveted the country, about those three women who were missing for a decade who were recently found alive. In a few minutes, we'll speak with a local columnist who stayed in touch with the mother of one of the missing women, who never gave up hope, but, sadly, did not live to see her daughter free. We'll hear more from columnist Regina Brett.
Hundreds of police were deployed in southern Beijing Wednesday to quell a large protest after a migrant worker fell to her death at a clothing mall. Police say it was suicide, but there are reports the woman was gang-raped by security guards. Her family is asking for a proper investigation.
British physicist Stephen Hawking has stepped into a political black hole.
He announced this week that he was withdrawing from a conference in Israel to protest that country's treatment of Palestinians, throwing his weight behind an academic boycott of the Jewish state. The Guardian reports:
A congressional committee on Wednesday heard testimony from three witnesses about the events that led to deaths of four Americans at Benghazi in September, 2012. The Benghazi attack has become a political controversy — Republicans accuse the Obama administration of mishandling security there and of misleading the American public after the attack. One new allegation: that a four-person team set to deploy to Benghazi the night of the attack was told not to go.