This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. While Syria is the crisis of the moment in the Middle East, Iran looms as an even more difficult challenge in the months ahead. And these two issues are not unconnected. Iran remains the most important ally of President Assad in Damascus, and the survival of his regime is critical to Iran's larger struggle with its Arab rivals.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 1:08 pm
Elie Gardner and Oscar Durand moved to Lima, Peru, in 2010, and every time they flew in or out, they noticed a large farmland by the airport. The husband and wife photojournalists began to wonder why there was so much land in the middle of an urban area, and who lived there and why.
One night they saw a story about it on the news. The government was taking back the neighborhood called "El Ayllu" and relocating hundreds of families in order to expand the airport.
Holidays overseas were once so rare for the average person in this country, that families would throw parties to show their vacation photos as slide shows. It's hard to remember that time now when it's relatively unremarkable for Americans to jet off to far-flung locations. Traveling for pleasure was once a hobby for the well off. It's now a $6.5 trillion industry worldwide that employs one out of every 12 people in the world.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 9:59 am
"You are our witnesses because you will go beyond our lives," Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel told the world's young people Monday morning during an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's opening.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:19 am
Excitement is building in the Netherlands a day before Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will be named king. Queen Beatrix will abdicate the throne Tuesday, and when the prince is sworn in, he'll become the first Dutch king in 122 years.
The transition will take place April 30, a national holiday known as Queen's Day — a busy holiday in any year in the Netherlands and especially popular in 2013. It will be renamed King's Day during the reign of Willem-Alexander, and moved to April 27, the new king's birthday.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:57 pm
Several arrests have been made in connection with the collapse of an illegally constructed garment factory in Bangladesh last week that killed at least 380 people outside the capital, Dhaka. Meanwhile, rescuers say they have given up hope of finding anyone else alive.
Italy has a new government, now that a new prime minister has been sworn in to preside over a grand coalition of that country's political parties, among them, the party of Silvio Berlusconi, if not the man himself. It took a lot of wrangling, leaving Italy without a government for two months, and it still has to get past a confidence vote in parliament today. We go now to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome. Good morning.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Mexico is considering changes to its collaboration with the United States in the war on drugs. That was the news at the top of the story in the Washington Post. But for many of us, some information further down in the article was more revealing because the article detailed just how deep and broad the U.S.-Mexico collaboration is.
Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt is on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the 1980s and '90s. The trial suffered a setback when a new judge was assigned to the case and ordered all the witness testimony of the past two years void. Filmmaker Pamela Yates, whose interview with Rios Montt from 1982 is used as evidence against the former dictator, offers her insight.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:06 am
Japan marked for the first time Sunday the end of the allied occupation of the country following its defeat in World War II.
"We have a responsibility to make Japan a strong and resolute country that others across the world can rely on," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a ceremony in Tokyo that was attended by dignitaries, including Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
Iraqi officials have suspended the right of 10 satellite TV channels to operate in the country, as media regulators say the stations' coverage of sectarian conflicts incites more violence.
"Most of the channels, including local stations such as 'Baghdad' and 'al-Sharqiya,' are pro-Sunni and often critical of the Shi'ite-led government," Reuters reports. "Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, a Sunni-ruled kingdom."
It seems almost trivial at first: the latest Human Rights Watch report on Afghanistan says female police officers need their own toilets. Sure, who's going to argue with that. But why is it a big deal?
Here's how it unfolds.
Female police officers are experiencing high levels of harassment, sexual assault and rape — often at the hands of their male colleagues. Where is most of this activity taking place? In police station bathrooms and changing rooms.
Sokeel Park sees the effects of North Korea's repressive government every day. He lives in South Korea, but works for an NGO named Liberty in North Korea. His job is to debrief those who've managed to leave the North and help them start new lives in the South.
Park says that with so much focus on the country's nuclear weapons and leadership, it's easy to forget about the 24 million people going about their everyday lives. Those lives are heavily controlled by the North Korean government, citizens are told where to work, where to live, and are not allowed to leave.
North Korea has accused an American tourist of committing crimes against the state and trying to bring down the country's regime, according to the North's official news agency.
The KCNA said Saturday that 44-year-old Kenneth Bae, imprisoned since November, confessed to the crimes and would be facing judgement in a North Korean court. He is identified in the report by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho.
Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 2:36 pm
Bangladeshi authorities have arrested at least seven people in connection with this week's deadly building collapse outside Dhaka, the capital. Several garment factories, shops and a bank were housed inside.
Originally published on Sun April 28, 2013 1:06 am
The Taliban will launch their annual spring offensive on Sun., April 28, the group said Saturday.
In a press release, the Taliban said that the offensive will target "America, NATO and their backers for the gratification of Allah Almighty, independence of Afghanistan and establishing in it an Islamic government while we humbly raise our hands towards Allah Almighty for its success and hope for a favorable and triumphant end."
The Tsarnaev brothers are among tens of thousands of Chechens whose families have sought asylum abroad after two brutal wars with Russia. About 10 percent of the entire Chechen population now lives in Europe. France has one of the largest communities. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley spoke with Chechens in Paris to see how they're reacting to the attack in Boston.
Since Egypt's revolution began, tensions among Egypt's Muslims and Christians have only increased. Earlier this month, it once again turned deadly. Tit-for-tat killings left three Muslims and at least six Christians dead.
That and other religious violence is prompting a public debate about religious identity in Egypt. One group of young Egyptians wants to remove religious labels from national ID cards.
Ahmed Fahad is a savior on a hot day. Yelling "Ice cream, ice cream!" in Arabic, the Palestinian man carries a Styrofoam cooler through tangled traffic at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. I roll down my window to signal to him but taste the sting of dissipating tear gas instead.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. The Dreamliner is coming back. FAA regulators have approved a fix for the Boeing Dreamliner 787, which was grounded around the world out of safety concerns. The first redesigned plane could retake to the skies as soon as this weekend out of Ethiopia. NPR's Gregory Warner explains what the world's most modern aircraft means to the cradle of humanity.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. The White House tried to clarify its message on Syria today, saying it is still studying evidence that the government there has used chemical weapons. Here's press secretary Jay Carney.
JAY CARNEY: We are continuing to work to build on the assessments made by the intelligence community. The degrees of confidence here are varying, this is not an airtight case.
President Obama has been hosting a series of visitors from the Middle East, and all of them have been urging the U.S. to get more involved in Syria.
They have included the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, whose country has been arming rebel forces in Syria. Obama wants to see such aid go to moderates — but that requires more cooperation with partners like Qatar. Problem is, they don't always see eye to eye.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:46 pm
The U.S. has remained at arm's length during two years of bloodletting in Syria that has claimed some 70,000 lives. But when the White House said Thursday it believed Syria has used chemical weapons, even in small quantities, it immediately set off a renewed debate on whether the U.S. might pursue a more aggressive policy.
Here are some of the key issues now under discussion:
-- Is the U.S. sure that Syria used chemical weapons?