World News

The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

On Independence Day, A Subdued Syrian Capital

Pro-Assad, flag-painted Hummers are often seen driving throughout Damascus blasting patriotic songs and regime slogans. These two vehicles were photographed at the site of blasts earlier this month near Syria's central bank.
NPR

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

On this day in 1946, Syria celebrated the withdrawal of the last French soldier from its soil, and announced itself as an independent, 20th century-style nation-state.

It was a day of hope and jubilation, which over the years my older relatives would periodically recollect from memory.

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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Wed April 17, 2013

For Thatcher, 'A Great Calm' After A Life Of Controversy

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral was held Wednesday at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.
Christopher Furlong EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:52 pm

Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister whose time leading Great Britain in the 1980s brought joy to conservatives and despair to liberals, was remembered Wednesday for "a life lived in the heat of political controversy."

With her death last week at the age of 87, "there is great calm" for the Iron Lady, added the bishop of London, the Right Reverend Richard Chartres, during a funeral service at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.

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Asia
2:44 am
Wed April 17, 2013

IAEA Team Probes Fukushima's Radioactive Water

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:46 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

India Refuses Permission For Country's First Playboy Club

Indian Bollywood film actress Sherlyn Chopra at a media event in August for her appearance in Playboy magazine in Mumbai.
Strdel AFP/Getty Images

Hugh Heffner's empire has run afoul of conservative politicians in India, who have decided to halt plans for the country's first Playboy Club.

PB Lifestyle, the Indian firm with rights to the Playboy brand, had hoped that the club in the southwestern state of Goa would be the first of eight to be constructed over the next three years. They were hoping for as many as 120 such clubs in the coming decade.

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The Salt
11:16 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Italy's Financial Crisis Means More (Bread) Dough At Home

A young baker at the Roscioli bakery in Rome prepares bread.
Amy Guttman for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 9:54 am

Processed food packed with salt, fat and sugar has been making incursions into the traditional diets of countries around the world. Even Italy isn't immune to the reach of junk food. But hard economic times are spurring Italians to rediscover home cooking, and especially bread making.

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Tue April 16, 2013

China Gives Breakdown Of Its Military, Criticizes U.S.

The Russian-built "Liaoning", China's first aircraft carrier, is a potent symbol of the country's growing military might.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 1:39 pm

China on Tuesday detailed the structure of its military force in a special national defense report that also took a swipe at the United States for what it described as stoking tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

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The Two-Way
8:23 am
Tue April 16, 2013

IMF Lowers 2013 Economic Growth Forecasts

The IMF says economic woes in places like Cyprus will tamp down global growth.
Patrick Baz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 10:30 am

The International Monetary Fund has lowered its projections for global economic growth, including in the United States, citing sharp cuts in government spending and the struggling eurozone.

The Washington, D.C.-based international lender's World Economic Outlook shaved its 2013 forecast to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent. It also trimmed its projection for 2014 to 4 percent from 4.1 percent.

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The Two-Way
6:04 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Strong Earthquake Shakes Iran, Deaths Reported

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 10:39 am

There's been a strong earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 7.8, in southeastern Iran near the border with Pakistan, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

The temblor was centered about 53 miles east southeast of the small city of Khash. According to USGS, it was about 9.4 miles deep.

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Latin America
3:41 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Venezuela's Presidential Election Remains Disputed

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, Venezuela's presidential election is not precisely tied, but remains in dispute. The government declared Nicolas Maduro the winner on Sunday night. He's the man picked by the late President Hugo Chavez to become his successor. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is challenging his narrow defeat, less than a percentage point, and Capriles' supporters clashed with police yesterday.

NPR's Juan Forero is on the line from Caracas. And, Juan, what is the opposition case here that something was wrong with the election?

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Author Interviews
1:53 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Is The United States A 'Dispensable Nation'?

Michael Krinke iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 12:04 pm

In The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy In Retreat, former State Department adviser Vali Nasr describes veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke being all but frozen out by President Obama's inner circle, for whom Nasr believes diplomacy was a "lost art."

Instead of engaging civilians to find political solutions in Afghanistan and beyond, they would look first to the military and intelligence agencies for solutions that were politically popular — that includes getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

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Europe
1:50 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Letters Of Heartbreak Find Some Love In Verona, Italy

The Juliet Club (Club di Giulietta) mailbox in Verona, Italy. Volunteers answer by hand every single letter that the club receives.
Courtesy of the Juliet Club

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 6:55 pm

Each year, the town of Verona, Italy — home of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet — receives thousands of letters of heartache and unrequited love addressed to the play's star-crossed heroine.

The tradition of sending letters to Juliet very likely goes back centuries. People started by leaving notes on a local landmark said to be Juliet's tomb. Later, many started sending mail directly to the city. By the 1990s, Verona was receiving so many letters, it created an office to deal with it. And each letter — the Juliet Club office gets more than 6,000 a year — is answered by hand.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Germany Braces For Trial Blamed On Right-Wing Extremists

Police in Munich, Germany, stand watch last week as activists protest against right-wing violence. A trial is set to begin next month for men charged in the killings of nine immigrants and a German policewoman.
Johannes Simon Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 6:20 am

Germany is preparing for its most important terrorism trial in decades.

Ten people — eight of them of Turkish descent, one of Greek extraction and one a German policewoman, were gunned down between 2000 and 2007. For years, German authorities failed to see a link between the crimes, even though the same gun was used in all of the shootings. They also rejected any link to right-wing extremism.

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Mon April 15, 2013

European Union Report Details Growth Of Human Trafficking

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said Monday that "trafficking in human beings is all around us, closer than we think."
European Union

More than 23,600 people were victims of human trafficking in Europe during a recent three-year period, according to a new European Union report that says the problem is growing worse. Its authors say the official figures do not come close to describing the crime, which has "hundreds of thousands of victims."

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The Two-Way
5:22 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Threats And Crises Are 'Just Normal North Korean Diplomacy'

North Korean soldiers marched past statues of founder Kim Il Sung and his son, former leader Kim Jong Il, on Monday in Pyongyang. North Korea celebrated Kim Il Sung's 101st birthday.
Kyodo /Landov

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 9:58 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Steve Inskeep speaks with Andrei Lankov about North Korea

Monday is "the day of the sun" in North Korea — a celebration of founder Kim Il Sung's birth in 1912.

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The Two-Way
4:25 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Venezuela Says Recount Likely After Chavez Heir's Close Win

Supporters of acting President Nicolas Maduro celebrated Sunday night in Caracas, Venezuela, after the initial vote count showed him enjoying a narrow victory.
Luis Acosta AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 6:30 pm

A surprisingly small victory margin for Hugo Chavez's hand-picked successor in Sunday's special presidential election looks likely to be followed by a recount in Venezuela.

Chavez, Venezuela's fiery, controversial and charismatic leader, died on March 5.

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Asia
2:42 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Examining North Korea

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 12:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

North Korea is celebrating the birthday of its founder, Kim Il Sung. The North's leader has been dead nearly 20 years but is treated like a god. And of course, his son; now, his grandson; have both succeeded him. As part of this year's festivities, North Korea sponsored a marathon in the capital, Pyongyang, that drew athletes from around the world; an event that came even though the North has been threatening a nuclear strike against the United States.

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Europe
2:42 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Retaliating Against U.S., Russia Bars 18 Americans

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Tensions have been increasing between the United States and Russia, and things unraveled even more over the weekend. Russia named 18 Americans who will be barred from entering Russia because of an alleged involvement in human rights violations. Here's NPR's Corey Flintoff.

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Latin America
2:42 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Chavez Successor Wins Presidential Election

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. And Steve Inskeep, it's good to have you back from Venezuela. Sounds like a great trip.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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World
2:52 pm
Sun April 14, 2013

As Arctic Ice Melts, It's A Free-For-All For Oil ... And Tusks

After being frozen for thousands of years in a Siberian riverbed, this pristine mammoth tusk is a financial boon to the hunter who found it.
Evgenia Arbugaeva National Geographic Magazine

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 9:47 am

It's widely known that the world's icecaps are melting. While most people are focused on what we're losing, some have considered what might be gained by the disappearance of all that ice.

In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report estimating that 13 percent of the world's remaining undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the remaining undiscovered natural gas could be in the Arctic.

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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Sun April 14, 2013

China Reports 13 Bird Flu Deaths; Cases Climb To 60

People sit near pigeons at a park in Shanghai Sunday. A new strain of bird flu has spread from eastern China to other provinces, with 13 deaths reported.
AP

Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 9:30 am

Health officials in China say they've confirmed 11 new bird flu diagnoses, bringing the number of H7N9 infections to 60, with cases spread across several provinces, the official Xinhua news agency reports. The virus, which first infected people in Shanghai and eastern China, has now sickened at least one person in Beijing, along with two others in the central province of Henan.

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Asia
8:13 am
Sun April 14, 2013

Will Lightning Strike Twice For K-Pop's PSY?

South Korean rapper PSY performs at his concert in Seoul, South Korea on Saturday.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 5:03 pm

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Middle East
3:12 am
Sun April 14, 2013

Syria Conflict Brings Middle East Leaders To White House

A Syrian rebel patrols the area in the Sheikh Maqsud district of the northern city of Aleppo, on Thursday.
Dimitar Dilkoff AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 1:54 pm

In the coming weeks, the Obama administration plays host to the leaders of several Middle Eastern nations, including the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan.

They are coming, in part, to register their concerns about the ongoing violence in Syria and to nudge the Obama administration to do more to tip the balance in favor of the rebels trying to oust President Bashar Assad.

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Shots - Health News
2:57 am
Sun April 14, 2013

Scientists Race To Stay Ahead Of New Bird Flu Virus

Workers prepare an H7N9 virus detection kit at the Center for Disease Control in Beijing on April 3.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 7:01 am

A precious package arrived at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last Thursday afternoon.

Inside, packed in dry ice to keep it frozen, was a vial containing millions of viruses derived from a 35-year-old Chinese housewife who died last Tuesday of respiratory and kidney failure.

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NPR Story
2:59 pm
Sat April 13, 2013

Week In News: Guns In U.S., Threats Abroad

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 4:09 pm

The gun control debate continued to dominate the news this week with President Obama coming out strongly in support of reforming the current gun control laws alongside the Newtown families. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic, about that story along with the bird flu in China, North Korea and the Postal Service.

The Two-Way
2:16 pm
Sat April 13, 2013

Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad Resigns Post

Salam Fayyad passes through an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank town of Hebron in January. This week, he resigned from his post as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.
Hazem Bader AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 6:54 am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has resigned, ending a power struggle with President Mahmoud Abbas that rose to new heights in recent months. Fayyad had reportedly tried to quit his job earlier this week; Abbas initially refused it, but he finally accepted the resignation Saturday.

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The Two-Way
1:26 pm
Sat April 13, 2013

Egyptian Judge Abruptly Steps Down From Mubarak Retrial

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, waves from behind his son, Alaa, during the opening session of Mubarak's retrial in Cairo on Saturday.
AFP/Getty Images

A Cairo courtroom burst into chants of "The people want the execution of the president" on Saturday after the judge overseeing former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's retrial withdrew from the case on opening day. NPR's Leila Fadel reports:

"The session lasted only seconds. Judge Mustafa Hassan Abdullah opened the trial, quickly recused himself and transferred the proceedings to the court of appeals for the case to be reassigned to a new court.

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The Two-Way
1:17 pm
Sat April 13, 2013

Jetliner Crashes Into Sea Near Runway In Bali; All Aboard Safe

The wreckage of a crashed Lion Air 737 sits in water near the airport in Bali, Indonesia, Saturday, in a photo released by Indonesian police. All 108 people aboard survived the crash.
AP

More than 100 passengers survived a crash into the sea, after the Boeing 737 they were traveling on from West Java to Bali, Indonesia, missed the runway at Denpasar International Airport. The plane came to rest in shallow waters, simplifying rescue efforts. Photographs showed the Lion Air jet in the water, its fuselage broken just behind its wings.

The aircraft was carrying 101 passengers and seven crew members when it crashed; afterward, rescue workers used rubber boats to get people off the plane.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Sat April 13, 2013

In China, Kerry Seeks Help In Calming North Korea

Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Kerry sought China's help in easing tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry is asking China's government to help ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea has issued threats of war as it tests its weapons systems. The top U.S. diplomat met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing just days before a North Korea-promised missile test.

"That meeting with the president ran over by quite a lot," NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing. "And afterward, Kerry said it couldn't have been more constructive, and more forward-leaning."

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Venezuela After Chavez
3:33 am
Sat April 13, 2013

Even In Death, Chavez Dominates Venezuelan Election

Venezuela's acting president, Nicolas Maduro, speaks during his closing campaign rally in Caracas on Thursday. The hand-picked successor of Hugo Chavez faces opposition candidate Henriques Capriles in snap presidential elections on April 14.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 7:59 pm

In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro — the president of a powerful government — should be at center stage. But as he runs in Sunday's snap presidential elections, it's his larger-than-life predecessor who is getting much of the attention.

The death of Hugo Chavez, who taunted the U.S. and empowered the poor, is triggering the special vote. And Maduro is using Chavez's voice and image to ensure that the late president's socialist system remains in power for many more years to come.

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Africa
2:26 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Egyptian Government Accused Of Abusing Protesters

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 6:34 pm

Human Rights Watch is calling on Egypt's president to make public a report that documents police and military abuses against protesters from January 2011 to June 2012. Parts of the report have been leaked to a local newspaper Al Shorouk as well as the British publication The Guardian. In the leaked chapters there are descriptions of police violence and military torture of detainees. While a lot of this is already known about the police and military, the report was referred to the presidency in December and so far no action has been taken.

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