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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.