Nearly two decades ago, a North Korean official threatened to turn Seoul into a "Sea of Fire." South Koreans responded by cleaning out the shelves of supermarkets and preparing for an attack that never came.
Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 10:05 am
The culling of candidates in the run-up to Pakistan's May 11 election is providing the country some badly needed levity.
The "Pakistani Inquisition," as it's been dubbed, has election commission officials grilling office-seekers on their Islamic bona fides.
Many have stumbled badly, only to be disqualified.
But not Mussarat Shaheen, who performed impeccably. The former dancer — fabled for her Pushto films — was asked by an official in the city of Dera Ismail Khan to recite a verse of the Holy Quran, to test her mettle as a candidate for the National Assembly.
Beer lovers might be alarmed to hear that beer can pick up small amounts of arsenic as it's filtered to be sparkly clear.
But researchers in Germany reported Sunday that they've found arsenic in hundreds of samples of beer, some at levels more than twice that allowed in drinking water.
When we checked in with experts about arsenic and the filtering process, which is also widely used in the wine industry, they weren't too surprised. That's because the filtering agent in question, diatomaceous earth, is a mined natural product that contains iron and other metals.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
Well, in recent weeks, we have heard that Seoul, the capital of South Korea, will become, quote, a sea of fire. North Korea has said its enemies' windpipes will be, quote, totally cut. Today, North Korea urged tourists and foreign companies to leave South Korea in case of war. These are just some of the threats North Korea has been hurling. But instead of scaring South Koreans, all this blood-thirsty rhetoric seems to be mostly boring them.
Now, as we consider the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, the question arises about her significance as the only woman to serve as British prime minister, and the first woman to lead a government of a major Western nation. Kim Campbell, who briefly served as Canada's first woman prime minister in the early 1990s, put it this way last night on the "PBS NewsHour."
People in Pakistan will go to the polls next month to select a new parliament, and election fever is already building. The country faces chronic energy shortages, deepening economic problems and the specter of violence, as entrenched militants threaten to disrupt the vote. NPR's Julie McCarthy brings us this report from a very active campaign trail in Pakistan.
Buckle up — climate change could make this a bumpy flight.
That's according to a newly published study by two British scientists who say increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will make "clear air turbulence" — which can't be easily spotted by pilots or satellites — more common over the North Atlantic. That means the potential for gut-wrenching flights between the U.S., Europe and points east.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Tensions between North and South Korea show no sign of abatement. Today the North Korean government officially suspended operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and withdrew all of its more than 50,000 workers. Many consider the complex the last remaining symbol of North and South Korean cooperation.
Margaret Thatcher, the iconic former British prime minister, died Monday at age 87 after suffering a stroke. Although she was a towering presence on the world stage in the 1980s, often standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow conservative President Ronald Reagan, some people may have forgotten her contributions.
We decided to highlight five things you ought to know about her:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Margaret Thatcher spoke with utter conviction in her principles and absolute certainty in her actions. If she inspired passionate opposition, she couldn't care less. She reveled in her enemies and made them easily.
As an icon of the American conservative movement in the 1980s, it would have been difficult to find a more unlikely figure than Britain's Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday following a stroke.
Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, a full year and a half before Ronald Reagan became president. She hailed from a country seen as a hopeless bastion of socialism by conservatives, many of whom, like Reagan himself, were strongly invested in the idea of American exceptionalism.
Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 12:18 pm
Editor's note: The author is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus and is not being further identified for safety concerns.
The major blast that rocked Damascus at midday Monday took place in what has come to be called the "Square of Security," an area of about a dozen urban neighborhoods or so that are under tight government security.
It's also home to major government buildings, including the Parliament, various ministries, major intelligence branches and foreign embassies, now mostly closed.
From the NPR Newscast: Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson on the protest in Hanover
At a trade fair in Hanover, Germany, on Monday, three women protesters got quite close to Russian President Vladimir Putin before stripping off their blouses and shouting expletives at the Russian leader.
Putin, who was joined at the fair by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, later sarcastically thanked the women for calling the news media's attention to the gathering.
"As to this action, I liked it," Putin said, according to a German translator. The Russian leader added that the protesters were "pretty girls" and said he couldn't hear what they were screaming.
On a Monday, it is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
Britain and the world are reflecting this morning on the life of Margaret Thatcher. The former British prime minister has died at the age of 87. Britain's current Prime Minister David Cameron remembered her this way.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died Monday following a stroke. She was 87. Despite many accomplishments during her 11 years in office, she was a divisive figure, and there is still much bitterness surrounding the woman who was dubbed the Iron Lady.
Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 10:12 am
Margaret Thatcher, who as British prime minister in the 1980s became known as the "Iron Lady" for her tough economic policies, her partnership with President Reagan in standing up to communism and the short war with Argentina over the Falklands, has died.
In Chile today, the famed poet Pablo Neruda's remains are being exhumed. The official cause of the Nobel Laureate's death in 1973 was cancer. But a new investigation is looking into whether he might have been murdered by the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Here's NPR's South American correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Outside of Chile, Pablo Neruda is better known for verses like this.
The tropical disease dengue is on the move, spreading far outside the tropics. There have been major outbreaks in places like Portugal, Russia and Australia. It even popped up in Florida. Now, according to a new paper in the journal Nature, scientists have been seriously underestimating the amount of dengue around the globe. The study estimates that there's three to four times more dengue infections each year than what was reported by the World Health Organization. NPR's Jason Beaubien has more.
Over the weekend in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber took the life of five Americans. They were on a mission to deliver books to an Afghan school. They were military personnel, a Defense Department civilian, and the first State Department Foreign Service officer to be killed in Afghanistan.
She was 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff. NPR's Sean Carberry, in Kabul, sent this remembrance.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Steve Inskeep is reporting from Venezuela this week as that nation holds a presidential election. I'm David Greene in Washington. Over the weekend, Egypt suffered the worse religious violence it has seen since President Mohamed Morsi came to power last year. At least six people were killed, including five Coptic Christians. More than 80 others were wounded.
From 'Morning Edition': Remembering Anne Smedinghoff
Death comes with the territory when you work in conflict zones. On sometimes a daily basis, those of us who have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular have filed stories with headlines like, "Four troops killed during insurgent attack," or "IED kills 10 civilians and wounds six."
It's a blur of numbers and uniforms. When we get word of an incident, we scramble to determine what happened, the nationality of the victims and any other pertinent details. But it's all very anonymous and impersonal, most of the time. It's reporting. It's work.
The latest statistics show Greece and Spain with the highest unemployment rates in the eurozone, both at more than 26 percent. For young Greeks, the numbers are much worse: Nearly 60 percent of people under 25 are out of work, a figure that is expected to rise.
These aren't just numbers for 24-year-old Marios Kyriakou, who was recently sipping a sweet espresso freddo at an arty cafe in his neighborhood. He says he's even had to cut back on that small pleasure.
Amid a cascade of headline news from North Korea, often forgotten are the 24 million average citizens living under the most authoritarian regime in the world. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times on the lives of ordinary North Koreans.