This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, the barbershop guys are in to talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. But first, it's time for "Faith Matters." That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality. Today, we want to take a look back at Pope Francis' history making trip to Brazil. By now, you've probably heard that His Holiness made headlines with a comment about gays in the priesthood.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:28 pm
The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of an al-Qaida threat that is particularly significant in the Middle East and North Africa.
"Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," State said in a statement. "This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013."
After some 20 trials over two decades, Italian media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi received his first definitive conviction Thursday for evading almost $10 million in taxes while he was prime minister.
After more than seven hours of deliberations, Judge Antonio Esposito read the ruling of the five Supreme Court judges: "In the name of the Italian people," the judge declared, "Berlusconi's conviction and prison term are irrevocable."
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 9:20 am
NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who spent more than a month at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport before being granted a one-year asylum Thursday, has picked out a place to live in Russia, his attorney there says.
Snowden is wanted on charges of espionage by the United States for leaking classified documents about secret U.S. surveillance programs. His departure from the Moscow airport ended, temporarily at least, weeks of uncertainty over his fate. He had applied to several other countries for asylum, as well.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 2:46 pm
Few details have emerged about the U.S. plan to shut down embassies that would normally be open this Sunday. A senior State Department official says that the U.S. facilities may be closed for more days, as well. The closures are being described as "precautionary steps" that are being taken "out of an abundance of caution."
Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 6:11 am
Chinese gamers may soon be able to settle by force a thorny international dispute between their government and Japan over who controls a small chain of islands in the East China Sea.
The basic platform of the newly released Glorious Mission Online was developed as a training tool for the People's Liberation Army. Game maker Giant Interactive Group (GIG) has expanded the "first-person shooter" game with a simulation of a Chinese amphibious assault on the Senkaku islands, as they are known in Tokyo, or Diaoyu, as Beijing calls them.
Italy's top court has upheld a conviction and prison term for Italy's most prominent politician, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on charges of tax fraud. This the first time he has been definitively convicted, after 20 years in which he was accused of multiple transgressions. However, the supreme court will now reconsider the law that would bar him from holding high office because of the conviction. This could allow the shaky coalition that governs Italy to remain in place.
In the tiny South American nation of Uruguay, it's long been legal to smoke one's own homegrown marijuana. Now the government is getting close to putting the government in charge of producing and selling the nation's pot.
Edward Snowden has been granted asylum for up to one year by Russia and has left the transit zone at Moscow's airport where he was holed up for more than a month. The Russian government says a condition for his amnesty is that he not reveal any more information that will damage the United States.
During a television interview Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States hopes to end drone strikes over Pakistan.
"The program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it," Kerry told Pakistan TV. "I think the president has a very real timeline and we hope it's going to be very, very soon."
Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 11:13 am
A day after Zimbabweans turned out heavily to vote in national elections, the main challenger to longtime President Robert Mugabe is calling the balloting "a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people."
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, ticked off a list of alleged problems, including thousands of citizens who he says were thrown off voter rolls, voters being moved to different polling stations, an excess of printed ballots, and voters being forced to accept "assistance" when casting ballots.
Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 11:32 am
Uruguay is poised to create a state-licensed marijuana industry, after the country's lower house of Congress passed a controversial bill late Wednesday detailing how the government would regulate marijuana — from its production and import to marketing and distribution. The move would be a first.
NPR's South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro tells our Newscast unit that the landmark bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to sail through.
Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum by Russia and has left the transit zone at Moscow's airport where he has been holed up for more than a month. Morning Edition host Renee Montagne talks to NPR's Corey Flintoff in Moscow and Pentagon correspondent Larry Abramson.
The White House says it is "extremely disappointed" in Russia's decision to grant a temporary one-year asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Snowden left Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Thursday after spending more than a month holed up in its transit center. Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who has been advising the former U.S. intelligence contractor, told Russian media that Snowden's whereabouts are being kept secret for security reasons.
While the recent World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro were a success for Pope Francis, they certainly weren't for the city government. Accusations of disorganization and transport failures have left residents wondering if Rio is really ready to host both the World Cup and the Olympics.
A caped crusader is on the loose in the mountains of Pakistan, but she's not your traditional superhero. The Burka Avenger wears a flowing black veil — only her brown eyes are visible — as she fights corrupt politicians and religious zealots. Her weapons of choice: pens and books.
The people of Zimbabwe cast ballots today for their next president. It's a two-horse race. Longtime president Robert Mugabe is once again being challenged by opposition leader and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Violence and fear that followed an election five years ago have eased, but the opposition is again making claims that the election has been manipulated.
NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.
Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 9:38 am
Each year, as many as 125,000 people around the world die from venomous snakebites, often because they live in remote, rural areas and didn't get to a hospital in time to get treatment. Toxins in the venom of snakes like cobras and kraits slowly paralyze their victims, who ultimately die of suffocation.
A San Francisco emergency room physician says he may have the beginnings of a workaround that could fend off paralysis and save many of those lives.
European Union envoy Catherine Ashton completed a round of talks in Cairo with Egyptian officials and opposition leaders including ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Ashton says she will continue her mediation efforts to resolve Egypt's worsening political crisis.
The latest Pentagon report to Congress on Afghanistan says the insurgency is still "resilient" and violence in some areas is at the same level as last year. But the Afghan forces are taking the brunt of the casualties now that the U.S. troop presence has decreased and the remaining forces have turned to training the Afghans.
Ireland now has its first law making abortion legal in the country under specific conditions, after President Michael D. Higgins signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 into law Tuesday.
The legislation provides women with access to abortion in cases where their lives are at risk, including medical emergencies and cases in which suicide could be a factor.