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.
You might think alarm bells would be sounding in Washington, given the warnings coming out of North Korea. But when they talk about North Korea, U.S. officials are sounding like exasperated parents responding to a child's tantrum.
At the White House on Friday, spokesman Jay Carney said the United States "would not be surprised" if North Korea actually carries out a missile test.
Tumult defines the Central African Republic. The landlocked nation in the heart of Africa is rich in natural resources such as diamonds, gold and uranium, but it remains one of the world's poorest countries. It has suffered from decades of misrule and coups.
The latest uprising occurred last month, when a rebel alliance seized control of the country and ousted the president. What followed were days of violence and looting, leaving the country in shambles: gas stations without pumps, hospitals without equipment, the university without computers.
Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 10:42 am
The first day of the latest talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group about the Persian nation's nuclear ambitions has ended with reports of a "shaky" start and Western diplomats saying they are puzzled by what Iran brought to the table.
We have been hearing a lot about North Korea and nuclear weapons lately. Well, nuclear negotiators have just wrapped up a first day of talks on Iran's nuclear program. Tehran does not have nuclear weapons and insists it doesn't want them, but six world powers say the country must do more to assure the world that its program is entirely peaceful. We spoke earlier with NPR's Peter Kenyon, who is in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the talks. Peter, good morning.
The United States has pledged to remain committed to Afghanistan beyond the year 2014. That's when the U.S. and its NATO allies are set to hand over the security mission to Afghan forces. But the U.S. has not yet said how many troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, and that is causing concern among Afghans.
In Berlin's Jewish Museum, a new exhibit called "The Whole Truth" asks visitors uncomfortable and even absurd questions about Jews. One of the curators, Michal Friedlander, says it is intentionally provocative.
"The point is to get people talking about how they perceive Jews, particularly in Germany today," she says.
But some German Jews accuse the museum of going too far.
Earlier this week, we talked about the Kaesong Industrial Complex with a North Korea expert, Professor Aidan Foster-Carter from Leeds University. When we first spoke, Kaesong was still open, and the professor said it's the best bellwether to get a sense of North Korea's intentions.
A team of American researchers is on a treasure hunt for jewels — of both artistic and historic value.
This month, researchers from Denver were in Russia to document the work of Vasily Konovalenko, a former ballet set designer turned sculptor, who created scenes from Russian folk life in semiprecious stones.
In the 1980s, Konovalenko emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union in search of artistic freedom. Now, his legacy is divided between the U.S. and Russia.
If you've applied for a mortgage recently, you know how hard it can be. The bank demands all kinds of obscure documents and wants proof of almost every asset you own. But an innovative mortgage program halfway around the world will evaluate your application without any extra documentation — and if you're approved, it will give you a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. There's just one catch: The mortgages are only for low-income people in Cambodia. The program is a throwback to the days when bankers got to know their customers — and trusted them.
It's hard to determine how seriously to take these threats. War on the Korean Peninsula could be catastrophic, so the bluster can't be dismissed. On the other hand, North Korea has a long history of hyperbole, of making threats it doesn't follow through on.
Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:02 pm
Bear in mind that, as NPR's Louisa Lim has said, North Korea's regime is skilled at making threats. And fortunately, the most ominous of those threats have not been followed by action in recent decades.
With those caveats in mind, here are Thursday's developments in the latest round of provocative moves by the communist state. From Beijing, Louisa tells our Newscast Desk that:
The action film "Jack Reacher" hit theaters in December, and it got some favorable reviews. But one New Zealand moviegoer didn't think it was action-packed enough. That's because the trailer featured an explosion that wasn't in the movie. Disappointed, the man complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. He said the explosion was one of the main reasons he went to see the flick in the first place. Paramount Pictures has now offered to refund the money for his ticket.
David Greene talks to Muhannad Hadi, the World Food Program's regional emergency coordinator for Syria, about the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria. The civil war there has entered its third year, and last month was its deadliest.
Two years after the revolution, Egypt is in a deep economic crisis. It's running out of money to purchase crucial imports like wheat and fuel, both of which are subsidized by the government, and an infusion of cash is desperately needed.
While a delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Cairo continuing negotiations on a $4.8 billion loan, Egyptians are strained by the rising costs of food — and the gas needed to cook it.
South Africa says its military is done trying to police another African country. Late last night, South Africans said they would withdraw their small military force from the Central African Republic. Ten days ago, rebels advanced on the capital of that country and killed 13 South African paratroopers. That prompted many South Africans to ask why the soldiers were there at all. The question here is whether the troops were protecting business interests linked to South Africa's governing party.
Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.
But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.
Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.
There's been a significant shift in international aid in recent years. Less money is coming from large donor nations and more is coming from private foundations, corporations, even countries that only a few years ago were recipients of aid themselves.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
When political instability and friction in Egypt turn violent, the country makes news and commentators reflect on the hard chill that has come of the Arab Spring two years on. But an equally important, if not quite so dramatic, test for Egypt's leadership is taking place not on the streets but in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
An ancient hunting ritual is making a comeback in modern Spain: the practice of hunting wild boar on horseback with spears — and no guns. The sport dates to Roman times, and was recently approved and added to Spanish hunting regulations.
Just a 20-minute drive from Spain's capital, you're in the dehesa — oak woodlands, where wild boar, deer and mountain goats roam. Madrid's skyscrapers are on the horizon, but in the forest, ancient traditions still reign.