The Department of State has issued a travel alert over the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston speaks with Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin about the threat of more attacks.
At the peak of fighting in Afghanistan's Helmand Province, there were 20,000 Marines battling the Taliban. Now there are 8,000 — and more are heading home every month.
Among the latest to pack up was Regimental Combat Team 7.
At their mission's recent closing ceremony, several hundred Marines gathered in the scorching desert heat at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province. Their tan, pixelated fatigues blended in amidst the vast expanse of sand-colored tents and buildings of the largest Marine base in Afghanistan.
The Thai Elephant Orchestra is, remarkably, just what it sounds like. At a conservation center in Thailand, made for former work animals with nowhere to go, a group of elephants has been assembled and trained to play enormous percussion instruments, holding mallets in their trunks and sometimes trumpeting along.
The U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans traveling abroad this weekend, as well as to many embassies and consulates, that it has learned of the possibility of a terrorist attack. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic.
Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 1:06 pm
Zimbabwe's longtime President Robert Mugabe has been declared the winner in elections that give him another five-year term. But the opposition says the vote was rigged.
Mugabe won by 61 percent, with his main challenger, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, trailing far behind in the official results from the July 31 vote. Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National Union, also managed a comfortable win in parliamentary elections.
The Lyon, France-based international police agency noted that because al-Qaida was suspected to be involved in the jailbreaks, it was urgent to determine whether the organization was directly linked and to capture the escapees.
Four years ago, Iranian singer Mohsen Namjoo was touring in Italy when he learned when he learned he would not be able to go home. The Iranian Revolutionary Court had ruled that one of Namjoo's songs disparaged the Quran. He would have to serve five years in prison if he set foot back in Iran. But the music that concerned the court was somewhat unusual for Namjoo; most of his music actually steers clear of religion and politics.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. We begin in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe and his party are predicting a landslide victory in the election held earlier this week. But the opposition is crying voter fraud and threatening protests. From the capital, Harare, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.
Friday, Toyota announced that it nearly doubled its quarterly profit over one year ago. The robust earnings were largely due to the weakening of the Yen, brought on by the economic policies of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world will be closed on Sunday and possible for longer. The State Department says it is taking the step "out of an abundance of caution" and wouldn't say if they are receiving direct threats. Members of Congress say there are concerns about an al-Qaida-linked attack. Last year, the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in Benghazi, along with three other Americans. At that time, there were also violent protests at U.S. embassies in Cairo and Tunisia.
Gay bars from West Hollywood to London are condemning Russia's anti-gay laws by shunning one of its most iconic exports: vodka. The foremost brand affected by the boycott is Stolichnaya, or Stoli. The company says it's being wrongfully targeted.
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.
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.
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.