An Israeli cabinet member said today that officials plan to release some Palestinians who have been in prison in Israel for decades. This appears to be part of the diplomatic dance around restarting peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. After six visits to the region in six months, Secretary of State John Kerry, announced yesterday that there is enough agreement to begin initial talks next week or soon after in Washington, D.C.
The sun-soaked Spanish Riviera isn't where you'd expect to find a faithful foot soldier of North Korea. But that's exactly what Alejandro Cao de Benos calls himself.
Cao de Benos, 38, is believed to be the only Westerner ever employed by the North Korean government. He's a Spanish aristocrat, born to a family of landed gentry in northeast Spain, where he agreed to meet NPR for an interview one recent afternoon.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. For the past few years, in July the Russia provincial town of Vologda has hosted a European Film Festival. Vologda is a sleepy city far from the Russian metropolises of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and every year the arrival of European filmmakers and actors to the Russian heartland is a very special event.
This year, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley attended the festival.
Somalia hadn't had a case of polio for nearly six years. But in the past few months, the virus has come back. Now the East African country has the worst polio outbreak anywhere in the world.
Twenty new cases of polio were reported this week in Somalia by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. That brings the total number of cases in the Horn of Africa to 73. The rest of the world combined has tallied only 59 cases so far this year.
Today, in cities across Egypt, supporters of the ousted President Mohammed Morsi filled streets and squares. They've been demanding his release from custody and his reinstatement as president. Opponents of Morsi also took to the streets, raising fears of fresh violence. NPR's Leila Fadel paid a visit to the headquarters of the pro-Morsi camp. She sent this report.
Former CIA officer Robert Seldon Lady is on his way back to the U.S. after being briefly detained in Panama. An Italian court had convicted the agent in the first trial anywhere involving the practice known as extraordinary rendition, in which a terrorist suspect is kidnapped and transferred to a country where torture is practiced.
Nothing ever seems to come easy in the Middle East, but Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that there was "a basis" for a new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which would be the first such talks in several years.
Kerry made the announcement in Amman, Jordan, after a series of discussions with Palestinian and Arab leaders.
"We have reached an agreement that establishes the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis," Kerry said. "This is a significant and welcome step forward."
Unlike New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often takes the subway to work, some prominent politicians in Brazil have a far more impressive way of getting around: private helicopters and government planes.
Perhaps the most over-the-top example of the trend is that of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral. A recent magazine expose showed that his commute to work is only about 6 miles.
First, we broke the news about fast food overtaking restaurants in France. Then we reported the shocker that more than a third of French restaurants serve frozen meals. If these revelations ruin your impression of France as a bastion of culinary tradition, you may not want to read further.
China's central bank announced that it was removing some controls on the interest rates charged by banks for the loans it issues clients.
Reuters explains that the People's Bank of China said in a statement that it was removing the floor "on lending rates for commercial banks, meaning that banks will now be able to cut rates as much as they see fit to attract borrowers."
Around the world, hundreds of millions of Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began last week and continues until Aug. 7. That's 30 days of avoiding food and drink all day. But in many families, someone still has to prepare a hearty, and sometimes festive, dinner every night.
"Ramadan is a big change in routine," says Jehad Outteneh, a Palestinian in Jerusalem who shops and cooks for her family of eight.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Even if you have been bored watching paint dry or grass grow or water boil, you have nothing on these scientists. An experiment that began in 1944 at Trinity College in Ireland just now has a definitive result - to test whether a thick substance called pitch flowed and dripped. A funnel with the stuff was placed over a jar. Seventy years later students saw a drip forming, set up a camera, and witnessed the drip drop. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
A Russian court has convicted one of the country's most prominent opposition leaders of embezzlement. Alexei Navalny faces a sentence of five years in prison in a controversial case that he says was trumped up to derail his political career. Navalny was instrumental in organizing mass protests against the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After three weeks and more than 2,000 miles, the Tour de France finishes up on Sunday in Paris. The race is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It's also the first year in many that no former winners are suspected of doping. Seven-time tour winner Lance Armstrong finally admitted to doping this past spring, ending a years-long saga.
But even after all that, doping is probably not fini - as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris.
The Russian lawyer for NSA leaker Edward Snowden predicts his client will soon get temporary asylum in Russia. Snowden and his allies say his laptops contain files that could be highly damaging to NSA operations. Security experts say it would be challenging but by no means impossible for Russian (or Chinese) cyber technicians to gain access to the files Snowden has with him, in spite of his promises to safeguard them.
A Russian judge delivered an unexpectedly harsh sentence on an anti-corruption campaigner who led the biggest protests against President Vladimir Putin since he took power in 2000. Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years in jail for theft. Protesters chanted "Shame! Disgrace!" outside the court in Kirov.
Nearly one week ago, a fire erupted inside a parked Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 at London's Heathrow Airport. Thursday, the British Air Investigation Branch issued a bulletin urging the deactivation of an emergency transmitter on all 787s. The British investigators stopped just short of blaming the Emergency Locator Transmitter for the fire. But they did recommend that the Federal Aviation Administration order the deactivation of beacons on 787s under FAA authority. Melissa Block talks with NPR's Wendy Kaufman.
More people around the globe view the United States positively than do China, but most of them also believe that Beijing is set to eclipse Washington as the world's dominant Superpower, according to a new Pew Research survey.
Now we go to Mexico where this week brought a major development in the drug war. Authorities there captured the man they believe is the leader of the Zetas, a group that's been described as a paramilitary drug cartel responsible for some of the most grotesque violence connected to Mexico's drug war.
Today is Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, and his legacy is being celebrated around the world. John Silvanus Wilson Junior, the president of Morehouse College, met Mandela in 1992. He tells Michel Martin about how that meeting changed his life, and fueled his commitment to educating African-American men. He also talks about the lessons he might share with his students in light of the George Zimmerman verdict.
Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 11:56 am
China has supplanted or soon will supplant the U.S. as the world's leading superpower. That's the headline from a survey by the Pew Research Center, which put this proposition to people around the world.
In 23 of the 39 countries surveyed, majorities or pluralities said China has overtaken or will overtake America.
In China, the verdict was clear: Two-thirds believe their country already has supplanted or eventually will supplant America.
The crew of a North Korean ship carrying a clandestine cargo of Cold War-era weapons from Cuba has been charged with endangering public security by Panamanian authorities, who seized the vessel earlier this week.
The North Korean vessel en route from Cuba was seized as it attempted to transit the Panama Canal.
Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 10:02 am
We have news this morning from Russia that opposition leader and Moscow mayoral candidate Alexei Navalny was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to five years in prison.
"The judge found Navalny and his business partner guilty of embezzling nearly a half-million dollars' worth of timber from a state-owned company in 2009," NPR's Corey Flintoff tells our Newscast unit. "The case was previously dismissed for lack of evidence but later reinstated after Navalny published embarrassing revelations about the foreign assets owned by the head of Russia's investigative committee."
And for Americans trying to understand how China has risen so far so fast, we turn now to Orville Schell and his fellow China scholar John DeLury. Their new book is "Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the 21 Century." It looks back at the original documents and writings that reveal the thinking of 11 key figures in China's modern past, from a famous satirist to a dowager empress to Mao. And it zeros in on the reformers who sowed the seeds of the current boom.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
As of this morning, Panama still doesn't know quite what to do with that North Korean cargo ship its impounded. The ship was going through the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to North Korea. And when Panamanian authorities looked inside under thousands of bags of Cuban sugar, they found parts for missiles, jets and radar systems.
Here to help sort out this discovery is NPR's Tom Gjelten. Good morning.