World News

Shots - Health News
1:09 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Can Kidney Transplants Ease Strain On Gaza's Health System?

A Palestinian dialysis patient is treated at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City in 2010. Many kidney patients in Gaza struggle to get proper dialysis therapy because machines are often overbooked.
Khalil Hamra AP

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 7:54 am

It's no picnic being a kidney patient even in the best conditions. But coming in for dialysis in a place like the Gaza Strip calls for a special kind of patience.

Years of war have placed a constant stress on the health system there. Thanks to a host of factors, Gaza's main hospital, Shifa Hospital, regularly faces supply shortages of medications that kidney patients need to manage nausea and other symptoms.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

5 Things About Popes And Their Names; Like, Why Do They Change Them?

Pope John II, whose name at birth was Mercurius. When he became pope in 533 he changed his name — starting a tradition that continues.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 2:53 pm

Update at 5 p.m., March 13: The new pope's name will be Francis — one that hasn't been used before.

Our original post, written before Pope Francis was chosen:

It's not required, but it's almost surely going to happen:

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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

In Secular Syria, Top Muslim Cleric Picks Sides In Civil War

Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Hassoun (right) prays with President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Feb. 5, 2012. The grand mufti has called on Syrians to join the army and fight for the government, his most partisan statement since the country's uprising began two years ago.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 1:28 pm

This story was written by a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified out of safety concerns.

In a surprising religious decree, Syria's government-appointed grand mufti has issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to fight on the side of President Bashar Assad's regime against the rebels who have been waging an uprising for two years.

In a televised statement Sunday, Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Hassoun said: "I urge the sons of Syria to join the army and fight for the unity of this great country."

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Africa
10:05 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Kenyans Select President, But Opponent Vows Fight

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we will talk about the Reverend Al reboot - Reverend Al Sharpton, that is. For some people he's still just a loud-mouth provocateur, but for others he's become a trusted analyst, activist, and ally. NPR correspondent Corey Dade recently spent a very busy day with him and he'll tell us what he found out in just a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Ahmadinejad Touched And Consoled Chávez's Mother, To Clerics' Dismay

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered his condolences to Elena Frias, mother of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chávez, last week. This image was provided to news services by the Miraflores Palace — the office of the Venezuelan president.
Reuters /Landov

A photo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holding the hand of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's mother and appearing to brush his face against her cheek as they consoled each other last week has him "mired in a fresh controversy" in Iran, as the BBC writes:

"Conservative critics, already irked by Mr Ahmadinejad's effusive eulogy for the leftist leader, reminded him that he has not only committed a sin, but also behaved in a way inappropriate for the president of an Islamic state."

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The Two-Way
5:39 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Smoke Is Black: No Pope After Cardinals' First Vote

As the black smoke rose from the Vatican chimney Tuesday, some of the nuns and others gathered in St. Peter's Square were singing.
Eric Gaillard Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 1:25 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition': Sylvia Poggioli on the latest from Rome
  • Philip Reeves on the princes of the church

Update at 2:43 p.m. ET. No Pope Today:

Black smoke just poured from the chimney above the Vatican. That means, as was expected, the cardinals did not choose a pope on the first vote of their conclave to name a successor to the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI. As the cardinals' ballots are burned, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli says, chemicals are added to a fire in a second stove to turn the smoke black if there's no pope elected and white if there is.

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World
3:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

What Happens When The U.S. Arms Rebels Abroad?

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 10:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Obama's administration plans extra aid to Syrian rebels. As we heard yesterday, some analysts see hints in the statements of Secretary of State John Kerry that the U.S. could take even stronger steps.

James Dobbins hopes the U.S. does. The former envoy to Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo argues U.S. policy is finally moving in the right direction.

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Latin America
1:58 am
Tue March 12, 2013

In Upcoming Venezuelan Vote, Hugo Chavez Looms Large

An image of late President Hugo Chavez hangs behind acting President Nicolas Maduro, as he speaks to supporters after registering his candidacy outside the national electoral council in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 3:17 am

The tall and imposing Nicolas Maduro stepped forward last week to be sworn in as Venezuela's interim leader following the death of President Hugo Chavez.

Before the country's packed congressional hall, he swore to complete Chavez's dream to transform the OPEC power into a socialist state, allied with Cuba and decidedly opposed to capitalism and U.S. interests in Latin America.

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Religion
3:36 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

No Clear Frontrunner For Next Pope On The Eve Of Cardinals' Conclave

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 6:18 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is a big week at the Vatican. The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church will enter the Sistine Chapel tomorrow for a conclave to elect the next pope. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is in Rome and has been talking with the faithful.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI, BYLINE: Small groups of people wander through St. Peter's Square. There's a sense of excitement, but also trepidation. These pilgrims came all the way from Brazil. Sister Paola Schneider is praying the cardinals will be inspired to make the right choice.

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Asia
3:36 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

North Korea Severs 'Hotline' Communication With The South After Sanctions

North Korean authorities cut off their "hotline" communication with South Korea on Monday as part of their announced withdrawal from the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953. The move came amid a flurry of bellicose North Korean threats, coinciding with the beginning today of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. The White House also vowed anew to protect U.S. forces and South Korean allies against any threats from the North. Analysts say it is among the most dangerous moments on the Korean peninsula in several years.

Asia
12:07 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Japan's Broken Coast Struggles To Recover

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 1:53 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Afghanistan
9:36 am
Mon March 11, 2013

With Withdrawal Looming, U.S. Troops Shift Their Aim

An Afghan policeman stands guard near the scene of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 27
Musadeq Sadeq AP

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 3:36 pm

The NATO campaign is now in a new phase. After years of fighting the Taliban and bolstering anemic local governance, NATO troops are handing those responsibilities over to the Afghans. NPR's Sean Carberry recently embedded with U.S. troops in the southern province of Kandahar as they worked on this new mission.

The fertile Arghandab Valley in Kandahar province is considered one of Afghanistan's breadbaskets. For years it was also a valley of death for NATO troops.

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The Two-Way
8:01 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Pakistan Begins Construction of Pipeline Link With Iran

Iranians work on a section of the pipeline on Monday.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 11:57 am

Iran and Pakistan are moving closer to completion of a nearly 1,000-mile natural gas pipeline linking the two countries, despite U.S. objections that it could become a source of hard currency for Tehran in defiance of international sanctions.

Monday marks the beginning of construction on Pakistan's part of the pipeline, which will consist of a 485-mile run. Iran has already completed most of its 760 miles of the link, which will stretch from Assaluyeh along Iran's Persian Gulf coast to Nawabshah in Pakistan's Sindh province.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Mon March 11, 2013

While U.S And South Korea Militaries Drill, 'Bombast Continues' From The North

In this image released by North Korea's Central News Agency, leader Kim Jong Un is said to be using a pair of binoculars to look south during an inspection of a front-line army unit.
Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 8:26 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Louisa Lim reports

As NPR's Louisa Lim reported Monday on Morning Edition, a week of inflamed rhetoric from North Korea — including talk of a preemptive nuclear strike on the U.S. — is being followed by word that the North has carried through on its threat to annul the 1953 armistice that ended open warfare on the peninsula and has stopped answering calls on the telephone hotline to the South.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Thousands of Dead Pigs Clog Shanghai's Main Water Source

Dead pigs collected by sanitation workers from Shanghai's main waterway on Monday.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 11:52 am

Authorities have pulled more than 2,800 dead pigs out of Shanghai's main source of tap water — the Huangpu River. And they're still counting, according to reports on Monday.

The discovery has raised fears of drinking water contamination in China's most populous city, although state media reports that officials have run tests and determined that so far there's nothing to fear.

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World
4:36 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Investigation Under Way In Death Of India Rape Suspect

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:23 am

In India, an investigation is under way into the death of the man who police say was the lead accused in the gruesome gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi last December. Authorities at the Tihar jail in Delhi say he was found early Monday morning hanging in his cell. For more, Steve Inskeep speaks with NPR's Julie McCarthy.

Shots - Health News
3:10 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Depression And Anxiety Could Be Fukushima's Lasting Legacy

A road leading back to the Togawas' old home in the seaside village of Namie is closed due to radioactive contamination.
Geoff Brumfiel NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:23 am

Two years ago today, an earthquake and tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Hundreds of thousands of people living near the plant were forced to flee. The World Health Organization recently predicted a very small rise in cancer risk from radioactive material that was released. For the nuclear refugees, though, anxiety and depression could be the more persistent hazard. Correspondent Geoff Brumfiel traveled to Fukushima prefecture and met victims of the accident to see how they are coping.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Militants In Nigeria Kill Seven Hostages, Including Westerners

A man in Kano, Nigeria, reads a local newspaper Sunday that carries a story about the killing of seven hostages by a militant group.
Sunday Alamba AP

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 2:00 pm

Militants in Nigeria have killed seven hostages, including three Westerners, in an act the British foreign secretary called "pure, cold-blooded murder."

The seven hostages — four Lebanese and one British, one Greek and one Italian citizen – worked for the Setrapo construction company. They were kidnapped Feb 16 from Jama'are, a town about 125 miles north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state. Ansaru, a group that's an offshoot of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement, claimed responsibility for the killings.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Afghan President Karzai Claims Taliban, U.S. Colluding

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a nationally televised speech on Sunday that the U.S. and the Taliban are holding talks.
Ahmad Jamshid AP

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai claims the U.S. is holding talks outside Afghanistan with the Afghan Taliban.

The allegations come as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continues his first visit to the nation as Pentagon Chief – and after a deadly explosion in Kabul on Saturday that the Taliban called a message to the new defense secretary.

Karzai made his claims in a nationally broadcast address just hours before he was to meet with Hagel, reports NPR's David Welna, who is traveling with Hagel.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Sun March 10, 2013

The Queen Takes A Stand For Women, And Maybe Gay Rights, Too

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will sign a new charter for the 54-member Commonwealth on Monday.
Ian Gavan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 1:59 pm

With a stroke of her pen, Queen Elizabeth II is giving royal support to equal rights.

Her majesty is expected to sign a new charter for the Commonwealth on Monday. The charter declares the core values for the 54 member states, most of which were once under British rule. It's getting attention for statements on gender equality and what it may imply for gay rights.

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The Two-Way
3:53 am
Sun March 10, 2013

In Ancient Aleppo, Plotting The Future

Syrians carry a large revolution flag and chant slogans during a protest in Aleppo, Syria, where young people and children sang songs against President Bashar Assad and the Syrian regime, Dec. 21, 2012.
Virginie Nguyen Hoang AP

A soft-spoken, clean-shaven, 31-year-old aid worker hopes to determine, in part, the future of Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

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Asia
3:39 am
Sun March 10, 2013

News From North Korea Careens From Terrifying To Ridiculous

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 9:20 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Afghanistan
3:39 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Sniffing Out Bombs In Afghanistan: A Job That's Gone To The Dogs

Military Police Sgt. Joshua Hancock and Nero, his Dutch shepherd, play at Forward Operating Base Frontenac in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. Nero is trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and to attack.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 10:42 am

Lucy is a stereotypically giddy black labradoodle. She's not what you picture when you think of a military dog serving on the front lines in Afghanistan. She wiggles around the room chasing her tennis ball and thinks my microphone cover is a chew toy.

But her handler, Spc. Heath Garcia, says when Lucy is on a mission, she's all business. She's highly trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which are the No. 1 killer of civilians and troops in Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan
3:39 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Defense Secretary Hagel Navigates Afghan 'War Zone'

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 9:20 am

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is taking his first overseas trip since taking the top job at the Pentagon. He'll be visiting troops and key officials in Afghanistan. Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's David Welna, who is along on the trip.

The Two-Way
3:55 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Venezuela Sets Date To Elect Chavez's Successor

A woman wipes photos of late President Hugo Chavez at a makeshift altar for him in the main square of Sabaneta, western Venezuela, on Saturday.
Esteban Felix AP

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 6:57 am

  • Listen to the full story on Hugo Chavez's legacy on All Things Considered

Venezuela's elections commission announced Saturday that voters will go to the polls on April 14 to choose a successor to President Hugo Chavez, who died this week after a battle with cancer.

The nation's constitution mandated that an election be called within 30 days of Chavez's death on March 5, but the scheduled date falls outside of that window. Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's vice president, was sworn in as interim leader on Friday.

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All Tech Considered
1:11 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

How Kenya's High-Tech Voting Nearly Lost The Election

An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission official carries closed ballot boxes to be counted in Mombasa.
Ivan Lieman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 3:10 pm

It was supposed to be the most modern election in African history. Biometric identification kits with electronic thumb pads, registration rolls on laptops at every polling station, and an SMS-relayed, real-time transmission of the results to the National Tallying Center in Nairobi.

Ambitious? Of course. Only 23 percent of the country has access to electricity.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Sat March 9, 2013

A Chat With A Radical Fighter In Syria

Members of Jabhat al-Nusra clean their weapons, in Aleppo in December. The Islamist rebel group has become an increasingly powerful force in Syria's civil war.
Ahmed Jadallah Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 4:51 am

The Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has been secretive, keeping to itself and refusing to meet Western journalists. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the Obama administration and was thought to be made up mostly of foreign fighters, working alongside Syrian rebels.

But lately, members are starting to open up as more Syrians join the group and they make more gains on the ground in the fight against the Syrian government.

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Latin America
5:25 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Venezuela Remembers Chavez, Inaugurates His Ally

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 6:18 am

Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Juan Forero about Venezuela's mourning period for its late president, Hugo Chavez.

Middle East
5:10 am
Sat March 9, 2013

When Insects Go Biblical: Swarms Head Toward Israel

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 6:47 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

If it just sounded like this, might not be all that bad.

(SOUNDBITE OF GRASSHOPPER)

SIMON: That's a grasshopper, and this is the sound of what happens when grasshoppers go biblical, and become a swarm of locusts.

(SOUNDBITE OF SWARM OF LOCUSTS)

SIMON: Just such a swarm of locusts have entered Israel's Negeve desert on Friday and that's bad news for farmers because the insects eat everything that's green.

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Middle East
5:10 am
Sat March 9, 2013

From The U.S., Watching Syria's Slow And Brutal Spiral

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 6:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Not every Syrian American can go to the lengths that Abu Ahmed did, but here in the United States, they are watching the conflict closely. Muna Jondy was born in this country, but her father's family is from Daraa where the first protest back in 2011 began. She's an immigration lawyer in Flint, Michigan and president of a group called United for a Free Syria. She joins us from Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor. Thanks for being with us.

MUNA JONDY: Thank you for having me, Scott.

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