Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 8:59 am
Survivors and authorities are telling harrowing tales of what it was like early Sunday inside the Kiss nightclub in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria, where more than 230 people died as a fire swept through the building.
While French and Malian forces have taken control of Timbuktu's airport in what NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports may be a turning point in their fight against Islamist extremists, there's also word that before the Islamists fled the ancient city they set fire to a library that holds "thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts."
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. When Islamist militants and rebels took over the vast desert region of Northern Mali last year, the big prize was the fabled city of Timbuktu. This morning, French-led forces are poised to take back Timbuktu. They've reached the airport outside the city, which a joint force of French and Malian troops took over the weekend.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Just under two years after Egyptian protesters overthrew their government, Egypt's new government faces spreading protests. These demonstrations have led to violence near the Suez Canal; and they've prompted Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, to do what former Egyptian presidents used to do - declare a state of emergency. NPR's Leila Fadel is covering this story. Hi, Leila.
Let's talk next about the uprising in Syria, where many people are asking, what happened to the United States? The U.S. promised practical help to the Syrian opposition, but NPR's Deborah Amos reports that help has not arrived.
DEBORAH AMOS, BYLINE: This was the scene last month in Morocco, at the Friends of Syria meeting. The Obama administration recognized the Syrian National Coalition; so have 130 other nations.
North Korea has ratcheted up its rhetoric about the U.S. to a level that has even surprised seasoned observers. Last week, after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea, its new young leader called for, quote, "all out action against America." The U.N. sanctions came in response to North Korea's successful long-range missile tests last month.
A protester holds a Quran at a Salafi rally for the enforcement of Islamic Shariah law last fall in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Repressed during the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, the country's ultra-conservative Salafis have seen a resurgence since the Arab Spring uprising.
Credit Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters/Landov
Sheikh Gamal Saber, founder of a Salafi party called Ansar, is banding with other Salafi groups behind a hardline agenda that would ban alcohol, segregate the sexes and require women to wear veils.
Credit Leila Fadel / NPR
Female supporters of the Nour Party flash victory signs outside a polling station in Cairo on Jan. 30, 2012.
The uprisings of the Arab Spring unleashed a new political force in the region — Salafis. These ultra-conservative Muslims aspire to a society ruled entirely by a rigid form of Islamic law. Their models are the salaf, or ancestors, referring to the earliest Muslims who lived during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad.
To their critics, the Salafis are religious fanatics who are trying to drag the region back to 7th-century Arabia. But the Salafis maintain that they are offering the purest alternative to the dictatorships that have long dominated the region.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Smith.
Friday was the second anniversary of the uprising in Egypt, the topple of the president there, Hosni Mubarak. The anniversary sparked massive protests against the new government, the Islamist government. The violence has left more than 40 people dead.
In a forceful address to the nation earlier today, Egypt's president declared a 30-day state of emergency in three Egyptian cities. NPR's Leila Fadel joins us to discuss the latest. Hey, Leila.
Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 11:46 am
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET Toll Revised
Here's the most-recent information we have on the deadly fire in Santa Maria:
-- Maj. Cleberson Bastianello Braida now says 232 people were killed – and not 245 as had been reported earlier. He said 117 people had been hospitalized. He made the announcement at a news conference in the Municipal Sports Center.
For some historical context on the fighting in Mali, we spoke with Gregory Mann. He's an associate professor of history at Columbia University and he's an expert on North Africa, including the area in northern Mali now controlled by insurgents.
As we just heard, Germans are still figuring out how to live with their military history. We're going to take you back now to the 1960s, when one French singer helped Europeans forgive, if not forget, the horrors of the Second World War. And she did it with this song:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The French-led military intervention in Mali is picking up momentum in the campaign to help the Malian government recapture Islamist-occupied strongholds in the north. And while French airpower has tipped the scales in the Malian government's favor, the question now is whether Mali's beleaguered army is up to the fight. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Bamako, Mali's capital city in the south.
After two devastating world wars, Germans recoiled from any prospect of military intervention. But today, German troops are posted in Afghanistan and engage in combat. This week, German lawmakers are expected to extend their country's military's mission in Afghanistan for 13 more months.
The Pentagon is expanding a program to training Mexican security forces fighting drug cartels. The training incorporates some of the same strategies the U.S. military has used against al-Qaida. Rachel Martin talks with Associated Press reporter Kimberly Dozier, who first reported the story.
The Washington Post reported this week that Italy's effort to promote solar and wind power isn't so clean. A recent sting operation by the Italian government of the renewable energy sector resulted in the arrest of a dozen mafia figures.
Two camels fight during the Camel Wrestling Championship in the town of Selcuk, near the western coastal city of Ismir, Turkey, on Jan. 15, 2012. It's the biggest event of the camel-wrestling season in Turkey.
Credit Tolga Bozoglu / EPA /Landov
Two camels wrestle at the annual Camel Wrestling Championship near the village of Selcuk, Turkey. There are over a dozen camel wrestling tournaments on Turkey's Aegean Coast in the winter months and Selcuk's is the biggest. More than 120 bull (male) camels paired off.
Credit Nathan Rott / NPR
Two camels wrestle in front of a raucous crowd of nearly 10,000 spectators at Selcuk's Camel Wrestling Championship on January 20, 2013.
Credit Nathan Rott / NPR
Officials scramble to break up two camels after a match is whistled dead. Camel owners and officials are quick to break up combating camels when a match is called to prevent injury to the animals.
Credit Nathan Rott / NPR
Ismail Egilmez shows off his prize camel, Cilgin Hasan, the day before his championship bout. In the winter, Ismail spends over six hours a day with Cilgin. "My camel is like my son," he said.
Credit Nathon Rott / NPR
People watch wrestling camels as they enjoy a meal and the Turkish national drink <em>raki</em> during the Camel Wrestling Championship in Selcuk, on Jan. 15, 2012.
Masked and armed men guard a roadblock near the town of Ayutla, Mexico, on Jan. 18. Hundreds of men in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero have taken up arms to defend their villages against drug gangs.
Credit Dario Lopez-Mills / AP
A man who identifies himself as a lower commander in Ayutla's self-defense brigade says residents had no choice but to take up arms.
On the main road into the Mexican town of Ayutla, about 75 miles southeast of Acapulco, about a dozen men cradling shotguns and rusted machetes stand guard on a street corner. Their faces are covered in black ski masks.
The men are part of a network of self-defense brigades, formed in the southern state of Guerrero to combat the drug traffickers and organized crime gangs that terrorize residents.
The brigades have set up roadblocks, arrested suspects and are set on running the criminals out of town.
I don't know about you, but there's been something wrong in the United States this week. It felt a little bit - I don't know - more poor, less fabulous. Ah, of course, of course, the rich and powerful folks of the world and the United States are all in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum. That's where the big names in business and politics get together in the Alps.
Spain's economic woes have forced municipalities across the nation to cut back on all kinds of basic services. In the small town of Montserrat, 20 miles inland from the Mediterranean, not even the school bus was spared.
To restore service, neighborhood mothers came up with a rather racy idea to raise money: They transformed themselves into calendar girls.
Mohammad Afzaal, a 35-year-old house painter from northeastern Pakistan, has signed up for a voluntary repatriation program run by the International Organization of Migration and financed by the European Commission.
This essay by NPR correspondent Eleanor Beardsley was borne out of the personal exasperation of living in a beautiful city with one thing she found very, very wrong.
When you walk down the grand boulevards of the City of Light, you have to be careful where you step.
Every day, my senses are assaulted by the piles I have to dodge in the Parisian streets. There are the fresh ones that leave me feeling angry, and the ones from the previous days that have begun to smear down the street on the bottoms of people's shoes.
Two young Syrian activists, Mohsen and Sara, say they met and fell in love on Facebook while monitoring the country's uprising. They didn't want their faces shown, but provided this photo, taken in the Old City of Damascus.
Credit Courtesy of Mohsen and Sara
Yusef puts a wedding ring on his fiancee Ghada's finger in the war-torn city of Aleppo in northern Syria on Jan. 17. They met on Facebook and were wed by a rebel commander.
Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 8:35 am
Syrian activists tend to spend long nights on Skype and Facebook, sending and receiving updates on the battle to oust the government.
And online is also where they sometimes fall in love.
Mohsen, an activist from Hama, says he first met Sara, his girlfriend of nearly two years, on Facebook.
She sent him a friend request because she saw he worked in the field of journalism, and for months they chatted casually about the Syrian uprising. Then, after government troops stormed Hama, Moshen fled to Damascus, where he and Sara finally met face to face.
Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.
Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.
Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly football club celebrate in front of their club premises in Cairo on Saturday. An Egyptian court sentenced 21 people to death in relation to a soccer stadium riot last February.
Credit Amr Nabil / AP
Thousands of Egyptian protesters gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, marking two years since the start of the country's revolution.
The Obama administration is closely watching political developments in Israel. This week's elections there surprised many analysts in Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to build a new center-right coalition. His party lost some seats in parliament to a new centrist challenger. The White House has had a rough relationship with Netanyahu, and so Washington is looking for a new opportunity now to promote peace. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.
On the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution on Friday, liberal and secular opposition groups held protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The Muslim Brotherhood did not hold counter-demonstrations this time. Instead, its members did charitable work in poor districts of Cairo and other cities.
Detailed satellite images are helping to expose a system of huge prison camps in North Korea, camps that North Korea says don't even exist. Western governments and human rights groups estimate that as many as 200,000 political prisoners are held in these camps under horrific conditions. And a small contingent of Western bloggers is scrutinizing the satellite images, trying to map the camps and look for new detail.
Curtis Melvin is among them. He started the website North Korean Economy Watch. Thanks for coming in.
The Cathedral of Alcala de Henares is one of many buildings owned by the Catholic Church in Alcala de Henares, Spain. The town, which is outside Madrid, is broke and is pursuing a plan to have the church pay additional taxes.
Credit JMN / JMN/Getty Images
The Catholic Church owns more than just places of worship. It also owns apartments and retail buildings. Here, arcades line the busy Calle Mayor (Main Street) in Alcala de Henares, Spain, in 2008.