Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 10:43 am
Pope Francis, in his first audience with the cardinals since becoming head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, praised his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and urged the evangelization of the church's message.
Francis said of Benedict, who served as pontiff for eight years before his historic resignation last month, that he "lit a flame in the depths of our hearts that will continue to burn because it is fueled by his prayers."
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 5:36 am
Putting a more specific estimate that he has in the past on the issue of how long it might take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, President Obama has told Israel's Channel 2 TV that it could happen in "over a year or so" if efforts to dissuade Iran do not succeed.
The president also said that while he wants to resolve the issue diplomatically, he is keeping "all options on the table."
For its part, Iran has long said its nuclear program is only aimed a peaceful uses for that energy source.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 4:44 am
First, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu. Now, Putin is hobnobbing with the actor Steven Seagal. The star of Under Siege toured a new sports facility with Putin, who used the occasion to call for reviving a Soviet-era fitness program in which kids threw javelins, learned to ski and fired guns.
The new boom in natural gas from shale has changed the energy economy of the United States. But there's another giant reservoir of natural gas that lies under the ocean floor that, theoretically, could dwarf the shale boom.
No one had tapped this gas from the seabed until this week, when Japanese engineers pulled some up through a well from under the Pacific. The gas at issue here is called methane hydrate. Methane is natural gas; hydrate means there's water in it. In this case, the molecules of gas are trapped inside a sort of cage of water molecules.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Argentina's Dirty War in the late 1970s and early 1980s was a dark time for both the country and the Roman Catholic Church. Thousands were kidnapped or killed by the military junta in a campaign to crush leftist opposition to the government.
The U.S. and other countries have hesitated to help arm the rebel groups in Syria, mainly arguing that they don't want those weapons falling into the wrong hands. After nearly two years of fighting in Syria, the number of rebel groups has spiraled into the hundreds. Now, France and Britain are calling for an emergency European Union meeting to end the arms embargo from allied nations to Syria's rebel groups.
Melissa Block speaks with John Connaughton, a 36-year-old American seminarian studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, about what it's like to witness the transition of popes firsthand.
Saint Francis of Assisi is the namesake of the new pope, Francis. To learn about the life of Saint Francis and his legacy in the Catholic Church, Melissa Block talks with with Father Jeremy Harrington. He's guardian of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.
In rebel-held parts of Syria, a clash of ideologies is playing out. Powerful Islamist brigades are competing with pro-democracy civilians to shape Syria's future.
One battlefront is in the courts. In many areas in northern Syria, Islamists have set up religious courts that deliver rulings under Shariah, or Islamic law — a fundamental change in Syria's civil legal system.
This is evident on a recent day in a courtroom in the northern Syrian city of Azaz.
Once known as the most beautiful avenue in the world, the Champs Elysees is changing. Some Parisians fear it's starting to look like any American shopping mall as high rents and global chains steadily alter its appearance.
"We just try to keep a sort of diversity on the Champs Elysees, with the cinemas, with restaurants, with cafes and shops," says Deputy Mayor Lynn Cohen-Solal. "We don't think the laws of the natural market, the free market, make for a good Champs Elysees."
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:24 pm
As the sun rose over Latin America this morning, we're getting a clearer picture of how Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — was viewed in his home of Argentina and what the first pope from the New World could mean for the continent.
We've read through dozens of news outlets from the region to bring you highlights:
Following celebrations for the historic election of Argentine Pope Francis, it's time to look at the business of leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics — bureaucracy and all. Host Michel Martin discusses the Pope's future agenda with Reverend Jose Hoyos, of the Diocese of Arlington, and religion professor Anthea Butler.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 12:18 pm
The 266th pope, and the first ever from Latin America, has one lung, rides the subway, reads Dostoevsky and has been described as both a moral compass and a silent accomplice to Argentina's former Dirty War leaders.
Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 11:36 am
Nothing says party like pancakes and butter. At least, not if you happen to be in Russia this week.
The country is in the midst of celebrating Maslenitsa, an Eastern Slavic folk holiday that takes place the week before the start of Russian Orthodox Lent (this year, it starts March 18). Though now tied to the Christian calendar, Maslenitsa has roots in ancient Slavic sun worshippers — it originally marked the end of winter and advent of spring. And, like Mardi Gras, it involves a whole lot of feasting before the Lenten fast — with blinis, a Russian pancake, as the food of choice.
The death of Ieng Sary, co-founder of the Khmer Rouge that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 and killed an estimated 1.7 million of that nation's people in the process, has dashed the hopes "among survivors and court prosecutors that he would ever be punished for his alleged war crimes," The Associated Press writes.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 11:58 am
North Korea's nuclear chest-beating has achieved the seemingly impossible by aligning the concerns of South Korea, Japan and even China, three Asian neighbors that have a long history of strained ties.
While all those countries have separate aims and interests, they share with the United States a mutual interest in containing the North Korean regime, restraining its rhetoric and keeping Pyongyang's nuclear option in a box, says Richard Bush III, the director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 5:53 pm
Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church made history twice Wednesday, electing the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere and the first Jesuit.
In choosing 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio of Argentina, now Pope Francis, the College of Cardinals signaled the growing importance of Latin America, Africa and Asia in the church's fortunes.
But they also affirmed their commitment to traditional church doctrine.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 5:03 pm
Several weeks ago, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the U.S. is planning what to do about Syria's vast chemical weapons program once Bashar Assad's regime falls. The Syrians are believed to have hundreds of tons of chemical agents, including sarin, one of the deadliest chemical agents. A few drops can be lethal.
So the central question is this: How can those sites be secured so they don't fall into the wrong hands?
At the Vatican on Wednesday it was announced that Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be the first-ever Jesuit pope. Melissa Block speaks with Father Robert Ballecer of the Jesuit Conference of the United States about the significance of the first Jesuit pope.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 4:44 pm
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
More now on the direction of the Catholic Church under the new Pope Francis. I'm joined here in the studio by theology professor Chad Pecknold of the Catholic University of America. Thanks for coming in.
CHAD PECKNOLD: Thanks for having me, Melissa.
BLOCK: You know, when we were listening to this announcement and the name Pope Francis came forth, you said wow. You read a lot into just that choice. He is Pope Francis I. Talk a bit more about the symbolism of that.