World News

Asia
3:39 am
Sat March 9, 2013

How Credible Are North Korea's Threats?

North Korea's rhetoric has been particularly aggressive recently, but analysts say it remains difficult to gauge the country's intentions and its military capabilities.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:18 am

When it comes to talking a big game, no one does it better than the North Koreans.

Just this week, Pyongyang vowed to turn Seoul, the capital of archrival South Korea, into a "sea of fire," promised to launch a "pre-emptive strike on the headquarters of the aggressors" (read: the United States) and called on its army to "annihilate the enemy."

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Africa
3:39 am
Sat March 9, 2013

A Big Battle Over A Tiny Isle In The Nile

An Egyptian farmer drinks tea near his home on Qursaya island, in the Nile River, next to Cairo, in January. The Egyptian military says it is the registered owner of the island's land, a claim disputed by the farmers and fishermen who live there.
Nasser Nasser AP

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

It's not easy to get to Qursaya island, a tiny bit of land in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt's capital. You have to take a boat from the riverbank. There are no cars on the island, and it's only had running water for a few years.

It's a quiet 70-acre patch of agricultural land amid a megacity, where mooing cows provide the soundtrack, and farmers and fishermen have lived for generations.

But not all is as bucolic as it seems: The island is at the heart of a yearslong legal battle between those farmers and the government.

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The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

'World's Best Restaurant' Blamed For Diners' Illnesses

The famed Noma restaurant in Copenhagen has been blamed for more than 60 of its diners falling ill. Investigators say an illness spread from the staff to the customers.
Keld Navntoft AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 10:12 am

Noma, the Danish eatery that has won fans with its innovative approach to Nordic cuisine, and won Restaurant magazine's "World's Best Restaurant" title the past three years, is getting some unwelcome press, after dozens of people who ate at the Copenhagen restaurant fell sick.

Update: Monday, March 11

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Africa
2:23 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Police Officers Caught In The Middle Go On Strike In Egypt

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 4:03 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Now to Egypt, where police officers are on strike.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS)

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Afghanistan
2:23 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Hagel Travels To Afghanistan On First Trip Abroad As Defense Secretary

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 4:03 pm

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Friday, his first overseas trip as the new Pentagon boss.

Religion
2:23 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

With Conclave Set, Catholic Church Moves One Step Closer To A New Pope

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 10:27 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Roman Catholic Church is one small step closer to a new pope today. Church cardinals have picked a date to begin their conclave. That's the gathering behind closed doors to elect the next pope. The cardinals will gather next Tuesday morning for a special mass, and they'll enter the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon, after which point they'll be incommunicado with the outside world until a new pope is elected.

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Latin America
2:23 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Chavez's Funeral Draws Dignitaries From Around The World

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 4:03 pm

Venezuela held a funeral for late President Hugo Chavez on Friday. Audie Cornish talks to Juan Forero.

Shots - Health News
2:04 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Flu Risk And Weather: It's Not The Heat, It's The Humidity

A woman fends off the last blast of winter and the flu season in Philadelphia this month.
Matt Rourke AP

As winter wanes into spring, flu season wanes, too. But while people get the flu when it's cold in the United States, in Senegal they're getting sick when it's hot.

It's a puzzle that's baffled scientists for decades. Now, they think they might be have an explanation, though it's not a straightforward one.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

In Syria's Complicated War, U.N. Peacekeepers Become Pawns

U.N. peacekeepers cross a checkpoint in the Golan Heights on Friday. Syrian rebels seized 21 peacekeepers from the Philippines and are insisting that Syrian troops leave the area.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 2:11 pm

The Syrian civil war keeps getting more complicated, and the seizure of 21 United Nations peacekeepers has again raised concern that the fighting could spread turmoil in the region.

The rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's regime are a mixed lot that include secular fighters calling for democracy, as well as Muslim fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law.

A rebel faction calling itself the Martyrs of Yarmouk Brigade says it seized the peacekeepers on Wednesday.

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World
9:19 am
Fri March 8, 2013

A Decade After Invasion, Are Iraqi Women 'Lucky'?

It's been 10 years since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. That conflict drastically changed the lives of Iraqi women. On International Women's Day, host Michel Martin talks with Iqbal al-Juboori, about how the war affected her personally, and what it's like for women to live in a conflict zone. al-Juboori works to provide job training and life skills to women and their families in rural parts of Iraq.

The Two-Way
7:02 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Pyongyang To Cut North-South Hotline, Cancel Nonaggression Pact

A North Korean soldier reacts as he patrols along the Yalu River near the Chinese border last month.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:22 am

North Korea responded to new U.N. sanctions aimed at starving its nuclear program by vowing to cut a Cold War-style hotline and scrap a nonaggression pact with the South.

State-run media said North Korea "abrogates all agreements on nonaggression reached between the North and the South ... and also notifies the South side that it will immediately cut off the North-South hotline."

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Cardinals Expected To Set Date For Start Of Conclave

Roman Catholic cardinals have been meeting at the Vatican to get to know each other better and to set a date for the start of the conclave that will choose the next pope. On Thursday, this cardinal was walking to one of those meetings.
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:41 am

Update at 11:36 a.m. ET. Starts Tuesday:

"The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013," reads a statement just sent to reporters by the Vatican Press Office. It adds that:

"A pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning. In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave."

Our original post — "Cardinals Expected To Set Date For Start Of Conclave":

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Latin America
2:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Venezuela To Display Chavez Body For Perpetuity

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 2:32 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Thousands of Venezuelans have been filling the streets this week, listening to music and lining up to see the coffin of their leader, Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday. Leaders from around the world have also come to the capital city, Caracas, for a funeral which formally takes place today. And in keeping with his often larger-than-life persona, the Venezuelan government plans to embalm Chavez and keep his body on display under glass, in perpetuity. NPR's Juan Forero is in Caracas, following events there. Hi, Juan.

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Middle East
2:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Displaced Syrians Bring Life To Ancient 'Dead Cities'

The Syrian "Dead City" of Shanshrah, in northern Idlib province. A U.N. World Heritage site, the Dead Cities of northern Syria date back to the first to fifth centuries.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 8:41 pm

Parts of the northern Syrian province of Idlib are a U.N. World Heritage site, known for its ancient archaeological wonders. Walking along muddy, rocky ground covered in new grass and wild daffodils, we start to see remnants of Roman structures — the columns and doorways of dwellings, temples and churches that date back to the 1st century.

They're known as the Dead Cities, and they trace the transition from ancient pagan Rome to Christian Byzantium. Until recently, they were deserted, frozen in time.

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Asia
2:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

U.S. To Honor India Gang-Rape Victim

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It is International Women's Day. To mark that occasion, First Lady Michelle Obama joins of Secretary of State John Kerry to recognize women around the world who have shown exceptional courage, as they put it, in advancing women's rights. The nine honorees include the 23-year-old Indian woman whose brutal gang-rape last December inspired a movement to end violence against women in India.

From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy reports.

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Around the Nation
2:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Persian Empire Treasure Begins U.S. Tour

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A formerly lost archeological treasure has made its way to the United States for the first time. It comes from Iran and dates back to the days of the ancient Persian Empire. It's called the Cyrus Cylinder. It'll be on tour across the U.S., starting tomorrow, with the Smithsonian Museum here in Washington.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Cyrus Cylinder isn't too much too look at - made of clay and shaped kind of like a loaf of bread. What's special about it is that it's etched with writing from the time.

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Middle East
3:43 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Thousands Flee Northern Syria After Latest Airstrikes

Syrian rebels celebrate in a street in the northeastern Syrian city of Raqqah after capturing the provincial capital on March 4. The government has responded with air strikes, creating a new wave of refugees.
Mohammad Al-Hussein AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:40 pm

A new flood of Syrian refugees is streaming into southern Turkey after the Syrian air force bombed the city of Raqqa, a provincial capital that the government lost control of earlier this week.

The Syrian rebels overran Raqqa, capturing several high-ranking prisoners, including the provincial governor. Many residents supported the rebels, but when the airstrikes began, they packed in a hurry and fled, believing it was safer to make a dash for the border than stay at home.

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Latin America
3:37 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Venezuelans Mourn The Fiery Leader They Had Deep Connections To

Supporters of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wait in line to see his body lying in state Thursday outside the Military Academy in Caracas, Venezuela. The state funeral will be held Friday.
Mauricio Duenas Castaneda EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:13 pm

In Venezuela, thousands of mourners are paying their last respects to their larger-than-life leader, Hugo Chavez. The man who ruled Venezuela for 14 years died Tuesday, and his body is now lying in state in Caracas, the capital, as presidents and dignitaries fly in for the funeral Friday.

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Asia
3:20 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

U.N. Security Council Hits North Korea With More Sanctions After Nuclear Test

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:13 pm

The U.N. Security Council agreed to tighten sanctions against North Korea on Thursday as punishment for its recent nuclear test. The Council's unanimous agreement came after three weeks of negotiation between the U.S. and China, which has opposed such measures in the past. North Korea was furious at the U.N. action, issuing a threat to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons as the sanctions came up for a vote.

Asia
2:33 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Young Chinese Translate America, One Show At A Time

The Newsroom, starring Jeff Daniels, is one of the most popular American TV series in China. It's a favorite among a cadre of young, informal translators who see it as a way to challenge conventional Chinese thinking.

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 7:42 pm

Every week, thousands of young Chinese gather online to translate popular American movies and TV shows into Mandarin. Some do it for fun and to help people learn English, while others see it as a subtle way to introduce new ideas into Chinese society.

Among the more popular American TV shows on China's Internet these days is HBO's The Newsroom. One reason is an exchange between a college student and a news anchor played by Jeff Daniels. The young woman asks the aging newsman why the United States is the greatest country in the world.

The anchor explodes.

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The Salt
2:09 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Plague Of Locusts Has Israelis Asking: Are They Kosher For Passover?

An Israeli cook displays locusts at a restaurant in Jerusalem, at a 2010 event promoting locusts as a tasty kosher treat.
Olivier Fitoussi AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 2:54 pm

A swarm of locusts that has devastated crops in Egypt made its way into neighboring Israel this week. And with Passover just around the corner, many news outlets couldn't resist noting the shades of the biblical tale of Exodus, when the insects were one of 10 plagues that descended upon Pharaoh and his people.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Thu March 7, 2013

China's Citizens Hide As Much As $2.34 Trillion In Income, Researcher Says

As much as $2.34 trillion in yearly income goes unreported in China, an economics scholar says. Here, an imported car passes a shopping mall in Beijing.
Vincent Yu AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:19 pm

China's citizens do not report as much as $2.34 trillion of what they make every year, hiding "gray income" that would represent nearly 20 percent of the country's GDP, Chinese economics scholar Wang Xiaolu says, in a report from the news site Global Voices.

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The Two-Way
8:57 am
Thu March 7, 2013

U.N. Security Council Approves New Sanctions On North Korea

U.N. Security Council members vote to adopt sanctions against North Korea on Thursday.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:54 am

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions on North Korea just hours after Pyongyang threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and its allies.

The Security Council's actions to clamp down on the North's nuclear program follow the country's third nuclear test, carried out last month in defiance of previous United Nations' sanctions.

The 15-0 Security Council vote Thursday includes China, which has backed North Korea in the past and is one of the country's few allies.

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Europe
2:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Bolshoi Dancer Confesses To Masterminding Attack

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:53 am

In Russia, a prominent dancer with the fabled Bolshoi Ballet has confessed to ordering an attack on the company's director. The director suffered third degree burns after acid was thrown onto his face. For more on the scandals at the Bolshoi, Renee Montagne talks to writer Christina Ezrahi, author of Swans of the Kremlin: Ballet and Power in Soviet Russia.

Religion
2:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Vatican Manages Pope Selection Process

U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan (right) chats with other cardinals as they arrive for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican on Thursday.
Alessandro Bianchi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:08 am

As Roman Catholic cardinals prepare to elect the next pope, old-style Vatican secrecy has prevailed over American-style transparency.

Under pressure from Vatican-based cardinals, their American counterparts canceled their daily briefings that drew hundreds of news-starved journalists.

The clampdown was part of what is shaping up as a major confrontation over the future of the church between Vatican insiders and cardinals from the rest of the world.

Just an hour before the scheduled American briefing, an email announced it had been canceled.

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Africa
1:02 am
Thu March 7, 2013

In Post-Revolution Egypt, Fears Of Police Abuse Deepening

An Egyptian military police officer argues with protesters during a demonstration on June 14, 2012, outside the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo.
Marwan Naamani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 8:29 am

Egypt's police force was the underpinning of former President Hosni Mubarak's iron-fisted regime, and it quickly became the enemy of Egypt's 2011 revolution.

Yet there has been little to no reform of the police force to date. Human rights groups say the police have begun to act like armed gangs, laying down collective punishment in restive areas across the country. But the police say they are the victims, under constant attack by anti-government protesters.

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The Salt
12:59 am
Thu March 7, 2013

In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods

Genetically modified to be enriched with beta-carotene, golden rice grains (left) are a deep yellow. At right, white rice grains.
Isagani Serrano International Rice Research Institute

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 8:44 am

There's a kind of rice growing in some test plots in the Philippines that's unlike any rice ever seen before. It's yellow. Its backers call it "golden rice." It's been genetically modified so that it contains beta-carotene, the source of vitamin A.

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The Salt
4:28 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Salami Suicide: Processed Meats Linked To Heart Disease And Cancer

Delicious. Also potentially deadly.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 4:32 pm

Bacon and bologna are hardly health food. But a huge new study offers the strongest evidence yet that eating processed meat boosts the risk of the two big killers, cancer and heart disease.

A multinational group of scientists tracked the health and eating habits of bacon-loving Brits, wurst-munching Germans, jamon aficionados in Spain, as well as residents of seven other European countries — almost a half-million people in all.

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Latin America
3:58 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Venezuela-U.S. Relations Could Thaw After Chavez

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We turn now to the last U.S. ambassador stationed in Venezuela. Patrick Duddy represented the U.S. first under the Bush administration then later under the Obama administration. He was once expelled from Caracas. Ambassador Duddy is now a visiting senior lecturer at Duke University's Center for International Studies. When we spoke today, I asked him what it was like for him to be an ambassador to Venezuela under Chavez.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

U.S. Spent Too Much In Iraq, Got Little In Return, Watchdog Report Says

Ten years and $60 billion in taxpayer funds later, Iraq is still so unstable and broken that even its leaders question whether U.S. efforts to rebuild it were worth the cost. That's the finding of a report to Congress by Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 4:13 pm

A decade and $60 billion later what does the U.S. have to show for the reconstruction efforts in Iraq? That's the question being answered by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction in his final report to Congress.

The report by Stuart Bowen was based upon audits and inspections, as well as interviews with Iraqi and U.S. officials and politicians. Here's the crux of what happened to that money, according to the report:

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