World News

The Salt
9:22 am
Thu February 28, 2013

China's Horses May End Up In Russia's Kabobs

The great horse meat scandal infographic.
via The Australian Institute of Food Safety

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:15 am

China isn't a good place to be a horse, if your goal is to avoid ending up as the Russian kabobs known as shashlik.

China exports the most horse meat to the global market, while Russia has the biggest appetite for horseflesh, according to a new infographic on the continuing European scandal over horse meat sold as beef.

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The Two-Way
5:13 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Benedict's Time Is Over; He's No Longer The Pope

A final blessing: Pope Benedict XVI as he blessed those gathered outside his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo on Thursday. He's not expected to make any more public appearances.
Tony Gentile Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:11 pm

  • Sylvia Poggioli on 'Morning Editon'

(We last updated the top of this post at 2 p.m. ET.)

Precisely on time, under dark skies but with the lights of cameras from news outlets around the world illuminating the scene, Swiss Guards on Thursday closed the doors of the palazzo at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome — marking the official end of Pope Benedict XVI's time as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

For the first time in about 600 years, a pope has voluntarily stepped down. His final moment as leader of the church came at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).

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Africa
4:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Kenyan Worry Election Will Bring A Repeat Of Tribal Violence

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Kenya will soon have a new president. Voters there go to the polls on Monday. The last election was followed by allegations of vote-rigging, and by weeks of deadly tribal violence, which left more than a thousand dead. NPR's Gregory Warner sat down with a few perpetrators of that violence in a bar to watch a Kenyan presidential debate and to find out what, if anything, has changed this time around.

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Latin America
4:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Head Of Mexico's Teachers Union Behind Bars

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here's a signal that the newly elected president of Mexico may be ready to start cleaning house. The longtime boss of Mexico's teachers union is in jail on charges of embezzling more than $160 million in union funds. Prosecutors say the money went to maintain a luxurious lifestyle, as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

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Middle East
4:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

U.S. to Step Up Its Involvement In Syria

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

After two years and an estimated 70,000 deaths, the U.S. is about to step up its involvement in Syria's civil war. The Obama administration has offered more direct aid to the Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the aid today after meeting with Syrian opposition leaders in Rome.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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Religion
4:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Pope Benedict Leaves A Church Mired In Crises

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his message during his farewell meeting to cardinals Thursday. Benedict promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor.
AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:54 am

Today is the last day of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI. Just two weeks ago, the German-born pope stunned the world by announcing he would be the first pope to resign in 600 years. After eight years on the throne of St. Peter, Benedict leaves behind a church in crisis.

Since the announcement, bulletins issued by the Vatican have ranged from the lofty — how Benedict will retire to a life dedicated to prayer and study — to the mundane, such as the details of packing the pope's personal belongings and what he'll leave behind.

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Middle East
4:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Syrian Army Base Blocks Rebels Plans For Idlib Province

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And it's thought that the Syrian province of Idlib, near the border with Turkey, might be the first to fall under the control of rebels. If that happens, the area could serve as a safe zone for rebel fighters and aid workers. But one key government-controlled army base is standing in the way.

NPR's Kelly McEvers just returned from Idlib, and sent this report.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: The fight for a Syrian army base called Wadi Daif started back in October, and rebels say it's still not over yet.

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Shots - Health News
1:42 am
Thu February 28, 2013

What Happened To The Aid Meant To Rebuild Haiti?

Many homes that were rebuilt after the earthquake in 2010 are even more dangerous than the original ones. This three-story home was put up after the quake but is already slated for demolition to make way for an 18-unit housing project.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 2:39 pm

After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet.

Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti's President Michel Martelly says the funds aren't "showing results."

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Middle East
3:19 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

U.S. Plans To Offer More Direct Aid To Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Obama administration is rethinking its strategy in Syria. As the death toll mounts and a diplomatic solution seems out of reach, the administration is planning to do more to help Syrian rebels. That could involve what's referred to as direct, non-lethal assistance. It does not include weapons.

Secretary of State John Kerry is talking about all this in Rome with members of the Syrian opposition, and NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with him.

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Middle East
3:19 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Iran Nuclear Talks Set Stage For Future Bargaining

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Iran and six world powers including the U.S. wrapped up two days of talks. No breakthroughs, but Iran is considering a proposal that would impose new restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of some economic sanctions. The two sides will return to Kazakhstan for another meeting in early April. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report from the scene of the negotiations.

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Religion
3:19 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI To Become 'Pope Emeritus' After Stepping Down

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm

On his last full day as Pope, Benedict XVI had his final general audience in St. Peter's Square before a crowd estimated at 150,000 people. He had a more personal message than usual, saying his resignation was dictated by his ailing health and declining speech. He spoke of the moments of joy in his papacy, but also of turbulent seas and rough winds when it seemed like the lord was sleeping.

Religion
3:19 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Will Have To Give Up Red Shoes, Shoulder Cape

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Pope Benedict XVI had his final general audience Wednesday in front of a crowd of thousands. On Thursday, he leaves the papacy and becomes "Pope Emeritus". It's a brand new position and there are a lot of questions. What will he wear? Where will he live? How will he fill his time? Melissa Block speaks to long time pope watcher Rocco Palmo, editor of the website "Whispers in the Loggia."

Europe
12:04 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

How Italy's Election Slatemate Is Playing Out On The Streets

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 7:17 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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The Salt
10:19 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Germans Are Drinking Less Beer These Days, But Why?

A waiter carries beer mugs during the 2012 Oktoberfest in Munich.
Johannes Simon Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm

For centuries, Germany has been synonymous with beer. Tourists flock from around the world to take part in the country's many beer festivals, including the famous Oktoberfest.

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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Highest Bidder Will Get DNA Pioneer's Nobel Medal

Francis Crick in 2003, the year before his death, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego.
Denis Poroy AP

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 4:43 pm

This is no ordinary family heirloom.

The granddaughter of English scientist Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA who passed away in 2004, is putting his Nobel Prize medal up on the auction block.

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Picking A Pope? Try The 'Sweet Sistine' Bracket Challenge

The "sweet sistine" brackets.
Religion News Service

Next month brings "March madness" for fans of college basketball.

It's also going to bring Roman Catholic cardinals together to choose a new pope.

Which means, according to Religion News Service, it's time to "make your picks in the Vatican's Sweet Sistine brackets!"

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The Two-Way
7:54 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Negotiators At Six-Nation Talks See Signs Of Hope In Iran Nuclear Standoff

Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili speaks during talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.
Shamil Zhumatov AP

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 9:01 am

Officials at six-nation nuclear talks on limiting Iran's nuclear program say the two-day meeting in Kazakhstan has been a turning point, and Tehran's lead negotiator described the discussions as a positive step.

But NPR's Peter Kenyon, reporting from the talks in Almaty, says it appears that most of what was accomplished was simply laying the groundwork for future discussions.

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The Two-Way
4:58 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Sometimes 'The Lord Seemed To Sleep,' Pope Says In Farewell

Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived on the altar in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for his last general audience.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 9:37 am

Bidding an emotional farewell to a huge crowd gathered in The Vatican's St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI indirectly acknowledged Wednesday that his nearly 8 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church have not always been easy.

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Middle East
4:13 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Talks On Iran's Nuclear Program To Resume In April

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 5:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Iran now says compromise on its nuclear program may be possible. Of course, that comes with a number of ifs. Tehran says that's if international negotiators continue to take what it calls a more realistic approach. The big question, Western officials say, is whether Iran is willing to curb its nuclear activities. That is the message, after a two-day meeting between Iran and six world powers. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from Almaty, Kazakhstan where the talks just concluded.

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Middle East
1:42 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Syrian Rebels, Secular And Islamist, Both Claim The Future

Secular demonstrators, shown at a protest march this month in Aleppo, wave the old Syrian flag (green, white, black and red) that has become the symbol of their opposition movement.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:17 pm

Syria's Islamists have grown in influence as the war against President Bashar Assad's government grinds on. They have proved to be effective fighters, well armed and funded.

But as Islamists have grown stronger on the battlefield, more Syrians are asking about their political ideas and what that will mean for the future of the country.

A recent confrontation between liberal protesters and Islamists in the northwestern Syrian city of Saraqeb, which was caught on video, set off a heated online debate.

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Middle East
3:27 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Demonstrators In West Bank Protest Imprisonment Of Palestinians

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:46 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It was another day of protest in the West Bank. Palestinians are demanding the release of prisoners held in Israeli jails after one prisoner died on Saturday. NPR's Larry Abramson reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF YELLING)

LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Outside Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank, young men play cat and mouse with Israeli troops. They get as close as they dare, shoot a few rocks with slingshots, then retreat when the Israelis shoot tear gas canisters.

(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION)

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Can U.S. Embassies Be Safe Without Being Unsightly?

The U.S. Embassy in central London in 2009.
Shaun Curry AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:05 pm

There's been a tug of war between aesthetically pleasing and safe when it comes to American embassies around the world.

Many embassies have been slammed as bunkers, bland cubes and lifeless compounds. Even the new Secretary of State John Kerry said just a few years ago, "We are building some of the ugliest embassies I've ever seen."

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Middle East
3:20 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

International Negotiations Continue Over Iran's Nuclear Program

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:05 pm

Another round of negotiations on Iran's suspect nuclear program got underway Tuesday in the Kazakhstani city of Almaty. Iran's envoys are pushing for relief from a vast array of economic sanctions while the U.S. and its partners in the so-called P-5 plus Germany are looking for signs that Tehran is prepared to roll back its nuclear program.

Middle East
2:08 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Sanctions Bite, But Iran Shows No Signs Of Budging

An Iranian woman shops at a supermarket in the capital, Tehran, on Feb. 22. International sanctions have hurt Iran's economy, but prospects for a breakthrough on Iran's nuclear program are dim as negotiators meet in Kazakhstan.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 10:31 am

A new round of international talks on Iran's nuclear program is under way in Kazakhstan, where the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are asking Iran to give up any thought of building a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from sanctions.

Western leaders do not predict a breakthrough, but they say small steps could be taken that would increase confidence on both sides.

Still, it's hard to imagine how such negotiations could proceed with lower expectations for progress.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Pastagate: Quebec Agency Criticized For Targeting Foreign Words On Menus

In Quebec, a restaurant's use of the word "pasta" on its menu sparked a government agency into action. Officials who enforce rules that guard French as the official language now say "exotic" words can be allowed in some cases.
Timothy Hiatt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 4:15 pm

A government agency in Quebec, Canada, has come under intense criticism after attempting to get pasta stricken from a restaurant's menu. The move had nothing to do with the food: Officials said Italian words such as pasta, calamari, and antipasto should be replaced with French words to conform with the law.

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Middle East
12:20 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

With Syria In Shambles, The Uncertain Future Of Hezbollah

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:46 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. So far, the fighting in Syria's bloody civil war has almost entirely been contained inside Syria. But plenty of outsiders are involved there, including al-Qaida in Iraq, Iran's al-Quds Force, and the Israel Air Force. No country is more deeply involved than Syria's smallest and most vulnerable neighbor, Lebanon.

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The Salt
10:29 am
Tue February 26, 2013

To Build An Empire, Hold The Anchovies

Located north of Lima, Peru, the Caral-Supe settlement was the ancient home of the Norte Chico people, a civilization almost as old as the Egyptians.
Courtesy of Chris Kleihege

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 10:47 am

Megalomaniacs, consider yourselves warned. Anchovies will not help you build your empire. To rule long and prosper, serve corn.

That's the word from archaeologists who say they've solved a mystery that has been puzzling their colleagues for the past 40 years: How did some of the earliest Peruvians manage to build a robust civilization without corn — the crop that fueled other great civilizations of the Americas, like the Maya?

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Tue February 26, 2013

'Pope Emeritus' Benedict XVI Will Wear White, But Trade In Red Shoes

A church group prepares to pray for Pope Benedict XVI on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

It's settled. When the pontiff steps down Thursday, he'll still be known as Benedict XVI and have the title of "pope emeritus." In public, he'll wear an understated white cassock and stylish brown shoes from Mexico.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Scientists Trace Origin Of Destructive Russia Meteor

A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake, where the Chelyabinsk meteor reportedly struck on Feb. 15.
Uncredited Associated Press

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 8:52 am

Scientists from Colombia believe they have pinpointed the origin of the giant meteor that smashed into a remote region of Russia earlier this month, injuring more than 1,000 people.

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Tue February 26, 2013

'The Worm' Turns Up In North Korea: Dennis Rodman Is On Visit

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, in the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday, before his flight to North Korea.
Andy Wong AP

This comes from The Associated Press, not The Onion:

"PYONGYANG, North Korea — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman brought his basketball skills Tuesday and flamboyant style — neon-bleached hair, tattoos, nose studs and all — to the isolated communist country with possibly the world's drabbest dress code: North Korea.

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