Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 1:57 pm
Stephen Kim, a former State Department contractor who leaked classified material to Fox News, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized disclosure of secret government information, his lawyer told U.S. District judge on Friday.
NPR's Carrie Johnson reports:
"Under a deal with prosecutors Kim has agreed to serve 13 months in prison but the agreement must be approved by a judge. If the deal is approved the investigation will end - meaning no more charges against anyone else including Fox reporter James Rosen."
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 12:09 pm
The oldest human ancestors to have walked on the British Isles left nothing except footprints. But they've made quite an impression on the world of science.
Researchers say 50 or so prints found on a beach near the village of Happisburg in Norfolk are the oldest known human footprints outside Africa. They were discovered last spring by a team of experts from the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and Queen Mary University of London.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop, where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael, with us from Cleveland, Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor of The Islamic Monthly, with us from Chicago. Here in Washington D.C., contributing editor for The Root, Corey Dade. Also here in D.C., TELL ME MORE editor Ammad Omar. Take it away, Jimi.
So we're staying in the world of sports because today marks the official opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. And because we're going to be spending so much time watching events from Sochi in the next couple of weeks, we thought it would be fun to learn more about Sochi - the region, the history and to try to learn about some of the pageantry we will be witnessing. So we have called Jennifer Eremeeva.
Inaki Urdangarin, the husband of Spain's Princess Infanta Cristina, is accused of embezzling millions of dollars. The princess is scheduled to appear in court Saturday to face allegations of tax fraud.
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
Spain's King Juan Carlos looks on during a ceremony at the royal palace in Madrid on Jan. 6. The royal family has come under increasing criticism for its spending habits as Spain has endured an economic crisis.
It seemed like a fairy-tale romance. The Spanish king's youngest daughter, Infanta Cristina, went to the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta and fell in love with a handsome Spanish aristocrat-turned-Olympian, Iñaki Urdangarin. A year later, King Juan Carlos walked his daughter down the aisle.
Through marriage, Urdangarin got a royal title — the Duke of Palma — and carried his bride over the threshold of an $8 million mansion in Barcelona.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 1:22 pm
A 2,000-pound bomb dropped on Japanese-occupied Hong Kong by an American bomber during World War II has been defused after it was unearthed at a construction site in the city's central Happy Valley district.
Some 2,200 Hong Kong residents were evacuated from apartment buildings around the site where the massive explosive was found. Police bomb squads moved in, carefully, to dismantle the bomb. Authorities said it was simply too big to explode in place, which is usually the safest option in such circumstances.
Marissa Castelli (front center) and Simon Shnapir (front right) of the U.S. wait for their scores in the pairs short program Thursday in Sochi. With them are coach Robert Martin and teammates (back, from left) Jeremy Abbott, Charlie White and Meryl Davis.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says the United States is looking at various solutions to bring about a political resolution to the civil war in Syria.
"What President Obama has instructed all of us to do is just look under every stone, look at every tool that we have in the toolbox and see what we can deploy so that we don't confront a choice between doing nothing on the one hand and sending in the Marines on the other," Samantha Power, the envoy, told NPR's Renee Montagne.
Congolese M23 rebel fighters detain a man they suspect to be an FDLR rebel returning from an incursion into Rwanda, north of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Nov. 27, 2012. The 20-year conflict in Eastern Congo can feel like an alphabet soup of armed groups. An international team of diplomats is trying to stop the violence, one militia at a time.
Credit Jerome Delay / AP
Russ Feingold (center), U.S. special envoy for the Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gives a press conference in Kinshasa on the last day of his fact-finding trip to the DRC, on Jan. 28.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
Angry residents take to the streets over recent violence, including deadly shelling hours earlier, in Goma, DRC, on Aug. 24, 2013. Congolese soldiers supported by U.N. forces fought rebels in the country's deteriorating east, officials said, while a rocket landed inside the town of Goma. Congo immediately blamed the attacks on neighboring Rwanda.
In June last year, soon after Secretary of State John Kerry named his old Senate colleague Russ Feingold as the first American special envoy to the Great Lakes, one of Feingold's former constituents approached him with a welcome smile, and a puzzled look. Feingold had, after all, spent 19 years as a senator in the American Great Lakes.
"The is terrific," the man said to Feingold, the former senator recently recalled. "What are you going to be doing, checking water levels?"
Olympic volunteers pet a stray dog in downtown Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday. The city's long-standing contract with a pest control company has animal right groups concerned about the fate of the many strays roaming the area.
Credit Kevin Dietsch / UPI /Landov
The Center to Protect Animals, an animal rights organization, operates a makeshift shelter on Sochi's outskirts. The group's volunteers are finding and housing as many strays here as they can, including Simba, the dog at front.
It's after dark in Sochi, and a pack of stray dogs is hogging the sidewalk like they own the place. There are a dachshund mix, several random mutts and one dog that looks like it may be part chow. They're cute and look like pets; seemingly well-fed and with decent pedigrees.
That is, until a fight breaks out. It's loud but ultimately more dog park than street fight, and the dogs quickly get back to prancing around and eating abandoned leftovers.
More than a thousand would-be North African migrants were rescued by the Italian navy about 120 miles southeast of the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, authorities say.
The BBC says that 1,123 people, from sub-Saharan Africa, were intercepted on Wednesday as they tried to make the passage in inflatable boats, but were intercepted by authorities. They included 47 women, four of them pregnant, and 50 children, the BBC says.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich greets Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, in Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday. In a tape posted on YouTube on Thursday, Nuland can be heard discussing the merits of various Ukrainian opposition leaders and disparaging the EU.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:26 pm
The latest wrinkle in Ukraine's crisis doesn't involve the government and the protesters there.
Instead, it has to do with the diplomats trying to resolve the crisis.
A leaked phone conversation between Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, and Geoff Pyatt, the U.S. envoy to Kiev, appears to show them discussing the merits of Ukraine's various opposition figures. In it, Nuland can also be heard using a distinctly undiplomatic phrase while describing the European Union.
The Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin outside her home in Hackney, England. The first woman and the first person of color to serve as chaplain to the queen and in the House of Commons moves between those rarefied worlds and that of the poverty- and crime-ridden parish in East London that she continues to run.
Credit Godong / UIG via Getty Images
The Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin (center) walks in front of Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and other lawmakers from the House of Commons through the central lobby toward the House of Lords for the state opening of Parliament, on May 8, 2013.
Credit WPA Pool / Getty Images
Hudson-Wilkin speaks at a celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela held at the House of Commons on Dec. 12, 2013.
Parliament in London is an old-fashioned place. When members gather in the House of Commons, the sea of faces is generally wrinkled, white and male.
The chaplain who leads them each day in prayer is emphatically not.
The Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin is the first black woman to serve as chaplain to the speaker in the House of Commons. She broke the same barrier when she was appointed chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II. She was also the first woman, and the first person of color, to run her parish in Northeast London.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:43 pm
Aston Martin, James Bond's conveyance of choice, has expanded its recall of vehicles built since 2007 because of problems with fake plastics from China.
In a letter last month to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Aston Martin said it had received reports that throttle pedal arms broke during installation, and it discovered that "initial tests on the failed pedal arm have shown that the Tier Three Supplier used counterfeit material."
And at last, we can say this morning, let the games begin. The Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics will be held tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. But there were just too many sports to fit in, so a few got an early start, including a new Olympic event: slopestyle snowboarding. It debuted on a clear, beautiful day on the mountain of Rosa Khutor.
NPR's Robert Smith has been taking in the scene, and joins us now. Good morning. This is pretty exciting.
Chinese blacksmiths in Nuanquan (Warm Spring) Town perform a folk custom called "making trees and flowers." They throw ladles of molten iron onto a wall, creating showers of sparks. The centuries-old custom originated with blacksmiths too poor to afford fireworks. In recent years, urban tourists have flocked to this once obscure town over the Chinese New Year holiday to enjoy local folk customs.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Tourists and locals enter a courtyard to watch a Chinese New Year's opera performance in Nuanquan Town in northern Hebei province.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Tourists walk along a main thoroughfare in Nuanquan Town. While Lunar New Year festivities in China's cities have become highly commercialized and must compete with other, more modern diversions, folk customs in China's countryside remain vibrant.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Intricate, hand-cut paper decorations are a popular handicraft in Nuanquan Town, especially during the New Year.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
The beige soil around Nuanquan Town is made up of compacted dust. The area lies outside the Great Wall, and for centuries was a frontier region where the ethnic Han people fought, traded and mixed with nomadic tribes of the Central Asian Steppe.
China goes back to work Friday after a weeklong holiday marking the Year of the Horse. Traditionally, celebrations continue through the first month of the Lunar New Year.
As in years past, some 800 million viewers tuned in this year to the state TV New Year's gala program to watch Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, French actress and singer Sophie Marceau, and other entertainers.
A Mexican guard at a prison in Tijuana where 17 men are being held on charges they were digging a drug-smuggling tunnel from Tijuana to the U.S. border at San Diego. The men say they were kidnapped and forced to do the work.
Credit Special to NPR
Two of the 17 men who are being held in a Tijuana prison on charges that they were digging a tunnel that was intended to reach the U.S.
More than 75 drug-smuggling tunnels have been discovered under the U.S.-Mexico border in just the past six years, and one of the more intriguing cases involves 17 Mexican men who claim they were kidnapped and forced to carry out the work for months before Mexican authorities found them.
There's always been some mystery surrounding tunnels. Diggers were thought to be well-paid cartel loyalists or, as urban legend goes, laborers killed soon after the tunnel's completion to ensure its secrecy.
For the last two weeks, the barrel bombing of the rebel-held area of Aleppo in Syria has intensified. Warplanes drop leaflets on neighborhoods warning civilians to flee — and it seems they're listening. Residents of Aleppo districts held by the regime say they are seeing an influx of families, while aid agencies working in Turkey say hundreds of thousands of the displaced are trying to get in.
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 3:34 pm
Part of an antitrust agreement with the European Union regulators, Google has agreed to tweak its search results in Europe.
The search giant has agreed that when a user searches for a product, for example, the search results of its rivals — Amazon, let's say — will be displayed along with those of advertisers paying Google for prominent space.
Nimrod Vider, an Israeli who owns a cafe in the Jordan Valley, part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He says he would be willing to leave the West Bank if the Israeli government thought it was the right thing to do.
Credit Emily Harris / NPR
Aaron Ober, an Israeli customer at Vider's cafe.
Credit Emily Harris / NPR
Abu Mustafa, a psuedonym for a Palestinian who works as a restaurant cook in the Israeli-controlled West Bank. He asked that his real name not be used.
Credit Emily Harris / NPR
Oday Mah-Sayyid, a Palestinian who works as a laborer on an Israeli date farm in the Jordan Valley.
Disputes between Palestinians and Israelis are a constant in their decades-old conflict, and that's what the wider world usually hears about.
But there are also near constant internal disagreements among Israelis. And Palestinians have divergent views too. On a recent trip through the Jordan Valley, which is deep inside the Israeli-occupied West Bank, near the border with Jordan, I spoke with Israelis and Palestinians about their internal differences.