"The United Nations, and in particular I, have been making it consistently clear that providing arms to either side would not address this current situation," Ban told reporters during a briefing. "There is no such military solution."
Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 12:51 pm
Look through a series of 15th-century woodcuts, and you'll find that the leper is as much an icon of medieval art as the crown or the cross.
Leprosy was so common in Europe during the Middle Ages that it's estimated 1 in 30 people was infected with the bacteria. But by the turn of the 16th century, after the Crusades had swept across Europe, the disease mysteriously disappeared. And it never returned.
This left scientists puzzled. Did the bacteria mutate to become less harmful, or did Europeans become resistant to the germs?
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer. The Obama administration has shifted policy on Syria with an announcement, last night, that it will step up support for rebels who've been losing ground in recent weeks. The White House says it will start providing direct military support to rebel commanders.
In Syria's ally Iran, people are voting for president today. It is Iran's first presidential election since the stunning vote in 2009. Back then, a surprisingly early declaration of victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked a wave of protests, followed by years of government repression. This time around, six candidates are contending for power amid widespread skepticism about the election, and intensive security on the streets.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, BYLINE: And I'm Linda Wertheimer. The White House announced last night it will now give direct military aid to Syrian rebel forces. Administration officials say this follows intelligence assessments that indicate the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons repeatedly against opposition forces in the past year. For more on what this means, we go to NPR's Deborah Amos who is in Amman, Jordan. Deb, welcome.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The Obama administration has now joined France and Britain in concluding that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people. That crosses a red line that President Obama has repeatedly warned would change the U.S. calculation in Syria.
The White House announced Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad had crossed a "red line" by using chemical weapons against the opposition. The announcement comes amid calls for greater U.S. engagement in the conflict. We take a look at what is happening in Syria and who the major players are.
The United Nations announced today that the death toll in Syria has jumped to nearly 93,000. Since last July, more than 5,000 people have been killed every month. And the numbers in reality are likely even higher.
They're compiled for the U.N. by a nonprofit group in San Francisco called the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. Researchers go through a complicated process, scouring eight different sources that document deaths. Megan Price led that study, and she joins us now to talk about it. Welcome to the program.
The White House has "high confidence" that the Syrian regime is using chemical weapons against rebel forces, and the U.S. is prepared to offer military assistance to the opposition, a senior administration official said Thursday.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that an estimated 100 to 150 Syrians have been killed in attacks using sarin gas, although the figure "is likely incomplete."
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are a grave sin. But the existence of active gay prelates in the Vatican bureaucracy known as the Roman Curia has been considered a poorly held secret for centuries.
Robert Mickens, Vatican correspondent for the British Catholic weekly The Tablet, says the normal definition of a lobby as an organized group of people pushing a specific agenda does not apply here.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In an extraordinary step, President Obama and China's new leader, Xi Jinping, met at a California ranch last weekend to reset relations between the two largest economies in the world and between an established superpower and an emerging rival.
Josephina Garcia Rodriguez and Leticia Ponce Ramos sip coffee and console each other at a restaurant in front of Mexico City's prosecutor's office. They're about to head into a meeting with the lead investigator in the case of their kidnapped sons.
"We're going on three weeks since they were kidnapped," Garcia says. "It's been some difficult days, really hard for us mothers. We just want our sons back home with us."
Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 11:54 am
A trio of Chinese astronauts has successfully docked with the Tiangong-1 space laboratory for what's expected to be a total of 15 days in orbit — the longest mission to date for China's burgeoning manned space program.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a strong warning to the protesters camped out at Taksim Square in Istanbul.
He said that within 24 hours, the situation at the square would be resolved. As The New York Times reports, the tough talk was tempered with an olive branch of sorts: Erdogan hinted that a referendum could decide whether a mall would be built in place of a park next to the square.
Of all the violent cities of Latin America, one stands out as a great success story: Medellin, a metropolis nestled in the mountains of northwest Colombia.
Once the home of the cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, it recorded more than 6,300 homicides in 1991, making it the world's murder capital. Then, one city government after another built schools and libraries, parks and infrastructure. The police also received an overhaul and became more adept at going after violent trafficking groups.
Egyptian author and human rights activist Karam Saber has been sentenced to five years in prison, after a court found his writings to have insulted religion, reports the Egyptian news website Aswat Masriya.
The complaint against Saber and his book Ayn Allah (Where Is God?) was initially filed in 2011, months after the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak's regime. Saber's was reportedly the first blasphemy case of its kind after Egypt's revolution.
The Greek government has abruptly shut down the country's public broadcasting network and fired all of its staff.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras wants to show the country's creditors, including the European Union and International Monetary Fund, that he's downsizing the public sector, which has been criticized for corruption and bloat. But many Greeks see the rushed closure as a dictatorial move that will compromise the country's troubled media.
Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 12:00 pm
As Iran prepares to hold a presidential election Friday, many women say that their limited gains have been rolled back by the outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Since all of the presidential candidates have been officially approved by Iran's clerical leaders, women say most are conservative and would be likely to continue adopting policies that target the social and educational advances by women.
Ozwald Boateng was the youngest and first black tailor to have a shop on London's prestigious Savile Row, a street renowned for its fine tailoring, where the world's royalty come for their attire.
Boateng also dresses athletic and Hollywood royalty. Actor Laurence Fishburne once said, "When you wear an Ozwald Boateng suit, you become a statesman of cool." Boateng is also a statesman for something else: the future development of Africa.
He joined Tell Me More host Michel Martin to talk about style and diplomacy.
The Baltic city of Tallinn hardly looks modern with its blend of medieval towers and Soviet-era architecture. Smoke-spewing buses and noisy streetcars look as if they have been plucked from the past.
Even so, the Estonian capital is one of the world's most technologically advanced cities. The birthplace of Skype has repeatedly been cited for its digital accomplishments. Last week, Tallinn once again made the short list of the world's most intelligent cities as selected by the Intelligent Community Forum.