The Spanish region of Valencia has been called the "California of Spain" for its gorgeous Mediterranean coastline and modern architecture.
But now Valencia epitomizes the worst of Spain's problems. It had the country's most inflated property market and the biggest crash. Its landscape is littered with empty and half-finished buildings. Valencia has also had an unusually high number of politicians indicted for corruption.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Today, Egypt's defense minister warned that rising conflicts and chaos in the country could result in the collapse of the state and that it poses a threat to the future of coming generations, this after days of violent anti-government protests and demonstrations in cities across Egypt, including Cairo, the capital, and Port Said, just north of the Suez Canal.
Sen. John Kerry was confirmed Tuesday by the Senate to become the next secretary of state. Former Sen. Chuck Hagel awaits his turn before the Senate Armed Services Committee to become secretary of defense.
Both men are decorated Vietnam War veterans, and their critics and supporters point to their experiences in Vietnam as essential to their qualifications.
Hagel volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was wounded twice. Kerry commanded a swift boat in the Mekong Delta, and on his return home, he angrily threw away his decorations to protest the war.
Haiti used to be a tourist hot spot in the Caribbean. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton regularly recounts how he and Hillary honeymooned in Haiti in 1975. There used to be a hopping Club Med just outside Port-au-Prince, but it closed in the '90s.
Now, the Haitian government is trying to revive some of its former allure, launching an aggressive campaign to market the poorest country in the hemisphere as a vacation hub.
President Michel Martelly says tourism could be a major driver of economic growth and could help lift Haitians out of poverty.
Activists and rebels in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are reporting today that "the bodies of dozens of young men, all apparently summarily executed" have been found in and around the Quwaiq River, the BBC writes.
British troops will be supporting the French mission in Mali to drive rebels and Islamist militants out of the West African country. British Foreign Secretary William Hague says it is important to support an ally. He tells Renee Montagne the prime way of dealing with the crisis in Mali is through African governments and forces.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
The city of Timbuktu is free...
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Mali, Mali, Mali, Mali...
INSKEEP: ...and residents cheered as French and Malian forces entered the city. Those forces swept aside Islamist rebels who'd controlled the place for months. The Islamists rule included amputations and the destroyed ancient tombs. It ended with the burning of a library housing priceless manuscripts.
French troops entered the legendary outpost of Timbuktu in Mai to push out Islamist militants. Many valuable artifacts were destroyed when militants first took the city last summer. There is now concern for the fate of tens of thousands of manuscripts, which capture the cultural history of the region. Renee Montagne talks to Shamil Jeppie, senior researcher with the University of Cape Town's Institute for Humanities in Africa, about what historical treasures were at risk in Timbuktu.
The uprisings of the Arab Spring unleashed a new political force in the region — Salafis, ultraconservative Muslims who aspire to a society ruled entirely by a rigid form of Islamic law. Their models are the salaf, or ancestors, referring to the earliest Muslims who lived during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad.
This month's hostage taking at a natural gas plant in Algeria shows how international terrorism is evolving. Groups such as al-Qaida have long been motivated by radical ideology. What's happening now in North Africa is a little different. For groups there, there's also a financial motive.
NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports on the dangerous intersection of terrorism and syndicated crime.
The new U.S. military policy on women serving in combat roles was crafted in Washington, but it will play out in places like Afghanistan.
And sitting outside at the military base at the Kabul airport, male and female troops offered their thoughts on what the new policy might mean.
"I wasn't completely surprised with it. It's not anything we haven't discussed before," said Capt. Monica Paden, a military intelligence officer from San Diego. "We have been slowly being integrated into combat arms and into units in support roles."
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 2:06 pm
On March 16, 1968, between 347 and 504 unarmed Vietnamese civilians were gunned down by members of the U.S. Army in what became known as the My Lai Massacre.
The U.S. government has maintained that atrocities like this were isolated incidents in the conflict. Nick Turse says otherwise. In his new book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, Turse argues that the intentional killing of civilians was quite common in a war that claimed 2 million civilian lives, with 5.3 million civilians wounded and 11 million refugees.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Late last week, North Korea responded to new U.N. sanctions with hyperbolic language. A statement described the new measures as a declaration of war. Pyongyang deserves special vitriol for the United States, our sworn enemy, it said. A new nuclear weapons test would target the United States, and it described its new long-range missile as designed to strike U.S. territory.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we keep hearing about the trouble kids can get into and cause with their online identities, but new research suggests that there are some advantages, too, and we will talk about that in our new miniseries, Social Me, and we'll start that series in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 8:59 am
Survivors and authorities are telling harrowing tales of what it was like early Sunday inside the Kiss nightclub in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria, where more than 230 people died as a fire swept through the building.
While French and Malian forces have taken control of Timbuktu's airport in what NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports may be a turning point in their fight against Islamist extremists, there's also word that before the Islamists fled the ancient city they set fire to a library that holds "thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts."
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. When Islamist militants and rebels took over the vast desert region of Northern Mali last year, the big prize was the fabled city of Timbuktu. This morning, French-led forces are poised to take back Timbuktu. They've reached the airport outside the city, which a joint force of French and Malian troops took over the weekend.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Just under two years after Egyptian protesters overthrew their government, Egypt's new government faces spreading protests. These demonstrations have led to violence near the Suez Canal; and they've prompted Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, to do what former Egyptian presidents used to do - declare a state of emergency. NPR's Leila Fadel is covering this story. Hi, Leila.
Let's talk next about the uprising in Syria, where many people are asking, what happened to the United States? The U.S. promised practical help to the Syrian opposition, but NPR's Deborah Amos reports that help has not arrived.
DEBORAH AMOS, BYLINE: This was the scene last month in Morocco, at the Friends of Syria meeting. The Obama administration recognized the Syrian National Coalition; so have 130 other nations.
North Korea has ratcheted up its rhetoric about the U.S. to a level that has even surprised seasoned observers. Last week, after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea, its new young leader called for, quote, "all out action against America." The U.N. sanctions came in response to North Korea's successful long-range missile tests last month.
The uprisings of the Arab Spring unleashed a new political force in the region — Salafis. These ultra-conservative Muslims aspire to a society ruled entirely by a rigid form of Islamic law. Their models are the salaf, or ancestors, referring to the earliest Muslims who lived during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad.
To their critics, the Salafis are religious fanatics who are trying to drag the region back to 7th-century Arabia. But the Salafis maintain that they are offering the purest alternative to the dictatorships that have long dominated the region.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Smith.
Friday was the second anniversary of the uprising in Egypt, the topple of the president there, Hosni Mubarak. The anniversary sparked massive protests against the new government, the Islamist government. The violence has left more than 40 people dead.
In a forceful address to the nation earlier today, Egypt's president declared a 30-day state of emergency in three Egyptian cities. NPR's Leila Fadel joins us to discuss the latest. Hey, Leila.