World News

Africa
4:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Latest Battle In Mali Has Deep Roots

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For some historical context on the fighting in Mali, we spoke with Gregory Mann. He's an associate professor of history at Columbia University and he's an expert on North Africa, including the area in northern Mali now controlled by insurgents.

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Europe
4:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

The Love Song That Marked A Shift In French-German Relations

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As we just heard, Germans are still figuring out how to live with their military history. We're going to take you back now to the 1960s, when one French singer helped Europeans forgive, if not forget, the horrors of the Second World War. And she did it with this song:

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BARBARA: (Singing in Foreign language)

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Africa
4:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

In Fight Against Extremists, Mali Is Far From Alone

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 9:05 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The French-led military intervention in Mali is picking up momentum in the campaign to help the Malian government recapture Islamist-occupied strongholds in the north. And while French airpower has tipped the scales in the Malian government's favor, the question now is whether Mali's beleaguered army is up to the fight. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Bamako, Mali's capital city in the south.

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Europe
4:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Troop Deployment No Long Sparks Mass Protests In Germany

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

After two devastating world wars, Germans recoiled from any prospect of military intervention. But today, German troops are posted in Afghanistan and engage in combat. This week, German lawmakers are expected to extend their country's military's mission in Afghanistan for 13 more months.

Latin America
4:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

U.S. Trains Mexico On Tactics Used Against Al-Qaida

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

The Pentagon is expanding a program to training Mexican security forces fighting drug cartels. The training incorporates some of the same strategies the U.S. military has used against al-Qaida. Rachel Martin talks with Associated Press reporter Kimberly Dozier, who first reported the story.

Energy
4:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Not-So-Clean Energy Efforts In Italy Under Investigation

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

The Washington Post reported this week that Italy's effort to promote solar and wind power isn't so clean. A recent sting operation by the Italian government of the renewable energy sector resulted in the arrest of a dozen mafia figures.

Animals
3:34 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Like Sumo Wrestling, With Lots Of Spit: Camels Tussle In Turkey

Two camels fight during the Camel Wrestling Championship in the town of Selcuk, near the western coastal city of Ismir, Turkey, on Jan. 15, 2012. It's the biggest event of the camel-wrestling season in Turkey.
Tolga Bozoglu EPA /Landov

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

"Obama vs. Rambo" may sound like an Onion headline for the gun control debate. But it's actually a must-see matchup for spectators on Turkey's Aegean Coast. The competitors? Two male, or bull, camels.

The biggest event of Turkey's camel wrestling season takes place each year in the town of Selcuk, near the ancient ruins of Ephesus.

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Latin America
3:31 am
Sun January 27, 2013

'Sick And Tired,' Residents In Southern Mexico Defend Themselves

Masked and armed men guard a roadblock near the town of Ayutla, Mexico, on Jan. 18. Hundreds of men in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero have taken up arms to defend their villages against drug gangs.
Dario Lopez-Mills AP

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

On the main road into the Mexican town of Ayutla, about 75 miles southeast of Acapulco, about a dozen men cradling shotguns and rusted machetes stand guard on a street corner. Their faces are covered in black ski masks.

The men are part of a network of self-defense brigades, formed in the southern state of Guerrero to combat the drug traffickers and organized crime gangs that terrorize residents.

The brigades have set up roadblocks, arrested suspects and are set on running the criminals out of town.

Taking Control

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World
3:02 pm
Sat January 26, 2013

Predictions, Warnings Round Out World Economic Forum

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 4:34 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SMITH, HOST:

I don't know about you, but there's been something wrong in the United States this week. It felt a little bit - I don't know - more poor, less fabulous. Ah, of course, of course, the rich and powerful folks of the world and the United States are all in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum. That's where the big names in business and politics get together in the Alps.

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World
5:43 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Pinup Moms Reveal How Far They'll Go To Raise Funds

"Ms. October" is one of several moms who posed for a calendar to raise funds for school bus service in their Spanish town. The page reads, "No to the budget cuts!"
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 3:36 pm

Spain's economic woes have forced municipalities across the nation to cut back on all kinds of basic services. In the small town of Montserrat, 20 miles inland from the Mediterranean, not even the school bus was spared.

To restore service, neighborhood mothers came up with a rather racy idea to raise money: They transformed themselves into calendar girls.

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NPR Story
5:42 am
Sat January 26, 2013

EU Money Sends Migrants Stuck In Greece Home

Mohammad Afzaal, a 35-year-old house painter from northeastern Pakistan, has signed up for a voluntary repatriation program run by the International Organization of Migration and financed by the European Commission.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 3:36 pm

Like many of the estimated 350,000 undocumented migrants living in Greece, Mohammad Afzaal is trapped in a devastated economy.

He slipped into Greece 11 years ago, when he was 24, and found good work in Athens as a house painter. He wired a chunk of his earnings to his family in the northeastern Pakistani city of Gujrat.

"Each month, I sent 200 or 300 euros back home to my wife, parents and brothers and sisters," says Afzaal, a slight man with a trim black beard. That's around $270 to $400. "I supported seven people."

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Opinion
5:42 am
Sat January 26, 2013

In Paris, A Hunt For Those Who Dodge Dog Duties

The streets of Paris are marred by messes from dogs whose owners haven't cleaned up after them. There's a fine, but the culprits have to be caught in the act (or lack thereof).
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 3:36 pm

This essay by NPR correspondent Eleanor Beardsley was borne out of the personal exasperation of living in a beautiful city with one thing she found very, very wrong.

When you walk down the grand boulevards of the City of Light, you have to be careful where you step.

Every day, my senses are assaulted by the piles I have to dodge in the Parisian streets. There are the fresh ones that leave me feeling angry, and the ones from the previous days that have begun to smear down the street on the bottoms of people's shoes.

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The Two-Way
3:29 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Even Syrian Activists Fall In Love On Facebook

Two young Syrian activists, Mohsen and Sara, say they met and fell in love on Facebook while monitoring the country's uprising. They didn't want their faces shown, but provided this photo, taken in the Old City of Damascus.
Courtesy of Mohsen and Sara

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 8:35 am

Syrian activists tend to spend long nights on Skype and Facebook, sending and receiving updates on the battle to oust the government.

And online is also where they sometimes fall in love.

Mohsen, an activist from Hama, says he first met Sara, his girlfriend of nearly two years, on Facebook.

She sent him a friend request because she saw he worked in the field of journalism, and for months they chatted casually about the Syrian uprising. Then, after government troops stormed Hama, Moshen fled to Damascus, where he and Sara finally met face to face.

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Economy
3:26 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Japan's Economic Plan May Be Bad News For Everyone Else

Masaaki Shirakawa, the governor of the Bank of Japan, speaks before the press in Tokyo on Friday. The central bank announced new measures to stimulate the economy Tuesday.
Rie Ishii AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 3:36 pm

Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.

Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.

What's Wrong With Pouring Money Into The Problem?

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The Two-Way
2:01 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Egyptian Court Gives 21 Death Sentences Over Soccer Riot

Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly football club celebrate in front of their club premises in Cairo on Saturday. An Egyptian court sentenced 21 people to death in relation to a soccer stadium riot last February.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 12:11 pm

The top of this post was updated at 10:28 a.m. ET:

An Egyptian court has sentenced 21 defendants to death over a deadly soccer riot last year, adding fuel to the violent protests that continued to flare across the country on Saturday.

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Middle East
3:21 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Kerry Hopeful For Renewed Peace Talks Between Israel, Palestinians

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 7:19 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Obama administration is closely watching political developments in Israel. This week's elections there surprised many analysts in Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to build a new center-right coalition. His party lost some seats in parliament to a new centrist challenger. The White House has had a rough relationship with Netanyahu, and so Washington is looking for a new opportunity now to promote peace. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.

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Africa
3:20 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Muslim Brotherhood Tries To Distract From Second Anniversary Of Egyptian Revolt

On the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution on Friday, liberal and secular opposition groups held protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The Muslim Brotherhood did not hold counter-demonstrations this time. Instead, its members did charitable work in poor districts of Cairo and other cities.

Technology
3:20 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Western Bloggers Use Google Maps To Expose North Korean Prison Camps

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Detailed satellite images are helping to expose a system of huge prison camps in North Korea, camps that North Korea says don't even exist. Western governments and human rights groups estimate that as many as 200,000 political prisoners are held in these camps under horrific conditions. And a small contingent of Western bloggers is scrutinizing the satellite images, trying to map the camps and look for new detail.

Curtis Melvin is among them. He started the website North Korean Economy Watch. Thanks for coming in.

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World
1:38 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Spain's Strapped Towns Look To Churches For Cash

The Cathedral of Alcala de Henares is one of many buildings owned by the Catholic Church in Alcala de Henares, Spain. The town, which is outside Madrid, is broke and is pursuing a plan to have the church pay additional taxes.
JMN JMN/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 3:12 pm

The Catholic Church is Spain's largest and richest landowner, though its nonprofit status means it is exempt from paying most taxes.

But amid the current economic crisis, that may be changing.

One college town just outside Madrid is leading an effort by some Spanish municipalities to serve the church an up-to-date property tax bill.

Alcala de Henares is re-evaluating the status of hundreds of church holdings that have been exempt from paying property tax for hundreds of years.

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Europe
9:58 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Honoring 'Our Will To Live': The Lost Music Of The Holocaust

The Nazis imprisoned Czech composer Rudolf Karel (shown here in a sketch from 1945) for helping the resistance in Prague. He wrote his compositions down on toilet paper.
Courtesy of Francesco Lotoro

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 7:56 am

For the past two decades, in a small town in southern Italy, a pianist and music teacher has been hunting for and resurrecting the music of the dead.

Francesco Lotoro has found thousands of songs, symphonies and operas written in concentration, labor and POW camps in Germany and elsewhere before and during World War II.

By rescuing compositions written in imprisonment, Lotoro wants to fill the hole left in Europe's musical history and show how even the horrors of the Holocaust could not suppress artistic inspiration.

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The Picture Show
6:33 am
Fri January 25, 2013

A Brief History Of Women In Combat

Female members of Egypt's "liberation battalions" train in the desert near Cairo for guerrilla warfare against the British in the Suez Canal zone on Nov. 20, 1951.
AP

Traditions break down fast during times of war, and history is full of examples where women assumed dramatic new roles that never would have been possible in times of peace.

As this photo gallery shows, the pressing demands of World War II led many countries to call on women to bolster their armed forces, in jobs ranging from nurse to front-line soldier.

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U.S.
12:44 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Foreign Investors Trade Dollars For U.S. Residency

This Marriott hotel in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood was rebuilt by American Life Inc. using EB-5 visa investment money. The project helped dozens of well-to-do people obtain permanent green cards.
Jennifer Wing for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 7:14 am

Svetlana Anikeeva was 15 in the early '90s when she visited America as an exchange student.

"And it was completely different place in every imaginable aspect," she recalls.

Anikeeva grew up in Vladivostok on the eastern edge of Russia, and studied abroad in Savannah, Ga., where the experience, she says, changed her life.

"The people were different. The culture was different. The weather, the food, the school. Everything was fascinating," she says. "I knew that I wanted to come here."

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Europe
3:16 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Tax On Heating Oil Turns Greek Skies Black With Wood Smoke

Another new consequence of Greece's economic crisis is that the skies of Athens and other cities are filled with smoke due to the increase in the use of wood burning stoves. The cost of heating oil has gone up 40 percent — a tax increase imposed by the troika. The Greek Environment ministry has issued a warning that the increase in pollutants in the air is posing public health risk.

Europe
3:12 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Paris' 'Little Bamako' Keeps Keen Eye On Fighting In Mali

One Paris neighborhood is known as "Little Bamako," named after the capital of Mali. It's a place where Malian immigrants welcome and closely follow the French military campaign against Islamist extremists in their home country. Some express disappointment that President Obama did not send U.S. troops alongside the French soldiers. They reject the harsh Sharia law of the extremists, saying Mali is in fact a very tolerant nation.

The Two-Way
8:30 am
Thu January 24, 2013

In Syria, Two Opponents Of The Regime Fight Each Other

A Syrian rebel fighter in the northeastern Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn on Nov. 11. The rebels and a Kurdish militia in the town both oppose President Bashar Assad's regime, but they have been fighting each other in recent days.
Murad Seezer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 4:45 pm

In a small border town in northern Syria, there are two groups that both oppose President Bashar Assad's regime. But instead of working in tandem, the Syrian rebels and a Kurdish militia have been battling each other in the town of Ras al-Ayn.

Sally Ali, a 26-year-old resident of Ras al-Ayn, told NPR by phone that the streets are completely empty. "It's a ghost town," she says.

She estimates about half of the town's residents fled to nearby villages; the other half are trapped in their homes by the ongoing violence.

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The Salt
8:04 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Small Meals, Big Payoff: Keeping Hunger And Calories In Check

Don't eat me all at once.
April Fulton NPR

When presented with a tempting buffet of French food, not overeating can be a challenge. But a new study by researchers in Lyon suggests there are strategies that will help people resist temptation.

People trying to keep off excess weight are frequently told that it's better to eat small amounts of food frequently during the day, rather than the typical breakfast, lunch and dinner. The idea is that more frequent eating will stave off hunger pangs that may lead to overeating.

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The Picture Show
7:03 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Sierra Leone's Water Of Life — And Death

Momoh, 33, collects plastic bottles from the polluted beach of Kroo Bay, a poor slum settlement of 5,500 people in Freetown, Sierra Leone. In 2012, Sierra Leone suffered through one of its worst outbreaks of cholera, a waterborne disease that infects the intestine and is transmitted through contaminated water and food. The disease has ravaged 12 of the country's 13 districts.
Mustafah Abdulaziz

Traditionally, water symbolizes life and renewal, but in Sierra Leone it is also a vehicle for epidemic and death — the focus of photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz's project "Water Is Gold," which documents the causes and effects of the country's recent cholera outbreak.

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Africa
3:05 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Backed By French Might, Malian Troops Retake Diabaly

Malians gather around the remains of vehicles used by Islamist rebels that were destroyed by an earlier French airstrike, Jan. 23 in Diabaly, about 250 miles north of Bamako, Mali's capital.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 6:15 pm

The French-led operation in Mali, which is intended to drive back Islamist militants, appears to be gaining momentum. The U.S. and European powers are helping airlift French forces into the Sahara nation, and African soldiers from around the region are arriving to lend a hand.

In the past week, French airstrikes and ground troops have helped government forces retake the strategic town of Diabaly in central Mali — the first major victory in the fight to reclaim the north.

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National Security
3:05 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Clinton Cautions That North Africa Is A Region To Watch

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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NPR Story
2:52 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Report Blasts India's Treatment Of Women

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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