Greece used to be a place with a positive global image: gorgeous islands, friendly people, great food and stunning history.
Then came the financial meltdown. Three years ago, when Greece became the first eurozone country to receive a multibillion-dollar bailout, many international media organizations portrayed Greeks as corrupt tax-evaders who liked to riot instead of work.
This morning central Istanbul was quiet. It was still reeling from two days of anti-government rallies that led to violent confrontations with police. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Turkey that some 900 people were arrested across the country and several hundred were wounded.
Peter said officials "are beginning to ask questions about who ordered the fierce police crackdown on peaceful demonstrators that triggered the massive anti-government reaction."
After two hours of yelling, shooting and getting tough with a group of American businessmen one hot spring afternoon, Steve Gar turned to storytelling.
Gar is an instructor at Caliber3, a private counterterrorism training center in an Israeli settlement area south of Jerusalem that offers short shooting courses for tourists. Wrapping up the Americans' two-hour session, he called them all to gather around.
It starts with the nodding — otherwise normal children begin to nod their heads, pathologically. Then come the seizures. The children stop growing and stop talking. Ultimately, the disease wrecks the children, physically and mentally.
The strange and deadly illness known as nodding syndrome affects only children, and only in a small pocket of East Africa. It has affected more than 3,000 children since the late 1990s, when it first appeared in what was then southern Sudan. And for more than three years, the cause of nodding syndrome has eluded epidemiologists around the globe.
The city of Istanbul for the fifth time is bidding to host the 2020 summer Olympics. It pitched itself as "an emerged nation" to the Olympic Committee. But at the same time, NPR's Peter Kenyon tells guest host Wade Goodwyn, images of police firing tear gas canisters and water cannons at anti-development protesters seemed to send a different kind of message this week.
People might not want to stand near Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard if they want to keep their suit clean, but if they want a snack.... Earlier this month, someone hurled a sandwich slathered in Vegemite, the yeast extract that's Australia's national spread, at the prime minister. It missed by a wide mark. A student was suspended for 15 days, but he denies being the culprit.
Prized Burgundies and Bordeaux once served at the presidential palace in France were sold for the first time ever as the wine cellar at Elysee Palace gets an overhaul.
Some 1,200 bottles, or 10 percent of the palace wines, went on sale this week at the famous Drouot auction house in downtown Paris. On the block were vintages from 1930 to 1990, including famous names such as Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Montrachet.
Russian media has hinted that Moscow could speed up delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Syria if the U.S. and its allies decide to impose a no-fly zone to aid rebels there. Meanwhile, a Russian airplane maker says Syria is discussing the purchase of additional MiG-29 fighters.
A Russian arms industry source quoted by Interfax news agency says Moscow could hasten delivery of the S-300 to Syria, even though the missiles would still take months to arrive.
Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who died this year.
There were no "typical" tours of duty in World War II, but U.S. Army nurse Mildred Dalton Manning's was particularly extraordinary. Manning, along with six dozen other nurses, was held captive by the Japanese for almost three years. The group became known as the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor."
"Thousands of demonstrators massed on streets surrounding Istanbul's central Taksim Square, long a venue for political unrest, while protests erupted in the capital Ankara and the Aegean coastal city of Izmir."
Scientists in Siberia say they've extracted blood samples from the carcass of a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth, reviving speculation that a clone of the extinct animal might someday walk the earth, if scientists are able to find living cells. But researchers say the find, which also included well-preserved muscle tissue, must be studied further to know its potential.
The Mediterranean diet has long been a darling of nutrition experts as a proven way to prevent some chronic diseases. Heavy on olive oil, vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish, the diet most recently has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and dying compared with a typical low-fat diet.
We are standing in front of a huge bank of screens, in the middle of which is a glowing map that changes focus depending on what the dozens of controllers are looking at.
The room looks like something straight out of a NASA shuttle launch. The men and women manning the floor are dressed in identical white jumpsuits. With a flick of a mouse, they scroll through dozens of streaming video images coming into the center.
If you're trying to grow a business in Nigeria and you want investors, you want Nigeria's economy to look as big as possible.
Bayo Puddicombe and Zubair Abubakar own a company called Pledge 51, which creates applications for Nigeria's low-tech cellphones. One of their most popular games lets players pretend to drive the notoriously wild buses crisscrossing the Nigerian city Lagos. It's called Danfo, after the buses.
Syria's government appears to be making gains this week in a battle against rebel forces in the key city of Qusair, along the border with Lebanon. NPR's Steve Inskeep traveled to the edge of the city, and we hear from him first, followed by Kelly McEvers, who reports from just across the frontier in Lebanon.
A Syrian provincial governor told us this week that the government army has largely retaken Qusair, though a battle continues for the airport. We asked to see for ourselves.
NPR's Kelly McEvers has also been reporting on the fight, and the involvement of Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. She sends this report.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: So, we're just on the other side of the border from where Steve just was. We're in Lebanon. We're standing on top of an unfinished house. It's basically bare concrete with rebar sticking up. And I can see into Qusayr. Just beyond a berm that forms the border between Lebanon and Syria is the city of Qusayr.
With the Olympics set to begin in Russia this coming winter, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the preparations, quote, "a monstrous scam." That language comes from a report just released that alleges massive theft and corruption. It estimates that contractors and government officials may have already stolen as much $30 billion dollars as they build Olympic venues in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
NPR's Corey Flintoff joined us on the line with us from Moscow. Good morning.
On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a backhoe stacks freshly cut trees to be made into pulp and paper. Asia Pulp and Paper, or APP, is Indonesia's largest papermaker, and the company and its suppliers operate vast plantations of acacia trees here that have transformed the local landscape.
It might come as a surprise that for centuries the French have been sans a term for "French kiss."
But, voila! The newest edition of the Petit Robert 2014 dictionary has rectified that with a new verb — "galocher," meaning "to kiss with tongues." It's a clever derivation of la galoche, a word for an ice-skating boot, and so evokes the idea of sliding around the ice — or the lips and tongue.
When Herman Boudreau joined the U.S. Army in 1941, he set in motion a lifetime of public service. Boudreau, who died in April at age 93, served in the Army in New Zealand and the South Pacific during World War II.
He spent more than two years fighting the Japanese, and years later shared many of his war experiences with his daughter, Nancie Smith. In one incident, she says, he had to secure an airfield while removing the last Japanese resistance on three occupied islands.
Melissa Block speaks with New York Times reporter Karla Zabludovsky about El Salvador's national policy restricting abortions under any circumstances — a decision that puts one 22-year-old at particularly high risk.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Over more than two years, the conflict in Syria progressed from protest to civil war, opposition aims from reform to revolution, and the nature of the fighting became increasingly sectarian. Now another important turn as foreign troops openly join one side.