I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Today, we're going to spend some time on some important stories coming from overseas. In a few minutes, we'll hear what one young woman's charges of rap reveal about how Pakistan's system of justice works - or doesn't - when it comes to sexual violence.
This much is true: Many Canadians apparently think their government has embedded a maple-scented scratch-and-sniff patch in the nation's $100 bills.
According to CTV, "dozens of people" contacted the Bank of Canada after the polymer bills were introduced in 2011 to say they were sure there was something fishy ... or perhaps we should say sweet ... about the money.
A baby boy in China has been safely rescued from a sewage pipe after the abandoned newborn had become lodged in an apartment building's public toilet system. A resident heard the infant's cries, and firefighters cut out a portion of pipe containing the boy. That section was then rushed to the hospital, where the baby was carefully removed.
Authorities are treating the disturbing incident as an attempted homicide and were still looking for the baby's parents. As for his medical condition, the boy is reportedly stable, but with severe bruising and some cuts.
The European Union's decision to end its embargo on arming the opposition in Syria has been followed by sharp criticism from Russia's foreign ministry and word that Russia will follow through on plans to deliver anti-aircraft missiles to President Bashar Assad's military.
The name Niccolo Machiavelli is synonymous with political deceit, cynicism and the ruthless use of power. The Italian Renaissance writer called his most famous work, The Prince, a handbook for statesmen.
An exhibit underway in Rome celebrates the 500th anniversary of what is still considered one of the most influential political essays in Western literature.
This past Friday in Afghanistan, a handful of Taliban militants paralyzed Kabul during an eight-hour standoff with Afghan security forces. This spring, the Taliban's attacks have been intensifying, and this year's fighting season is a major test of Afghan government forces. One month from now, they're supposed to be leading all security operations in the country, as NPR's Sean Carberry reports.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
The Syrian town of Quseir sits just miles from the border with Lebanon and the fierce fighting there is evidence of how the war is reaching beyond Syria's borders. Lebanese militants from Hezbollah are now openly fighting alongside Syrian soldiers in Quseir. And this weekend, rockets were fired on Hezbollah areas inside Lebanon's capital Beirut. Here's NPR's Kelly McEvers.
Arizona Sen. John McCain spent his Memorial Day in Syria. As NPR's Jonathan Blakley reports from Beirut, McCain's spokesman says the senator crossed into northern Syria from Turkey to meet with rebels in the country, ripped apart by the 2-year conflict turned civil war.
Israeli prison officials invited reporters last month on a first-ever tour of the Ofer prison, a concrete-and-barbed wire compound on the northern edge of Jerusalem. More than 700 Palestinians are detained here for alleged security violations in connection with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.
City officials in Paris are experimenting with an unconventional way to keep urban lawns trimmed.
Agnes Masson used to be simply the director of the Paris city archives. Now, she's also a shepherdess of sorts, responsible for four black sheep munching the lush grass surrounding the gray archives building at the eastern edge of the city.
Masson says the ewes are efficient and easy to care for.
Violence has erupted over the past week in and around the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Tensions have emerged over joblessness, a growing gap between wealthy and poor and influxes of immigrants. David Greene talks to Alistair Scrutton, Stockholm bureau chief for the Reuters News Agency, for the latest on the chaos.
Every Memorial Day weekend, a ceremony takes place just outside Paris to honor a group of Americans who fought in France. They're not D-Day veterans, but a little known group of pilots who fought for France in World War I, before the U.S. entered the war.
This year's ceremony in the tiny town of Marnes-la-Coquette began with a flyover by two French air force Mirage fighter jets from the Escadrille Lafayette, or Lafayette Squadron, paying tribute to the men who founded the group nearly 100 years ago.
It was 5 p.m. on an ordinary Tuesday, and Li Ping was finishing up the company accounts before going to have a facial. She was working for her brother, Li Qiang, who owned one of the biggest private transport companies in Chongqing, a major city in southwestern China.
Suddenly, five plainclothes policemen barged into the room. They asked her name, then put a black hood over her head and drove her to a secret interrogation site. Her ordeal had begun.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in the capital of Ethiopia this weekend. He was attending the 50th anniversary summit of the African Union, and he was laying the groundwork for President Obama's trip to Africa in the next month. Our East Africa correspondent Gregory Warner is in Addis Ababa. He joins us now. Hi, Greg. Thanks for being with us.
GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: Thanks, Rachel.
MARTIN: So, you spent the day with the secretary. How was he received?
These may sound like the makings of a Roald Dahl children's book (he of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame). But at London's Kew Gardens, visitors can now immerse themselves in such fantastic-sounding experiences like rowing down a blue-dyed boating lake to the aforementioned island, which features a 15-foot replica pineapple towering over a banana grotto.
Lance Cpl. Travis Williams, 29, is an Iraq War veteran — and the only post-9/11 Marine to lose every other member of his 12-man squad. It happened in August 2005, when Williams and his teammates were sent on a rescue mission in Barwanah, Iraq.
"That morning, we loaded into the vehicle," Williams recalls. "And I get tapped on the shoulder, and I got told that I need to bounce up to the next vehicle. I said, 'Catch you guys on the flipside.' And that was the last thing I ever said to them."
Secretary of State John Kerry met with political leaders in Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank this week in his effort to try to restart direct peace talks between the two parties. NPR's Emily Harris is in Jerusalem. Emily, thanks for being with us.
EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.
SIMON: So if not a concrete plan, is somebody pouring the concrete?
In India, some of the most entertaining reading on a Sunday afternoon is found in the classified ads. Page after page, the matrimonial section trumpets the finer qualities of India's sons and daughters.
Parents looking to marry off their children often place ads such as this one: "Wanted: Well-settled, educated groom for fair, beautiful Bengali girl, 22, 5'3"."
The matrimonial ads are a hallowed tradition in the quest to find a life partner — part of the institution of matchmaking that is as old as the country itself.
Will teaching in English at France's universities undermine the French language? That's up for debate in the country now, and the argument is heated.
The lower house of parliament approved a measure Thursday that would allow courses to be taught in English, something that is currently against the law.
Those in favor of the proposal say it will attract more international students and improve English language skills of French students. But opponents say the move will only impoverish and marginalize the country's tongue.
Gnomes marched their way into one of England's most prestigious gardening events this year. The 100th annual Chelsea Flower Show, which ends Saturday, opened its gates to the flower-friendly creatures for the first time.
In Libya, guns are still everywhere and the elected leadership is struggling to rule as militias use guns and intimidation when they don't get their way. Most recently they surrounded two ministries and state television to force through a political isolation law that bars former members of Moammar Gaddafi's regime from government posts.
Print media are struggling in the U.S. and Europe, but in many Asian countries, including China and India, newspapers are thriving. Another example is Myanmar, also known as Burma. There, only 1 percent of people have access to the Internet and private daily newspapers are rushing into print after decades of being banned. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports on how Burmese journalists are exercising newfound freedoms.