Over the past few months, the security situation in the Syrian capital Damascus has been deteriorating. For many Damascenes, the city they always called home is no longer a livable place. They can't make a living anymore, and everyday is a risk that tempts fate. In an exodus from Damascus, many young professionals are abandoning their lives at home to flee abroad and face the unknown.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Close to half of the world's maritime traffic passes through the South China Sea. Vast deposits of oil and natural gas are believed to lie beneath the ocean floor there. These waters are also the scene of bitter international rivalry as at least five smaller countries find themselves in lopsided disputes with China.
A Japanese mountaineer has become the oldest person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, as Yuichiro Miura, 80, reached the 29,035-foot peak Thursday morning. The feat marks Miura's third time atop Mount Everest; he previously climbed the mountain at ages 70 and 75.
As in 2008, Miura's accomplishment is in danger of being surpassed by his main rival, Nepalese climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, 81. But that possibility didn't seem to bother Miura Thursday, who was joined by his son, Gota, on the climb.
One day after a British soldier was hacked to death on a busy southeast London street by two men who were heard claiming that they wanted to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Prime Minister David Cameron declared Thursday that "we will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms."
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Five years ago, at the age of 75, a Japanese mountaineer raced a 76-year-old Nepalese climber to the top of Mount Everest. Japan's Yuichiro Miura lost. This morning, in an epic rematch, the now 80-year-old Miura won, becoming the oldest person ever to reach the summit. But that record may not last. Next week, his Nepalese rival, at 81, plans to make the ascent again. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
London is no stranger to terrorist attacks. But yesterday's events had a peculiar horror. A British soldier was hacked to death on a London street. in broad daylight. His two attackers did not try to escape. They stuck around and made speeches to bypassers, trying to justify the brutal killing. Here's one attacker, addressing a passerby filming on a cellphone.
And let's turn to another story that we've been following, the aftermath of that factory collapse in Bangladesh last month. In a report out today, the Bangladeshi government says the Rana Plaza factory was, quote, "a disaster waiting to happen."
Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Israel today. He's hoping to restart direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials. The secretary of State is holding two separate meetings, first with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and then with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
NPR's Emily Harris has been following these meetings and joins us from Jerusalem. Hey, Emily.
Israeli army Capt. Barak Raz climbs a metal staircase to the top of a high concrete wall that is part of Israel's West Bank barrier. From his perch, he overlooks both the Palestinian village of Bil'in and Modin Illit, the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, with some 50,000 residents.
The barrier here used to be a fence. After many confrontations with Israeli soldiers, Palestinian villagers won a court case, and the fence was moved off some of their land. But since the barrier was moved closer to an Israeli settlement, it was rebuilt as a wall.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron says there are strong indications there was a terrorist attack in London today. A man was hacked to death in the street, close to a military barracks, and he may have been a serving British soldier. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.
A British driver who struck a cyclist with her car — and who then bragged about the incident on Twitter — has issued an apology. The incident caused an uproar after the collision Sunday.
"Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier - I have right of way he doesn't even pay road tax! #bloodycyclist," tweeted Emma Way, in a message that has been widely circulated despite her apparent attempts to delete it, and seemingly her Twitter account, @EmmaWay20.
Great Britain is in the midst of a measles epidemic, one that public health officials say is the result of parents refusing to vaccinate their children after a safety scare that was later proved to be fraudulent.
More than 1,200 people have come down with measles so far this year, following nearly 2,000 cases in 2012. Many of the cases have been in Wales.
An international group of plant pathologists has solved a historical mystery behind Ireland's Great Famine.
Sure, scientists have known for a while that a funguslike organism called Phytophthora infestans was responsible for the potato blight that plagued Ireland starting in the 1840s. But there are many different strains of the pathogen that cause the disease, and scientists have finally discovered the one that triggered the Great Famine.
Apple was criticized in a Senate committee hearing Tuesday for using complex accounting to minimize the corporate taxes it pays. One key piece of the company's tax strategy: It funnels lots of its profits through subsidiaries in Ireland.
Offering low corporate tax rates has been a fundamental part of Ireland's economic strategy for decades — a way to get foreign companies to set up operations in the country.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry heads back to Israel and the West Bank on Thursday for more talks on restarting peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. When he was there last month, he walked away with at least one agreement — to improve the West Bank economy. Here's how he put it as he left Israel:
Iran's powerful Guardian Council has disqualified two key candidates — a former president and a top aide to the current president — from running in the June 14 presidential election.
The Guardian Council, which vets all candidates, approved eight names Tuesday but left out former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, who was handpicked by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mashaei said he would appeal the decision to the country's supreme leader; Rafsanjani did not comment.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
There was a dramatic scene today at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral. A far-right historian and activist shot himself to death after calling for action to - in his words - protect France's identity. He was 78-year-old Dominique Venner. And as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, he was vehemently opposed to France's new law authorizing gay marriage and adoption.
When I found out that one of my cousins — now 88 — had hidden from the Nazis in Amsterdam, just like Anne Frank, it was a revelation. It made me want to know more about my cousin's life and story.
"I like to analyze what happens and to put it in writing; that gives you neatness in your head, and that is what I'm after," says my cousin, retired Judge Suzanne Hoogendijk. She was 87 at the time, and was talking about why she loved being a judge. But delving into her personal past was another matter.
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of the government's decision to keep photos and video of the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden a secret, rebuffing a conservative watchdog group that had sought their release.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington accepted a White House assertion that releasing the images, including death photos of bin Laden, could spark violence and risk the lives of Americans abroad.
Shanghai did something last fall that few other cities on the planet could have even considered. It opened two massive art museums right across the river from one another on the same day.
The grand openings put an exclamation point on China's staggering museum building boom. In recent years, about 100 museums have opened annually here, peaking at nearly 400 in 2011, according to the Chinese Society of Museums.
Pakistanis have coped with — even rioted — over the country's frequent power cuts. Now, the government is feeling the impact, too. The country's caretaker prime minister has banned air conditioners in government offices and instituted a dress code for civil servants. Among his recommendations: no socks.