World News

Parallels
2:25 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Underground Tunnels Feed Gaza's Hankering For KFC

KFC is delivered in one of the many underground smuggling tunnels connecting Egypt to the Gaza Strip city of Rafah.
Wissam Nassar Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 8:38 am

Hundreds of underground passageways wind like a maze beneath the Egypt-Gaza border, providing a way for Gazans to maneuver around the 2007 Israeli-led economic blockade that took effect after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

And while subterranean tunnels may seem like something out of a thrilling spy movie, the reality and practicality of these channels is somehow not surprising.

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Parallels
1:39 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

From The Heart Of Egypt's Revolt, The Pulse Of Artistic Life

Egyptian folk singer Dina El Wedidi performs at Qasr El Nil Theater during the Downtown Cairo Arts Festival. Wedidi says efforts to revitalize venues like the Qasr El Nil are important because there aren't enough places for musicians of the post-revolution explosion to perform.
Mostafa Abdel Aty Courtesy of Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 6:34 pm

Egypt's capital, Cairo, is now synonymous with protests and sometimes violence. Late at night, the once-bustling downtown streets are largely empty these days. People worry about getting mugged or caught up in a mob.

But the recent Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival is an attempt to revitalize the area with music, art and culture in the old and forgotten venues of downtown Cairo, like the Qasr El Nil Theater.

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Middle East
12:01 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Ex-Ambassador To Iraq Weighs In On Talking To 'Monsters'

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

As the death toll in Syria climbed over the past two years, many critics charge that President Obama has not done enough to aid the opposition. In an op-ed in today's New York Times, former Ambassador Christopher Hill argues that the administration has made a serious mistake, but, quote, "The real shortcoming of the administration's policy on Syria has not been an unwillingness to engage militarily, but the ill-advised decision in August 2011 to preclude the possibility of a diplomatic resolution involving all sides."

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Parallels
10:51 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Women In Combat: Some Lessons From Israel's Military

Soldiers of Israel's 33rd Caracal Battalion take part in a graduation march in the northern part of the southern Israeli Negev desert on March 13. The Caracal was formed in 2004 with the chief purpose of giving women a chance to serve in a true combat role.
Menahem Kahana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 8:39 am

As the U.S. moves to open up combat positions to women, it's catching up with other countries that have been doing it for years.

But the experience in these countries, including Israel, suggests that access to combat jobs doesn't lead directly to equal treatment within the ranks.

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Thu May 16, 2013

David Beckham Retires From Soccer, Ending Storied Career

David Beckham, seen here on the sidelines of a 2010 World Cup match, has announced that he is retiring. The 38-year-old midfielder appeared in 115 matches for England's team and won titles in four different national leagues.
Michael Regan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 11:37 am

David Beckham, who starred for Manchester United, Real Madrid and England's national team before heading to the United States and Paris, is retiring. The news was confirmed Thursday by England's Football Association.

The midfielder played his first game for Manchester United in 1992 and eventually rose to become captain of England's international team for more than 50 games, including several World Cup tournaments. He appeared in 115 matches for the squad.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Twitter Users Risk Damnation, Say Saudi Religious Police

In January, this Saudi man in Riyadh had Twitter open on his computer.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 7:57 am

"The head of Saudi Arabia's religious police has warned citizens against using Twitter, which is rising in popularity among Saudis," the BBC reports. "Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said anyone using social media sites — and especially Twitter — 'has lost this world and his afterlife.' "

International Digital Times notes that:

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World
4:44 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Some Leaders In Saudi Arabia Condemn Twitter

Religious authorities responded after Saudis used Twitter to show images of human rights activists on trial. The BBC reports the kingdom's most senior cleric called Twitter users "fools." The head of the religious police says any social media user will lose the afterlife.

Middle East
2:24 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Obama, Erdogan To Discuss Syria's Conflict Spilling Into Turkey

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 10:57 am

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets President Obama at the White House on Thursday. Their talks will focus on the Syrian conflict. Erdogan has been pushing the U.S. to do more to resolve a conflict.

Middle East
2:24 am
Thu May 16, 2013

For Some Syrians, A Trip To The Hospital Takes Days

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 3:56 am

Syrian government troops are besieging the western town of Qusayr, a stronghold of rebel forces. For civilians and rebel fighters injured in the fierce clashes and intense aerial bombing campaigns in and around that Syrian border town, the nearest hospital is in another country: Lebanon.

Sports
2:24 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Wrestlers Grapple To Save Sport From Olympic Chopping Block

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

How often do you find Iran, Russia and the United States united behind a single message? Well, representatives from all three countries were in New York City yesterday rallying support for the sport of wrestling, which could be excluded from the upcoming Olympic Games. It was quite a show of sportsmanship and diplomacy. Of course, there was time for some conflict among the wrestlers. It took place at New York's Grand Central Terminal, that's why they called it the Rumble on the Rails.

Here's NPR's Mike Pesca.

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Asia
2:24 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Yen's Drop In Value Could Fuel Curency War

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 3:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Japan's economy is finally getting a lift. The stock market is soaring there. Companies like Toyota and Sony are seeing a surge in profits. And today, Japan's government reported the economy grew a three-and-a-half percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, a significant improvement.

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Parallels
1:02 am
Thu May 16, 2013

U.S. Hands Over Nation-Building Projects To Afghans

Afghan and U.S. officials attend the closing ceremony for the Paktia provincial reconstruction team on April 9 in eastern Afghanistan. NATO created more than 20 teams to help the Afghans rebuild. But now the U.S. teams are winding down their activities.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:24 am

On a sunny spring day in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province, Afghan officials and U.S. troops and civilians gather inside the ancient mud fort in the center of Forward Operating Base Gardez. They're attending a ceremony marking the formal end of the work of the provincial reconstruction team, or PRT.

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Middle East
3:32 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Syrian Minister: Removal Of Assad Means Destruction Of Syria

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 5:39 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The President of the U.N. General Assembly said today that at least 80,000 people have been killed in Syria's two-year civil war, and that most of those casualties were civilians. The assembly also approved a resolution today calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside. But that vote was largely symbolic; the resolution is unenforceable.

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Parallels
2:20 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Heavy Metal In Kabul? It's The Music, Not The Munitions

Solomon "Sully" Omar performs with the Afghan metal band District Unknown at the third annual Sound Central Festival in Kabul earlier this month.
Courtesy of Ellie Kealey

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 7:35 am

When 23-year-old Solomon "Sully" Omar felt the music scene in his native Denver wasn't giving him what he was looking for, he made a radical move. He headed for Kabul, capital of the war-torn country his parents had fled decades ago.

"I came here to continue my education and at the same time see what's in the music scene here and bring some of the skills and abilities that I have to the music scene," says Omar.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Walmart Has Its Own Plan To Help Bangladesh Garment Workers

A Wal-Mart store in Paramount, Calif. The company announced it would conduct its own inspections at Bangladeshi factories that produce its goods rather than joining an agreement with other Western retailers.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 1:30 pm

Wal-Mart says it has drafted its own plan for improving safety at garment factories in Bangladesh rather than join other Western retailers in a legally binding agreement to pay for improved conditions for workers in the South Asian country.

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Parallels
12:11 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

After Two Years In Hiding, A Bahraini Blogger Escapes

Online activist Ali Abdulemam (right) is greeted in Manama, Bahrain, on Feb. 23, 2011, shortly after anti-government protests began. Wanted by the government, he went into hiding the following month. He escaped from Bahrain after two years underground and made his first public appearance Wednesday in Oslo, Norway.
Mazen Mahdi EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 12:44 pm

The Arab world was aflame in March 2011. Longtime rulers in Tunisia and Egypt had been toppled. NATO was poised to attack Libyan government forces. The Syrian uprising was just beginning. And on the small island nation of Bahrain, the government was cracking down on pro-democracy protesters.

Across Bahrain, protest leaders were rounded up and some were quickly tried, convicted and sentenced to prison. The writing was on the wall for the leaders of the movement, including Ali Abdulemam.

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Parallels
11:36 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Teaching The Rules Of War In Syria's Vicious Conflict

This image provided by the Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad and released May 2 shows soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad standing amid dead bodies at Bayda village, in the mountains outside the coastal city of Banias, Syria.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 1:02 pm

A new video from Syria is shocking even by the standards of a war that keeps setting new standards for brutality.

In the video, a rebel fighter identified as Khalid al-Hamad is shown cutting out and eating the organs of a dead government soldier.

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Pffff: Hong Kong's Six-Story Rubber Ducky's Been Deflated

During deflation, on Tuesday (May 14).
Tyrone Siu Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 11:52 am

That giant rubber duck floating in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor, which we posted about on May 6, is down for maintenance.

And when we say down, we mean it. It's been deflated.

But fans shouldn't despair. Ducky's hosts say it just "needs to freshen up" and will return. It's set to be in Hong Kong until sometime next month.

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Business
4:28 am
Wed May 15, 2013

'Revolutions' Unfold Within Oil Industry

In the stodgy world of global oil, we don't hear the term revolution tossed around very often. But oil analysts are watching dramatic change take place on the supply side of the industry. Things like where the oil is coming from and who is buying it.

Afghanistan
4:19 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Young Afghan Entrepreneur Capitalizes On Opportunities

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 5:28 am

Fahim Hashemi, 33, built a conglomerate from scratch. He owns a TV channel, an airline and supplies the Afghan National Army with boots and fuel. He got his start early in the war as a translator to U.S. and British forces.

Business
4:19 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Wal-Mart Won't Sign Pact, Has Own Way To Protect Workers

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 4:35 am

Following a factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 people, Wal-Mart has declined to join a multi-company factory safety accord to try to prevent future disasters. Instead, the world's largest retailer announced its own set of inspection and safety measures.

The Two-Way
4:17 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Road Crew In Belize Destroys Ancient Pyramid

What's left of the Nohmul pyramid after a construction crew virtually destroyed the 2,300-year-old Mayan structure.
Jaime Awe Associated Press

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 4:53 pm

A construction crew in search of gravel to use as road filler used its backhoes to level one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids.

"It's a feeling of incredible disbelief because of the ignorance and the insensitivity ... they were using this for road fill," Jaime Awe, the head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, said of the destruction at the 2,300-year-old Nohmul pyramid, located in the Orange Walk/Corozal area.

"It's like being punched in the stomach. It's just so horrendous," Awe said Monday of the destruction thought to have occurred last week.

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Middle East
2:57 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

A Sign of Disunity? Iranian Candidates Jockey For Position

Etrat Kazemi (center) registers her candidacy for the upcoming presidential election in Tehran, Iran, last week. More than 700 people have registered to run in the June 14 election.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:15 pm

Nearly 700 presidential hopefuls have thrown their names into the ring for Iran's June 14 presidential elections. But two last-minute entrants have altered the shape of the already-chaotic race: a former president once dismissed as a has-been and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator.

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Parallels
2:27 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

For Palestinians, Google's Small Change Is A Big Deal

Internet giant Google has recognized the Palestinians' upgraded U.N. status, placing the name "Palestine" on its search engine instead of "Palestinian Territories."
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 8:38 am

The webpage Google.ps used to read "Google: Palestinian Territories." On May 1, the company quietly changed that regional search page to say "Google: Palestine."

Google didn't announce the name change, but it didn't have to. In a place where small gestures can carry great symbolism, Palestinians noticed right away.

"Everybody knows about it and they screenshot [and] post on Facebook: 'Yay Google, thank you,' " says Mohammad Kumboz, a 22-year-old graphic designer and computer programmer who lives in the Gaza Strip.

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Energy
2:17 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

India, China Could Soon Demand More Oil Than U.S. And Europe

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:15 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

For years, we've understood the global oil landscape in fairly simple terms: Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries were the big producers of oil, the United States and its allies were the big oil buyers. But a report today from the International Energy Agency shows a different picture. Turns out the U.S. has become a star oil producer, as NPR's Tom Gjelten reports.

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Europe
2:17 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Russia Orders Alleged U.S. Spy To Leave Country

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:15 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to Russia, where a U.S. Embassy employee has been ordered to leave the country, this after Russian authorities nabbed him in a highly publicized arrest. They charge the American as a CIA agent who was caught trying to recruit a Russian spy.

NPR's Corey Flintoff tells us more.

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Environment
2:17 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

'Ice Shove' Damages Some Manitoba Homes Beyond Repair

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:15 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In northern lakefront vacation spots such as Ochre Beach, Manitoba and Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota, ice happens even in May. But what happened this past weekend was like something out of a science fiction movie.

(SOUNDBITE OF WIND)

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is the sound from a video recorded as constant strong winds pushed huge sheets of ice off a lake and onto the shore. Fingers of ice creeped farther inland and farther. It's as if the ice is alive.

(SOUNDBITE OF ICE SHOVE)

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Africa
1:33 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

The Enemy Inside: Rhino's Protectors Sometimes Aid Poachers

Mike Watson (left), CEO of Kenya's Lewa Conservancy, and conservationist Ian Craig identify the carcass of a 4-year-old black rhino named Arthur, whom poachers had killed the night before. The well-armed, well-informed poachers very likely used night vision goggles and a silencer on an AK-47.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 6:19 pm

It says a lot about the state of the war against poachers in Africa that the Lewa Conservancy, a private sanctuary in Kenya with 12 percent of the country's rhinos, recently appointed a CEO who has never studied zoology or biology. Instead, Mike Watson is an ex-captain in the British army.

His training has already come in handy. Take, for instance, a visit to a crime scene earlier this year: a rhino carcass splayed out in the mud.

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World
1:28 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Living On The Border, Driven — Literally — Underground

Abimael Martinez, who was deported from Riverside, Calif., sits next to the hole he dug to live in beneath the banks of Tijuana's fetid river canal.
Amy Isackson for NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:15 pm

After living underground in the United States — figuratively speaking — some undocumented immigrants deported to the Mexican border city of Tijuana are living in holes. These migrants have dug bunkers along Tijuana's sewage canal to protect themselves from police who routinely burn down their makeshift homes.

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Asia
12:23 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

The Legacy Of Gen. Ridgway And America's War In Korea

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 10:07 am

The ongoing conflict between North Korea and South Korea is the legacy of the Korean War, which can help explain relations between the two countries. In a new book, historian Victor Davis Hanson discusses how the strategies of U.S. Gen. Matthew Ridgway helped to turn around what appeared to be "a lost war."

Hanson, author of The Savior Generals, tells NPR's Neal Conan that although the three-year war "ended right where it began," it did allow for South Korea to flourish as a democracy.

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