World News

Parallels
8:39 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Young Gazan Men Get Unwanted Haircuts, Courtesy Of Police

Tarik al-Nakib (left) says Gaza Strip police officers picked him up on the street and forced him to get his hair cut recently. He's growing it out again in a style similar to that of his friend Mohammad Abu Ramadan.
Emily Harris/NPR

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

As 17-year-old Tarik al-Nakib tells it, he was just out to buy some bread one afternoon in April when a silver bus from the Gaza Strip police department pulled up next to him.

"One guy opened the door and asked me to get in the bus," Nakib says. "Another came out and pushed me in. I was trying to understand what was going on, what did I do? No one wanted to answer me."

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Parallels
7:28 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Venezuelans Stock Up On Toilet Paper Amid Shortage

A woman who just bought toilet paper at a grocery store reads her receipt as she leaves the store in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday. The government says it will import 50 million rolls of toilet paper amid a shortage.
Fernando Llano AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 8:00 am

Venezuelans may be used to a dearth of medicine, milk and sugar, but there's a new shortage that's, shall we say, a bit more problematic: toilet paper.

The government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro announced this week that it would import 50 million rolls of toilet paper to meet the growing demand.

"We will saturate the market so the people will be calm," Commerce Minister Alejandro Fleming told the official AVN news agency.

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Afghanistan
3:14 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Select Young Afghans Chosen As Commandoes In Training

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All right, through much of this week, we've been hearing from young Afghans on the future of their country after NATO troops withdraw in 2014. Yesterday, our colleague Renee Montagne met with the American general who commands coalition forces in Afghanistan. They traveled to a special forces base where young Afghan men - and a few women - are being trained.

(SOUNDBITE OF HELICOPTER)

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Parallels
1:00 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Are Buddhist Monks Involved In Myanmar's Violence?

Some Muslims say Buddhist monks have been inciting followers during recent violence in Myanmar. Monk U Wirathu acknowledges that he is a Buddhist nationalist but says he has tried to prevent fighting. He's shown here at the Masoeyein monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar, on March 27.
Gemunu Amarasinghe AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 8:05 pm

In the Western stereotype, Buddhists are meditating pacifists who strive to keep their distance from worldly passions. But last month, more than 40 people were killed in fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in the central Burmese town of Meiktila. Witnesses say some Buddhist monks joined in the violence, while others tried to stop it.

One prominent monk in particular has been blamed for being behind it.

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Parallels
4:32 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Gerard Depardieu To Star In Two Chechnya-Based Films

French actor Gerard Depardieu (right) chats with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov shortly after his arrival in Chechnya's capital, Grozny, on Feb. 24.
Musa Sadulayev AP

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:20 pm

Actor Gerard Depardieu is reportedly set to begin filming a new thriller with British actress-model Elizabeth Hurley, to be set in Moscow and Grozny, the capital of the Russian republic of Chechnya.

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The Salt
3:17 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

No More Smuggling: Many Cured Italian Meats Coming To America

Even Sophia Loren felt compelled to smuggle mortadella, despite a U.S. ban — well, her character did, anyway, in the 1971 film Lady Liberty.
Warner Bros/The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 9:36 am

American gourmets and lovers of Italian food products, your days as food smugglers are over.

No more stuffing your suitcases with delicacies bought in Italy, hoping the sniffer dogs at JFK or other American airports won't detect the banned-in-the-USA foodstuffs inside your luggage.

In the U.S., they're called cured meats, the French say charcuterie and in Italy, the word for cured-pork products is salumi.

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Parallels
3:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Brazil Looks To Build A 10,000-Mile Virtual Fence

A drug-sniffing dog checks bags at a Brazilian border crossing with Bolivia on April 3. With an increase in illegal immigration and drug smuggling, Brazil is planning to build a virtual fence along its 10,000-mile border.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:44 pm

Brazil's borders are so vast, and the terrain so inhospitable, that attempting to secure them has seemed a virtually impossible task.

But Brazil's rapidly expanding economy has made the country a magnet for illegal immigration, drug smuggling and other illicit activities, and now the country has announced its own border protection program.

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World
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Pressure Grows In Australia To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 12:01 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's growing pressure in Australia to legalize same-sex marriage. That's after neighboring New Zealand did so just last month. As Stuart Cohen reports from Sydney, several high-profile opponents in Australia have now changed their views and many believe public opinion has reached a tipping point.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The ayes are 77. The nos are 44.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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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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