Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 11:45 am
King Abdullah kept a promise to Saudi Arabia's women last week, when he appointed 30 of them to four-year terms in the new Consultative Assembly, the pseudo-legislature that advises the monarch on laws and regulations.
As usual with such developments in Saudi Arabia, there is a catch: The women will have to meet in a room separate from the men.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta sorority just celebrated their 100th year. We'll find out just how and why an organization founded by 22 young women on a single college campus a century ago now has a presence around the world.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.
Coming up, we'll talk about why the Peace Corps is stepping up its efforts to recruit doctors and nurses to its ranks of people serving in developing countries. That's ahead.
But first, President Barack Obama is just about a week away from being sworn into his second term in office. So we have been looking at some of the unresolved issues from his first four years. Last week, we talk about housing, particularly the foreclosure crisis.
On this fourth day of French military operations aimed at routing Islamist militants in Mali, the al-Qaida-linked rebels are "vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war," Reuters reports.
"France has opened the gates of hell for all the French. She has fallen into a trap which is much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia," a spokesman for the MUJWA Islamist group told Europe 1 radio, the wire service writes.
Some six months after Syria's rebels tried to storm the country's largest city, they can claim the eastern part of Aleppo and perhaps 60 percent overall. In the west, the government army has the remaining 40 percent of the city.
The line dividing these two areas is supposedly the front line in Aleppo's war. But lately the front has gone cold, as people here say in Arabic.
In China's capital, they're calling it the "airpocalypse," with air pollution that's literally off the charts. The air has been classified as hazardous to human health for a fifth consecutive day, at its worst hitting pollution levels 25 times that considered safe in the U.S. The entire city is blanketed in a thick grey smog that smells of coal and stings the eyes, leading to official warnings to stay inside.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris yesterday to protest government efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. The demonstration was considered one of the largest in years. The government of President Francois Hollande says it will go ahead anyway. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.
Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 11:16 am
An Egyptian court overturned a life sentence against ousted President Hosni Mubarak and ordered a retrial for the former autocrat.
The decision to retry the strongman who was serving a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of protesters came as no surprise. When the judge overseeing the original case made his ruling last June, he criticized the prosecution for failing to produce concrete evidence against the leadership.
Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 1:32 pm
Lebanon has had some of the worst winter weather in decades. First, record rainfalls flooded the low-lying part of the country, then ice and show bent trees and blocked roads. The frigid conditions are making it even harsher for Syrian refugees trying to take shelter from the violence in their home country.
The al-Marj refugee camp sits wedged between snow-covered vineyards, a community center and an unfinished warehouse in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, just a 10-minute drive from the Syrian border.
It's not clear whether a French intelligence agent is dead or alive after a botched rescue attempt in Somalia on Saturday morning. As the AP reports:
"France says the agent, code-name Denis Allex, was killed in the raid, along with a French commando and 17 Islamist militants. But the militant group al-Shabab, which held Allex for more than three years, says it still has Allex and claims to have captured a French soldier."
Three years ago today, a massive earthquake destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. About 200,000 people were killed. More than a million were left homeless. Governments and aid agencies from around the world pledged billions of dollars to help Haiti recover and rebuild from the quake. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was just one of many leaders who vowed that the international community would stand by Haiti for the long process of reconstruction.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has concluded a four-day visit to Washington, D.C. The president met with senior administration officials, including a private meeting in the Oval Office with President Obama. Their discussions reportedly centered on the U.S. role in Afghanistan after 2014. That's when most of the U.S. and NATO troops are due to withdraw from the country. NPR's Jackie Northam has this report.
Brazil now rivals the United States in food production. Everything from beef and chicken to soybeans and corn. Environmentalists in Brazil worry that this agricultural boom has come at the expense of the country's forest, including the Amazon. But they're up against a tough farming advocate - a senator, landowner and head of the country's most powerful agricultural association. And as NPR's Juan Forero reports, she argues that Brazilian farmers can - and should - produce more, much more.
Eurozone finance ministers reportedly won't approve a final bailout deal for Cyprus until after February elections there. The vote is expected to bring to power a conservative who will do everything that the current communist president is refusing: cut public sector jobs, slash wages and, above all, privatize public services. Everyone in the Cypriot government but president Demetrios Christofias agreed in November to austerity measures proposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
French President Francois Hollande announced on Friday that France has intervened militarily in the Saharan African nation of Mali, a former French colony, to stop any further advancement of Islamist extremist forces in the north of the country.
All over Australia - Alice Springs, Adelaide, Sydney, Wagga Wagga - it's been an extremely hot summer and it's expected to get hotter. The continent is experiencing a record-breaking heat wave. Roads have melted in 108-degree temperatures in the Outback and wildfires are raging in New South Wales. The heat is so persistent that the Bureau of Meteorology added two new colors to its official maps - pink and deep purple.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. The leader of Afghanistan has had a rocky relationship with the U.S., but today at the White House, President Hamid Karzai and President Obama spoke of progress. As NPR's Jackie Northam reports, today's discussion on what role the U.S. might play in Afghanistan in the future.
A British police report released Friday found the late entertainer Jimmy Savile committed more than 200 sex crimes, "unprecedented in the UK." The report summarized a three-month investigation into charges against Savile, who died in 2011.
Saturday marks the third anniversary of the powerful earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The quake killed roughly 200,000 people and left 1.5 million Haitians homeless.
Despite billions of dollars in international aid and pledges to help Haiti rebuild from the disaster, very little new, permanent housing has been built. And about 350,000 Haitians are still living in squalid, makeshift camps — where they face an array of health challenges.
British TV personality Jimmy Savile, who died in 2011, was a sexual predator who abused hundreds of victims on a scale that is "unprecedented" in Britain, according to a comprehensive police report on the disgraced celebrity. The report by a team that included 30 detectives found that Savile exploited "the vulnerable or star-struck for his sexual gratification."
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has been outspoken about the lack of freedom in his homeland and was imprisoned in what he and his supporters say was an effort to keep him quiet, told our colleagues at Boston's WBUR this week that the lack of truth in China is "suffocating ... like bad air all the time."
In China, one struggle over censorship has been defused — for the moment, at least.
Journalists at one of the country's boldest newspapers have published a new issue after a weeklong standoff that started when censors replaced a New Year's editorial. Now the week's events are being parsed for signals about the direction of China's new Communist leadership.
Another soldier has died on the disputed border between India and Pakistan, the so-called "line of control" in Kashmir. At least four soldiers have died in a series of shooting and infiltration incidents that began last Sunday. The region has been a flashpoint between the two countries since they gained independence in 1947.
Evidence of loss remains even three years after a massive earthquake claimed the lives of as many as 200,000 people in Haiti. In the middle of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, there is a cathedral whose sun-washed walls reach into the sky where a roof used to be.
A lone flagpole marks the spot where the National Palace, a symbol of Haiti's government, once proudly stood.
And on a downtown street that once bustled with storefronts, there is now a row of vendors who sell their wares under tent poles and umbrellas.