World News

The Two-Way
5:40 am
Thu April 4, 2013

North Korea Moves Missile, Threatens To Close Factories Used By South

On Thursday, a South Korean security guard kept watch as South Korean trucks waited to enter the Kaesong industrial complex in North Korea. For the second day, the North blocked the trucks and workers from the South from entering its territory.
Kim Hong-ji Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:02 pm

Bear in mind that, as NPR's Louisa Lim has said, North Korea's regime is skilled at making threats. And fortunately, the most ominous of those threats have not been followed by action in recent decades.

With those caveats in mind, here are Thursday's developments in the latest round of provocative moves by the communist state. From Beijing, Louisa tells our Newscast Desk that:

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World
5:10 am
Thu April 4, 2013

New Zealand Movie Goer Notices Lack Of Explosions

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 8:30 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene.

The action film "Jack Reacher" hit theaters in December, and it got some favorable reviews. But one New Zealand moviegoer didn't think it was action-packed enough. That's because the trailer featured an explosion that wasn't in the movie. Disappointed, the man complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. He said the explosion was one of the main reasons he went to see the flick in the first place. Paramount Pictures has now offered to refund the money for his ticket.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Risks Increase For Humanitarian Aid Workers In Syria

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 4:29 am

David Greene talks to Muhannad Hadi, the World Food Program's regional emergency coordinator for Syria, about the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria. The civil war there has entered its third year, and last month was its deadliest.

Middle East
3:11 am
Thu April 4, 2013

As Egypt Negotiates IMF Loan, Food And Fuel Prices Soar

An Egyptian woman carries a cooking gas canister in Cairo on Tuesday. The government just raised the price of gas as part of an energy package needed to satisfy the conditions of a $4.8 billion IMF loan. Opponents say some of the conditions disproportionately hurt the poor.
Khalil Hamra AP

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:30 pm

Two years after the revolution, Egypt is in a deep economic crisis. It's running out of money to purchase crucial imports like wheat and fuel, both of which are subsidized by the government, and an infusion of cash is desperately needed.

While a delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Cairo continuing negotiations on a $4.8 billion loan, Egyptians are strained by the rising costs of food — and the gas needed to cook it.

For Mosaad el Dabe, it's a disaster.

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Africa
3:11 am
Thu April 4, 2013

South Africans: Why Were Paratroopers In Central African Republic?

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 3:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

South Africa says its military is done trying to police another African country. Late last night, South Africans said they would withdraw their small military force from the Central African Republic. Ten days ago, rebels advanced on the capital of that country and killed 13 South African paratroopers. That prompted many South Africans to ask why the soldiers were there at all. The question here is whether the troops were protecting business interests linked to South Africa's governing party.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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Europe
3:40 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Ex-Diplomats: U.S.-Russian Relations Not As Dire As They Seem

Former U.S. and Russian diplomats gather at RIA Novosti in Moscow on Tuesday. From left: former Russian or Soviet ambassadors to the U.S. Vladimir Lukin, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Viktor Komplektov; Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute of USA and Canada; and former U.S. ambassadors to Russia James Collins, Jack Matlock, Thomas Pickering and John Beyrle.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 11:11 pm

Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.

But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.

Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.

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World
2:47 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Private Foundations Start To Edge Out Some Countries In International Aid Donations

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's been a significant shift in international aid in recent years. Less money is coming from large donor nations and more is coming from private foundations, corporations, even countries that only a few years ago were recipients of aid themselves.

NPR's Jason Beaubien tells us more.

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Asia
2:47 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

North Korea Has U.S. And South Korea Rethinking Defense Policies

South Korean marines work on their K-55 self-propelled howitzers during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday.
Ahn Young-joon AP

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:50 pm

North Korea has been a big headache for the United States, with the new leader there saying almost daily that his country is ready to go to war.

Speaking in Washington on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. can't afford to dismiss that talk as bluster.

"It only takes being wrong once, and I don't want to be the secretary of defense who was wrong once, so we will continue to take these threats seriously," he said.

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Africa
2:47 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Egyptian Economy Continues To Struggle As It Negotiates With IMF

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:21 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

When political instability and friction in Egypt turn violent, the country makes news and commentators reflect on the hard chill that has come of the Arab Spring two years on. But an equally important, if not quite so dramatic, test for Egypt's leadership is taking place not on the streets but in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

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Europe
1:34 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

A Renaissance For 'Pigsticking' In Spain

Ramiro Maura hunts wild boar at his ranch near Madrid in February.
Lauren Frayer NPR

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:50 pm

An ancient hunting ritual is making a comeback in modern Spain: the practice of hunting wild boar on horseback with spears — and no guns. The sport dates to Roman times, and was recently approved and added to Spanish hunting regulations.

Just a 20-minute drive from Spain's capital, you're in the dehesa — oak woodlands, where wild boar, deer and mountain goats roam. Madrid's skyscrapers are on the horizon, but in the forest, ancient traditions still reign.

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World
1:34 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Official On Deck To Succeed Castros Still A Question Mark To Many Cubans

Newly elected Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel attends a tribute to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in March. Diaz-Canel is expected to eventually succeed Raul Castro as the island nation's leader in 2018.
Desmond Boylan Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:50 pm

Within 10 days of Miguel Diaz-Canel's big promotion to vice president of Cuba in February, he was already being tapped as a stand-in for reticent, 81-year-old President Raul Castro. It was Diaz-Canel, not Raul or Fidel Castro, who gave Cuba's first public condolences when the communist government lost its best friend and benefactor, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

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The Two-Way
12:03 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

'Best Jobs In North Korea' Pay $62 A Month; Now They're Diplomatic Pawns

An undated file photo showing a general view of the North-South industrial complex in the North Korean city of Kaesong.
Yonhap News EPA /LANDOV
  • From 'All Things Considered': North Korea expert Aidan Foster-Carter

At an industrial park where they build appliances and other products for companies from South Korea, 55,000 North Koreans typically earn about $62 each a month, a North Korea expert tells NPR.

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World
9:37 am
Wed April 3, 2013

African Filmmaker Shows 'What It Feels Like To Have No Home'

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 6:01 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, my weekly Can I Just Tell You essay.

But, first, we want to tell you about an important film festival that kicks off today. It's offered a showcase for a generation of storytellers to bring their work to new audiences. We're talking about the New York African Film Festival. This marks its 20th year. The theme this year is Looking Back, Looking Forward.

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The Two-Way
7:22 am
Wed April 3, 2013

All Clear In Berlin After 220-Pound WWII-Era Bomb Is Defused

Safe and secure: The bomb after it was defused Wednesday in Berlin.
Tobias Schwarz Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 10:52 am

From Berlin, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells us that:

An unexploded bomb from World War II was successfully defused Wednesday. Its discovery Tuesday night near the city's main railway station forced trains to divert and snarled traffic in the German capital.

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Asia
5:27 am
Wed April 3, 2013

North Korea Bars South Korean Workers From Factory

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:19 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Over the past week, military tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been building. Those tensions are fed by a stream of threats made by North Korea against the South and against the United States. Yesterday the hard-line regime in Pyongyang announced it was re-starting its nuclear program. And today another move has come.

NPR's Louisa Lim is here to tell us about it. She's in Beijing. Hi, Louisa.

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The Two-Way
4:52 am
Wed April 3, 2013

North Korea's Brinksmanship: Same As Before, More Dangerous Or Both?

Turned back: South Korean trucks returned Wednesday after being barred from entering a joint industrial complex just across the border inside North Korea.
Park Jin-hee Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:47 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Louisa Lim and Steve Inskeep discuss North Korea

Wednesday's news from the Korean peninsula, where tensions seem to rise each day:

"North Korea ... barred South Korean workers from entering a jointly run factory park just over the heavily armed border in the North, officials in Seoul said."

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Asia
4:26 am
Wed April 3, 2013

The Latest On North Korea's Economy

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:19 am

In recent weeks, we've heard a lot of threats from North Korea. Yet we know little about their leadership when it comes to domestic policy. For a window into what changes might be like, David Greene talks to North Korean expert Marcus Noland, director of Studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The Two-Way
5:12 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Egypt Ratchets Up Case Against Satirist, Threatens To Close TV Station

A bodyguard secures popular satirist Bassem Youssef, who has come to be known as Egypt's Jon Stewart, as he enters Egypt's state prosecutors office on Sunday.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:52 am

Egyptian authorities are stepping up efforts against a popular TV comedian known as the "Egyptian Jon Stewart" and are now threatening to revoke the license of the private TV station that airs his weekly program.

As we reported Sunday, satirist Bassem Youssef was questioned for five hours over accusations he insulted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Islam.

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Shots - Health News
4:45 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

How To Get Rid Of Polio For Good? There's A $5 Billion Plan

A child is immunized against polio at the health clinic in a farming village in northern Nigeria. The procedure involves pinching two drops of the vaccine into the child's mouth. For full protection, the child needs three doses, spaced out over time.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Polio is on the verge of being eliminated. Last year there were just over 200 cases of polio, and they occurred in just two remote parts of the world — northern Nigeria and the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border region.

A new $5.5 billion plan being pushed by the World Health Organization strives to eliminate polio entirely, phase out vaccination campaigns and secure polio vaccine stockpiles in case the virus somehow manages to re-emerge.

If the effort is successful, polio would be just the second disease in human history, after smallpox, to be eliminated by medical science.

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The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

No April Fool's Joke: Samoa Air Charges Passengers By Weight

A screen grab of Samoa Air's website.
www.samoaair.ws

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 7:00 pm

OK, we've checked the date, and it's April 2, but this story from the Pacific island nation of Samoa left us scratching our heads: Samoa Air says it's charging passengers based on what they weigh.

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Middle East
3:39 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Members Of Assad's Sect Break Ranks With Syrian Regime

A Syrian woman walks past a poster for President Bashar Assad in an Alawite-dominated neighborhood in the western city of Homs, on Jan. 11, 2012. Support among the president's own minority sect is waning.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 7:56 pm

The Alawites of Syria were a poor, little-known Shiite minority until longtime dictator Hafez Assad, a member of the sect, rose to power in 1970. His son, President Bashar Assad, is now fighting to maintain that power in a country that has risen up against him. Now, even some Syrian Alawites say they are willing to denounce the regime, despite the risks.

A recent gathering in Cairo was much like other conferences hosted by the Syrian opposition — a flurry of activity in the hotel lobby, late-night conversations and lots of cigarettes.

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Shots - Health News
3:16 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

China's Air Pollution Linked To Millions Of Early Deaths

Men walk along a railway line in Beijing on Jan. 12, as air pollution reached hazardous levels.
Wang Zhao AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 12:25 pm

More than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China, according to a new analysis.

"This is the highest toll in the world and it really reflects the very high levels of air pollution that exist in China today," says Robert O'Keefe of the Health Effects Institute in Boston, who presented the findings in Beijing this week.

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Middle East
2:30 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Sanctions Begin To Inflict Real Economic Pain In Iran

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL. HOST: The aim of international sanctions against Iran is to inflict so much economic pain that the Tehran government will eventually back off its nuclear program rather than sink deeper into poverty. So far, there is no indication that the sanctions have led to a nuclear policy re-think by the Iranian leadership.

But as for inflicting economic pain, that appears to be very real. The government there says inflation is running at over 30 percent a year and some independent observers say that's an understatement.

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Asia
2:30 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

North Korea To Restart Main Nuclear Complex After Weeks Of Escalating Threats

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The United Nations chief, Ban Ki-moon, fears North Korea is on a collision course with the international community. He's urging dialogue and negotiation in response to the North's announcement that it plans to restart its main nuclear complex. This comes after weeks of escalating threats, including warnings of nuclear strikes against South Korea and the U.S., as NPR's Louisa Lim reports.

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Politics
2:30 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Politically-Appointed Ambassadors May Not Be As Effective

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 12:23 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

President Obama is reported to be considering Caroline Kennedy for ambassador to Japan. She would succeed a political appointee in Tokyo, a Silicon Valley lawyer and donor to the Obama campaign. For Britain, Bloomberg News and others report that the Obama campaign finance chair, Matthew Barzun, is the leading candidate. A hedge fund manager, evidently, has the inside track on France. This is an old tradition of generous donors getting plum embassy assignments. And we wondered how it looks these days to career diplomats.

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Asia
2:30 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Despite Mounting Tension, All Is Calm At Joint North-South Korean Facility

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Europe
1:13 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Once Championed By Putin, Medvedev Falls Precipitously Out Of Favor

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, heads a State Council session alongside Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last year. Increasing political attacks on Medvedev have accompanied Putin's suspicions about his erstwhile partner's ambitions.
Yekaterina Shtukina AP

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appears increasingly isolated from the centers of power surrounding President Vladimir Putin.

Analysts say Medvedev is the target of a campaign to wreck his reputation and drive him from office. It's a risky situation for the former president, who was once regarded as Putin's partner.

The attacks have come from many directions. One of the harshest was an anonymous, documentary-style film that was posted on the Internet in January.

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World
12:46 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Hisham Matar: A 'Return' To Libya In Search Of His Father

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest has often thought of his father as neither dead nor alive. Hisham Matar's family was living in Egypt, in exile from Libya, when Matar's father, a prominent opponent of the Gadhafi regime, was kidnapped, taken back to Libya and imprisoned. That was in March 1990, and it was the last time Matar saw his father.

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The Two-Way
4:46 am
Tue April 2, 2013

North Korea's Latest Threat: It Will Restart Nuclear Reactor

North Korea's KCNA news agency released this photo Monday, saying it shows leader Kim Jong Un (at left) speaking during a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the DPRK in Pyongyang. Hanging above is the image of his father, former leader Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011.
Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 2:22 pm

A vow Tuesday from North Korea that it will restart a nuclear reactor that eventually could make about one bomb's worth of plutonium a year further escalates tensions that were already high due to that nation's almost daily threats, NPR's Louisa Lim tells our Newscast Desk.

According to Louisa, who filed her report from Beijing:

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Around the Nation
3:28 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Cuban Dissident Blogger Seeks To Unite Castro's Cuba With Miami's Cuba

Yoani Sanchez, internationally known dissident blogger from Cuba, listens to a question as she speaks at the Freedom Tower in Miami on Monday.
Joe Skipper Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 8:33 am

For Cuban-Americans, Miami's Freedom Tower is almost a holy place — a former immigration intake center where thousands came in the 1960s after they fled the island's communist rule.

But across the street from the hall, where Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez spoke Monday, there were protests. A dozen anti-Castro activists repudiated some of Sanchez's past comments, including her support for lifting the long-standing U.S. embargo of Cuba.

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