World News

Afghanistan
2:31 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Afghan Want U.S. To Clarify Troop Level Post 2014

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 5:30 am

The United States has pledged to remain committed to Afghanistan beyond the year 2014. That's when the U.S. and its NATO allies are set to hand over the security mission to Afghan forces. But the U.S. has not yet said how many troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, and that is causing concern among Afghans.

Arts & Life
1:19 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Jewishness On Display: 'Truth' By Way Of Discomfort

Bill Glucroft, an American Jew living in Berlin, chats with visitors from his box in the most controversial portion of the Berlin Jewish Museum's exhibition "The Whole Truth."
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 7:16 pm

In Berlin's Jewish Museum, a new exhibit called "The Whole Truth" asks visitors uncomfortable and even absurd questions about Jews. One of the curators, Michal Friedlander, says it is intentionally provocative.

"The point is to get people talking about how they perceive Jews, particularly in Germany today," she says.

But some German Jews accuse the museum of going too far.

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Europe
3:02 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Britain's Class System More Complicated Than Once Thought

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 6:20 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The British have long mocked their own class system.

JOHN CLEESE: (as Commentator) Oh, it's certainly looks as though we're in for a splendid afternoon sport in this, the 127th upper class twit of year show.

CORNISH: Beyond "Monty Python," Americans have fallen in love with more romantic depictions of the vaunted upper class in TV shows like "Downton Abbey."

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Asia
3:02 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

North Korea Moves Missile To Its Eastern Coast

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 6:20 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.

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Asia
3:02 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

North Korea Blocks South Korean Workers From Shared Facility

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 6:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Earlier this week, we talked about the Kaesong Industrial Complex with a North Korea expert, Professor Aidan Foster-Carter from Leeds University. When we first spoke, Kaesong was still open, and the professor said it's the best bellwether to get a sense of North Korea's intentions.

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Europe
2:42 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Emigre Artist Sculpted Exquisite Gems Of Russian Folk Life

Bosom Pals, an iconic sculpture by Russian artist Vasily Konovalenko.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 6:20 pm

A team of American researchers is on a treasure hunt for jewels — of both artistic and historic value.

This month, researchers from Denver were in Russia to document the work of Vasily Konovalenko, a former ballet set designer turned sculptor, who created scenes from Russian folk life in semiprecious stones.

In the 1980s, Konovalenko emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union in search of artistic freedom. Now, his legacy is divided between the U.S. and Russia.

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
11:55 am
Thu April 4, 2013

New Mortgage Program Helps Cambodia's Poor Find Better Homes

Sriv Keng (right) and her husband, Vet Vong, dish up bowls of rice for customers at her roadside food stall, which is situated in a garment manufacturing district.
Will Baxter for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 6:20 pm

If you've applied for a mortgage recently, you know how hard it can be. The bank demands all kinds of obscure documents and wants proof of almost every asset you own. But an innovative mortgage program halfway around the world will evaluate your application without any extra documentation — and if you're approved, it will give you a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. There's just one catch: The mortgages are only for low-income people in Cambodia. The program is a throwback to the days when bankers got to know their customers — and trusted them.

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Thu April 4, 2013

The Sky Isn't Falling Over The Korean Peninsula — Yet

In this photo released in March by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), leader Kim Jong Un is said to be using a pair of binoculars to look south during an inspection of army troops stationed on two islands.
Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:04 pm

Almost every day, there's some new threat out of North Korea.

It's hard to determine how seriously to take these threats. War on the Korean Peninsula could be catastrophic, so the bluster can't be dismissed. On the other hand, North Korea has a long history of hyperbole, of making threats it doesn't follow through on.

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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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