World News

The Salt
2:29 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

As Promised: Obama Wants To Overhaul Global Anti-Hunger Efforts

Palestinians unload bags of flour donated by USAID, or the United States Agency for International Development, at a depot in the West Bank village of Anin in 2008.
Mohammed Ballas AP

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 3:10 pm

The White House unveiled its proposal Wednesday for drastic changes in government programs that donate food to fight hunger abroad — and surprised no one.

As we reported last week, rumors of such an overhaul had been circulating for weeks, arousing both hope and anger among organizations involved in global anti-hunger programs.

Read more
Latin America
2:22 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Venezuelan Candidates Campaign In Chavez's Long Shadow

Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles waves to supporters during a campaign rally in Valencia, Venezuela, on Tuesday. The country's voters go to the polls this weekend to choose a successor to longtime leader Hugo Chavez, who died last month.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 6:16 pm

For the first time in 14 years, Hugo Chavez is not on the ballot for a presidential election in Venezuela. The firebrand leftist died last month at 58 after a long fight with cancer.

Pollsters say the sympathy vote and the state's huge resources will translate into a big victory in Sunday's election for Chavez's hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver turned government minister who had been a Chavez loyalist for 20 years.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Test-Tube Baby Pioneer Dies

Dr. Robert Edwards holds the world's first "test-tube baby," Louise Brown, on July 25, 1978. A midwife stands in the center, with gynecologist Patrick Steptoe on the right.
Keystone Getty Images

The man whose research led to the world's first test-tube baby more than three decades ago, has died at age 87.

Robert Edwards, who later won the Nobel Prize, began experimenting with in vitro fertilization, or IVF, in the late 1960s. His work, controversial at the time, eventually led to the birth of the world's first "test tube baby," Louise Brown, on July 25, 1978.

Since then, IVF has resulted in about 5 million babies worldwide, according to the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Read more
The Salt
12:26 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Earliest Cookware Was Used To Make Fish Soup

Pots like this 15,000-year-old vessel from Japan are among the world's earliest cookware.
Tokamachi City Museum

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 2:37 pm

Roasted fish on a stick is OK, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to cook up some fish soup?

That's what might have crossed the minds of hunter-gatherers who made the world's first cooking pots. A new analysis of pottery made 15,000 years ago in what's now Japan reveals that it was used to cook seafood, probably salmon.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:28 am
Wed April 10, 2013

She Won $40,000! No, It Was $40 Million! Happy Dance Time!

When Maria Carreiro found out she had won $40 million, she danced with joy. She recreated her "happy dance" for reporters, as a video posted by The Windsor Star shows.
The Windsor Star

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 10:58 am

Maria Carreiro of Toronto was thrilled when she thought she had won $40,000 (Canadian).

Then her daughter went to the Web and figured out that mom had won $40 million Friday in Canada's Lotto Max game. That's about $39.4 million in U.S. dollars.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:14 am
Wed April 10, 2013

For Some Britons, Thatcher's Death Provokes Celebrations

Margaret Thatcher provoked great divisions and her critics have spoken out following her death. These graffiti appeared in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday, a day after she died.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 11:41 am

A young man is parading the streets of the city of Glasgow with a slogan daubed onto the back of his black leather jacket in big, freshly painted white letters. "We're havin' a party," it declares. "Thatcher's dead."

In what was the coal belt of northern England, a burly former miner lights up an enormous cigar and takes a satisfied puff. He says he's looking forward to a few celebratory drinks.

Hundreds of miles to the south, in Brixton, south London, a boisterous crowd prances around, joyously boozing and setting off fireworks under the wary gaze of police in riot gear.

Read more
National Security
9:07 am
Wed April 10, 2013

'The Way Of The Knife': Soldiers, Spies And Shadow Wars

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 12:10 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. The CIA and the military have been transformed in ways that have blurred the boundaries between them. The shape of the new military intelligence complex is the subject of my guest Mark Mazzetti's new book, "The Way of the Knife." He writes: The CIA is no longer a traditional espionage service, devoted to stealing the secrets of foreign governments. The CIA has become a killing machine, an organization consumed with man-hunting.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:53 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Russian Parliament Moves Ahead On Anti-Blasphemy Law

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in November.
Pool AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 11:14 am

Russia's parliament has given preliminary approval to an anti-blasphemy bill that would make it a crime to offend religious feelings.

The BBC reports that the bill was drafted last year after members of the punk band Pussy Riot used Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral to perform a protest song against President Vladimir Putin.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:36 am
Wed April 10, 2013

'Very High' Chance North Korea Will Soon Test Fire Missile

Japan is on full alert ahead of an expected mid-range missile launch by North Korea, its defense minister said as the U.N. warned of a potentially 'uncontrollable' situation. A Japanese soldier walks past a missile launcher deployed in Tokyo.
Toru Yamanaka AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 9:23 am

North Korea's next provocative move — the test firing of a medium-range ballistic missile — could happen at any moment, according to South Korean officials.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that "the possibility of a ballistic missile launch is 'very high' and 'may materialize anytime from now,' South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se told lawmakers in Seoul today."

Read more
Latin America
2:56 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Hugo Chavez's Legacy Looms Over Venezuelan Election

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:20 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep in Caracas, Venezuela. This country is about to hold a presidential election. Voters are replacing the late Hugo Chavez, who shouldered this oil-rich republic onto the world stage. He often denounced the United States as an oppressive empire - even as he sold Americans oil - and imported gasoline from U.S. refineries. The election of his successor this weekend gives us a chance to listen to a changing Latin America.

Read more
Business
2:42 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Ford Claims Top Spot In Global Sales Race

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:20 am

The Focus is the best-selling "nameplate" worldwide, followed by the Toyota Corolla, new data shows. Ford's sales have jumped in recent years as it dropped unsuccessful models and adopted a single global manufacturing system.

Middle East
2:38 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Kerry Hopes 'Shuttle Diplomacy' Will Spur Mideast Peace Talks

Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 6:54 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Secretary of State John Kerry left Israel today with plans to return soon. He spent the past couple of days going back and forth between meetings with Palestinian and Israeli officials in his bid to restart peace talks. Kerry said he got a lot of constructive suggestions from both sides and that everyone has homework to do. From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris has our story.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Pacific Commander: U.S. Can Intercept North Korean Missiles

The launch of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket in December in a photo released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 1:46 pm

The commander of the U.S. Pacific Command said Tuesday that American forces currently have the ability to intercept a North Korean ballistic missile.

Adm. Samuel Locklear, speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., if the U.S. had the ability to intercept a North Korean missile launched "within the next several days."

Read more
Middle East
1:22 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

'It's Not Normal': Syrian War Transforms Lives

Razan Shalab Al-Sham, in bright blue, works for the Syrian Emergency Task Force. She helped provide uniforms for the new civil police force of Khirbet al-Joz in northern Syria.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 6:59 pm

In November, Razan Shalab Al-Sham, the daughter of a wealthy Syrian family, led the way to the Syrian farming village of Khirbet al-Joz to deliver an unusual kind of aid: police uniforms. A cold winter rain turned the frontier forest between southern Turkey and Syria into a muddy march up a mountain ridge along a smugglers' trail. She climbed the mountain to make the delivery herself.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:19 am
Tue April 9, 2013

A View From South Korea: The North Is 'A Playground Bully'

Carrying on as usual: Shoppers in central Seoul on Monday.
Lee Jae-Won Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 5:34 pm

Nearly two decades ago, a North Korean official threatened to turn Seoul into a "Sea of Fire." South Koreans responded by cleaning out the shelves of supermarkets and preparing for an attack that never came.

On Tuesday, North Korea urged tourists and foreign companies to leave South Korea for their own safety, saying the two countries are on the eve of a nuclear war.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:56 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Purging Candidates Offers Pakistan A Bit Of Comic Relief

Pakistani vendors in Lahore fix posters of candidates taking part in the upcoming May parliamentary elections. Pakistani officials have provoked both laughter and criticism in recent days as they vetted potential candidates in the country's upcoming national elections with questions that veered between the controversial and the bizarre.
K.M. Chaudary AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 10:05 am

The culling of candidates in the run-up to Pakistan's May 11 election is providing the country some badly needed levity.

The "Pakistani Inquisition," as it's been dubbed, has election commission officials grilling office-seekers on their Islamic bona fides.

Many have stumbled badly, only to be disqualified.

But not Mussarat Shaheen, who performed impeccably. The former dancer — fabled for her Pushto films — was asked by an official in the city of Dera Ismail Khan to recite a verse of the Holy Quran, to test her mettle as a candidate for the National Assembly.

Read more
The Salt
8:22 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Arsenic In Beer May Come From Widely Used Filtering Process

The process that turns this beer crystal clear also may impart trace amounts of arsenic.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 4:08 pm

Beer lovers might be alarmed to hear that beer can pick up small amounts of arsenic as it's filtered to be sparkly clear.

But researchers in Germany reported Sunday that they've found arsenic in hundreds of samples of beer, some at levels more than twice that allowed in drinking water.

When we checked in with experts about arsenic and the filtering process, which is also widely used in the wine industry, they weren't too surprised. That's because the filtering agent in question, diatomaceous earth, is a mined natural product that contains iron and other metals.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:26 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Strong Quake Hits Southern Iran, Killing Or Injuring Dozens

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 1:55 pm

UPDATE at 3:40 p.m. ET: Death Toll Rises

Bushehr provincial governor Fereidoun Hasanvand tells state TV that the death toll has reached 37 people, with 850 injured, including 100 who were hospitalized.

We updated this post with new information at 12:15 p.m. ET

A strong earthquake in a sparsely populated area of southern Iran has killed at least 30 people and injured 800, according to Iran's state media.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:54 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Thatcher's Funeral Set For April 17

A Union flag flies at half staff over the Houses of Parliament, and next to the Big Ben clock tower, in honor of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday.
Luke MacGregor Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 8:09 am

British Prime Minister David Cameron's office announced Tuesday morning that "Lady Thatcher's funeral service will take place on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at St Paul's Cathedral."

The "Iron Lady" — former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — died Monday in London following a stroke. She was 87.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:20 am
Tue April 9, 2013

North Korea's Warnings More Boring Than Alarming To Those In South

Two women sit at a cafe Monday in central Seoul, South Korea. While North Korea has been issuing threats on a daily basis, many South Koreans say they're more bored than worried.
Lee Jae-Won Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:25 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Frank Langfitt reports from Seoul

There were more ominous-sounding words from North Korea on Tuesday. Pyongyang warned tourists and foreign companies in South Korea to leave for their own safety because a nuclear war may be imminent.

It was the latest in a string of threats in recent days.

Read more
Asia
2:54 am
Tue April 9, 2013

South Koreans Ignore Threats From The North

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

Well, in recent weeks, we have heard that Seoul, the capital of South Korea, will become, quote, a sea of fire. North Korea has said its enemies' windpipes will be, quote, totally cut. Today, North Korea urged tourists and foreign companies to leave South Korea in case of war. These are just some of the threats North Korea has been hurling. But instead of scaring South Koreans, all this blood-thirsty rhetoric seems to be mostly boring them.

Read more
Remembrances
2:34 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Britain's Only Female Prime Minister: Margaret Thatcher

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, as we consider the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, the question arises about her significance as the only woman to serve as British prime minister, and the first woman to lead a government of a major Western nation. Kim Campbell, who briefly served as Canada's first woman prime minister in the early 1990s, put it this way last night on the "PBS NewsHour."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PBS NEWSHOUR")

Read more
Asia
2:34 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Pakistan's Campaign Season Is In Full Swing

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

People in Pakistan will go to the polls next month to select a new parliament, and election fever is already building. The country faces chronic energy shortages, deepening economic problems and the specter of violence, as entrenched militants threaten to disrupt the vote. NPR's Julie McCarthy brings us this report from a very active campaign trail in Pakistan.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Climate Change Could Equal Teeth-Rattling Flights

Fly the bumpier skies?
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 4:23 pm

Buckle up — climate change could make this a bumpy flight.

That's according to a newly published study by two British scientists who say increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will make "clear air turbulence" — which can't be easily spotted by pilots or satellites — more common over the North Atlantic. That means the potential for gut-wrenching flights between the U.S., Europe and points east.

Read more
Asia
2:05 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

North Korea's Threats: Predicable Pattern Or Provocation?

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Tensions between North and South Korea show no sign of abatement. Today the North Korean government officially suspended operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and withdrew all of its more than 50,000 workers. Many consider the complex the last remaining symbol of North and South Korean cooperation.

Read more
World
2:03 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

A Close-Up Of Syria's Alawites, Loyalists Of A Troubled Regime

Director Nidal Hassan spent a year filming in Tartous, a Syrian beach town made up mostly of Alawites who still support embattled President Bashar Assad.
Khaled Al-Hariri Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 7:59 pm

The film on Syria's Alawite community isn't finished yet, but filmmaker Nidal Hassan's favorite scenes are beginning to take shape.

It opens with fireworks on New Year's Eve in Tartous, Syria. "May God preserve the president for us," one young man yells in a reference to Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Five Things To Know About Margaret Thatcher

Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former British prime minister, in February 2008 in London.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 2:10 pm

Margaret Thatcher, the iconic former British prime minister, died Monday at age 87 after suffering a stroke. Although she was a towering presence on the world stage in the 1980s, often standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow conservative President Ronald Reagan, some people may have forgotten her contributions.

We decided to highlight five things you ought to know about her:

She helped break the glass ceiling in politics.

Read more
Remembrances
12:16 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

How Margaret Thatcher Changed The World

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 2:06 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Margaret Thatcher spoke with utter conviction in her principles and absolute certainty in her actions. If she inspired passionate opposition, she couldn't care less. She reveled in her enemies and made them easily.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:49 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Britain's Thatcher An Unlikely Icon For American Conservatives

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1987.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 1:47 pm

As an icon of the American conservative movement in the 1980s, it would have been difficult to find a more unlikely figure than Britain's Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday following a stroke.

Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, a full year and a half before Ronald Reagan became president. She hailed from a country seen as a hopeless bastion of socialism by conservatives, many of whom, like Reagan himself, were strongly invested in the idea of American exceptionalism.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:30 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Deadly Blast In Damascus Reflects Growing Danger In Capital

A deadly car bomb explosion rocked central Damascus, Syria, in front of the Finance Ministry building (center) and the Central Bank (right) on Monday.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 12:18 pm

Editor's note: The author is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus and is not being further identified for safety concerns.

The major blast that rocked Damascus at midday Monday took place in what has come to be called the "Square of Security," an area of about a dozen urban neighborhoods or so that are under tight government security.

It's also home to major government buildings, including the Parliament, various ministries, major intelligence branches and foreign embassies, now mostly closed.

Read more

Pages