Secretary of State John Kerry is putting his diplomatic skills to the test this week. He is dealing with some difficult partners and trying to revive Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Kerry spent the day yesterday in Baghdad. He's nudging the Iraqi government to stop letting Iran use Iraqi air space to send weapons into Syria. The United States does not have much leverage, however, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 6:34 am
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And police in Britain are piecing together the final days in the life of a Russian oligarch named Boris Berezovsky. They hope this may shed light on his sudden death this last weekend. Berezovsky used to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Russia. Then he fell out with the Kremlin and sought asylum in Britain. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.
After four years of self-imposed exile, Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has come home. His plan is to run for office and reclaim political influence, but death threats and legal battles complicate his return.
Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has returned home after four years of self-imposed exile in Dubai and London. Security was unusually tight as he arrived at Karachi Airport today. The Pakistani Taliban has issued threats to kill the former president. And a Pakistani court has named Musharraf for possible involvement in the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Joining us now from Islamabad is NPR's Julie McCarthy. Hi, Julie.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry touched down in Baghdad today on an unannounced trip 10 years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein. U.S. troops have left but there's plenty for the top U.S. diplomat to do. NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with Secretary Kerry. She joins us. Michele, why take this trip now?
Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 9:15 am
For its 850th anniversary, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is getting new bells. Nearly all of its bells date from an 1856 renovation. Experts say the 19th century bells toll off key. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports the new bells will join one original bell, known as Emmanuel, which remains in the south tower.
Award-winning author Chinua Achebe, sometimes described as the grandfather of modern African literature, died this week at age 82. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton in Lagos, Nigeria.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And President Obama heads home from the Middle East today after a mixed reception to his four-day visit. Mr. Obama spent much of that time in Israel trying to lay the groundwork to revive the long-stalled peace process with Palestinians. He also traveled to the West Bank and met with Jordan's King Abdullah. NPR's Scott Horsley has a recap.
Editor's note: When Arab Spring protests broke out in Saudi Arabia in 2011, the government reacted quickly, pumping $130 billion into the economy and cracking down on dissent. While this approach has worked in some cities, the Shiite Muslims in the Eastern Province continued to demonstrate. Reese Erlich, on assignment for GlobalPost and NPR, managed to get into the city of Qatif and meet with protest leaders.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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I'm Melissa Block. And first up this hour, President Obama's tour of the Middle East. There are two headlines from that trip today - new aid for people fleeing Syria's civil war; and new diplomatic ties between two of Washington's key allies in the region, Turkey and Israel. First, the aid money. The president met with Jordan's King Abdullah today. He pledged $200 million to Jordan, to help care for the flood of refugees from Syria.
France and Britain want the European Union to lift an arms embargo on Syria. The reason? They want to help Syria's rebels topple Bashar al-Assad's regime. The U.S. says it won't stand in the way. But so far, the Obama administration has decided not to arm Syrian rebels and focus instead on diplomacy. Many analysts see this as a role reversal, as NPR's Michele Kelemen explains.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:42 am
Bosco Ntaganda, a notorious warlord accused of crimes against humanity during Congo's civil war, is headed to an international court after turning himself in at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda earlier this week.
NPR's Gregory Warner reports that the surrender of Ntaganda, nicknamed "The Terminator," came as a surprise. He's been wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2006 for crimes against humanity, including conscripting child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery allegedly committed in 2002 and 2003 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 4: Richard catches up with one of the gurus of climate science out on the reef.
Ken Caldeira loves a challenge, and he has a big one right under his feet. He's standing on an expanse of coral reef out in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It's being washed with water as the tide streams over the reef, from a lagoon to the open sea.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:35 am
Newly installed Chinese President Xi Jinping is following in his predecessor's footsteps by making Russia his first official trip abroad.
The visits by Xi and Hu Jintao before him (in 2003), both meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reinforce how the Cold War rivals have grown closer as they seek to counter U.S. influence in Asia and Europe.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 11:47 am
As a deadline on Cyprus to come up with a financial bailout plan nears, a possible rescue from Russia looks to have fallen apart, leaving the island nation few options for staving off default.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said as far as Moscow was concerned "the talks have ended," but Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev left the door open, saying aid from Moscow would be contingent on Cyprus gaining European Union backing for its other money-raising ideas.
All this week on MORNING EDITION, we've been marking the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. That invasion was followed by years of war and reconstruction, the war and reconstruction taking place at the same time.
And today, to get a better idea of the monetary costs, we speak with Stuart Bowen once again. Since 2004, he has been the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. And earlier this month, he released the final report from his office.
Stuart Bowen is in Baghdad. Welcome back to the program.
It's been 10 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq. This week we're taking a look back, revisiting voices you first heard on NPR in 2007. We brought you the story of two sisters who had lost their parents. The older sister wore conservative clothes and recited poetry. The younger sister, just 13 at the time, appeared on the verge of becoming a prostitute.
Like so many stories in Iraq, especially sensitive ones involving shame and sex, this story has to be peeled away in layers, like an onion.
Dozens of people, including a prominent pro-government cleric, are dead in the Syrian capital following a suicide attack inside a mosque.
Syrian TV reported 42 people were killed and 84 wounded in the attack on the Iman Mosque. The pro-government cleric was Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, a longtime supporter of President Bashar Assad and imam of Damascus' Ummayyad Mosque.
Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 4:52 pm
Twenty years after multiple blasts ripped through India's commercial capital, Mumbai, killing more than 200 people, the country's Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a leading Bollywood actor for his role in the attacks.