World News

Middle East
3:19 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Iran Nuclear Talks Set Stage For Future Bargaining

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Iran and six world powers including the U.S. wrapped up two days of talks. No breakthroughs, but Iran is considering a proposal that would impose new restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of some economic sanctions. The two sides will return to Kazakhstan for another meeting in early April. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report from the scene of the negotiations.

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Europe
12:04 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

How Italy's Election Slatemate Is Playing Out On The Streets

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 7:17 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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The Salt
10:19 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Germans Are Drinking Less Beer These Days, But Why?

A waiter carries beer mugs during the 2012 Oktoberfest in Munich.
Johannes Simon Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm

For centuries, Germany has been synonymous with beer. Tourists flock from around the world to take part in the country's many beer festivals, including the famous Oktoberfest.

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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Highest Bidder Will Get DNA Pioneer's Nobel Medal

Francis Crick in 2003, the year before his death, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego.
Denis Poroy AP

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 4:43 pm

This is no ordinary family heirloom.

The granddaughter of English scientist Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA who passed away in 2004, is putting his Nobel Prize medal up on the auction block.

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Picking A Pope? Try The 'Sweet Sistine' Bracket Challenge

The "sweet sistine" brackets.
Religion News Service

Next month brings "March madness" for fans of college basketball.

It's also going to bring Roman Catholic cardinals together to choose a new pope.

Which means, according to Religion News Service, it's time to "make your picks in the Vatican's Sweet Sistine brackets!"

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The Two-Way
7:54 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Negotiators At Six-Nation Talks See Signs Of Hope In Iran Nuclear Standoff

Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili speaks during talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.
Shamil Zhumatov AP

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 9:01 am

Officials at six-nation nuclear talks on limiting Iran's nuclear program say the two-day meeting in Kazakhstan has been a turning point, and Tehran's lead negotiator described the discussions as a positive step.

But NPR's Peter Kenyon, reporting from the talks in Almaty, says it appears that most of what was accomplished was simply laying the groundwork for future discussions.

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The Two-Way
4:58 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Sometimes 'The Lord Seemed To Sleep,' Pope Says In Farewell

Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived on the altar in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for his last general audience.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 9:37 am

Bidding an emotional farewell to a huge crowd gathered in The Vatican's St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI indirectly acknowledged Wednesday that his nearly 8 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church have not always been easy.

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Middle East
4:13 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Talks On Iran's Nuclear Program To Resume In April

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 5:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Iran now says compromise on its nuclear program may be possible. Of course, that comes with a number of ifs. Tehran says that's if international negotiators continue to take what it calls a more realistic approach. The big question, Western officials say, is whether Iran is willing to curb its nuclear activities. That is the message, after a two-day meeting between Iran and six world powers. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from Almaty, Kazakhstan where the talks just concluded.

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Middle East
1:42 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Syrian Rebels, Secular And Islamist, Both Claim The Future

Secular demonstrators, shown at a protest march this month in Aleppo, wave the old Syrian flag (green, white, black and red) that has become the symbol of their opposition movement.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:17 pm

Syria's Islamists have grown in influence as the war against President Bashar Assad's government grinds on. They have proved to be effective fighters, well armed and funded.

But as Islamists have grown stronger on the battlefield, more Syrians are asking about their political ideas and what that will mean for the future of the country.

A recent confrontation between liberal protesters and Islamists in the northwestern Syrian city of Saraqeb, which was caught on video, set off a heated online debate.

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Middle East
3:27 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Demonstrators In West Bank Protest Imprisonment Of Palestinians

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:46 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It was another day of protest in the West Bank. Palestinians are demanding the release of prisoners held in Israeli jails after one prisoner died on Saturday. NPR's Larry Abramson reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF YELLING)

LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Outside Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank, young men play cat and mouse with Israeli troops. They get as close as they dare, shoot a few rocks with slingshots, then retreat when the Israelis shoot tear gas canisters.

(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION)

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Can U.S. Embassies Be Safe Without Being Unsightly?

The U.S. Embassy in central London in 2009.
Shaun Curry AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:05 pm

There's been a tug of war between aesthetically pleasing and safe when it comes to American embassies around the world.

Many embassies have been slammed as bunkers, bland cubes and lifeless compounds. Even the new Secretary of State John Kerry said just a few years ago, "We are building some of the ugliest embassies I've ever seen."

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Middle East
3:20 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

International Negotiations Continue Over Iran's Nuclear Program

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:05 pm

Another round of negotiations on Iran's suspect nuclear program got underway Tuesday in the Kazakhstani city of Almaty. Iran's envoys are pushing for relief from a vast array of economic sanctions while the U.S. and its partners in the so-called P-5 plus Germany are looking for signs that Tehran is prepared to roll back its nuclear program.

Middle East
2:08 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Sanctions Bite, But Iran Shows No Signs Of Budging

An Iranian woman shops at a supermarket in the capital, Tehran, on Feb. 22. International sanctions have hurt Iran's economy, but prospects for a breakthrough on Iran's nuclear program are dim as negotiators meet in Kazakhstan.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 10:31 am

A new round of international talks on Iran's nuclear program is under way in Kazakhstan, where the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are asking Iran to give up any thought of building a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from sanctions.

Western leaders do not predict a breakthrough, but they say small steps could be taken that would increase confidence on both sides.

Still, it's hard to imagine how such negotiations could proceed with lower expectations for progress.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Pastagate: Quebec Agency Criticized For Targeting Foreign Words On Menus

In Quebec, a restaurant's use of the word "pasta" on its menu sparked a government agency into action. Officials who enforce rules that guard French as the official language now say "exotic" words can be allowed in some cases.
Timothy Hiatt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 4:15 pm

A government agency in Quebec, Canada, has come under intense criticism after attempting to get pasta stricken from a restaurant's menu. The move had nothing to do with the food: Officials said Italian words such as pasta, calamari, and antipasto should be replaced with French words to conform with the law.

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Middle East
12:20 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

With Syria In Shambles, The Uncertain Future Of Hezbollah

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:46 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. So far, the fighting in Syria's bloody civil war has almost entirely been contained inside Syria. But plenty of outsiders are involved there, including al-Qaida in Iraq, Iran's al-Quds Force, and the Israel Air Force. No country is more deeply involved than Syria's smallest and most vulnerable neighbor, Lebanon.

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The Salt
10:29 am
Tue February 26, 2013

To Build An Empire, Hold The Anchovies

Located north of Lima, Peru, the Caral-Supe settlement was the ancient home of the Norte Chico people, a civilization almost as old as the Egyptians.
Courtesy of Chris Kleihege

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 10:47 am

Megalomaniacs, consider yourselves warned. Anchovies will not help you build your empire. To rule long and prosper, serve corn.

That's the word from archaeologists who say they've solved a mystery that has been puzzling their colleagues for the past 40 years: How did some of the earliest Peruvians manage to build a robust civilization without corn — the crop that fueled other great civilizations of the Americas, like the Maya?

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Tue February 26, 2013

'Pope Emeritus' Benedict XVI Will Wear White, But Trade In Red Shoes

A church group prepares to pray for Pope Benedict XVI on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

It's settled. When the pontiff steps down Thursday, he'll still be known as Benedict XVI and have the title of "pope emeritus." In public, he'll wear an understated white cassock and stylish brown shoes from Mexico.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Scientists Trace Origin Of Destructive Russia Meteor

A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake, where the Chelyabinsk meteor reportedly struck on Feb. 15.
Uncredited Associated Press

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 8:52 am

Scientists from Colombia believe they have pinpointed the origin of the giant meteor that smashed into a remote region of Russia earlier this month, injuring more than 1,000 people.

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Tue February 26, 2013

'The Worm' Turns Up In North Korea: Dennis Rodman Is On Visit

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, in the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday, before his flight to North Korea.
Andy Wong AP

This comes from The Associated Press, not The Onion:

"PYONGYANG, North Korea — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman brought his basketball skills Tuesday and flamboyant style — neon-bleached hair, tattoos, nose studs and all — to the isolated communist country with possibly the world's drabbest dress code: North Korea.

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World
5:33 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Female Sherpa Makes Record Climbs

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:44 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Few can say they've reached the summit of Mt. Everest, and even fewer can say they've done it twice. And only one woman can say she's done it twice in one month. Her name is Chhurim, a 29-year-old Sherpa from Nepal. She made the climb last May, came down for a few days and then turned around and went up again. This week, she climbed into the Guinness Book of World Records.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
5:17 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Tourist Tragedy In Egypt: Hot Air Balloon Catches Fire; Many Aboard Killed

The wreckage of a hot air balloon and its gondola lay in a field near Luxor, Egypt, on Tuesday. A fire and subsequent crash killed many of those who were aboard the tourist flight.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 12:08 pm

The final death toll has not yet been determined, but the number is high. A hot air balloon carrying tourists on a flight over historic sites around the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor caught fire Tuesday. It then plunged to the ground.

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Europe
3:21 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Italian Election Results Cause Market Jitters

The Five Star Movement's Beppe Grillo is shown on TV Monday at the Democratic Party press center in Rome. The prospect of political paralysis hung over Italy as election results showed the upstart protest campaign making stunning inroads, and mainstream forces of center-left and center-right wrestling for control of Parliament's two houses.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 10:43 am

Italian elections have hurled a tsunami against the system: An upstart anti-establishment party that rejects European Union-dictated austerity measures is now the single biggest party in Parliament. Newspaper headlines proclaim the country ungovernable, and world financial markets are spooked by the prospect of gridlock in the eurozone's third-largest economy.

Thanks to a byzantine election law, the center-left Democratic Party came in first by a slim majority. But it can't govern alone.

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Religion
3:21 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Sex Scandals Threaten To Mar Selection Of Next Pope

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:44 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

As Italians struggle to form a new government, another political transition is underway - inside the Vatican. Pope Benedict's historic resignation takes effect on Thursday, giving way to a papal transition that will be unlike any before. But even in the pope's final week, new sex scandals threaten to overshadow the upcoming conclave where his successor will be chosen.

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Europe
3:21 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Kerry Stops In Berlin On European Tour

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:44 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Syrian opposition leaders say they plan to attend a conference this week in Rome. They want to see what the new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has to offer to help them bring an end of President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The opposition leaders had been threatening to boycott the meeting, but Kerry is promising he won't leave them dangling in the wind. NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with Kerry this week on his first trip overseas as secretary of state. She filed this report from Berlin.

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Religion
1:24 am
Tue February 26, 2013

The Hermit Pope Who Set The Precedent For Benedict XVI

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:15 pm

Beneath a glass coffin, wearing a pontiff's miter and faded vestments of gold and purple, there lies a tiny man with a wax head.

This represents an Italian priest who, until this month, was the only pope in history to voluntarily resign.

His name is Celestine V.

Celestine became pope at 84, some seven centuries ago, after a long and self-punishing career as a hermit.

Though a celebrated spiritual leader, and founder of a new branch of the Benedictine order, his papacy lasted just over five months. It's widely viewed as an utter disaster.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Italian Elections Produce Murky Result, Financial Jitters

Workers open ballots in a polling station in Rome on Tuesday following Italy's general elections. The initial results showed a close race with no clear-cut winner, a development that made financial markets jumpy.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:41 pm

As Italy's elections results came in Monday, the country appeared headed toward political gridlock, a development that rattled financial markets hoping for a clear result.

A center-left coalition, headed by Pier Luigi Bersani and favored in pre-election polls, looked like it would win the lower house of Parliament, according to partial results.

But in a surprise, the center-right grouping, headed by the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, appeared to be ahead in the upper house.

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Religion
3:01 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Senior Catholic Cleric Resigns After Allegations Of 'Inappropriate' Behavior

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

It was yet another turbulent day for the Vatican as Great Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric announced his resignation. That means he will not be taking part in the election of a new pope. Cardinal Keith O'Brien has been accused of behaving inappropriately toward several priests. His immediate departure comes as the pope himself prepares to retire. Benedict XVI stands down Thursday.

We're joined from London by NPR's Philip Reeves. Hi there, Philip.

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Afghanistan
3:01 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Afghan Government Bans Some American Forces For Links To Killings And Torture

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

Afghanistan's president is demanding that American Special Forces, Green Berets, withdraw from a key province. It's located near the capital, Kabul. Hamid Karzai says the Special Forces are linked to allegations of kidnapping, killing and torture. What actually happened, however, is not clear. And to try to make sense of this, we're joined by NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.

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Africa
2:08 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Fearing Election Turmoil, Kenyans Seek A Tech Solution

Kenyan authorities are trying to guard against fraud and violence when they hold a presidential election on March 4. Here, voters register on biometric equipment last December in Nairobi.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:22 pm

As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next Monday, it's trying to prevent a recurrence of the last such poll, in December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed in postelection violence.

Last time, technology helped incite that violence. This time, the hope is that technology will help prevent a similar outburst.

Last time around, a text message came on Dec. 31, 2007, four days after a presidential election that many people in the Kalenjin tribe thought was rigged.

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Media
12:28 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

The Media Frenzy Surrounding Oscar Pistorius

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:52 pm

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington. More than a week has passed since Olympic athlete and South African sports hero Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He faces charges of premeditated murder. On Friday he was granted bail and left jail.

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