World News

The Two-Way
8:43 am
Thu February 21, 2013

In A Swirl Of Humanity, A Chance Encounter With A Saint

Gyanesh Kamal, a Hindu saint, attends the Kumbh Mela on the banks of the Ganges River in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. The gathering is the largest religious festival in the world.
Anoo Bhuyan NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:49 am

Kurt Vonnegut once said, "What makes life worth living are the saints. ... They can be longtime friends or someone I meet on a street. They find a way to behave decently in an indecent society."

And so it is with Gyanesh Kamal, a man I met at India's Kumbh Mela, one of the oldest festivals on Earth. To the uninitiated, this spiritual spectacle is a discombobulating din of prayers, loudspeakers and pilgrims so ceaseless it disorients the senses.

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Pistorius Case Dealt 'Serious Blows'; Detective Faces Own Shooting Charges

Oscar Pistorius as he entered a court in Pretoria on Thursday.
Mike Hutchings Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 9:03 am

Update at 10 a.m. ET. New Lead Investigator:

A new lead investigator has been appointed in the murder case against South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, The Associated Press reports from Pretoria. That announcement follows the news from earlier Thursday, as we reported below, that the detective who had been in charge of the case faces attempted murder charges of his own stemming from a 2011 shooting incident.

Our original post:

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Middle East
3:43 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Egyptian Women Begin To Speak Out Against Sexual Violence

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 9:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A very different story now, from Egypt. There, sexual violence against women is on the rise. And a warning: Some of what you'll hear in the next few minutes is disturbing, starting with this: Women who show up at protests are in danger of being mobbed by men and gang raped. During the most recent demonstration, one victim was sexually assaulted with a knife, another strangled with her scarf, and another violated in front of her children. As the number of assaults increases, many Egyptian women say they'll no longer be silent.

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Middle East
3:43 am
Thu February 21, 2013

A Visit To A Christian Community In Syria

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:47 am

Syria's minority Christians are caught in the middle of the country's 23-month conflict. Many members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East are fleeing Syria. Those who stay say they fear they will be targeted by Islamist militants — a growing force among rebels fighting President Assad's regime.

Business
3:43 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Follow Report on H-1B Visa Story

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:28 am

Two days ago, Morning Edition aired a story about the H-1B program which grants temporary work visas to foreigners with special skills like computer programming. In the story, it was reported that employers have to show they tried to recruit Americans first. But as it turns out, many companies bypass American applicants.

Asia
1:39 am
Thu February 21, 2013

An Indonesian Extremist Trades Rifle For Spatula

Convicted ex-terrorist Mahmudi Haryono recounts his experiences while sitting at a table at the restaurant where he works in Semarang, Indonesia. The restaurant is one of three founded by social entrepreneur and reformed radical Noor Huda Ismail, to help ex-jihadis in Indonesia reintegrate into society.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:02 am

Tucked away in a back street of Semarang, a city in Indonesia's Central Java province, is a tiny, four-table restaurant. In the cramped kitchen, Mahmudi Haryono whips up a plate of ribs — lunch for two customers.

He brings it out and serves it to two Indonesian soldiers in olive drab uniforms.

Haryono is smiling and cool as a cucumber. But he acknowledges that after getting out of jail a few years ago, serving men in uniform set butterflies aflutter in his stomach.

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Latin America
1:00 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Mexico's 'Crisis Of Disappearance': Families Seek Answers

A woman holds a sign that reads, "We demand justice after two years," during a Jan. 11 protest outside the government palace in Monterrey denouncing the disappearance of family members in the state of Nuevo Leon.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 6:47 pm

Maximina Hernandez says she begged her 23-year old son, Dionicio, to give up his job as a police officer in a suburb of Monterrey. Rival drug cartels have been battling in the northern Mexican city for years.

But he told her being a police officer was in his blood, a family tradition. He was detailed to guard the town's mayor.

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Middle East
3:33 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

A West Bank Story, Told Through Palestinian Eyes

Emad Burnat, a Palestinian who co-directed the Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras, displays the cameras destroyed by Israeli settlers and security forces. The film focuses on a Palestinian village protesting Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank.
Kino Lorbor Inc. AP

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 6:49 am

The Academy Award-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras tells the story of Bil'in, a modest Palestinian village perilously close to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

After the Israeli government began putting up its West Bank separation barrier, Bil'in resident Emad Burnat picked up a video camera, and in 2005 began a multiyear documentary project.

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Afghanistan
1:57 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

The Afghan Battle Over A Law To Protect Women

Students in Kabul protest violence against women in Kabul last fall. Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree in 2009 protecting women's rights, but parliament has not passed a law making the decree permanent.
Mohammad Ismail Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 4:11 pm

Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree in 2009 banning violence against women. But the parliament, which is currently on its winter recess, has been unable to pass it and give it permanence as a law.

There's major disagreement on key provisions where Islamic and secular law come into conflict. And activists say the gains made in women's rights since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 are slipping away.

Masooda Karokhi, a female member of parliament, has been pushing to get the proposal through the male-dominated legislature.

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Antarctic Penguin Turns Up In New Zealand; Vets Say Condition 'Touch And Go'

The original "Happy Feet" ready for release aboard The New Zealand research vessel Tangaroa in Aug. 2011.
Hagen Hopkins Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 7:47 pm

New Zealand seems to be the destination of choice for wayward Antarctic penguins.

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World
12:12 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Flames Of Protest: The History Of Self-Immolation

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:19 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. A grim milestone last week in Tibet: Over the past four years, more than 100 people have now set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. According to the campaign, International Campaign for Tibet, at least 85 died following their protest.

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Books
11:20 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Jake Tapper: 'The Outpost' That Never Should Have Been

Jake Tapper's new book, The Outpost, tells the story of one of America's deadliest battles during the war in Afghanistan.
Little, Brown & Co.

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:10 pm

As the White House correspondent for ABC News, Jake Tapper covered the war in Afghanistan from what he calls "the comfort of the North Lawn of the White House."

"I had not been a war reporter in any sense other than debates about the war in Washington, D.C.," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Books
11:04 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Finding A Path For Pakistan At The Karachi Literature Festival

Attendees browse books on offer at the fourth annual Karachi Literature Festival.
Muhammad Umair Ali

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 2:26 pm

Friends in Karachi had me over for a beer Sunday evening. It wasn't hard for them to do. Alcohol is broadly outlawed in Pakistan, but with so many exceptions and so little enforcement, you can usually find something — in this case, tallboy cans of Murree's Millennium Brew from a Pakistani brewery.

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National Security
10:07 am
Wed February 20, 2013

How Could The U.S. Respond To Chinese Hacking?

A Chinese soldier stands guard Tuesday in front of the Shanghai building that houses military Unit 61398. A U.S. cybersecurity company says the unit is behind nearly 150 computer attacks on U.S. and other Western companies and organizations in recent years. China denies the allegation.
Carlos Barria Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 10:07 am

If the Chinese military is regularly hacking into the computers of U.S. organizations, as an American security firm says, it raises all sorts of questions about how the U.S. should respond.

Is this a job for the military or the intelligence agencies? What role should diplomats and trade officials be playing?

The report issued this week by the IT security consultancy Mandiant says it has traced the hacking activity to the People's Liberation Army's Unit 61398, which has "systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations."

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World
7:41 am
Wed February 20, 2013

In Bail Hearing, Pistorius Says Girlfriend's Death Was Accidental

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Sports
4:31 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Oscar Pristorius Faces Another Court Hearing

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 7:41 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne, with Steve Inskeep.

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Middle East
4:31 am
Wed February 20, 2013

'Prisoner X' Raises Questions About Israel's Secrecy

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 6:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Israel the case of Prisoner X is raising new questions about secrecy and censorship. A Mossad agent by the name of Ben Zygier faced secret charges three years ago, was jailed under a false name and committed suicide in prison. From Jerusalem, NPR's Larry Abramson has a story that until recently was kept secret by military censors.

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Middle East
4:30 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Iran's Presidential Election Could Interfere With Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 7:41 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama's re-election briefly raised hopes that in a second term the U.S. might be able to engage with Iran, possibly even direct talks between the two countries. Then, harsher rhetoric set in, and now a less ambitious round of talks involving several countries is set to get underway. Iran has long been under pressure over its nuclear program which Western nations suspect is aimed at creating nuclear weapons.

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Asia
1:03 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Controversial Cleric Stirs Protests Upon Return To Pakistan

Pakistani Muslim cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri (center), speaks to a crowd from a bulletproof box in Islamabad in January. The cleric recently returned to Pakistan after years in Canada, and his calls for an end to corruption have brought supporters to the streets in large numbers.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:34 pm

In Pakistan, a controversial Muslim cleric has been shaking up the political scene.

Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri returned to his home country late last year, after spending eight years in Canada. Since coming back, he has ignited a disgruntled electorate and has left many people wondering what exactly his plans are.

On a recent day, a lively drum band wandered among a crowd of about 15,000 Pakistanis gathered in the eastern city of Faisalabad for a rally organized by Qadri.

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The Two-Way
3:57 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Booker-Winning Author's Remarks About Kate Middleton Play Out In U.K. Media

The Duchess of Cambridge receives a bouquet of flowers, as she leaves after a visit to Hope House in London on Tuesday. The former Kate Middleton appeared unaffected by the controversy surrounding remarks made by author Hilary Mantel.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:05 pm

Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel is facing criticism over remarks about the former Kate Middleton in a recent speech.

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Afghanistan
3:24 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Civilian Casualties In Afghan War Dip For First Time In Six Years

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In the war in Afghanistan, civilian casualties have decreased for the first time in six years. That's according to a U.N. annual report released today. Still, as we hear from NPR's Sean Carberry in Kabul, that's about the extent of the good news in the report.

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Pop Culture
3:24 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Celebrated British Writer Derides Kate Middleton As 'Shop-Window Mannequin'

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

One of Britain's most celebrated authors has launched a withering attack on the Duchess of Cambridge, the pregnant wife of Prince William, branding her a "shop-window mannequin" with a plastic smile whose only role in life is to breed. Prime Minister David Cameron described award-winning writer Hilary Mantel as "misguided" after she likened the former Kate Middleton to a "machine made" doll, devoid of personality.

Sports
3:24 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Spanish Doctor Accused Of Helping Athletes Dope, Botching Treatments

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Lance Armstrong's ex-teammate testified Tuesday at the trial of a Spanish doctor accused of masterminding one of the world's largest doping rings. Tyler Hamilton, who was stripped of his 2004 Olympic gold for doping, says he was a client of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. He described secret meetings with the doctor at the side of a highway in Spain, and how he and the doctor used secret telephones to arrange blood transfusions. Hamilton told the court that one 2004 transfusion from Fuentes went bad, and turned his urine black.

Europe
3:24 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Airport Diamond Thieves May Have Had Inside Help

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 11:21 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

Authorities in Belgium have an expensive mystery to solve. Last night, on the Brussels airport tarmac, masked gunmen attacked an armored vehicle as it was loading diamonds onto a plane. They made off with an estimated $50 million worth of uncut diamonds.

As we hear from NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, the attack was meticulously planned, leading some to believe the thieves had help from the inside.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWSCAST)

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Technology
3:24 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Report: Chinese Government Hackers Behind Dozens Of Attacks On U.S. Companies

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Chinese army is the source of a persistent and prolific cyber espionage unit, whose hackers have attacked dozens of U.S. corporations and government agencies. That's the conclusion of a lengthy report released today by the computer security firm Mandiant. Mandiant says the hacking campaign goes back at least to 2006 and it targeted industries strategic to China's growth, including IT, energy and aerospace.

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Europe
3:24 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

U.S.-Russia Relations Continue To Falter With Prosecution Of Dead Man

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Next week, Secretary of State John Kerry sets off on his first official trip. He'll head to both Europe and the Middle East. He will not be visiting Russia but aides say he might meet his Russian counterparts somewhere on the trip.

They have a lot to talk about, from the crisis in Syria to a dispute over adoptions, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Asia
1:52 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Amusement Park Planned In The Town Where Bin Laden Hid Out

The Hazara Heritage Park will be built on the edge of Abbottabad, Pakistan, set in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Developers in Pakistan will soon break ground on a new amusement park and outdoor activity center, a private, $30 million project billed as a state-of-the-art facility that will bring jobs to a hard-hit area.

But there's one issue that's raising some eyebrows: the site is in Abbottabad, not far from the place where Osama Bin Laden secretly lived until American forces killed him.

This does not trouble Sheikh Kaleemuddin, the project director, who is effusive about the picturesque spot where he plans to build.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

English Whisky Aims To Give Scotch A Run For Its Money

Darren Rook checks out a new still at The London Distillery.
Kirsty Chant Courtesy of The London Distillery

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Move over, Scotland. It's time to make room on the shelf for English whisky. London's first distillery in over a century is about to begin production of single malt whisky in a former Victorian dairy.

Darren Rook and his partner decided to open The London Distillery after reading about Australian distilleries. "We wondered why there were none in London," he tells The Salt.

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Food
12:41 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

After Horse Meat Scandal, Why Is Some Food Taboo?

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 12:55 pm

The discovery of horse meat in European beef products created an international uproar. James A. Serpell, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, explains why some foods that are forbidden in some cultures are considered delicacies in others.

The Two-Way
11:50 am
Tue February 19, 2013

A Chinese Army Outpost That's Tucked Into Modern Shanghai

This 12-story building houses a Chinese military unit allegedly behind dozens of cyberattacks on U.S. and other Western companies. It's in a modern, if bland, part of Shanghai.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 12:44 pm

Some people in Shanghai — especially the foreigners — think the city's new Pudong section of town is dull, without character and profoundly unfashionable.

Twenty years ago, Pudong was mostly farms and warehouses. Today, it's home to those sleek glass-and-steel skyscrapers that have come to define the city's skyline in movies like Skyfall and Mission: Impossible III.

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