On a Thursday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. The first phase of the French-led military intervention in Mali appears to be over. Radical Islamist fighters have been driven from the last major town they seized control of last year.
INSKEEP: France would like to step back now and play a supporting role for Malian troops and allied African forces. But as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Mali's capital, the biggest challenges really begin now.
Let's sort through what we know and do not know about Israel's reported airstrike on Syria. Syrian officials, the government of Bashar al-Assad, have affirmed that Israeli warplanes struck, although we have conflicting reports about what the target was. We're going to work through the information with NPR's Jerusalem correspondent, Larry Abramson. Hi, Larry.
LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Hi there, Steve.
INSKEEP: What do you know, and how do you know it?
Cambodia's forests are being destroyed at a dizzying pace, with much of the wood destined for China. Much of the logging is carried out illegally — and people who get in the way of the loggers face violence and in some cases death.
The U.N. estimates four million people inside Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. Add to that up to a million more Syrian refugees who fled to neighboring countries, also in need of help. The U.S. government has pledged tens of millions of dollars in aid, but that hasn't stopped some Syrian-Americans from taking matters into their own hands.
Ben Bergman, of member station KPCC, introduces us to some sending aid from Southern California.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:35 pm
Reports from Timbuktu, Mali, on Wednesday indicate that most of the ancient manuscripts at a famed library may have been saved by residents before Islamist radicals had the chance to burn them.
"I can say that the vast majority of the collections appear from our reports not to have been destroyed, damaged or harmed in any way," Shamil Jeppie, an expert on the documents who teaches at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, told Reuters.
The dispute between Japan and China over small islands in the East China Sea is escalating. The two nations first dispatched unarmed vessels to stake their claims, then patrol boats, and then, unarmed aircraft.
Most recently, both countries sent fighter jets to the islands — known as the Senkaku in Japan, and the Diaoyu in China. The islands are uninhabited, but sit in a strategic location between Japan and Taiwan.
And as mentioned, Aaron David Miller is going to join us now, and we brought him on to talk about Chuck Hagel's nomination. But Aaron David Miller, the long-time Middle East peace negotiator and now a fellow at the Wilson Center, I have to ask you, Aaron - thanks very much for being with us, by the way.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 11:38 am
You'd be forgiven for thinking chicken Kiev got its start in the Ukrainian capital. After all, a hearty dish of chicken filled with butter, wrapped in bread crumbs, and deep fried is the perfect meal to withstand subzero temperatures and cold winds blowing across the Dniepr River.
Ukrainian chefs say they have the only authentic recipe for the dish, but they concede that chicken Kiev, despite its name, has a far more sophisticated provenance: It's French.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Photographs out of Syria show a river in the city of Aleppo. The river flows through a concrete channel, rather like the Los Angeles River in California. And along those concrete banks in Aleppo, the photos show a long row of bodies.
NPR's Kelly McEvers is monitoring this story from Beirut. She's on the line. Kelly, what happened in Aleppo as best you can tell?
He couldn't figure out how his wife, who suspected him of having an affair, knew the contents of his private conversations.
"His wife knew things that he said in his car and office, including conversations over the telephone," recalls Qi Hong, a former journalist from Shandong province in eastern China, and a friend of the official.
So Qi asked a buddy who owned bug-detecting equipment to help.
It's official - Democratic Senator John Kerry will be the next secretary of State. The Senate voted 94-3 in favor of his confirmation today. Kerry will replace Hillary Clinton, who had been hoping to spend her final days at the State Department on the road, but recent health scares have grounded her. So on this, her last week, Secretary Clinton decided to go around the world virtually. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on a global town hall where Clinton spoke with students and journalists over a video hookup.
We're going to head west now, from Egypt across Libya to Niger. The Pentagon has signed a deal with the government there. The agreement could allow the U.S. to establish a forward base in Niger so that it could operate drone aircraft across northern and western Africa. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been reporting on the U.S. military's growing presence on the continent. He joins me now here in the studio.
And Tom, how close is the U.S. to actually setting up a drone base in Niger?
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
I'm Audie Cornish. And we begin this hour in Egypt, where there were ominous words today from the country's military chief. He said the conflict between Egypt's political forces could lead to the collapse of the state. There have been intense anti-government protests across the country over the past few days and there has been violence. The main opposition group in Egypt has rejected dialogue to calm the situation.
The Spanish region of Valencia has been called the "California of Spain" for its gorgeous Mediterranean coastline and modern architecture.
But now Valencia epitomizes the worst of Spain's problems. It had the country's most inflated property market and the biggest crash. Its landscape is littered with empty and half-finished buildings. Valencia has also had an unusually high number of politicians indicted for corruption.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Today, Egypt's defense minister warned that rising conflicts and chaos in the country could result in the collapse of the state and that it poses a threat to the future of coming generations, this after days of violent anti-government protests and demonstrations in cities across Egypt, including Cairo, the capital, and Port Said, just north of the Suez Canal.
Sen. John Kerry was confirmed Tuesday by the Senate to become the next secretary of state. Former Sen. Chuck Hagel awaits his turn before the Senate Armed Services Committee to become secretary of defense.
Both men are decorated Vietnam War veterans, and their critics and supporters point to their experiences in Vietnam as essential to their qualifications.
Hagel volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was wounded twice. Kerry commanded a swift boat in the Mekong Delta, and on his return home, he angrily threw away his decorations to protest the war.
Haiti used to be a tourist hot spot in the Caribbean. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton regularly recounts how he and Hillary honeymooned in Haiti in 1975. There used to be a hopping Club Med just outside Port-au-Prince, but it closed in the '90s.
Now, the Haitian government is trying to revive some of its former allure, launching an aggressive campaign to market the poorest country in the hemisphere as a vacation hub.
President Michel Martelly says tourism could be a major driver of economic growth and could help lift Haitians out of poverty.
Activists and rebels in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are reporting today that "the bodies of dozens of young men, all apparently summarily executed" have been found in and around the Quwaiq River, the BBC writes.
British troops will be supporting the French mission in Mali to drive rebels and Islamist militants out of the West African country. British Foreign Secretary William Hague says it is important to support an ally. He tells Renee Montagne the prime way of dealing with the crisis in Mali is through African governments and forces.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
The city of Timbuktu is free...
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Mali, Mali, Mali, Mali...
INSKEEP: ...and residents cheered as French and Malian forces entered the city. Those forces swept aside Islamist rebels who'd controlled the place for months. The Islamists rule included amputations and the destroyed ancient tombs. It ended with the burning of a library housing priceless manuscripts.
French troops entered the legendary outpost of Timbuktu in Mai to push out Islamist militants. Many valuable artifacts were destroyed when militants first took the city last summer. There is now concern for the fate of tens of thousands of manuscripts, which capture the cultural history of the region. Renee Montagne talks to Shamil Jeppie, senior researcher with the University of Cape Town's Institute for Humanities in Africa, about what historical treasures were at risk in Timbuktu.
The uprisings of the Arab Spring unleashed a new political force in the region — Salafis, ultraconservative Muslims who aspire to a society ruled entirely by a rigid form of Islamic law. Their models are the salaf, or ancestors, referring to the earliest Muslims who lived during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad.