World News

Africa
4:10 am
Thu January 31, 2013

African Forces May Have Trouble Holding On To French Gains

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 6:38 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

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Middle East
4:10 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Syria Accuses Israel Of Bombing Its Military Facility

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 10:52 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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?

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Environment
3:49 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

China's Insatiable Demand For Timber Destroys Cambodia's Forests

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:29 pm

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.

Middle East
3:48 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Some Syrian-Americans Take Humanitarian Aid Into Their Own Hands

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 4:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

From Timbuktu, Reports That Manuscripts Have Been Saved

A man attempts to salvage burnt manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu, Mali, on Tuesday. While some of the ancient manuscripts were destroyed by Islamist radicals, reports indicate that most were hidden and therefore survived.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

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.

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Israel Bombs Military Target Outside Damascus, Syria Says

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:38 pm

Israel's air force bombed a military facility in western Syria, the Syrian media said Wednesday, a development that could further complicate the already volatile conditions in the region.

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World
12:41 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Israeli Election Rekindles Debate Over Military Service

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are not required to perform military service in Israel, and the issue is subject to intense debate following the country's election last week. Here, ultra-Orthodox men sign up for alternate civilian service earlier this month.
Baz Ratner Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 10:51 am

The rise of a new Israeli political party after last week's elections has set the stage for renewed conflict over the country's military draft.

That new party, Yesh Atid, or "There is a Future," campaigned on a promise to draft thousands of ultra-Orthodox students who are currently exempt from military service.

And with the number of ultra-Orthodox students in Israel on the rise given the community's high birth rates, this longstanding debate has become a critical post-election issue.

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Asia
12:27 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

The Role For The U.S. In The East China Sea Dispute

The Senkaku Islands, as they are called in Japan, sit in a strategic location between Okinawa and Taiwan.
Matt Stiles/NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 1:57 pm

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.

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Politics
12:27 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

The Controversy Surround Hagel's Confirmation

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 10:50 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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.

AARON DAVID MILLER: A pleasure, Neal.

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The Salt
10:10 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Ukrainian Comfort Dish Chicken Kiev Claims French Parentage

Chicken Kiev made by Viacheslav Gribov, head chef at Kiev's Hotel Dnipro, comes with a small bone sticking out one end. If done properly, some of the butter inside will remain unmelted.
Amy Guttman

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.

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Middle East
3:39 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Donors Consider More Relief Aid For Syria

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 8:44 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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?

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Africa
3:33 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Tunisian Veil Ban: Frontline Of Identity War

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 8:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The secretary of state made several visits to North Africa where the Arab uprisings began in 2011. Those uprisings widened the political space for religious conservatives.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in the country we'll visit next, people have been arguing over a powerful symbol of ultra-conservative Islam: the face veil.

INSKEEP: Tunisia is not a country where women are compelled to cover their faces or their hair. In fact, an aggressively secular government once discouraged the veil.

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News
3:27 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Hillary Clinton Reflects On Challenges Of Office

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Newseum in Washington, on Tuesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 8:44 am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves her position Friday after four years on the job, handing over duties to her successor, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

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Asia
1:02 am
Wed January 30, 2013

In China, The Government Isn't The Only Spy Game In Town

A man sells surveillance cameras at the main electronics market in Tienhe district, Guangzhou, in southern China's Guangdong province, on Aug. 8.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 8:44 am

The final of two reports

It all started with a local Chinese official.

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.

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The Salt
4:46 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

In Japan, Food Can Be Almost Too Cute To Eat

Hannari Tofu is a character who shows up on a range of plush merchandise.
Satorare/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 9:49 am

From an early age, Japanese kids are taught to "eat with your eyes," and this emphasis on the visual delights of food can be found in many aspects of Japan's vaunted culture of cute.

Take children's television, for example. Some of the most beloved cartoon characters in Japan are based on food items.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Ancient Manuscripts In Timbuktu Reduced To Ashes

Men recover burnt ancient manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu on Tuesday.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 4:49 am

Update at 6:45 a.m. ET, Jan. 31: New reports from Timbuktu indicate that "most manuscripts were saved."

Our original post:

These photos from Timbuktu, Mali, on Tuesday confirmed what many had feared: Ancient books and texts at a famed library were torched by Islamic radicals before they fled.

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World
2:25 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Clinton Takes Final World Trek With Virtual Townhall

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 5:28 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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.

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Africa
2:24 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

U.S. May Build Base For Drones In Northwest Africa

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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?

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Africa
2:24 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Egypt's Military Chief Warns That Protests Could Lead To Collapse Of The State

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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.

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Europe
12:43 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

How A Spanish City Went Boom, Then Bust

Valencia spent more than $1.5 billion to build the City of Arts and Sciences, the museum complex shown here in a photo from summer 2011.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

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.

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Middle East
12:04 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

The Challenges To Democracy In Egypt

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 4:24 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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.

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The Impact of War
11:56 am
Tue January 29, 2013

War And Foreign Policy Through The Eyes Of Vietnam Veterans

During the Vietnam War, more than 58,000 Americans died, as well as more than 2 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 1:25 pm

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.

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Latin America
11:21 am
Tue January 29, 2013

For Your Next Caribbean Vacation, Haiti ... Maybe?

Mont Joli Hotel looks out over Cap-Haitian in northern Haiti. The owner says he's usually fully booked and plans to double the hotel's capacity. Haiti is trying to expand its tourism infrastructure and tap in to the multibillion-dollar Caribbean travel market.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

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.

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World
10:57 am
Tue January 29, 2013

From Here To Timbuktu: Myth And Reality At The World's Edge

Timbuktu was once considered so remote that the Paris-based Societe de Geographie offered 10,000 francs to the first non-Muslim to reach the city and report back.
Chris Kocek iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:16 pm

Timbuktu conjures up images of long camel caravans out on the edge of the sand-strewn Sahara — a remoteness so legendary that the ancient city is still a byword for the end of the earth.

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The Two-Way
7:46 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Reports: Dozens Of Bodies Found In Syria; Young Men Apparently Executed

CIA World Factbook

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.

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Africa
3:22 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Africans Must "Own The Solution' In Mali

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:36 am

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.

Africa
3:21 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Timbuktu Freed From Islamist Fighters

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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Africa
3:16 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Retreating Rebels Said To Have Destroyed Ancient Texts

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:36 am

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.

Africa
1:32 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Tunisia's Salafis: 'A Danger' Or Preachers Of God's Law?

A demonstrator shouts anti-government slogans as he stands in front of the Justice Ministry in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, on Nov. 6, 2012, as part of a demonstration by radical Salafi Muslims protesting against the imprisonment of hundreds of Salafist militants.
Amine Landoulsi AP

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:36 am

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.

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Asia
1:30 am
Tue January 29, 2013

In China, Beware: A Camera May Be Watching You

The use of security cameras such as these, looking out over Tiananmen Square in Beijing, is on the rise in China. Critics say the government is using them to discourage dissidents.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:16 pm

The first of two reports

China is becoming a surveillance state. In recent years, the government has installed more than 20 million cameras across a country where a decade ago there weren't many.

Today, in Chinese cities, cameras are everywhere: on highways, in public parks, on balconies, in elevators, in taxis, even in the stands at sporting events.

Officials say the cameras help combat crime and maintain "social stability" — a euphemism for shutting up critics.

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