World News

Middle East
1:03 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Iran's Leader Embraces Facebook; Fellow Iranians Are Blocked

Iranian authorities are using cyberpolice units to crack down on people who try to access banned websites, including social media sites such as Facebook. Here, Iranians use computers at an Internet cafe in Tehran in January.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 8:29 am

When Iran's supreme leader got a Facebook page in December, Iranians sat up and blinked.

Some thought it was a fake, finding it hard to believe that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would be using a technology that his own government blocks. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman skeptically wondered how many "likes" it would attract.

But some of Khamenei's supporters quickly rallied behind the move, which first came to light in a reference on — you guessed it — the ayatollah's Twitter account.

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World
12:08 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

The Role Of The Colonizer: France's Intervention In Mali

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:31 pm

After Islamic extremists seized parts of Mali, the country's former colonial ruler, France, intervened with a ground and air offensive. This action raises questions about the role of former colonial powers in modern conflicts.

National Security
10:56 am
Mon February 4, 2013

The CIA And The Hazards Of Middle East Forecasting

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is flanked by senior military officers as he reviews maps of battlefield developments in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. He's shown at army headquarters in Cairo on Oct. 15, 1973. Egypt and Syria attacked Israel, catching Israel and the CIA off-guard.
AP

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 6:48 am

Government agencies do not often acknowledge their own errors, but the CIA has done just that with the declassification of intelligence memoranda on the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

The documents show that agency analysts, down to the last minute before the outbreak of fighting, were assuring President Nixon, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other policymakers that Egypt and Syria were unlikely to attack Israel.

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Planet Money
9:43 am
Mon February 4, 2013

A Union Vote For Chinese Workers Who Assemble iPhones

Workers at a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, in 2010.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:12 am

The Chinese workers who assemble iPhones, iPads and tons of other electronic devices may soon be able to elect their own union representatives, the FT reports.

Labor unions technically do exist in Chinese factories, but they're typically controlled by management and the government. So a union run by democratic vote of the workers would be a huge shift.

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Music
9:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Kidjo Urges Malian Musicians To Fight Ban

Singer Angelique Kidjo of Benin performs during the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, June 10, 2010.
Hassan Ammar AP

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:17 am

Singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo was born in Benin, West Africa. Today, she lives in New York City and is widely considered Africa's greatest living diva.

For Kidjo, music provides an outlet for both activism and pleasure. "Those two things are part of my stability," she tells NPR's Michel Martin. "I need that. No human being has endless compassion, you need to replenish yourself, and I know that if I didn't have music, I'd go crazy."

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Europe
8:45 am
Mon February 4, 2013

For Greeks, Painful Cuts Keep Tearing At The Social Fabric

Georgia Kolia, 63, has two adult children, both unemployed. She works as a volunteer distributing loaves of bread at the Agia Zonis Orthodox church soup kitchen for the poor in Athens, Greece, in April 2012.
John Kolesidis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 4:12 pm

Greeks are feeling the squeeze. The social repercussions of three years of austerity measures imposed by international lenders are hitting hard. Thousands of businesses have shut down, unemployment is nearly 27 percent and rising, and the once dependable safety net of welfare benefits is being pulled in.

With further cutbacks and tax hikes about to kick in, Greece's social fabric is being torn apart.

Nowhere are cutbacks more visible and painful than in health care.

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Europe
3:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Violence At Both Ends Of Political Spectrum Threatens Greece

A protester holds a petrol bomb during clashes with riot police after a demonstration against new austerity measures outside the parliament in Athens, Greece, on Nov. 7.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 6:33 pm

Escalating political violence from both the left and right is raising fears of political instability in debt-burdened Greece. The conservative-led government is cracking down on leftist groups, vowing to restore law and order.

But the opposition says authorities are trying to divert people's attention from growing poverty and despair.

Take the latest explosion in Athens — a firebomb at a crowded suburban mall last month that slightly injured two security guards.

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Middle East
3:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Syrian Opposition Leader Holds Talks With Russia, Iran

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 6:47 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

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Africa
3:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Algerian Militants Wanted To Create 'Giant Fireball'

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:09 am

It now appears that the militants who stormed a gas plant in Algeria last month, resulting in the deaths of dozens of hostages, ultimately wanted to create a giant fireball by blowing up the plant. They just couldn't figure out how. David Greene talks to Adam Nossiter of The New York Times, who recently went to the plant and gathered accounts of some former hostages.

World
1:34 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Tsunami Debris On Alaska's Shores Like 'Standing In Landfill'

Trash, much of it believed to be debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, litters the beach on Montague Island, Alaska, on Jan. 26.
Annie Feidt for NPR

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 8:51 am

Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska's beaches. Almost two years after the devastating Japanese tsunami, its debris and rubbish are fouling the coastlines of many states — especially in Alaska.

At the state's Montague Island beach, the nearly 80 miles of rugged wilderness looks pristine from a helicopter a few thousand feet up. But when you descend, globs of foam come into view.

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Africa
2:37 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Allegations Of Human Rights Abuse Abound In Mali

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 4:16 pm

As Malian forces backed by French and African troops have retaken the West African nation's contested northern region, there have been allegations of human rights abuses. Human Rights organizations accuse the Malian army of summary executions, among other abuses.

The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Syrian Activist's Offer Of Talks With Assad Draws Mixed Response

Activists in the town of Saraqib, Syria, hold a poster that reads, "Sheikh Moaz al Khatib represents me."
Courtesy of Mahmoud Bakkour

Moaz al-Khatib sent waves through the Syrian activist community this week when he announced via Facebook that he was open to talks with representatives of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime on two conditions: that political prisoners, thought to number in the tens of thousands, be released; and exiled Syrians be able to renew their passports at embassies abroad.

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Sun February 3, 2013

Iraq Attack Kills At Least 15, Wounds Dozens

Iraqi security forces inspect the scene of a bombing in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad on Sunday.
Emad Matti AP

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 12:16 pm

Update at 1:32 p.m. ET. Toll Rises:

The death toll from the coordinated attacks in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk has risen: The BBC says at least 16 people are dead, while Al Jazeera puts the number at at least 30.

Our original post:

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Sun February 3, 2013

Foreign Minister Says Iran Is Open To Talks With U.S.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi speaks to reporters on the third day of the 49th Munich Security Conference on Sunday.
Tobias Hase AP

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 3:24 pm

Iran's foreign minister on Sunday welcomed Vice President Joe Biden's comments that the U.S. was willing to hold direct talks with the Islamic republic over its nuclear program.

"We have no red line for bilateral negotiations when it comes to negotiating over a particular subject," Ali Akbar Salehi said at a security conference in Munich, Germany. "If the subject is the nuclear file, yes, we are ready for negotiations but we have to make sure ... that the other side this time comes with authentic intention, with a fair and real intention to resolve the issue."

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Afghanistan
3:21 am
Sun February 3, 2013

From A Land Where Music Was Banned — To Carnegie Hall

Afghanistan's youth orchestra performs in Kabul on Jan. 31. The orchestra is coming to the U.S. and will appear at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 1:49 pm

In Afghanistan, there was no sound of music when the Taliban ruled from 1996 to 2001. The Islamist militants destroyed music CDs and instruments and even jailed musicians.

Today, there are music schools and young Afghans playing in public. And, this weekend, 48 Afghan boys and girls are traveling to the U.S. to perform at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

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Asia
2:49 pm
Sat February 2, 2013

In India, Men Accused of Deadly Rape Formally Charged

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 4:41 pm

Five men accused of the brutal rape and murder of a woman student in New Delhi were charged today. The attack in December launched an international outcry and led to nationwide protests. NPR's Julie McCarthy joins host Laura Sullivan from the Indian capital with the latest.

The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Sat February 2, 2013

Turkish Left-Wing Group Claims Responsibility For U.S. Embassy Blast

Mourners gather in Ankara on Saturday by the coffin of Mustafa Akarsu, who was killed in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Turkey's capital on Friday.
AP

A radical left-wing group is calling Friday's attack on the U.S. Embassy in Turkey "an act of self-sacrifice" against the U.S. The suicide bombing killed an embassy guard and injured several others.

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The Two-Way
11:38 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Direct Talks With Iran? Biden Says It's Possible

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.
Matthias Schrader AP

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 12:53 pm

Vice President Joe Biden says the United States is ready to hold direct talks with Iran over its nuclear program — provided that the country's top leader is serious about such discussions.

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Powerful Quake Rocks Northern Japan; No Reported Damage

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 11:02 am

The Japanese Meteorological Agency says an extremely strong earthquake rattled the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Saturday. The magnitude was 6.4. The U.S. Geological Survey's report puts the tremor at a higher magnitude of 6.9; the epicenter was very deep, about 65 miles below ground, near the city of Obihiro. That's about 120 miles east of Hokkaido's largest city, Sapporo.

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Sat February 2, 2013

'Vive Francois Hollande!' France's President Visits Mali

French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by well-wishers on his short visit to Timbuktu, Mali, on Saturday.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 9:15 am

The security situation in Northern Mali has improved with the arrival of the French military last month, so French president Francois Hollande traveled there Saturday for a one-day visit. He didn't stay in the southern capital, Bamako, which has remained under Malian government control, but instead flew north to the ancient city of Timbuktu to meet residents and thank French troops for their work in ousting Islamist rebels from the historic city.

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The Two-Way
1:54 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Taliban Militants Assault Pakistani Army Base

Pakistani troops gather at the site of an attack on an army post in Serai Naurang town, near Lakki Marwat, Pakistan, on Saturday.
Jibran Yousufzai AP

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 7:10 am

Armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, militants attacked an army camp in Northwestern Pakistan early Saturday morning.

According to officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, 12 militants and 13 security officials were killed in the attack. The New York Times is reporting that 10 civilians — including three women and three children — who were living in a nearby compound, were also killed.

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The Salt
4:12 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Where's The Beef? Burger King Finds Horsemeat In Its U.K. Patties

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 6:21 pm

Burger King has acknowledged this week that some of its burgers in Britain and Ireland included horsemeat, the latest development in an ongoing scandal.

Horsemeat actually contains just as much protein and far less fat than beef, according to nutritionists.

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Middle East
4:02 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Suicide Bombing At U.S. Embassy In Turkey Kills Security Guard

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:17 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

CORNISH: And we begin this hour with a report on today's suicide bombing in Turkey. The target, the U.S. embassy in Ankara. The attack killed two people, a guard and the bomber. The White House called it an act of terror but had no information on the motive behind the blast. Turkish authorities identified the bomber as a member of an outlawed left-wing group. NPR's Peter Kenyon has our story from Istanbul.

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Europe
4:02 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Spain's Prime Minister May Have Received 'Black Money' For Years

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:17 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Swiss bank accounts, bribes, embezzlement, fraud up to the highest levels of government. Those are the headlines out of Spain this week amid allegations of under-the-table payments to top conservative politicians, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. His party denies it all and Rajoy has called an emergency meeting for tomorrow.

Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid on how Spaniards are finally saying enough.

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Politics
3:10 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

As Clinton Bows Out, Analysts Debate Her Influence On Foreign Policy

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:17 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

That attack in Turkey came on Hillary Clinton's last day as secretary of state. She says it's another reminder that we live in complex and dangerous times.

SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON: But I leave this department confident, confident about the direction we have set.

CORNISH: Employees crammed the State Department's lobby to see her off, and Clinton appeared wistful.

CLINTON: I am very proud to have been secretary of state. I will miss you. I will probably be dialing up just to talk.

(LAUGHTER)

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Taxi! Chinese Company Finds Fair Deal In London Cab Maker

Black taxis drive down The Mall in London. A Chinese company rescued the British automaker that manufactures the famous cabs.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou AFP/Getty Images

The iconic black cabs of London got a lift Friday when a Chinese company rescued the British automaker that manufactures the taxis. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group said it will pay $17.5 million to buy Manganese Bronze Holdings, which has been making the cabs since 1899.

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NPR Story
9:57 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Are We Losing The Race Against Climate Change?

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:46 am

China burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined--and has 300 more coal plants in the works. But China also leads the world in solar panel exports and wind farms, and has a national climate change policy in place. Is the U.S. falling behind on climate? Ira Flatow and guests discuss how the world is tackling global warming--with or without us--and what it might take to change the climate on Capitol Hill.

The Two-Way
5:46 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Death Toll Rising In Mexico; At Least 25 Dead After Explosion, Dozens Hurt

Rescue workers are searching the debris in Mexico City, where an explosion Thursday rocked the headquarters of the state-owned oil company, Pemex.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 9:49 am

Authorities in Mexico City said Friday morning that at least 32 people had been killed and another 120 or so injured by the explosion Thursday afternoon at the headquarters of Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company.

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The Two-Way
5:19 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Developing: Explosion Outside U.S. Embassy In Turkey

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:11 pm

There was an explosion Friday at an entrance to the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and within hours American officials were calling it a "terrorist attack."

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Africa
4:09 am
Fri February 1, 2013

French To Hand Over Mali Campaign To African Forces

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We've been closely tracking events in Mali since French forces led a military campaign to rid that country's vast northern desert of militants linked to al-Qaida. Those Islamists had taken over much of the region last spring and imposed a harsh form of Islamic law. But the fabled Timbuktu and other cities have been taken back with almost no fight. Now the French say it's time for them to step back and hand over to an African peacekeeping force.

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