It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
President Obama took the oath for a second term yesterday, on January 20th, as the Constitution requires. The public ceremony takes place today at the Capitol, and we'll have live coverage all day long.
The dead are still being counted from last week's attack and hostage drama at a natural gas plant in the remote desert of Algeria. Among those killed are dozens of foreign workers from Britain, Japan and elsewhere, with at least one from America. To get a better understanding of what is unfolding in the region and America's role in it, we're joined by Vickie Huddleston.
The president of the United States, as his title suggests, is the leader of this country, but in many ways is also the leader of the world. And so we're looking at how other countries see the next four years on this Inauguration Day. India enjoyed strong relations with the Obama administration in its first term, but in a second term, NPR's Julie McCarthy reports, the South Asian giant is concerned about the uncertainty seen in American policy toward China and Afghanistan.
In his first term, the president sometimes had prickly relations with Israel. Tomorrow, Israelis vote in a new government. That election comes amid the revolutions of Israel's Arab neighbors and soon after an armed conflict with Palestinians in Gaza. And when David Remnick recently visited Israel, he found, in his words, the vivid and growing strength of the radical right.
Nearly four years ago, President Barack Obama was a new face with new promise and a middle name Hussein that resonated throughout the Muslim world. In a speech at Cairo University, he promised a new beginning for relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world. But as Obama begins his second term, the hope that so many in Egypt had for a new direction under Obama is largely gone. NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo.
Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 11:15 am
More bodies have been reported found at the gas plant in Algeria where a four-day standoff with Islamist militants came to a bloody end on Saturday. An Algerian security official tells the AP that the state of the bodies makes it difficult to tell whether the dead are hostages or attackers.
Israelis are going to the polls this week in national elections. And yes, the big issues that are always part of Israeli politics are still there: the conflict with the Palestinians, the threat from Iran. But it's not just security that's on the minds of voters in Israel, especially young people. Last week in Tel Aviv, a bunch of 20-something Israelis gathered in a warehouse on the city's waterfront to talk politics.
The way that Israelis vote and the policies that motivate those decisions will be watched closely from this country as well.
For more on what this election and events in the Middle East mean for the United States, I'm joined by Aaron David Miller. He's a vice president and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. He's also a former Middle East negotiator. He joins us now.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. An international hostage drama has come to an end in Algeria. After four days, the Algerian army ended the bloody siege of a remote oil and gas facility where Islamist militants were holding dozens of Western hostages. The brutal assault was launched Thursday morning. Many people are dead, up to 23 captives and at least 30 Islamists, according to the Algerian state media.
Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 4:51 pm
The four-day standoff in the Algerian desert came to a bloody end Saturday morning when Algerian forces stormed the gas plant where Islamist militants were holding foreign hostages.
Seven hostages were killed in the assault, as were 11 militants, Algeria's state media reported. In total, 32 militants and 23 other people died in the conflict, the Algerian interior ministry said in a statement.
The hostage-taking drama at an Algerian gas and oil plant in the Sahara desert is in its fourth day. The Algerian army has reportedly laid siege to the facility and is fighting a remaining group of entrenched jihadists who have hostages. Host Scott Simon gets the latest from NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.
The Algerian government gave no advance notice that it was planning to launch a military operation to rescue hostages at the remote In Amenas natural gas field, despite offers of support and advice by many nations, including the U.S.
The anger and disappointment in Washington is muted, however, because the U.S. sees Algeria as a critical ally in the fight against terrorism.
A masked assailant threw acid into the face of the Bolshoi ballet's artistic director on Thursday in Moscow in what may have been a "reprisal for his selection of dancers in starring roles at the famed Russian company," The Associated Press reports.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. An amateur prospector in Australia thought he'd stumbled on a car hood. It turned out to be a giant gold nugget shaped like a goldfish. The owner of the local gold shop told the Herald newspaper that if the anonymous prospector was silly enough to melt it down it would be worth nearly $300,000.
Unlikely, since its size and shape make it so rare. The gold will be worth far more to a museum or collector. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
As President Obama prepares to start a second term, MORNING EDITION has asked NPR's foreign correspondents to gauge worldwide expectations for the next four years. We turn, this morning, to Kenya. Pride still runs deep there for the president, with roots in Kenya. But expectations of America's role have shifted from donor aid to partner in trade. NPR's Gregory Warner has the story.
On Thursday, Algerian forces opened fire on Islamists holding dozens of foreigners hostage. The militants, who have been linked to al-Qaida, say they took over the gas facility deep into the Sahara Desert in retaliation for France's attack on Islamic militants in the west African nation of Mali.
The U.S. formally recognized the Somali government for the first time in 20 years on Thursday when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud at the State Department. Hassan is the first permanent Somali president since 1991 and faces a daunting task of rebuilding a nation torn by conflict and Islamist insurgencies.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour with a brazen rescue attempt in Algeria. Government forces launched an assault today on an oil and gas facility in the remote Algerian desert. There, Islamist militants had been holding hundreds of hostages, including 41 Westerners, since yesterday. The Algerian military went in swiftly and decisively, stunning Western governments, who might have handled such a hostage drama more delicately.
Robert Siegel talks with Alan Boswell, Africa Correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, about the fight in Mali between French forces and Islamist militants. Boswell calls Mali the new front line in the war on terror.
The turmoil in Algeria, as well as in Mali, is a reminder of the complicated relationship that still exists between France and many of its former African colonies. Howard French has spent many years thinking and writing about that relationship. He's an associate professor at the Columbia University graduate school of journalism and a former long time foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Mr. French, welcome to the program.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 2:04 pm
Hours after French troops launched a ground offensive in Mali to quash an Islamist rebellion, militants retaliated by seizing dozens of hostages, reportedly including Americans, in neighboring Algeria — an attack that underscores Western fears of a deteriorating security situation in northwestern Africa.
And another story we've been following the past couple of days: Yesterday, an extremist group in Algeria attacked a remote natural gas production complex in the Sahara Desert and seized hostages, most of them Algerian, but including some Americans and other Westerners. Today, Algeria's military responded. Reports conflict on numbers. It seems clear some hostages have escaped, others have been killed.
After huge critical and commercial success last year, breakthrough British sensation Emeli Sande has her sights set on America.
It's a long way from her roots. Born to a Zambian father and English mother, the singer-songwriter was raised in Scotland. She tells NPR's Michel Martin that being the only mixed-race family in a small village had a big impact on her.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 8:18 am
Editor's note: Our partner GlobalPost is launching a series that looks at wealth and poverty worldwide by comparing U.S. metro areas with foreign cities that have similar levels of income inequality. The findings may surprise you.
In West Africa, the push to prevent militant Islamists from expanding beyond their base in northern Mali is shifting into a ground war. French and Malian troops are now directly engaging al-Qaida linked rebels in combat. They've surrounded a desert village that jihadists overran when they began pushing south toward Mali's capital. This escalates the battle that began last week, when France sent in fighter jets to attack the rebels.