World News

Afghanistan
3:10 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Afghan Contractors Feel Pinch Of Drawdown

Laborers work on a building in Kabul, Afghanistan. Following the drawdown of U.S. troops and NGOs, many construction companies are without projects and being forced to close offices and downsize.
Musadeq Sadeq AP

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 1:27 pm

The Afghan construction industry has been one of the big winners since the fall of the Taliban. NATO and the international community have pumped billions of dollars into building roads, schools and bases.

With the drawdown of troops and NGOs, however, comes a drawdown in construction spending, and that has Afghan contractors scrambling to find new business.

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Europe
1:33 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Greek Hospitals Suffer In Ailing Economy

A hand-painted banner decrying drastic cuts to the health care budget is draped on the main entrance of the Regional Hospital of Serres in northern Greece.
Joanna Kakissis for NPR

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 12:36 pm

The economic crisis in Greece is strangling the country's hospitals, where budgets have been slashed by more than half. As a result, nearly all doctors in both public and private hospitals have seen their pay cut, delayed or even frozen.

"On top of that, we lack basic supplies to do our jobs," says Vangelis Papamichalis, a neurologist at the Regional Hospital of Serres in northern Greece and a member of the doctors union here. "We run out of surgical gloves, syringes, vials for blood samples and needles to sew stitches, among other things."

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

Egyptian President Nullifies Expanded Executive Powers

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi held a "dialogue" in Cairo on Saturday. Overnight, an official announced the president would nullify a decree that gave him expanded powers.
Maya Alleruzzo AP

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 4:44 am

  • Hear Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson And Guy Raz On 'All Things Considered'

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has annulled a decree that gave him sweeping new powers last month, an official announced overnight in Cairo. The referendum on the draft constitution is still set for Dec. 15.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says Morsi had been saying recently he would give up his expanded powers after the referendum.

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Middle East
3:04 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

Egypt Remains Electrified In Protests

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 4:51 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

In a startling move, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appears to have reversed a controversial presidential decree that granted him extraordinary powers and launched weeks of protest. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Cairo. She's covering that story and joins us now. And, Soraya, tell us what's going on.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Egypt's Morsi Reportedly Poised To Allow Military To Arrest Civilians

Protesters gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of Egyptians also gathered outside the presidential palace in Cairo in demonstrations that turned violent as tensions grew over President Mohammed Morsi's seizure of nearly unrestricted powers.
Maya Alleruzzo AP

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 1:47 pm

Some outraged protesters remain around the Egyptian presidential palace in Cairo today, as opponents of President Mohammed Morsi defy his recent ruling granting himself executive powers that can't be questioned by a court.

Now there's word he may have signed a new order allowing soldiers to detain and arrest civilians, a right that's reserved for police officers.

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NPR Story
4:41 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Young Gazans Brave Fear To Welcome Hamas Leader

Exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal (left) and Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh wave during a news conference upon Meshaal's arrival at Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.
Suhaib Salem AP

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:14 am

Tens of thousands of people turned out for a mass rally in the Gaza Strip on Friday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hamas, which governs Gaza. The guest of honor was the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal.

This is Meshaal's first-ever trip to Gaza, and it's been seen as a political milestone in Hamas' attempt to gain wider acceptance in the region.

Gaza is a small, very crowded strip of land that is full of young people. Roughly 1.7 million people live here, and about half are under the age of 18.

Young People, Politically Minded

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Europe
3:38 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Getting The Royal Treatment En Route To Versailles

The Belvedere on Marie Antoinette's estate.

Courtesy of Christian Recoura

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 12:39 pm

The opulence of the court of Louis XIV ... on a commuter train from Paris?

That's the surprise awaiting some lucky visitors to the Palace of Versailles. The cars of about 30 trains traveling between Paris and the palace have been completely decked out to reflect the sprawling and stately residence of former French kings, providing a sneak preview of sorts.

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Africa
3:29 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Voters Decide How To Share Ghana's Boom

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama arrives at a polling station to cast his vote.
Pius Utomi Ekpei AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:39 pm

Voting for a new president and parliament in Ghana has been extended into a second day in some areas due to glitches with the new biometric voter verification system.

Ghana, which began pumping crude oil in 2010 and is also a major cocoa and gold exporter, has gained an enviable reputation in its often-turbulent West African neighborhood. It's admired for being a relative oasis of stability and peace in the region — despite tensions in the build-up to the vote.

A Peaceful Democracy

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Damascus Airport Becomes A Target In Syria's War

Syrian rebels say they now consider the Damascus International Airport to be part of the battle zone in their fight against Syria's government. Here, a U.N. vehicle is unloaded at the airport on May 12.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 6:00 pm

Syrian rebels declared the Damascus International Airport a "military zone" on Friday as part of their push to seize important symbolic and strategic locations held by President Bashar Assad's government.

Rebels say the airport is a camp for Syrian government soldiers and is the main transit point for weaponry believed to be supplied by Russia and Iran.

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Middle East
2:24 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Syria's Chemical Weapons Include Sarin, Mustard Gas

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:50 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The intelligence that we have causes serious concerns - that warning yesterday from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Those concerns are that Syria's government not only has a stockpile of chemical weapons but that it might use them against rebels moving in on the capital, Damascus. The past few days have brought a flurry of reports from multiple news outlets that the Syrian regime is indeed preparing chemical weapons, and we wanted to know what those might include so we reached out to former U.N. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer.

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Middle East
2:24 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Hamas Leader Visits Gaza Strip Fro The First Time

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:14 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We go overseas now to the Gaza Strip, where the leader of Hamas visited today for the first time. Palestinians are still cleaning up after last month's ferocious week-long fight with Israel. Khaled Mashaal's visit to the Hamas-ruled strip is being seen as both symbolic and politically significant. NPR's Philip Reeves is in Gaza and reports the Hamas leader got a hero's welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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Europe
2:24 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Nurse Who Took Prank Call At U.K. Hospital Is Dead

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:50 pm

A nurse at a London hospital who took a hoax call about Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge was found dead on Friday. Jacintha Saldhana let through a call from an Australian radio station purporting to be the Queen calling about the ailing Duchess.

Middle East
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Egyptian Protesters Display Newfound Unity

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 4:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Protests in Egypt rage on, despite President Mohammed Morsi's offer in a televised speech last night to meet with his opponents. Demonstrators filled Cairo's streets again today. The opposition in Egypt is confident and they're displaying a newfound unity, something Egypt hasn't seen since the early days of the revolution that ousted Morsi's predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. But as NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, many question whether this unity will last beyond the ongoing political crisis.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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Middle East
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Fighting In Syrian Capital Remains Intense

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 4:54 am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held an emergency meeting with her Russian counterpart in Dublin Thursday to try to reach new consensus on how to end the Syrian conflict. A prominent human rights group has put the death toll in Syria at 42,000 people killed in the nearly two years of fighting there — which began with a series of political protests, and turned into an armed rebellion.

Environment
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

World Bank Issues Alarming Climate Report

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 5:20 am

Countries attending U.N. climate talks were not able to come up with any major agreements on reducing carbon emissions and slowing global warming. This comes after the World Bank issued a report predicting global temperatures could rise by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century — possibly sooner if current promises to curb emission are not kept. Renee Montagne talks about this with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

Business
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Starbucks Agrees To Pay British Corporate Taxes

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 3:24 am

After resisting for some time, Starbucks has agreed to pay corporate taxes in Britain. It was revealed earlier that the coffee company has paid no such taxes in the past three years.

The Salt
12:50 am
Fri December 7, 2012

In Farmers Market, A Free Market Rises In Cuba

Cuba has relaxed some business rules, allowing street vendors to sell produce and a large wholesale produce market to open at night on the edge of Havana.
Greg Kahn Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 6:30 pm

Cuba has no shortage of fertile farmland, but the country spends $1.5 billion a year importing about 70 percent of its food.

The communist government's chronic struggle to get farmers to produce more is forcing authorities to grudgingly accept a greater role for market principles and the profit motive.

Now authorities seem willing to go another step further, tolerating the rise of what might be described as Cuba's "free-est" market.

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Middle East
3:21 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Syrian Militia Leaders Depend On A Terrorist Faction

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This week, we're taking a broader view of the Syrian conflict, asking if the Assad regime has reached a tipping point, and if so, what might follow. Yesterday, I talked with Syria expert Andrew Tabler, and today we'll hear from Joshua Landis, who directs the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Professor Landis, welcome back to the program.

DR. JOSHUA LANDIS: It's a pleasure being with you.

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Middle East
3:21 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Young Protesters Turn To Militant Tactics In Bahrain

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We turn now to the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. For the past 22 months, protestors have taken to the streets there demanding reform. For the most part, the demonstrations have been peaceful, but amid greater repression by the security forces, some of the younger protestors have turned to violence, and that has prompted a rift in the ranks of the opposition. Independent producer Reese Erlich paid a visit to Bahrain's capital, Manama.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Foreign language spoken)

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Africa
3:21 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Morsi Calls For Consensus Amid Escalating Protests

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 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.

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi is on the defensive. He went on state television late today and appealed for an end to the violence between supporters and opponents of his government. Last night, the two sides clashed outside the presidential palace. Six people were killed and hundreds more wounded.

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Middle East
2:54 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

U.S., Russia Try To Find Common Ground On Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a speech at Dublin City University in Ireland on Thursday. She also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Syria.
Kevin Lamarque AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 pm

As Syrian fighting intensifies in Syria, diplomatic efforts are also heating up.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the main international envoy to Syria were all in Dublin for an international gathering Thursday. The meeting came as Syria's opposition tries to get better organized to offer a real alternative to President Bashar Assad's regime.

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Middle East
2:54 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Syria Could Become A Failed State If Assad Falls

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 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.

What is the endgame to the bloody crisis in Syria? That question is ringing from Washington to Dublin to Damascus today. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. is very concerned the Assad regime might resort to chemical weapons. He warned of serious consequences if that were to happen.

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The Two-Way
11:59 am
Thu December 6, 2012

With Looting, Syria's Army Isn't Winning Hearts And Minds

A Syrian soldier aims his rifle during clashes with rebel forces in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday. Syrian soldiers have been taking over private homes and apartments, and have sometimes looted and trashed them, according to Syrian civilians.
HOPD AP/SANA

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 12:35 pm

Editor's Note: Throughout the Syrian uprising, the government has allowed few foreign journalists and other outsiders into the country. In this report, a Syrian citizen describes life in the capital, Damascus. For security reasons, NPR is not identifying the author.

As the Syrian military struggles against rebel fighters, it seems the army has not been paying a lot of attention to winning the hearts and minds of civilians.

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The Salt
10:29 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Fruitfly Nose Says Steer Clear Of Deadly Food, Human Nose Not So Reliable

Now we know why we'll never see a common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) sitting on a beet.
Jan Polabinski iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:10 pm

The earthy smell of a fresh beet may spark delicious thoughts for us, but for a fruit fly, that smell screams danger.

Geosmin, a naturally occurring chemical that gives beets, fresh soil and corked wine their distinctive smell, is also cranked out by bacteria deadly to fruit flies. And it turns out that the tiny flies have a direct pathway from nose to brain made just to detect that smell — and avoid the toxic microbes that produce it.

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The Salt
7:57 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Hours After A Meal, It's The Memory That Matters

In an experiment, people who saw a picture of a big bowl of soup before eating lunch were less hungry a few hours later than those who saw a smaller bowl, regardless of how much they ate at the meal.
stuart burford photography iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 11:50 am

It's no surprise that how much a person eats determines how full they feel right after a meal. But it's the memory of that meal, and not the meal itself, that matters a couple of hours later. So does this mean you trick yourself into thinness? Probably not. But it does tell us something about the role that manipulating memory may play in calorie intake.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Panetta Warns Syria: 'Whole World Is Watching'

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:27 pm

In one of the sharpest warnings so far to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today "the whole world is watching" and that if Assad uses chemical weapons against his people, "there will be consequences."

Without saying specifically that the U.S. and its allies would take military action, Panetta said it is "fair enough to say that their use of those weapons would cross a red line."

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World
5:09 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Perfume Evokes Smell Of Pizza Box Opening

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Two-Way
4:48 am
Thu December 6, 2012

In Cairo: Several Killed, Hundreds Injured, As President Calls For Dialogue

Egyptian policemen protect an opposition demonstrator after a scuffle with members of the Muslim Brotherhood outside the presidential palace in Cairo.
Mahmoud Khaled AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:26 pm

Update at 4:00 p.m. ET. Morsi Calls For National Dialogue:

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi called for national dialogue in a televised address today.

Morsi spoke amid escalating violence over a draft constitution and a presidential decree that granted him near-absolute power.

"I call for a full, productive dialogue with all figures and heads of parties, revolutionary youth and senior legal figures to meet this Saturday," Morsi said according to Al Arabiya.

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National Security
3:20 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Arab Spring Provides Opportunities For Al-Qaida

The Pentagon's top lawyer has talked about how the U.S. would deal with terrorism after al-Qaida's core was defeated. But experts say the talk is premature. The Arab Spring has helped al-Qaida affiliates proliferate over the past year. And while they might not be able to pull off large scale attacks, they are still a very real threat.

World
3:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Software Pioneer John McAfee Arrested In Guatemala

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:22 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. Good morning.

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