World News

Middle East
1:33 am
Tue December 4, 2012

A Rebel Fighter Sees Islamic Law In Syria's Future

A Syrian rebel walks past the stairs of a bombed building in the Saif Al Duli district in Aleppo, Syria, on Sept. 10. The vast majority of those fighting against President Bashar Assad's regime are ordinary Syrians and soldiers who have defected, but Islamist rebels are also present among the fighters.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:18 pm

It's about 9 o'clock in the morning, and already it's been a long day for Abu Anas. He has lost two men to a sniper serving the Syrian regime. Four more have been injured.

But Abu Anas walks with a striking calm through the bombed-out, ruined streets of Aleppo, a city that has been at war for months. He wears a black headband bearing Islam's holy creed: "There is no God but God. And Muhammad is his messenger."

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World
3:56 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

U.S. Steps Up Aid (But No Arms) To Syrian Exiles

Rajiv Shah (left), the head of USAID, speaks with children during a visit at the Oncupinar Syrian refugee camp in Turkey, near the Syrian border, on Nov. 27.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 5:12 pm

The Obama administration remains wary about arming Syria's rebels. But when it comes to humanitarian aid, the U.S. contribution, over $250 million, is second only to Turkey.

Then there is non-lethal aid, an additional $50 million for communication equipment and training courses.

If you are surprised by the numbers, so are Syrian activists, who say American support is still almost invisible on the ground. Now, U.S. officials are highlighting the American aid profile.

High-Profile Visit

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Africa
3:19 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Is Morsi Morphing Into Authoritarian He Opposed?

Egyptian protesters hold a banner depicting Morsi as a pharaoh, during a rally expressing opposition to Morsi's decrees, in Cairo, on Nov. 23.
Andre Pain EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:08 pm

When Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was elected, some Egyptians jokingly referred to him as the Muslim Brotherhood's "spare tire." He was the backup candidate of the Islamist organization, whose first choice for the presidency was barred from running.

But Morsi has proved much more formidable than many Egyptians believed.

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Africa
2:56 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Malians In The South Want Islamists Out Of The North

People originally from northern Mali carry signs that call for military action to retake that part of the country, now under the control of Islamist militants. The rally was held in Mali's capital, Bamako, in October.
Harouna Traore AP

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:08 pm

In the southern part of Mali, which includes the capital, Bamako, it's not hard to find people who are angry about the Islamist militants who have taken over the country's north.

But there's little reason to believe the Islamists will be ousted soon. The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet this week to discuss plans for a 3,300-strong regional force to enter Mali. But it is unlikely any sort of military operation will take place in the near future.

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Europe
2:28 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

A Royal Baby On The Way In The U.K.

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:08 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. In Britain, palace officials have confirmed that Prince William's wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is in the very early stages of pregnancy. The former Kate Middleton has been hospitalized with severe morning sickness but her health is not believed to be in danger. From London, Vicki Barker has the story.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

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Africa
1:21 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

A Battle For The Stolen Childhoods Of Kenyan Girls

A schoolgirl participates in a lesson in Kilifi, about 30 miles northeast of Mombasa on Kenya's Swahili Coast, in 2010.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:08 pm

Life can be especially cruel for girls growing up on Kenya's Swahili Coast. Some families sell their daughters to earn the bride price, while others encourage them to become child prostitutes for tourists. The girls drop out of school and have babies, and their childhoods are stolen. Now, a coalition of educators, religious and traditional leaders is fighting back.

Thirteen teenage girls — all with babies on their laps — are gathered around a table in the town hall of Msabaha village, not far from the beach resort of Malindi.

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge, Is Pregnant

April 29, 2011: Their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after their wedding.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 11:23 am

Here's the news you've been waiting for, royal watchers:

"The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby, St James's Palace has announced." (BBC News)

That would be Catherine, wife of Prince William (the Duke of Cambridge). They, of course, are the potential future king and queen.

The BBC adds that:

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The Two-Way
9:04 am
Mon December 3, 2012

A Syrian Tank Shells Turkey, Yet The Response Is Silence. Why?

Turkish soldiers stand guard in the town of Akcakale, just across the border from Syria, on Oct. 4. The Turks have often issued stern warnings and retaliated when shooting from the Syrian war has come across their border. But Turkey did not respond to an incident over the weekend.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 10:28 am

Whenever the Syrian military fires across the border into Turkey, it threatens to ignite a major confrontation.

But sometimes the Turks choose to play down cross-border attacks on their territory, and an episode Saturday shows how complicated these shootings can be in a war that continues to evolve.

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The Two-Way
6:02 am
Mon December 3, 2012

His Holiness Comes To Twitter: Pope Benedict Is '@Pontifex'

Pope Benedict XVI. He'll be spreading the word on Twitter.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 10:29 am

Starting Dec. 12, the Vatican says, Pope Benedict XVI will be on Twitter to answer questions about faith.

His Holiness will be posting as @Pontifex.

"The handle is a good one. It means 'pope' and it also means 'bridge builder'," Greg Burke, senior media adviser to the Vatican, tells Reuters.

Can he say a lot in 140 characters or less?

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Latin America
2:57 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Abad's 'Oblivion' Puts A Face On Colombia's Dead

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:21 am

One of the rising stars in the Latin American literary world is Hector Abad. The Colombian-born author has released a searing book, Oblivion: A Memoir, in the U.S. that took him a generation to write. It's the story of his father, a beloved doctor who was murdered in the 1980s.

Middle East
2:57 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Egypt's Draft Constitution Divides Nation

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:12 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who took power last June, is facing a rebellion against his rule. It all started with a set of controversial decrees by the president that put him above the law until a constitution is in place. That move has polarized the country. Judges are on strike and critics say the president is pushing through an illegitimate constitution.

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World
2:57 am
Mon December 3, 2012

U.N. Telecommunications Conference

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:00 am

Representatives from more than 190 countries are convening in Dubai to discuss the treaty regulating global telecommunications. It hasn't been updated since 1988, when the Internet was in its infancy. There is fear that countries known to censor or restrict Internet access will push for global governance that could hamper speech and innovation. Renee Montagne discusses the issues with Ambassador Philip Verveer, who coordinates U.S. policy on global communications.

Middle East
2:57 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Israeli Settlement Plan

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:19 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For years the United States has urged the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a peace accord based on a two-state solution. Well, there are growing concerns within the international community that the chances of that ever happening are dimming.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Palestinians angered Israel last week by securing a symbolically important vote at the United Nations General Assembly, upgrading their status from a non-member entity to a non-member state. Israel responded with reprisals.

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Books
1:20 am
Mon December 3, 2012

No Rules In The Great 'Game' Of Afghan Politics

Courtesy of PublicAffairs

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 2:57 am

The story of Afghanistan — its history, its culture — is a narrative writer Tamim Ansary says he "carries in his bones." Ansary was born there to an Afghan father, educated in the United States, and an American mother.

He spent much of his 1950s childhood in the town of Lashkar Gah. There, his father worked on a massive irrigation project, funded by the U.S. and aimed at turning a dusty valley into fertile farms.

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Food
3:06 pm
Sun December 2, 2012

Somali Chef Seizes The Chance To Return Home

London-raised Ahmed Jama won't give up on Mogadishu, Somalia, even though his restaurants have been attacked by suicide bombers more than once. In fact, he's leading the city's cultural revival, one dish at a time, by offering residents and visitors a taste of authentic Somali cuisine and hospitality. (This piece initially aired Nov. 26, 2012, on Morning Edition.)

Asia
3:59 am
Sun December 2, 2012

In Pakistan, Secrets Of A 3,000-Year-Old Cemetery

The graves were apparently opened and reopened multiple times, serving more than one generation.
Courtesy of ACT Project

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 1:46 pm

High on a hill overlooking Pakistan's scenic Swat Valley sits a recently excavated cemetery. Italian archaeologist Luca Maria Olivieri walks across the site and lays a sun-beaten hand on a clay slab jutting out from a high, dun-colored wall. It's an ancient grave.

Olivieri says the remains still have to be carbon-tested, but archaeologists believe the graves contain members of a Dardic community, which dominated this part of Pakistan 3,000 years ago.

It's believed Alexander the Great fought one of his battles here, in the village of Udegram.

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World
3:58 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Kazakhstan Celebrates First, And Only, President

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 3:59 am

On Dec. 1, Kazakhstan celebrated a new holiday: "First President's Day." The central Asian country feted its long-time leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, though outside observers have criticized what appears to be a growing cult of personality around the president in the oil-rich country.

Education
3:58 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Pencils Down? French Plan Would End Homework

President Francois Hollande argues that homework puts poor children at a disadvantage, but others argue the extra work is needed to help those students succeed.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 5:39 pm

In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.

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Afghanistan
3:58 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Afghans Begin New Exodus, Often At Great Cost

Afghan families walk along a dusty road in Kabul, the Afghan capital, last month. In the latest in a series of dramatic inflows and outflows, more Afghans are leaving the country than returning, fueled by unease about next year's withdrawal of NATO forces.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 6:00 am

Convulsed by war and civil strife for decades, Afghanistan has experienced some of the largest ebbs and flows of migration anywhere in the world.

It began with the Soviet invasion in 1979, which sent millions of Afghans fleeing to Iran and Pakistan. When the Taliban were driven from power in 2001, many Afghans began returning home.

Now, the country has hit another milestone: For the first time since 2002 and the beginning of the current war in Afghanistan, the country has a negative migration rate — more Afghans are leaving than returning.

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Europe
1:09 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Ach! No End In Sight For Berlin Airport Woes

The opening date of Germany's new Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg International Airport has been delayed three times due to construction delays and safety concerns.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 5:54 am

Germans are famous for their efficiency and being on time. But a much-delayed, expensive new airport in the German capital, Berlin, is rapidly destroying that reputation.

Located in the former East Berlin neighborhood of Schoenefeld, the new airport is to replace three others that serviced passengers in the once-divided city. One of those, Tempelhof — made famous by the Allied airlifts of food and supplies during the Soviet blockade of the late 1940s — is already closed.

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Middle East
4:28 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Shutdowns Raise Issue Of Who Controls The Internet

Night falls on a Syrian rebel-controlled area on Thursday, the same day an Internet blackout struck the country. The cause is still unclear, but many claim the Syrian government was responsible.
Narciso Contreras AP

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 2:12 pm

First, it was Egypt. At the height of the protest against the Mubarak regime in 2011, authorities shut the Internet down.

This week, it was Syria. Just as rebel forces there were making big gains, someone pulled the plug on the Internet, and Syria went dark.

Service was restored on Saturday, but Andrew McLaughlin, former White House adviser on technology policy, expects we'll see more of this.

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Latin America
4:28 am
Sat December 1, 2012

High Expectations Welcome Mexico's New President

Mexico's new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, has made big promises in a country with a mixed record.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 8:33 pm

It's Inauguration Day in Mexico, and President Enrique Pena Nieto inherits a country with a mixed record.

Most of Mexico is embroiled in a deadly drug war that has claimed the lives of as many as 50,000 people, but Pena Nieto is also taking over an economy that is doing surprisingly well — thanks, many say, to the outgoing head of state.

Calderon's Violent Legacy

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Latin America
2:59 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Far From Mexico, Students Try Saving Aztec Language

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 4:44 pm

The descendant of the ancient Aztec language is one of many endangered indigenous languages. Although there may still be a million speakers of Nahuatl, it is not being transmitted to a new generation. But there is an attempt to revive Nahuatl in New York City, and students eager to connect to their heritage are taking classes.

The Salt
1:38 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Some Restaurants In Israel Declare A Kosher Rebellion

Israelis eat at a kosher McDonald's restaurant in Tel Aviv.
David Silverman Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:41 am

The Carousela cafe in West Jerusalem is one of a handful of restaurants and cafes in Israel staging a bit of a rebellion by defying Jewish religious authorities who claim they are the only ones who can certify restaurants as kosher, or in compliance with Jewish dietary laws.

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Middle East
1:28 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

In Istanbul, A Byzantine-Era Fleet Surfaces Again

Archaeologists call an excavation site on Istanbul's southern shore the world's largest shipwreck collection. The area, unearthed during construction of a railway station, was once a Byzantine-era port that harbored cargo and military vessels, and received goods from around the Mediterranean.
Gokce Saracoglu for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:24 pm

In Istanbul, major public transit projects are back under way after years of paralysis. The problem wasn't a lack of financing, but the layer upon layer of ancient artifacts that turned up every time the earthmovers started their work.

The excavation began eight years ago on projects intended to ease Istanbul's notoriously clogged traffic.

The job included building a tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait and linking it to a rail and subway network. When the dig was stopped several years ago, eyes rolled and shoulders shrugged.

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Free-Speech Debate In India Heats Up

The case against Shaheen Dhada has set off a free-speech debate in India. Her father, Farooq Dhada, shown here with her, says in India, freedom of speech "exists only on paper."
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:37 am

It looks like the case in India against two young female Facebook users has been dropped. But the debate over free speech in India is still heating up.

As we've reported, two young women were arrested last week for a Facebook comment that criticized the shutdown of the city of Mumbai for the cremation of a controversial political leader.

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Faith Matters
10:26 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Catholic Nun At Center Of Mexico's Drug War

Sister Consuelo Morales puts her faith into action in a very dangerous place. She heads a human rights group in Monterrey, Mexico, where she pressures authorities to investigate killings, disappearances and other drug-related violence. She and Nik Steinberg of Human Rights Watch speak with host Michel Martin.

The Two-Way
9:26 am
Fri November 30, 2012

'Anonymous' Vows To Shut Down Syrian Government Websites

Anonymous takes aim at Assad.
https://twitter.com/YourAnonNews

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 11:43 am

The news that someone has shut off the Internet (and cellphone service) across Syria has led Anonymous to vow it will "shut down Syrian government websites around the world," as Reuters' Anthony DeRosa puts it.

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The Picture Show
8:53 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Portraits of Albinism: Letting An Inner Light Shine

Zawia Kassim, 12, of Kigoma Region, would like to be a teacher someday.
Courtesy of Jacquelyn Martin

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:09 am

Photographers look for beauty in unexpected places. And in parts of Tanzania — a society that gravely mistreats albinos — photojournalist Jacquelyn Martin set out to show how beautiful she thinks they are.

Tanzanians with albinism endure a particularly cruel fate. Not only do they suffer from sun sensitivity and vision problems, but they are also hunted by witch doctors who believe their body parts can be used for magic.

Since 2006, more than 71 albinos have been killed in Tanzania so their bodies could be made into potions.

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Africa
8:48 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Tanzania's Albinos Face Constant Threat Of Attack

Angel Salvatory, 17, buys cloth at a market in Kabanga village in Tanzania. Albinos living in a nearby protection center are allowed to go to the local market as long as they travel in a group for their own safety.
Jacquelyn Martin for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 4:44 pm

Life is hard for albinos throughout Africa, but especially in the East African nation of Tanzania. At best, they face raw prejudice; at worst, they are hunted for their flesh, the results of superstitious beliefs.

Albino killings have been reported in a dozen African countries from South Africa to Kenya, but they are worse in Tanzania than anywhere else.

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