World News

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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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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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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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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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Fri November 30, 2012

In Egypt: Draft Of Constitution OK'd; Protesters Return To Tahrir Square

A protester shouts early Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Gianluigi Guercia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:25 am

Protesters have streamed into Cairo's Tahrir Square again today, correspondent Merrit Kennedy tells our Newscast Desk.

She says they're there both to demonstrate again against President Mohammed Morsi's decree giving himself sweeping new powers and to express concern about a draft constitution passed early today by Egypt's constitutional assembly.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Golf's Storied St. Andrews Old Course Gets Facelift

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Egypt's Constitution Vote Mired In Controversy

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And in Egypt, a panel of Islamist lawmakers has approved a new draft constitution, but what should have been a welcome step in the country's transition to democracy is instead mired in controversy. NPR's Leila Fadel has our story from Cairo.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

PRESIDENT MOHAMMED MORSI: (Foreign language spoken)

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Middle East
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Damascus Remains Cut Off By Fighting

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

For a second day, the Syrian capital, Damascus is cut off from the outside world, with the international airport shut, the Internet down and mobile phone lines working sporadically. There are reports of fierce clashes around the capital and heavy airstrikes in the capital's suburbs and in the northern city of Aleppo.

Middle East
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

U.N.'s Palestine Vote: Symbolic Or Game-Changer?

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a very different emotion on the West Bank, where Palestinians are reveling today in their new status as a non-member observer state in the United Nations. What that change means depends on who's talking. NPR's Philip Reeves was in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as the vote was announced.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, CROWD CHATTER)

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Middle East
3:37 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Flights Into Syria Cancelled As Rebels Make Gains

At least two international airlines have cancelled flights to Damascus amid reports of heavy fighting along the Syrian highway that links the airport to the capital. There were also reports on Thursday that the Internet was down virtually throughout the country. Some land lines have also been cut off. Melissa Block talks to Kelly McEvers.

Middle East
3:37 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Palestinians See U.N. Status Vote As A Game Changer

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:40 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There was celebration in Palestinian territories tonight after Palestinians won an upgrade in their status at the United Nations. The U.N. General Assembly voted today overwhelmingly in favor of making Palestine a non-member observer state. That's the same status as the Vatican. The vote was 138 in favor, nine against, with 41 abstentions. The U.S. and Israel argue this will make peace negotiations even more difficult. The Palestinians say it's simply a move toward a more level playing field. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Media
3:37 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

U.K. Judge: British Press Needs Powerful Watchdog

An eight month investigation into phone hacking and other abuses by British newspapers has concluded that the industry needs a powerful new watchdog with some legal powers to wield carrots and sticks.

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