Egypt has stepped up negotiations on a cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Hamas' top leader and two senior Israeli envoys were in Cairo and met separately with Egyptian officials, including President Mohammed Morsi. One of Morsi's aides said a truce deal could be imminent.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
Mumbai was shut down yesterday for a funeral. Not just any funeral, the funeral of Bal Thackeray, the 86-year-old political boss of the city and the Indian state of Maharashtra. Thackeray was a Hindu nationalist extremist who championed the local Marati population of Mumbai against newcomers to the city, including Muslims.
More now on Hamas, which is an Islamist group. It won the 2006 legislative elections in the Palestinian territories. After briefly belonging to a coalition with the nationalist Fatah movement, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip, and it has governed there ever since, under a blockade. For more on Hamas, we're joined now by Professor Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University. Welcome to the program once again.
Israeli war planes bombed the center of Gaza City again on Monday, as the Palestinian death toll neared the 100 mark. At least one Palestinian journalist was killed in an air strike on a building that housed media organizations, including those affiliated with Hamas and other militant groups. Israeli officials, meanwhile, say they are still hoping for a ceasefire agreement that would make a ground offensive into Gaza unnecessary. Audie Cornish talks to Sheera Frenkel.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington, Neal Conan is away. Conflict between Israel and Gaza continues for a sixth day, as Israel has responded to a barrage of rocket fire from Hamas with air strikes and missiles fired by the Israeli navy. More than 90 Palestinians have been killed and three Israelis. Israel has called up tens of thousands of reservists in case of a possible ground invasion.
Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:49 am
This round of Israeli-Palestinian fighting may seem almost identical to all the battles that came before. After all, the Israelis and Palestinians waged an intense fight over the Gaza Strip just four years ago, in December 2008 and January 2009.
But since then, the Arab Spring and its aftermath have radically altered the dynamics of the Middle East. Here are several reasons to look at this clash from a different perspective:
NPR's Scott Horsley, reporting on 'Morning Edition'
We've noted before that whether you call the Southeast Asian nation Burma or Myanmar has mattered to many for many years.
It's official U.S. policy, out of support for the opposition that has pressed for democratic reform in that country, to call it Burma. That's the name the nation was known by before a military regime took power in 1989 and started using Myanmar.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 7:07 am
President Obama, in the midst of a five-day trip to Asia, is making stops in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. But the strongest diplomatic signals are probably aimed farther north, at China, which has significant economic and strategic interests in the region.
Obama, who has billed himself as "America's first Pacific president" has already made several trips to Asia, but his administration's goal of making a "pivot" to the region — both militarily and diplomatically — has been hamstrung by the need to wind down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On 'Morning Editon': Sheera Frankel reports about 'Iron Dome'
(We rewrote the top of this post at 7:45 p.m. ET to sum up the day's news.)
The sixth day of Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip saw Israel striking a media center and other Palestinian targets, raising the Palestinian death toll to more than 100. Palestinian militants fired 95 rockets at Israel; a third of them were intercepted by Iron Dome, the Israeli missile shield. Also Monday, a flurry of diplomacy that attempted to mediate a cease-fire between the two sides.
Hamas militants have fired hundreds of missiles at Israel since the conflict intensified last week. Many of those missiles have fallen prey to Iron Dome, the U.S.-funded anti-missile system deployed in key areas across Israel.
In the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, guests at a wedding had barely managed to get through the hors d'oeuvres when a siren sounded warning of incoming rocket fire.
But instead of taking cover, the guests point at the sky and gawk as Israel's Iron Dome missile interceptor system explodes six Hamas rockets in midair.
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The day had started with more intense air attacks between Israel and the militant Hamas rulers of Gaza. Overnight air raids pushed the Palestinian death toll to more than 90, with more than 700 wounded. The numbers on the Israeli side are dramatically lower, with three dead so far.
President Obama paid a historic visit to Myanmar today. The southeast Asian country, also known as Burma, is tiptoeing towards democracy after almost 50 years in military rule. Mr. Obama met with the former leader who is now the president of Burma and with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is not a member of parliament after years of house arrest. The visit is the centerpiece of the president's three-day Asian tour, which is meant to underscore the United States' growing involvement in the region.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
Israel is now warning of a possible significant expansion of its operation aimed at Palestinian militants in Gaza. Earlier today, an Israeli air strike on a suspected Hamas target killed at least 10 people, and Hamas fired dozens of missiles into Israel. We'll get to our cover story on legacy and the Obama White House in a few moments, but first to the Middle East and our reporter in Cairo, Leila Fadel.
Let's turn to another story we're following today: President Obama's visit to Asia. He's in Thailand today, the first stop on a three-country tour of Southeast Asia that will take him to Myanmar, the country also known as Burma.
NPR's Scott Horsley is traveling with the president and joins us now. And, Scott, the president obviously trying to shine the spotlight on Asia, but all in the midst of escalating violence in the Middle East. How is he staying on top of it?
Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:45 am
The Israeli bombardment of Gaza continued Sunday — with one missile strike flattening a two-story building in Gaza City, killing at least 11 people, including women and children; another hit a media building and injured six journalists. Israel says its actions have been prompted by a barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, targeting Israeli cities. Meanwhile, diplomatic negotiations are under way, but Israel is continuing preparations for a ground invasion.
We turn now to the Israeli side of the border, where sirens have been warning civilians to take cover from incoming rocket fire. It's also where the Israeli military has been gathering ground forces in preparation for a possible invasion. Despite the talk of cease-fire, analysts say it's anyone's guess how much longer this most recent round of hostilities will continue. Reporter Sheera Frenkel is on the border and she filed this report.
An unusual list of words popped up recently on China's Twitter equivalent, Weibo. The words are in English, but they've gone viral on the Chinese Twittersphere. Chinese "netizens" have come up with satirical misspellings of "democrazy" and "freedamn."
Fierce fighting has continued in recent days between the Syrian Army and rebels in the suburbs. The Syrian Opposition has been fragmented, but this month its factions reached a new understanding and appointed a leader. Host Rachel Martin discusses latest developments in the Syria crisis with NPR's Deborah Amos and Kelly McEvers.
The conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip continues to escalate after Israeli airstrikes flattened key targets in Gaza, and Palestinian rockets threatened deeper into Israel than ever before.
The death toll in Gaza doubled overnight to at least 39 people, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Gaza City. Around 300 airstrikes overnight hit the Hamas prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels, among other targets.
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:30 am
Sarah and Yael Levintin raised their wine glasses to the sky and toasted the Iron Dome system that had just been deployed outside Israel's commercial center.
The two sisters decided to leave their apartment Friday evening after two rockets fired into the Tel Aviv area were successfully intercepted by the system.
"We had stayed home all day because we didn't want to take the chance that, you know, we'd be away from the bomb shelter," said Yael Levintin. "We aren't used to war. I guess we are kind of babies about it."
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:29 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The violence in Gaza is the first escalation of this intensity since uprisings in the Arab world almost two years ago. We're joined now by Rob Malley. He's with the International Crisis Group. He joins us from Dubai. Mr. Malley, thanks so much for being with us.
ROB MALLEY: Thanks for having me.
SIMON: And do you think a ground war is just a matter of time?
Sierra Leone's "blood diamonds" helped fuel atrocities in the impoverished West African nation in the 1990s. The war has now been over for a decade, and the country's most valuable resource is no longer known as the product of a conflict. But it remains a contentious issue.
President Obama hasn't even named his choice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who plans to step down at the end of this term. But there's been a lot of heated rhetoric this week over one of the front-runners, Susan Rice.
Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of the administration on five Sunday talk shows days after the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. At the time, she suggested the attack began as a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video. U.S. officials now say it was a terrorist attack.
Yesterday on the program, we talked with Israel's ambassador to the United States. And today, we'll hear from a leader of Hamas, Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad. I asked him why Hamas had launched a rocket attack on Jerusalem, which is after all one of Islam's holiest cities.
GHAZI HAMAD: Look, now there is open war now that Israel targeting on regions and all cities in Gaza. So maybe the equation is that if Gaza is not there, Tel Aviv will not be safe and Jerusalem will not be safe.