It's midday in the cafeteria of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, and legislators and their aides are busy wheeling and dealing over lunch.
Gil Hoffman, political analyst for The Jerusalem Post newspaper, surveys the cafeteria floor with an expert's eye.
"Never a dull moment in election season," he says. "This is where the politicians, when there is something really important to get across to the press, this is where they do it; this is where they meet and make whatever political deals they need to get ahead."
Pakistan is one of the remaining corners of the world where polio still lingers. Last year, the government declared a national emergency, and with the help of international institutions, embarked on an aggressive vaccination campaign.
So far, the results have been promising. The number of new polio cases is about a third of last year's total of 198.
But the new campaign, like previous efforts, hasn't been able to overcome one critical problem: getting into parts of Pakistan's lawless tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan to vaccinate the children there.
The rebels of the Free Syrian Army recently retook the small farming village of Khirbet al-Joz, just across the border from Turkey. Soon after, Syrian men who had been in Turkish refugee camps returned to the village to see what had happened to their homes.
Activists from a group called the Syrian Emergency Task Force also visited Khirbet al-Joz and filmed video of villagers as they toured the charred ruins.
One man points to a hole in the wall: "Look, this is where the rocket entered. These are Bashar's reforms," he says, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In 1990, a bloodless revolution brought down the Communist government of Mongolia,and their memorials to communist heroes were destroyed or sold for scrap. But one remaining statue of Lenin is being sold at auction.
After controlling the comings and goings of its citizens for 50 years, Cuba is relaxing its grip. The government announced it would eliminate the exit visa requirements. That announcement has been welcomed by many there, but as Nick Miroff reports from Havana, not all Cubans will be treated equally when the new immigration rules take effect in January.
NICK MIROFF, BYLINE: Cuban broadcasters read the announcement word-for-word on state television, just in case there were some who wouldn't have believed it otherwise.
It was, in the words of one specialist in recovering stolen art, a hell of a haul. The haul being the theft of seven paintings from a museum in the Netherlands, among them were works by such masters as Picasso, Monet, Matisse and Gauguin. Thieves defeated a sophisticated alarm system, lifted the canvases from the walls, and disappeared into the darkness, overnight Tuesday. It's being described as one of the biggest and most daring art heists in modern history.
Cuba has announced it will lift travel requirements and allow Cubans to travel freely in and out of their country. It's the first major change to the travel restrictions that were laid down over half a century ago.
The Romney campaign has accused the Obama administration of being too soft on China. Critics of China's trade policy say Beijing keeps its exchange rate artificially low in order to make Chinese products cheaper than products made in the U.S., thus giving China an unfair trade advantage. President Obama, like his predecessors, has declined to identify China officially as a "currency manipulator," saying that designation would have no beneficial effect and could spark a new trade war. Governor Romney says he would reverse that policy on his first day in office.
The U.K. has denied extradition to the United States for a computer hacker who is accused of breaking into military systems. British authorities say they feared he would commit suicide. The U.S. sought Gary McKinnon's extradition in relation to an incident 10 years ago.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility for security lapses at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist attack last month.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we've been talking a lot about the national debt this election year, but did you know that Americans, as a group, owe more than a trillion dollars in student loan debt? In a few minutes, we'll speak with a former college professor, who says faculty advisors need to be doing more to help students think that through. That's in just a few minutes.
In America, vineyards are usually tucked in out-of-the-way rural areas, among country lanes. But in France, where great wine is a way of life, vineyards are everywhere — even in the middle of the country's biggest city.
High on the hills of the neighborhood of Montmartre in Paris is Clos Montmartre, the city's last working vineyard.
In Turkey's southern Hatay province, it is harvest time — the second harvest since the uprising began in neighboring Syria.
In the village of Hacipasa, Turkey, located right along the Syrian border, children play alongside tents on the edge of the farm fields. The tents belong not to Syrian refugees, but to Turkish farmworkers helping to bring in the cotton, tomatoes, peppers and pomegranates waiting to be harvested.
The small town of Bejucal, 20 miles south of Havana, looks much as it did in October 1962. Horse carts carry passengers and fresh-cut green bananas through narrow streets lined with pastel-colored homes.
The sleepy town doesn't seem like the kind of place to put an arsenal of nuclear weapons. But a military bunker here was the biggest storage depot on the island for the Soviet nuclear weapons 50 years ago.
Cambodia's former King Norodom Sihanouk dominated his country's politics through more than a half century of foreign invasion, genocide and civil war.
The monarch of the small Southeast Asian country, who often felt himself better suited to art than to statecraft, died of a heart attack Monday in Beijing, where he was receiving medical treatment. He as 89.
"The King Father," as Sihanouk was known in Cambodia, spent many years in exile in the Chinese capital, beginning in 1970.
Two Americans, Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley, have won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics. Their research on market design has found many practical applications. It's at the heart of the system used to match medical school graduates with residency programs and is even used in the market that matches human organ donors and recipients.
Japan's Softbank has announced it will spend $20 billion to take a majority stake in Sprint-Nextel. The deal will provide Sprint, the third largest carrier in the U.S. market, with some much needed cash. It also gives Softbank the opening it's been looking for to break into the U.S. market.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
In recent days, the name Malala has reverberated around the world. She's the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban. She was targeted because she blogged about what life is like for a child living under Islamist militant rule and she publicly campaigning against Islamist' ban on girls' education.
Scotland took a step towards independence today, at least a step towards a vote on the subject. British Prime Minister David Cameron met in Edinburgh with the head of the semiautonomous Scottish government. And together, they signed off on an independence referendum to be held in two years.
But as Vicki Barker reports, it's not clear people in Scotland want independence.
VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: The two men smiled as they exchange copies of the agreement for each other to sign.
Sixty years ago, polio was one of the most feared diseases in the U.S.
As the weather warmed up each year, panic over polio intensified. Late summer was dubbed "polio season." Public swimming pools were shut down. Movie theaters urged patrons not to sit too close together to avoid spreading the disease. Insurance companies started selling polio insurance for newborns.
The fear was well grounded. By the 1950s, polio had become one of the most serious communicable diseases among children in the United States.
Jerusalem is known for its bitter politics, a divided city where decades of religious and political strife have torn away shared spaces. But as British-Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi tells NPR's Melissa Block, if there's one place in which Jerusalemites of all stripes still stand united, it's in their love of food.
The numbers coming out of Syria these days are staggering: hundreds of thousands of refugees, tens of thousands dead. The struggle, and the death, is being captured regularly on social media. The documentation not only serves as a bulletin for foreigners, but also as an alert for those with family members who become victims.
When Syrians first started protesting in March of last year, Fadi Zeidan was there. He and his friends thought the Syrian uprising would be fast, like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
Two Americans have been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Economics for work that has to do with matching in business, medicine and marriage. The two, whose work turned out to be a good match, are Alvin Roth of Harvard and Lloyd Shapely of the University of California, Los Angeles. They will share the $1.2 million prize.