World News

China: Change Or Crisis
9:31 am
Mon October 29, 2012

At 79, Ex-Party Official Lambastes Chinese Leaders

Once a top Communist Party figure, 79-year-old Bao Tong was kicked out after he sympathized with the student protesters in 1989.
Louisa Lim NPR

The frail 79-year-old in a pale brown shirt with close-cropped hair sitting at a fast-food restaurant table looks absolutely unremarkable. But Bao Tong has a lightness in his eyes, a confidence that speaks of a man whose conscience is clear, a man with nothing to fear.

"I have become my own person," he says. "When I was a Communist Party member, I had to follow party discipline. When they threw me out of the party, my brain was set free."

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The Two-Way
5:28 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Afghan Army Seeks Better Equipment, But Lacks Basic Skills

Afghan National Army soldiers at Camp Joyce base in Kunar Province in August.
AFP Getty Images

One of the most common complaints from Afghan forces and officials is that they don't have the equipment they need to lead the fight in Afghanistan. They routinely call on NATO to provide more cutting-edge hardware for Afghan troops.

Certainly, when you see a U.S. soldier standing next to an Afghan one, the difference is striking. U.S. soldiers are often saddled with pounds and pounds of electronics and gadgets, ranging from GPS units to night-vision goggles and radio-jamming devices.

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Rocker Gary Glitter Arrested In Connection With U.K. Sex Abuse Investigation

Former British rock star Gary Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, returns home in central London on Sunday after he was arrested earlier in the day by British police as they investigate the mountain of sexual abuse allegations against the late TV star Jimmy Savile.
AFP/Getty Images

There's a new development in the British investigation into the allegations of child sex abuse against a late BBC television host: U.K. media, including the BBC, are reporting that police Sunday arrested rocker and convicted sex offender Gary Glitter on suspicion of sex offenses.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Sweden Wants Your Trash

In May 2011, uncollected rubbish piled up in Naples, Italy. Sweden hopes Italy might be willing to export the problem.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 11:59 am

Move over Abba, Sweden has found new fame. The small Nordic country is breaking records — in waste. Sweden's program of generating energy from garbage is wildly successful, but recently its success has also generated a surprising issue: There is simply not enough trash.

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Asia
4:21 am
Sun October 28, 2012

With Barbs, Author Becomes Literary Star In China

Blogger and race car driver Han Han doesn't shy away from skewering Chinese government and society.
Robert Cianflone Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 5:41 pm

Not so long ago, many Chinese commentators wrote in a cautious, oblique style designed not to offend the nation's famously humorless leaders — then came the Internet, blogs and a cheeky young man named Han Han.

The voice of China's post-'80s generation, Han is ironic, skeptical and blunt — writing what many young Chinese think but dare not say publicly.

Now 30 years old, Han has boy-band good looks, drives race cars and has 8 million followers on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

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The Two-Way
4:14 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

A Flurry Of Contradicting 'Facts' Convolutes Reality In Afghanistan

U.S. troops patrol in the Baraki Barak district of Logar province, Afghanistan.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:43 pm

Reporting in Afghanistan isn't just challenging because of the security concerns and the complexity of society and the stories here; it's challenging because "facts" are often in the eye of the beholder. Just last week, an incident that seemed to be factual is now an open question: Was there a deadly firefight or not?

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NPR Story
3:04 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

On Women's Rights, Chile Is Full Of Contradictions

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 5:45 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Now to a story that comes to us from Chile, which has such a thriving economy that it's often heralded as the most developed country in Latin America. But Chile lags when it comes to equality and women's rights. Women couldn't vote for president until 1952, and less than half of the women who can work do. They also earn a quarter less than men.

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It's All Politics
1:25 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

Among Israelis, Romney Appears The Favorite

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney places a prayer note during a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in July. Israel is one of the few foreign countries where residents have a clear preference for Romney over President Obama.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 7:51 am

Israelis view the American presidential election much the way they tend to view most issues: What does it mean for Israel?

And by a wide margin, Israelis seem to believe that Republican candidate Mitt Romney would be more attentive to Israel's interests than President Obama.

The Peace Index Poll, commissioned by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute, found that Romney was favored 2-to-1 by Israelis back in August.

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Middle East
8:09 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Little Festivity As Syria's Holiday Cease-Fire Fails

Children run after a truck loaded with presents for Eid Al-Adha in a refugee camp near Atma, Idlib province, Syria. A powerful car bomb exploded in Damascus on Friday and scattered fighting broke out in several areas across Syria, quickly dashing any hopes that a holiday cease-fire would hold.
Manu Brabo AP

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 7:27 pm

Eid al-Adha is one of the holiest days on the Muslim calendar. The day marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. It's the feast of the sacrifice, when any Muslim who is able should sacrifice an animal and donate the meat to the poor.

There is little to celebrate in Syria's largest city, Aleppo, however. A cease-fire called for the holiday is already crumbling, and in some areas it never took hold.

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World
5:00 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Reporter's Notebook: Celebrating In Pakistan

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 9:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Muslims around the world are celebrating the holy festival of Eid this weekend. That includes almost all of the people of Pakistan. NPR's Philip Reeves is in that country, and sent us this postcard.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISES)

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Asia
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Muslim And Buddhist Fighting In Myanmar Kills 67

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has won praise for its unexpected transformation from military dictatorship to civilian rule. But that progress has been overshadowed this week. Fighting among Muslims and Buddhists in the west of the country has killed at least 67 people.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

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Middle East
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Syria's Cease-Fire Barely Lasts A Few Hours

The guns have fallen silent in some areas of Aleppo, but there are still reports of scattered fighting in several parts of Syria. The military and Syrian rebels had agreed to a temporary cease-fire during the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice.

Israeli-Palestinian Coverage
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Airstrikes Dampen Mood In Gaza On Eid Al-Adha

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 6:45 pm

The religious holiday Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, began on Friday across the Muslim world. What is normally a time of celebration is for the 1.6 million residents of the Gaza Strip a reminder of their desperate financial straits after five years of Israeli blockade. This week's fierce exchange of Palestinian rockets and Israeli air and artillery strikes has also sparked fears of another Israeli military operation in Gaza.

World
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

What's A Lake Doing In The Middle Of The Desert?

A midas fly touches down on the sands of the desert in the United Arab Emirates. A lake in the area has brought new forms of wildlife, but some scientists are concerned it could harm the habitat of the midas fly.
Brigitte Howarth

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:37 pm

One place you don't expect to see waves lapping against the shore is in the middle of a desert. But that's exactly what's happening deep inside the United Arab Emirates, where a recently formed lake is nestled into the sand dunes, and a new ecosystem is emerging.

Drive through the desert in the United Arab Emirates, and all you see mile after mile are red, rolling dunes. Maybe some occasional trees or shrubs, but otherwise a dry, red sandscape.

And then, suddenly, a bright blue spot comes into view. It must be a mirage, you think. But it's not.

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Shots - Health News
11:39 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Malaria Creeps Back Into Greece Amid Health Budget Cuts

Health employees protest outside the Health Ministry in Athens against pay and budget cuts. Fewer resources for malaria treatment and mosquito control may be contributing to malaria's comeback in Greece.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

After a 40-year hiatus, malaria is returning to Greece.

Some 70 cases have been reported there this year, and at least 12 people appear to have been infected in the country. (The others picked up the disease elsewhere.)

That's a concern for health workers because it means malaria may now be endemic to Greece — and not just hitching a ride with travelers.

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Faith Matters
10:01 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Taking The Sacred Hajj Pilgrimage ... VIP Style

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll sit down with MacArthur Genius fellow, Maurice Lim Miller, and talk about what some call his groundbreaking work on poverty.

But, first, it's time for Faith Matters. That's the part of the program when we talk about faith, religion and spirituality. Many of us are familiar with significant spending on religious holidays and rituals like massive Christmas parties and lavish bar mitzvahs.

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World
3:53 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

As Somalia's War Ebbs, Mogadishu Dares To Rebuild

Somalis chat at a beach-side restaurant earlier this month. After two decades of civil war, Somali's capital, Mogadishu, is beginning to recover.
Feisal Omar Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:37 pm

There is a remarkable change going on in Mogadishu, Somalia — often dubbed the world's most dangerous city. For starters, it may not deserve that title anymore.

Last year, African Union forces drove the Islamist militant group al-Shabab out of Mogadishu. Now, Somalia has a new president and prime minister who have replaced the corrupt and unpopular transitional government.

Hope is edging aside despair, and Mogadishu is coming back to life.

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Europe
3:07 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Brits Now Have Six Years To Sue Over Unequal Pay

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:53 pm

Britain's Supreme Court has ruled that anyone who believed they were paid less than colleagues of the opposite sex can sue in civil courts, where the statute of limitations is six years. Until now Britons, like Americans, could only file discrimination cases within six months. The initial case involved 174 former "dinner ladies" and other city employees in Birmingham — but it may have reverberations at private and public sector workplaces.

Middle East
3:07 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Temporary Ceasefire May Be On The Way In Syria

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:53 pm

Syria's government has indicated it may accept a UN-Arab League proposal for a four-day ceasefire during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. The United States is cautiously welcoming the news.

Strange News
3:07 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Manitoba Town Offers New Residents Land For $10

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:53 pm

Reston, Manitoba, Canada wants you. The small town is trying to attract new residents and is offering plots of land for $10 to encourage growth. Audie Cornish and Melissa Block have more on what Reston has to offer.

Shots - Health News
10:06 am
Wed October 24, 2012

How Does The Polio Vaccine Reach A Remote Corner Of The World?

Health workers transport the polio vaccine by donkey in southeastern Pakistan.
Asad Zaidi Courtesy of UNICEF Pakistan.

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:00 pm

In the past week, we've had a lot to say about polio — from its history in the U.S. to vaccination efforts in Nigeria and Pakistan.

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The Salt
10:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

When Fire Met Food, The Brains Of Early Humans Grew Bigger

Actors Stan Laurel and Edna Marlon play at socializing around the campfire. It turns out that early man's brain developed in part thanks to cooking.
Hulton Archive Getty

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 11:08 am

If you're reading this blog, you're probably into food. Perhaps you're even one of those people whose world revolves around your Viking stove and who believes that cooking defines us as civilized creatures.

Well, on the latter part, you'd be right. At least according to some neuroscientists from Brazil.

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Reports: Militants Quickly Claimed Responsibility For Benghazi Attack

A burned vehicle outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after the Sept. 11 attack.
Esam Omran Al-Fetori Reuters /Landov

Reuters and Fox News have obtained copies of an email sent about two hours after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which the White House, Pentagon and other agencies are told that the Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia had "claimed responsibility."

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Afghanistan
3:04 am
Wed October 24, 2012

U.S. Eager To Step Aside; Are Afghan Forces Ready?

Afghan soldiers stand at attention during a ceremony transferring authority from NATO-led troops to Afghan security forces in Afghanistan's Kunar province. The transfer of responsibility for security from NATO-led ISAF forces to Afghan troops is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:30 am

America's exit strategy in Afghanistan is to have Afghan forces take the lead in fighting for their country. But too often these days, the job still falls to U.S. troops.

A senior officer in Afghanistan tells NPR that Americans continue to coddle Afghan forces and that this must stop. Tough love is in, the officer says. He says the Afghan forces are far more capable than the U.S. estimates and have simply grown accustomed to the U.S. doing everything for them.

That pretty much sums up the situation in southern Afghanistan earlier this year.

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World
3:01 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Sheep Thrills: Senegal's 'Idol'-Style Pageant For Rams

Breeder Pape Dieng massages the head of his ram, Salmane, as judges decide the results of the national final of the televised sheep reality competition Khar Bii, in Dakar, Senegal, on Saturday. Salmane finished third.
Rebecca Blackwell AP

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 11:02 am

Senegal is awash with rams — stunning, immaculately groomed specimens, each with its own name and colorful, custom-made collar and tinkling sheep bell.

Everywhere you go, you hear "baa, baa" — sheep in their dozens, or alone, bleating from up above on a veranda or in a specially created enclosure in a backyard.

Many of the rams are bathed lovingly in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, on the fringes of the capital, Dakar. The sheep are fed the best of everything and proudly paraded up and down the beaches.

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Remembrances
3:45 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Director Was Patriarch Of India's Film Industry

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:18 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. A titan of Indian cinema has died. The director and producer Yash Chopra was a master of the Bollywood musical and patriarch of India's film industry.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

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Middle East
3:43 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Qatari Emir First World Leader To Visit Gaza In Years

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The Emir of Qatar visited the Gaza Strip today. He's the first world leader to do so since 2007, when the Islamist movement Hamas seized control of the Palestinian territory and Israel responded with a blockade. The emir called on Hamas to reconcile with the rival Fatah movement. He also promised some $400 million in reconstruction projects, as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Gaza.

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Media
3:43 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

BBC Head Grilled Over Savile Sex Abuse Scandal

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:18 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The new head of the British Broadcasting Corporation got a grilling today. It came from British lawmakers probing a widening pedophile scandal at the BBC. George Entwistle was asked how the late DJ and show host Jimmy Savile could get away with molesting underage girls for decades, and the members of Parliament wanted to know why and how a BBC expose on Savile was killed before it could air last year. Vicki Barker reports.

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Asia
3:39 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Is China An Economic Partner, Adversary Or Both?

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:39 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Is China an economic partner, an adversary, or both? In last night's debate we heard slightly different answers from President Obama and Mitt Romney.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEBATE)

MITT ROMNEY: We can be a partner with China. We don't have to be an adversary in any way, shape or form. We can work with them. We can collaborate with them, if they're willing to be responsible.

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Science
3:36 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Italian Seismologists Convicted Of Manslaughter

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:18 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Scientists around the world were stunned yesterday when a judge in Italy found six Italian earthquake experts and a government official guilty of manslaughter. The judge found that the men downplayed the risk of a major earthquake in the city of L'Aquila. A 6.3 magnitude quake struck in early April 2009 and killed more than 300 people. Shortly before that earthquake struck, the scientists had held a meeting in L'Aquila to examine a recent spate of tremors, a so-called swarm of seismic activity.

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