Rio de Janeiro is set to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and there are two starkly different visions of what that will mean for the "marvelous city," as it is known.
"I would love to be born in Rio in 2020. The babies that are born here in 2020 will be born in a marvelous city ... because of the games," says Leonardo Gryner, the chief operating officer of Rio's Olympic Organizing Committee.
The film's protagonist is Heinrich Himmler, the merciless Nazi leader and a key architect of the Final Solution. The film's director is Vanessa Lapa, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors. Her family recently came into possession of long-lost private letters, diaries and photographs belonging to Himmler.
If you can barely swing a hammer, you can still build your own home.
Builders at the Maker Faire in New York City proved this point last fall, with something akin to an old-fashioned barn-raising.
The event celebrates the do-it-yourself aesthetic, particularly when it comes to digital fabrication and open-source construction plans. Using wooden mallets cut from plywood, a crew of eight banged together the slotted frame of a WikiHouse without a single nail.
Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:45 am
After hearing that the 22 men who have made it to safety so far were all arrested, an unknown number of other South Africans are refusing to leave the illegal gold mine where they were briefly trapped over the weekend.
Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 1:14 pm
"Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed" by the leaders of North Korea against their own people, the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights declared Monday in a report that goes on to accuse that nation's communist regime of "crimes against humanity."
Rescue efforts have been underway at an illegal gold mine near Johannesburg, where a group of miners were trapped by boulders they say were placed there by a gang of rivals. Some of the men refused rescue because those let out were being arrested by local police for their unauthorized excavations. Renee Montagne talks to David Smith, a reporter for Britain's Guardian newspaper in Johannesburg.
The West Bank city of Ramallah is normally off-limits to Israelis by Israeli law. But yesterday, 300 Israeli college students and other young leaders, with special permission from the military, traveled to Ramallah to hear Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas speak. An Israeli politician organized the unusual gathering, calling it a chance for Israelis to get to know what many of there see as their enemy.
Tens of thousands of Muslims are fleeing what the U.N. calls a campaign of "ethno-religious cleansing" in the Central African Republic. On Sunday, African forces provided a military escort to hundreds of people on a slow convoy toward the Western border with Cameroon.
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White are favored to win gold in ice dancing. The pair took silver in the last Olympic Games in Vancouver, and expectations are high that they'll do even better in Sochi.
Let's check in on the Winter Olympics now. It's been a rough time so far for team USA. They have only won four gold medals in ski and snowboard slope style and in women's snowboard half pipe. The U.S. has struggled in the more traditional sports of the Winter Olympics. That could, though, change today. The U.S. has the best bobsledder in the world, Steve Holcomb. And he races the two-man today.
NPR's Robert Smith joins us from the Sanki Sliding track in the mountains above Sochi. Robert, good morning.
Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:33 am
In 2011, I crossed the border with other journalists into a country that had been cut off from the world for 42 years. We had no idea what to expect as we entered what the rebels were calling "Free Libya."
Where before there had been oppressive security, instead what greeted us was a motley group of ecstatic young men with guns who welcomed journalists to the land they'd liberated. There was no passport control, no rules and a sense of relief that the world would finally hear their stories.
The U.S. men's hockey team nearly shut out Slovenia in the Winter Olympics on Sunday but allowed one goal in the final seconds of the game. The 5-1 win gives the U.S. team an automatic spot in the quarterfinals.
Virtually every hockey game here in Russia is, of course, an away game for the U.S. team. The opposing teams have more fans, more flags, more face paint.
Each time one of Slovenia's players prepared to shoot, its fans chanted. But it was only at the very end of the game that they got to stand and cheer their lone goal.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The Central African Republic is a country in chaos. Muslim rebels seized power last year and then lost it as Christian militias have fought back. And the war rages on. France and other countries have sent peacekeeping troops to the CAR. And today, Muslims are being evacuated under the protection of those international troops.
NPR's Gregory Warner is in the Central African Republic. He joins us now on the line. Greg, where are you and what are you seeing?
Later this month, Pope Francis will welcome his first appointments to the College of Cardinals. Among the 19 men chosen for elevation are seven from Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa. This, say observers, reflects the pope's belief that the church must pay more attention to the poor.
One comes from Haiti, a country with a long, troubled history with the Catholic Church.
Bishop Chibly Langlois says he was skeptical when he heard he'd been chosen.
Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 11:30 am
Last August, Jeffrey Lewis saw a North Korean propaganda video, posted in April 2012, which showed its missile launchers holding intercontinental ballistic missiles, shot from an oddly-shaped building.
He was curious. So with a team of students, he modeled what the building would look like and searched for what North Korean defectors had said about the building where the missile launchers were supposedly made.
"I will admit I got a little bit obsessed with this," he says.
We have an update now on the efforts to end the civil war in Syria. A second round of talks in Geneva this week ended in a stalemate. Both sides have raised questions about whether a third round will go forward at all. In homes this week, some residents were allowed to flee the city, which has been under siege for more than two years, the only tangible success from the negotiations.
Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 12:36 pm
The wave just never stopped. The fans kept it going around Bolshoy Stadium at the Canada-Austria men's hockey match. Hands up, yell, sit, wait, repeat. Hands up, yell, sit, wait, repeat. As it moved, again and again, through the stands, the wave was strikingly red and white. A moving, yelling, living, breathing mass of Canadian pride.
It was Valentine's Day in Sochi. And the Canadians were in love — with their hockey teams, which are doing well, and with so many other athletes from their country. Canada is having a great run in Sochi, and its fans here are celebrating.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. and Russian hockey teams played into overtime and beyond at Winter Olympic in Sochi today. NPR's Robert Smith was in the Bolshoi Ice Dome and joins us now. Robert, thanks for being with us.
ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Oh, my pleasure.
SIMON: Boy, what a lucky guy you were to see this. Now, get away from the radio if you don't want to hear the score. We might drop it. This is a game that lived up to the hype.
The U.S. Olympic ice hockey team beat Russia 3-2 on the ice at the Sochi Games in a heart-stopping sudden-death shootout.
Although only a preliminary round, the contest was reminiscent of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" at the Lake Placid Games when a group of American college players beat the formidable Soviet team in what became a touchstone of Cold War Olympic rivalry.
T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues scored the game-winning point in the eighth round of the shootout that ended the clash among some of international hockey's best players.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This month marks the third anniversary of Libya's uprising against a brutal dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. After a bloody civil war, he was ousted and later killed - and now Libya is trying to rebuild itself. But the process has been slow. The divided nation still has a weak government and is awash with weapons. NPR's Leila Fadel has just returned from Tripoli and joins us from Cairo. Leila, thanks so much for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The big event today at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi is the U.S.A.-Russia men's hockey game. It is already underway in the Bolshoi Ice Dome. The U.S.A. or Russia can lose and still make the finals but the emotional stakes of these two old rivals meeting today in Russia is huge. NPR's Robert Smith is at the game. He sent us a list of how he prepared for the big event.
In Ottawa, Canada, winter's something to celebrate. Each year, the city turns out for a three-week festival, complete with ice sculpting, music, fireworks, and skating on the city's frozen canals, essentially the world's largest ice rink. North Country Public Radio's Sarah Harris spent an afternoon on the ice and sent this audio postcard.
On Thursday night, I stayed at a motel in the town of Hirono, just outside a restricted zone in Fukushima Prefecture. The motel's residents were all men, all apparently working on the cleanup of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors melted down and a fourth caught on fire after a quake and tsunami in 2011.
I was told that, except for a few elderly residents, most of Hirono's inhabitants had left for other places.
Riding the bus to Beirut's southern suburbs used to be a bumpy, crowded but fun experience. Everyone crammed in next to each other, bouncing around on the way to the area they call the Dahiyeh, the Arabic word for "suburb."
This sprawling southern district of Lebanon's capital is the place where the Shiite militant group Hezbollah enjoys its strongest support. But it is also a bustling, residential area. There are garages and vegetable stalls. And in the center of the neighborhood, there are juice bars and cafes.
Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 2:25 pm
Passage of a bill to increase the Turkish government's control over the country's judicial system on Saturday came down to a real fight in Parliament, literally.
Two members of Parliament were injured — one with a broken nose — during debate over the controversial measure to give the Justice Ministry greater control over the selection of judges. The measure ultimately passed, but not before some minor bloodshed.