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Rebels in Syria are making slow but steady advances in the north of their country. Last week, they captured a third major border crossing between Syria and Turkey, and they claim to now control a similar border crossing with Iraq. The rebels say it's all part of a strategy to secure a kind of safe zone in the north, as they try to topple the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring last year, and many regard it as the most Western-looking nation in the Arab world. Yet it's also waging a roaring debate over how to define freedom of expression in an evolving society.
Tunisian protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy recently in response to the anti-Muslim video Innocence of Muslims. This was just the latest of several episodes in which hard-line Muslims have acted out publicly to what they see as attacks on their religion.
Spain is slashing another $50 billion from its budget — scrapping early retirement programs, hiking taxes and sparking public outrage in the streets. Madrid is struggling to avoid a second, larger European Union bailout, beyond what it's already getting for its banks. But markets have plummeted, dragged down by investors' doubts about whether Spain can go it alone.
Two weeks after the attacks that killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, there is still confusion about what exactly happened and whether the United States might have prevented the tragedy. Critics of the Obama administration accuse the White House of dissembling about the attack. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston talks to Melissa Block.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 9:48 am
Israeli Prime Minister laid out in some detail this afternoon his nation's case for taking stronger action against Iran and his nation's response to what he said are "libelous" accusations about how Israel treats Palestinians.
Taking to the stage just minutes after the head of the Palestinian Authority, Benjamin Netanyahu told United Nations delegates this afternoon that Israelis and Palestinians "won't solve our conflicts with libelous speeches at the U.N."
This week, we've been taking time to listen to several world leaders address the U.N. General Assembly in New York with special emphasis on the looming crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. We heard from President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday, from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the gathering and outlined the situation in stark terms. He warned that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb by next summer.
China has been plagued by political scandal and controversy, just as the Communist government prepares for its once-a-decade transfer of power. It's an important moment for the government, which faces questions about how its economy will be governed and how it will handle deal with foreign powers.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 9:47 am
Israel's government effectively rejects a "two-state solution" to its impasse with Palestinians and instead continues to wage a "campaign of ethnic cleansing" in the territories where his people live, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told delegates to the United Nations this afternoon.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 9:47 am
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the U.N. General Assembly today he will "argue for the need to set a 'red line' for Iran's nuclear program," Reuters reports.
NPR's Michele Kelemen adds that Netanyahu has "been urging the Obama administration to spell out clear red lines that would trigger military action" against Iran if it appears to be near to developing or acquiring nuclear weapons.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 10:07 am
Less than a year ago, victorious militiamen swarmed the streets of Libya's major cities basking in their role as national liberators. Today, many of those same men present a challenge to the country's incoming rulers, who face the prospect of long-term instability if they fail to rein in armed irregulars.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 3:24 am
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested a connection between al-Qaida in North Africa and the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. She did not give any further details on what role the al-Qaida affiliate may have played in the attack
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Some called it awkward timing, others called it an outrage. Today, as Jews mark the high holy day of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, the president of Iran attacked Israel in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. His message came as no surprise. The U.S. stayed away, complaining about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repulsive slurs.
For more on Ahmadinejad's speech and the dynamics of political power in Iran, I'm joined by analyst Karim Sadjadpour, who specializes in Iranian politics and society. He's with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Welcome to the program.
KARIM SADJADPOUR: Thank you, Melissa.
BLOCK: We heard Ahmadinejad today make a point of saying that this was his eighth time speaking before the general assembly. Did you hear anything different in this swan song speech, either in tone or in content, than you've heard before?
Tens of thousands of Greeks protested austerity measures Wednesday in a largely peaceful demonstration. But the march broke up after a small band of hooded militants threw rocks and firebombs at riot police, who responded with rounds of tear gas that sent most of the crowd home. Anti-austerity protests have not abated in the two and a half years since Greece received hundreds of billions of euros in bailout loans from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The protests have brought down two governments and forced new elections, but they haven't rolled back austerity.
The possibility that Israel may launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities has sparked heated debate, and not only in policy circles. Analysts in the Persian Gulf region and beyond are contemplating the economic impact of a military conflict. NPR's Peter Kenyon just returned from a trip to the Persian Gulf and has this report.
When the economic crisis erupted in Greece and the bottom fell out of the domestic wine market, the Kir-Yianni vineyard outside picturesque Naoussa decided to adapt. Like other wineries in Greece, it has increasingly tapped the export market, successfully marketing and selling wine in Europe, the United States and even China.
"If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us," says Stellios Boutaris, the son of the company's founder. "It's going to make us stronger."
Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.
Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.
Earlier today, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations General Assembly while Israelis openly debate a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities and President Obama warned yesterday that time for diplomacy was not unlimited. President Ahmadinejad did not directly mention his country's nuclear program nor did he address the sanctions that strain Iran's economy. He did denounce what he called the hegemony of arrogance and laid out his vision for a new world order.
Or, more accurately, making sure Hegge Jeanette Oksnes has recently given birth — or is just about to.
Last week, her brother, 19-year-old Tord Oksnes, won 12.2 million kroner ($2.12 million) and became the latest member of the Oksnes family to win Norway's national lottery — a few months after his sister gave birth to her third child.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, it's been nearly 60 years since public schools were legally desegregated, but new research shows schools are still divided. That's in just a few minutes.
People are not getting much work done in parts of Europe. Last night, there were violent protests in Spain. They were protests against austerity measures, which is also the case in Greece, where a nationwide strike came today. It closed businesses and schools, and reporter Joanna Kakissis is following the story from Athens.
The CIA tells Pakistan in advance about "broad areas" where it intends to take aim at suspected terrorists with drone strikes and interprets the other government's silence and clearing of airspace as "tacit consent," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning.
Saying its sources are "U.S. officials" and "two senior [Obama] administration officials," the Journal adds that:
And let's go next to West Africa, where logging rights to more than 60 percent of Liberia's virgin rainforests have been granted to forestry companies since President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power six years ago. A British advocacy group says the majority of those contracts are unregulated and warns of fraud and mismanagement. The government of Liberia says it is commissioning a full-scale investigation.