World News

Middle East
3:54 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Syrian Peace Talks In Geneva Proceed Slowly

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 5:57 am

The Syrian peace talks are back in session in Geneva. U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi led the first joint session of this round on Tuesday. But there are no signs of progress, as the government and opposition delegates continue to bicker over the agenda for the talks.

NPR Story
3:22 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Snowborder Shaun White Will Leave Sochi Without A Medal

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 5:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Snowboarders have a new set of heroes who are not American. Last night, at the snowboard halfpipe event in Sochi, not a single member of Team USA was on the podium. The winners were Swiss and Japanese. Maybe the biggest disappointment was the fourth place finish by Shaun White. He's the American who, for years, has been the focal point of snowboarding's rise in popularity.

NPR's Robert Smith was there and tells us what it means for the sport.

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Parallels
1:35 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Samba School Murder Exposes The Dark Side Of Rio's Carnival

Viviane Araujo, a Salguiero samba school queen, performs at a rehearsal for Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Marcello da Cunha Freire, vice president of the popular samba school, was murdered last month in a drive-by shooting.
Lianne Milton for NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:44 am

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a glittering affair that attracts tourists from all over the world. There is, however, a murky and sometimes violent underbelly to the celebrations that recently came under the spotlight after the murder of a top samba school official.

One evening last month, Marcello da Cunha Freire was leaving his office in Rio's Vila Isabel neighborhood when a car pulled up next to him.

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Parallels
1:34 am
Wed February 12, 2014

For Elephants And Rhinos, Poaching Trends Point In Wrong Direction

Two adult white rhinos stand in an enclosure at South Africa's Entabeni Safari Conservancy in 2012. Entabeni is one of the world's only dedicated orphanages for rhino calves whose parents were poached for their horns — a trend that is rising.
Stephane De Sakutin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 2:48 pm

South Africa has a stable government that makes wildlife protection a high priority. But even in that country, there's been a dramatic surge in poaching, particularly for rhinos.

A decade ago, fewer than 100 rhinos were killed in a year. Last year, it was more than 1,000, says Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"When you're talking about something that is more valuable than gold, and it is easily accessible, you're going to create the atmosphere where people are going to take advantage of that," he says.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Budget Pruning Leaves Canadian Potted Plants Out To Dry

GCSurplus, the Canadian Government's site for the sale of surplus goods. Plants from the House of Commons may soon join them." href="/post/budget-pruning-leaves-canadian-potted-plants-out-dry" class="noexit lightbox">
Plants for auction on GCSurplus, the Canadian Government's site for the sale of surplus goods. Plants from the House of Commons may soon join them.
Courtesy of Public Works And Government Services Canada

In Canada, even the ficus trees haven't been spared the budget cut hatchet.

The potted plants in Canada's House of Commons buildings, the CBC reports, will soon be rounded up and auctioned off as part of federal belt-tightening measures.

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Parallels
2:53 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Iran's President Marks Revolution With Call For Negotiations

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during an annual rally commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at the Azadi Square in Tehran, on Tuesday. Rouhani called for "respectful, constructive" nuclear talks with world powers — a departure from the hard line of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 7:58 pm

Iran on Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, a day when the country's religious conservatives and military hard-liners take center stage, and calls of "Death to America" echo across the country.

In Tehran's Azadi Square, one man waving an orange "Down with the USA" flag condemned the U.S. and Israel, and then, perhaps not sure of the nationality of the reporter standing nearby, threw in England and France for good measure.

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Parallels
12:39 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

In Two Long-Frozen Asian Disputes, Everyone Agrees To Talk

Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, left, shakes hands with Zhang Zhijun, director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, before their meeting in Nanjing, China, on Tuesday.
Alexander F. Yuan AP

South Korea announced Tuesday it will hold its first high-level meeting in years with rival North Korea. If that development offered a glimmer of hope, another move was positively historic: Senior officials from China and Taiwan met Tuesday for the first time since the two rivals split more than six decades ago.

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Money Coach
9:57 am
Tue February 11, 2014

How Not To Get Swept Off Your Feet By A Sweetheart Scam

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:38 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now to matters of personal finance as we get close to Valentine's Day, which is Friday. And don't say I didn't remind you. Romance is in the air, and you might be looking for ways to touch your beloved's heart. But some scammers are thinking about ways to touch your wallet.

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Parallels
6:53 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Who's Going To Be Afghanistan's Next President?

Afghan presidential candidates Qayum Karzai (from left), Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah take part in a televised debate in Kabul on Saturday. With President Hamid Karzai stepping down, the presidential election set for April 5 will mark the first time the country has changed leaders at the ballot box.
Wakil Kohsar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:49 am

The United States is winding down more than 12 years of military involvement in Afghanistan, and for most Americans, the country is rapidly fading into the background.

At the same time, Afghans are entering uncharted territory. President Hamid Karzai, who has led Afghanistan since shortly after the Taliban were ousted in 2001, is barred from running for a third term.

So Afghanistan is poised to do what it's never done before: change leaders through a democratic election.

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Middle East
5:27 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Political Change Allows Ex-Iranian Diplomat To Visit Iran

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A former Iranian diplomat just got his first look at his country in years. Seyed Hossein Mousavian used to be part of Iran's nuclear negotiating team. Later he was accused of spying and left Iran for the U.S. Then, after years away, he was recently able to visit home. Mousavian's path, bouncing from one country to the other and back, reveals the complexity of U.S. relations with Iran.

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Middle East
5:27 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Iran Celebrates Revolution's 35th Anniversary

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Sports
3:04 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Olympic Snowboarders Groove To DJ Naka G

Who pumps up the crowd as Shaun White throws down in Sochi? DJ Naka G.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:29 am

It's hard to tell on TV, but in person, the Olympics are loud.

Every competition has its own DJ, and for the snowboarding, Russia has brought in a little help from the USA: Mike Nakagawa, better known as DJ Naka G.

The men's snowboarding team is hitting the halfpipe Tuesday in Sochi, and it's Naka G's job to pick the song for each rider.

"We're really providing the soundtrack for a story," he says. "We're making it dramatic. We're making it exciting. We're making it just pure fun."

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NPR Story
2:55 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Local Economy Suffers After Afghan Housing Bubble Bursts

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Most Americans who own a house know something about housing bubbles. This country is still recovering from the last one.

MONTAGNE: In Afghanistan, a housing bubble created by the influx of international organizations and their thousands of workers over the past 12 years, is bursting, and it's taking a big bite out of the local economy. NPR's Sean Carberry can hear the last gasp of that bubble on his own street.

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NPR Story
2:55 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Have A Lot Of Free Time? Watch All Of NBC's Olympic Coverage

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NBC says its coverage of the Winter Olympics drew more than 100 million viewers over the last weekend of the Games. That indicates lots of interest, which will fill more than 1,500 hours of coverage across all of NBC's platforms - broadcast network, cable channels and online. With all this coverage and so many ways to watch, we turn to NPR television critic now, Eric Deggans for some tips. Good morning.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: How are fans getting their Olympics coverage these days - for the most part?

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Sports
2:55 am
Tue February 11, 2014

U.S. Soccer Team Gets 'Tough' Draw In World Cup's First Round

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.S. soccer team got one of the toughest draws in the World Cup. The worst of the worst, as its head coach said. When they get to Brazil not only will they be playing in the opening round with some of the most talented teams in the world, but they'll be facing those teams in less than hospitable surroundings, namely the Amazon; it's hot and humid and thousands of miles away from where the U.S. team will be based.

Sam Schramski reports.

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The Edge
1:45 am
Tue February 11, 2014

U.S. And Canadian Women's Hockey Brings Plenty Of Heat To The Ice

The rival teams have already clashed during a Sochi Olympics preparation game last December. They will face each other in an early round game Wednesday.
Abelimages Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Building Pressure May Mean Progress In Israeli Peace Talks

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There is a fake John Kerry wandering around Jerusalem these days. He stars in several satirical videos criticizing the U.S. effort to negotiate a peace agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The State Department suggests it is just the latest sign that Kerry has put real pressure on Israel to move toward a peace deal. NPR's Emily Harris reports.

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Europe
3:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

In Britain, Deluge Shows No Signs Of Slowing

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Great Britain is known for its soggy weather, yet this winter has defied even Britain's damp expectations. Storms over Christmas led into the rainiest January on record. Now, some parts of England have been under water for more than a month and the forecasts aren't getting better. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from London.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Stuart Hall, 'Godfather Of Multiculturalism,' Dies

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:16 pm

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Africa
12:48 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Egypt's Crackdown Widens, But Insurgency Still Burns

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood (background) clash with supporters of Egypt's army chief Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi in Cairo on Jan. 24.
Khaled Kamel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Here are three numbers that tell the story of Egypt's security crackdown, its political turmoil and the simmering insurgency.

16,687. It's estimated that at least this many political detainees have been imprisoned since the military ousted the Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, on July 3.

4,482. At least this many people have been killed in clashes since Morsi's ouster, many at the hands of security forces.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Militants In Iraq Blow Themselves Up At Bomb Training Camp

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 1:27 pm

An explosion Monday near Baghdad left about 20 people dead and another 15 or so wounded, according to news reports.

None of those killed, it appears, were innocent victims or Iraqi security personnel.

Instead, insurgents reportedly "set off their own car bomb at a training camp in an orchard," The Associated Press reports.

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The Edge
12:03 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

So Far At The Games, A Low-Key Response To Russia's Anti-Gay Law

Cheryl Maas of the Netherlands, after her second run in the women's snowboard slopestyle semifinal in Sochi on Sunday.
Sergey Ilnitsky EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:26 pm

Leading up to the Olympics in Sochi, a dominant storyline was Russia's anti-gay propaganda law and what it might mean for athletes and other visitors. Would athletes protest in any way? Would Russian LGBT activists try to demonstrate against the propaganda law at the Olympics?

The answers (so far, at least) are: barely, and not really.

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Sports
11:42 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Olympic Photo Of The Day: Speedskater Hug

Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 8:07 am

Gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Canada celebrates with his girlfriend and fellow speedskater, Marianne St-Gelais, after winning the men's 1,500-meter short-track speedskating event Monday at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Four years ago, the pair shared a similar embrace after Hamelin's win in the 500-meter race in Vancouver.

For more Olympics coverage, go to The Edge.

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Mon February 10, 2014

U.S. Citizen May Be Targeted With Drone Strike: Reports

A U.S. drone in the sky over Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year," those officials tell The Associated Press.

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Music
10:05 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Brazil's Maria Rita Rediscovers Her Mother Through Music

Brazilian singer Maria Rita.
Tribo Productions

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:16 pm

Despite being one of Brazil's most successful singers, with seven Latin Grammys to her name, it took Maria Rita years to realize that music was her calling. "I just rebelled against that whole idea of doing something that people wanted me to do," Rita tells Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More.

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Europe
3:26 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Activists In Sochi Say They're Harassed For Speaking Out

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 5:45 am

Social activists say they're being silenced by local authorities for calling attention to problems such as corruption and environmental degradation related to the Winter Olympics.

Middle East
3:23 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Syrian Peace Talks Continue, Civilians Evacuated From Homs

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 5:45 am

Two Syrian delegations — one from the Assad regime and one from the opposition — are in Geneva for peace talks. Meanwhile, hundreds of civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Syrian city of Homs. They've been able to leave during a ceasefire.

Sports
3:18 am
Mon February 10, 2014

U.S. Takes Bronze In Team Figure Skating In Sochi

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 5:45 am

Russia won its first Olympic gold on Sunday. The Olympic host took first in the team figure skating, a new event for these games. Canada won silver and the U.S. team won bronze.

Sports
3:18 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Despite German Domination, More Athletes Drawn To Luge

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 5:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

At the Winter Olympics, the men's singles luge competition wrapped up last night. That's the sport where athletes lie on their backs, feet first, on a tiny sled and slide down an ice track at speeds of over 80 miles an hour. It looks dangerous and it is. But even athletes with little chance of winning gold keep taking the risk to compete. NPR's Tamara Keith reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF LUGE)

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Europe
3:18 am
Mon February 10, 2014

EU Mute On U.S. Diplomat's Criticism Involving Ukraine

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 5:45 am

There was a U.S. diplomatic gaff last week. It involved an expletive used by an assistant secretary of State to express a rather rude form of anger at the European Union during a private phone conversation. The phone call was intercepted by someone — presumably another government — and leaked.

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