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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.