Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose appearance at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela angered many in South Africa's deaf community and has led to an apology from the government. His sign language interpretation was just meaningless gestures, say those who understand that language.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:16 am
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Previously Charged With Murder?
"The South African government said Friday it is aware of reports that the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial once faced a murder charge, and said he is being investigated," The Associated Press reports from Johannesburg.
Phuc Tran grew up caught between two languages with opposing cultural perspectives: the indicative reality of Vietnamese and the power to image endless possibilities with English. In this personal talk, Tran explains how both shaped his identity.
A mother and her son stand in their garden behind a fence at the perimeter of Nelson Mandela's property in Qunu, South Africa, as funeral preparations continue Friday. Mandela will be buried Sunday in the small, rural village that was his boyhood home.
Credit Juda Ngenya / Reuters/Landov
Mandela, who was then deputy president of the African National Congress, accompanied by his then-wife Winnie, visits his family grave in Qunu, on April 26, 1990.
Credit Nic Bothma / EPA/Landov
South African workers construct a giant LCD screen and marquee as a public viewing area above Mandela's home in Qunu on Thursday.
Credit Carl De Souza / AFP/Getty Images
The small Mandela museum, built in 2010, is one of only a handful of clues that the beloved leader hailed from Qunu.
Credit Schalk van Zuydam / AP
A flame burns for Mandela at the museum named in his honor.
Some African leaders have lavished resources on their home villages, building palaces and outsize monuments to themselves that look entirely out of place in the poor and remote spots they came from.
Nelson Mandela adamantly rejected such extravagance, and the world will see for itself when he's buried Sunday in Qunu, a simple village set amid the lush green hills in the southeastern corner of the country. It's little changed from the days when Mandela ran barefoot in the fields and herded sheep and calves as a boy nearly a century ago.
And another story of intrigue with plenty of unanswered questions. An American claiming to be a businessman went to Iran seven years ago and then he vanished. An Associated Press investigation into Robert Levinson's disappearance uncovers that he was actually part of a sensitive covert and apparently rogue operation that shook the CIA when it came to light.
Matt Apuzzo is part of the reporting team at the AP who broke this story. Matt, welcome back to the program.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. We're looking this morning at two stories of international intrigue. First to North Korea. Until recently, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un was the country's second-in-command. Earlier this week, though, he was detained on national television, hustled out of a meeting by guards.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am
The Associated Press reports in an investigative piece that an ex-FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and was last seen in a "proof of life" photograph more than two years ago had been working for the CIA, despite official denials from the U.S.
Robert Levinson, who would now be 65, vanished after traveling in March 2007 to the Iranian island of Kish, described by The Associated Press as a resort "awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures."
A still image taken from North Korea's state-run television footage and released Monday shows Jang Song Thaek being forcibly removed by uniformed personnel from a meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang.
Credit Ministry of Uniification / AFP/Getty Images
South Korea released stills from the documentary "The Great Comrade," re-broadcast on North Korean state broadcaster KCTV earlier this week, where Jang Song Thaek (seen left) has been edited out of the footage.
Credit Ministry of Unification / AFP/Getty Images
More stills from "The Great Comrade," that show Jang Song Thaek (seen left) edited out.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am
North Korea has announced that Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un and formerly the second most powerful man in the country, has been executed after being found guilty of treason by a military tribunal.
"The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state," North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.
As we just heard, Turkish officials say they're clamping down on the radical Islamists who move through Turkey to join the rebellion in Syria. But in some frontier towns of southern Turkey, there's little sign of a crackdown.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
Protests have erupted in New Delhi after India's supreme court reinstated a law that criminalizes homosexual acts. The decision brings back a colonial era law introduced under the British. A lower court had previously ruled that statute unconstitutional. But yesterday, the supreme court declared that only parliament can change the law.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 3:57 pm
Somewhere between a food pantry and a traditional grocery store lies an opportunity to help feed those in need.
Enter "social supermarkets," a European model that offers discounted food exclusively to those in poverty. The stores have grown in popularity across the continent, and this week, the U.K. opened its first. Dubbed Community Shop, the store is located in an impoverished former mining town in South Yorkshire.
Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:24 pm
The leader of massive anti-government protests in Thailand says the chiefs of the country's military branches and police force have agreed to meet and hear him out on "political reforms" — a move likely to spark concern over a possible coup similar to the one that overthrew the prime minister in 2006.
Bangladeshi activists participate in a rally Thursday in the capital, Dhaka, celebrating the Supreme Court's decision to clear the way for the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah. Mollah was hanged Thursday for crimes committed during the country's 1971 war of independence.
Bangladesh has hanged an Islamist leader convicted of committing atrocities in the country's war of independence from Pakistan more than 40 year ago.
Abdul Quader Mollah, a top leader in the Jammat-e-Islami party, was originally scheduled to be hanged Tuesday, but he gained a temporary reprieve pending appeal. The country's Supreme Court denied the appeal on Thursday. Mollah, 65, was hanged at 10:01 p.m. Thursday.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (center) is greeted by lawyers in Islamabad after the government announced it would reinstate him, in March 2009. Pakistan's longest-serving chief justice challenged the status quo and fought to chart a more assertive and independent course for the country's judiciary.
Credit Farooq Naeem / AFP/Getty Images
Pakistani policemen escort newly identified missing persons — people who "disappeared" after being taken away by the country's powerful security agencies — as they leave the Supreme Court building in Islamabad on Dec. 7.
Credit Fareed Khan / AP
Pakistani lawyers hold portraits of Chaudhry as they chant slogans against then-President Pervez Musharraf during a 2008 rally in Karachi demanding the restoration of all deposed judges.
Now we turn to India where the Supreme Court has dealt a blow to gays and lesbians in that country. On Wednesday, the court reinstated a ban on gay sex, which is punishable with jail time. The ban, which dated to the 1800s, was originally overturned in 2009 but religious groups challenged it all the way to the Supreme Court. The decision is lighting up social media and India news channels. Here is the celebrated Indian author Vikram Seth speaking to India news channel, NDTV.
Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34, appeared alongside President Obama and other world leaders during Tuesday's memorial for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. Many in the deaf community are outraged over Jantjie's sign language interpretation.
Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:13 am
The sign language interpreter widely criticized as a "fake" for his performance at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in South Africa says he suffered a schizophrenic episode while on stage, a South African newspaper reported Thursday.
A major concern among peaceful anti-government protesters crowding into Kiev's central square is that Ukraine's government is trying to provoke violence in order to justify a police crackdown. In one incident, according to protest organizers, the government used provocateurs.
Nelson Mandela is lying in state for a second day in South Africa's capital, Pretoria. It's a chance for one last glimpse of the country's most beloved leader. The remote location of Sunday's burial — far away in Mandela's home province — means that for most, filing past his casket is their final farewell.
Uruguay is poised to legalize the production and sale of marijuana to regulate the drug and scale back its black market. Steve Inskeep talks with John Walsh of the Washington Office on Latin America about how the country proposes to regulate pot.
We recently published a story about how used clothes that get donated in the U.S. often wind up for sale in markets in Africa. As part of the story, we published some photos of used T-shirts we found in a couple of markets in Kenya.
Yesterday, the world's leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela. Now, the people have their turn. Mandela is lying in state in Pretoria to allow South Africans to bid him a personal farewell. Thousands of mourners filed past the half-open casket. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports the clouds and showers at yesterday's memorial have lifted.
Time magazine has named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year. The magazine cited Francis' willingness to take on thorny issues such as homosexuality, the role of women in the church, poverty and the nature of capitalism. At the same time, the pontiff has done so while projecting an air of humility and compassion, which has captured the world's attention in just nine months.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
It was another icy night of confrontations between anti-government protestors and riot police in Ukraine. And demonstrators feel they have won an important round in their effort to force their president to resign. They've won strong words of support from the White House and from U.S. diplomats, but now they say it's time for more than words.
The U.S. and Britain have suspended non-lethal aid to Western-backed rebel groups in northern Syria.A spokesman at the U.S. embassy in Turkey confirmed deliveries were halted after an Islamist rebel group seized U.S.-provided equipment from warehouses near the Turkish border.
An anonymous bidder paid $530,000 for 24 Native American items that went on the block this week in Paris. The auction went ahead despite an appeal by the Hopi tribe to cancel the sale of the items it considers sacred. The U.S. Embassy asked for a delay, and the sale was challenged in court — unsuccessfully.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, Pope Francis is Time magazine's person of the year for 2013. We'll talk about how the pope is changing both the Catholic Church and its relationship to the world. That's in a few minutes.
But first, mourning continues in South Africa for anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela. Some 100 leaders and dignitaries from around the world attended a memorial service in Soweto yesterday. And U.S. President Barack Obama was among the many speakers.
Time magazine has dubbed Pope Francis its Person of the Year, calling him "The People's Pope." This title comes weeks after he criticized aspects of the global economy and "unbridled consumerism" in a document called an apostolic exhortation. Host Michel Martin recently spoke with a group of practicing Catholics about how Pope Francis has inspired them in their faith.
Author Michael Sean Winters: What the pope's exhortation puts into focus