World News

Parallels
2:03 pm
Sat April 18, 2015

Syria's Minorities: Caught Between Sword Of ISIS And Wrath of Assad

Assyrian Christians, who fled their homes because of attacks by the Islamic State, pray at a church on the outskirts of Damascus on March 1. Many minorities in Syria have tried to remain neutral in the conflict, but they often get caught up in the crossfire or are targeted by extremists.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Consider the plight of Syria's many minorities — the Christians, the Druze, the Ismailis and many others.

On one hand, they face threats by extremists like the self-proclaimed Islamic State, which considers their beliefs heretical. On the other hand, joining forces with President Bashar Assad's regime could mean dangerous military deployments and antagonizing the Sunni Muslim majority.

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The Two-Way
9:07 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Australia Says It Broke Up ISIS-Inspired Plot To Attack WWI Event

Police made one of several arrests at this house in Narre Warren, a suburb of Melbourne, Saturday. Police raided houses in the city's outer eastern suburbs and made several arrests over an alleged attack planned for ANZAC Day.
David Crosling EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 11:16 am

In a series of early-morning raids, Australian counterterrorism police arrested five men in the Melbourne area Saturday, over their possible involvement in a plot to attack police officers at an upcoming World War I remembrance ceremony.

Three of the men were later released; police say that Sevdet Ramdan Besim, 18, "has been charged with conspiracy to commit acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts."

From Sydney, Stuart Cohen reports:

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Suicide Bombing Kills At Least 35 In Jalalabad; ISIS Reportedly Claims Responsibility

Afghan security forced inspect the site of a suicide attack near a New Kabul Bank in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan Saturday. The United Nations says at least 35 people died.
AP

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 11:12 am

In what could be the first attack in Afghanistan by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the extremist group has reportedly said it is behind Saturday's deadly attack in Jalalabad. Media outlets and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have noted the claim, which has not been independently verified.

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Heavy Police Presence At Ferry Demonstrations Bring Seoul To A Halt

Riot police at the entrance to a subway station in central Seoul.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 11:08 am

A weekend of planned vigils and marches to mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly Sewol ferry sinking in South Korea has turned into tense clashes between demonstrators and police.

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Africa
5:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Frustrations Fuel Violence Against Immigrants In South Africa

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 8:59 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Latin America
5:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

In Panama, Restoring Streets And Reforming Gangs At The Same Time

Former gang member Ricky James (left) and developer K.C. Hardin in Casco Viejo.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 7:45 am

Panama, like its Central American neighbors, is struggling with a rise in gangs. A recent census by the country's security forces put the number of criminal organizations operating in Panama now at about 200.

One neighborhood, in the capital's historic district, is taking on its gang problem with a group of strange bedfellows.

First, meet K.C. Hardin.

"I moved to Panama 12 years ago just to surf and do nothing for a couple years, I thought," says Hardin.

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Economy
5:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Global Bankers Meet To Resolve A Two-Speed World Economy

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 8:59 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Environment
5:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Why Water Markets Might Work In California

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 8:59 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Europe
5:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Latest Mediterranean Incident Highlights Italy's Migrant Crisis

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 8:59 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Parallels
5:42 am
Sat April 18, 2015

As Greeks And Germans Negotiate Debt, Reparations Issues Resurface

Greek Orthodox priest Apostolos Stavropoulos, 41, lights a torch inside the mausoleum in the village of Distomo in June 2013 on the eve of the 69th anniversary of the massacre committed by the Nazis during World War II. The remains of the more than 200 villagers killed, including women and children, are kept here.
John Kolesidis Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 9:14 am

The village of Distomo is tucked into the foothills of central Greece, near the ancient city of Delphi. Had recent history been kinder to it, the village might have been known for its 10th-century Byzantine monastery or its postcard scenes of grandfathers like Lukas Pergantas, tending their small vineyards.

But Pergantas says his hometown is defined by a horrific massacre by Nazi forces on June 10, 1944.

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Parallels
3:16 am
Sat April 18, 2015

From Losers To Possible Kingmakers, A Scottish Party Comes Back Strong

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), delivers a speech in Glasgow, Scotland, on March 28. After its loss at the polls last year on the issue of Scottish independence, the party has quadrupled its membership and is on the ascendant.
Russell Cheyne Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 8:59 am

Political life is full of comeback stories, but few are quite as dramatic as the boomerang that Scottish nationalists have experienced over the last six months.

Last September, the Scottish National Party lost a vote on whether to break away from the United Kingdom.

Now, membership in the SNP has quadrupled, and that unexpected turn of events means that this party, dismissed as a loser last fall, could determine who becomes the next prime minister after British elections in a few weeks.

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World
3:30 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Syrian Government Believed To Be Behind Chlorine Gas Attack

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:05 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Goats and Soda
3:20 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

As Ebola Cases Dwindle, West Africa Turns To Economic Recovery

Liberian workers dismantle shelters in an Ebola treatment center in the Paynes Ville neighborhood of Monrovia. Doctors Without Borders closed the center last month because it was no longer needed.
Zoom Dosso AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 4:28 pm

West Africa is about to receive a hefty infusion of cash. This Friday the World Bank unveiled a major aid package for the three West African countries at the center of this past year's Ebola epidemic.

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Politics
3:12 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Lawmakers Approve Bill To Help Finalize Asia-Pacific Trade Deal

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:05 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Why A Blockbuster Of A Trade Deal With Asia Matters

Freighters wait to unload cargo at the Tanjung Pagar container port in Singapore.
Roslan Rahman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 3:51 pm

It has been a decade in the making, but when completed, it will be a free trade agreement to beat all others — representing 40 percent of the world's economy.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, agreement would bring together the economies of the U.S., Japan, Australia and nine other Pacific Rim nations, allowing the free trade of everything from agriculture to automobiles and textiles to pharmaceuticals.

President Obama said Friday that the deal is critical for the U.S. market.

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The Two-Way
1:04 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

U.N., Oxfam Report At Least 120,000 Displaced In Yemen Fighting

Militants loyal to Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi take their positions in Taiz, Yemen, late last month after at least 45 people were killed in north Yemen after an airstrike hit a camp for internally displaced people.
Anees Mahyoub UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 1:41 pm

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in the fighting in Yemen, the United Nations says today in a new report, which warns that the figure could rise dramatically unless the conflict is ended.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the number of displaced persons in Yemen is estimated at between 120,000 and 150,000. (Separately, Oxfam puts the figure at 121,000).

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

#NPRreads: From The Hell Of The North To 'Trash' Food

#NPRreads is a new feature we're testing out on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom will share pieces that have kept them reading. They'll share tidbits on Twitter using the #NPRreads hashtag, and on occasion we'll share a longer take here on the blog.

This week, we share with you five reads.

From Ina Jaffe, a correspondent on NPR's National Desk:

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Goats and Soda
11:46 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Yes, You Can Help The World And Make Money At The Same Time

A woman cultivates seaweed off the coast of Madagascar to counter overfishing. She's working with Blue Ventures, a business that supports its conservation projects by giving ecotours.
Courtesy of Skoll Foundation

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 5:05 pm

What do you call someone who runs a successful business that aims to make the world a better place? A CEO with a conscience? A do-good bottom-liner?

At the Skoll World Forum this week in Oxford, England, the preferred term is social entrepreneur. In fact, the conference is completely devoted to the idea — and promoting its rising stars.

Young entrepreneurs are invited to join veterans for workshops, talks and confabs. Awards are given for "social entrepreneurship."

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Violence Against Immigrants In South Africa Turns Deadly

South African hostel dwellers demonstrate against foreigners in Johannesburg on Friday after overnight violence between locals and immigrants in the city.
Shiraaz Mohamed AP

Violence against immigrants in South Africa has killed at least five people, resulted in attacks on businesses owned by foreigners and sent thousands to take refuge at temporary shelters.

A massive rally against xenophobia was held Thursday in Durban, the coastal city that has been the scene of much of the unrest. Migrants from Africa and South Asia have been the target of the violence, which was condemned by President Jacob Zuma.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Key Figure In Saddam's Regime Reportedly Killed By Iraqi Forces

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former member of Saddam Hussein's inner circle (shown here in 2002), leads one of the Sunni armed factions helping ISIS in its fight against the Iraqi government.
Jassim Mohammed AP

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 12:06 pm

Iraqi forces claim to have killed Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who served in Saddam Hussein's leadership circle and is believed to have been instrumental in the sudden rise of the self-declared Islamic State.

But an official from Saddam's Baath Party has denied the report.

Douri, 72, is the "king of clubs" in the deck of playing cards U.S. troops used to identify key figures in Saddam's regime following the 2003 invasion that toppled the Baathist regime.

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The Two-Way
7:37 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Pope 'Considering' Cuba Visit, Vatican Says

Pope Francis greets the faithful arriving at St. Peter's Square earlier this week. The Vatican says Francis is considering a trip to Cuba.
Alessandro Di Meo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 9:18 am

Pope Francis, who plans to visit the United States in September, might tack onto his itinerary a side trip to Cuba, the Vatican says, but it cautions the talks with Havana are at an early stage.

The Catholic Herald quotes Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi as saying Francis is "considering the idea of a Cuba leg."

The Herald notes:

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Asia
3:15 am
Fri April 17, 2015

India, China Seek To Capitalize On Nepal's Water Wealth

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 5:35 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
1:42 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Turkish Educator Pledges $10M To Set Up Universities For Syrian Refugees

Syrian children listen to a teacher during a lesson in a temporary classroom in Suruc refugee camp on March 25 in Suruc, Turkey. The camp is the largest of its kind in Turkey with a population of about 35,000 Syrians who have fled the ongoing civil war in their country.
Carl Court Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 12:23 pm

Once a sleepy border town, Reyhanli, Turkey, is now bursting with Syrian refugees, many of them school-age. More than half a million Syrian refugee children are out of school, and the education crisis is fueling an epidemic of early marriage, child labor and bleak futures.

"I just finished the 12th grade and I don't know what to do," says Abdullah Mustapha, a refugee from the Syrian town of Hama.

In fluent English, he talks about his dreams of a college education, but he doesn't speak Turkish well enough to pass the language test required for state universities.

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Parallels
3:51 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Iraq's Leader Finds Friends In Washington, But Faces Battles At Home

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, speaking Thursday in Washington, said recent battlefield victories showed the Islamic State could be defeated. The extremist group still holds large parts of the west and the north of Iraq.
Kevin Wolf Kevin Wolf

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:40 pm

When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi weighs the pros and cons of running such a fractured country, here's the upside: He can count on five separate military groups supporting his battle against the self-declared Islamic State.

The downside is that he has limited control of these groups, and of much of his country.

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Technology
3:51 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Experts Divided Over Iran's Cyberactivity Since Start Of Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:40 pm

The U.S. government and cybersecurity companies agree that Iran has greatly improved its cyberattack capability over the past two years. A report being released tomorrow says Iran's cyberattacks have increased during nuclear talks, but some experts question that conclusion.

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Africa
3:51 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Thousands Flee After Anti-Immigrant Violence Strikes South Africa

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:40 pm

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with South African journalist S'thembile Cele about how violence against immigrants has flared in South Africa. At least five people have been killed, and more than two thousand have fled to makeshift camps and police stations.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Economy
2:21 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

New Asian Development Bank Seen As Sign Of China's Growing Influence

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei (left) speaks during the signing ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Oct. 24, in Beijing.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 10:54 pm

China says 57 countries have signed on as charter members of the new China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. They include some of the United States' closest allies, which added their names despite pressure from the White House not to join.

The Obama administration is concerned the new bank will compete with Western-led institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but leaders of those institutions don't seem to be worried.

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World
2:21 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Muslim Migrants Threw Christians Overboard, Italian Police Say

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:40 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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World
2:21 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Diego Garcia Islanders Displaced In U.K. Failure Hope To Return Home

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:40 pm

Natives of Diego Garcia were displaced over 40 years ago when the U.S. built a military base on the Indian Ocean island nation. After years of fighting to return home, the islanders are are more hopeful than ever that they will soon get their wish.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Parallels
2:21 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

They Speak Hebrew And Keep Kosher: The Left-Behind Ethiopian Jews

Jewish worshippers gather at a makeshift synagogue established by the Jewish Agency for Israel for Ethiopian Jews in Gondar, Ethiopia, in 2012.
Jenny Vaughan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:40 pm

In the half darkness of an adobe hut in Gondar, Ethiopia, 20-year-old Gezahegn ("Gezi") Derebe pulls out an acoustic guitar. As on many evenings when the power goes out, he entertains his family by singing. Though his mother, Ayelesh, sways to the tune, she doesn't understand the lyrics, because Gezi sings not in his native Amharic, but in Hebrew.

Behind him, on a wall kept cool with a traditional mixture of cow dung and ash, hangs a laminated map of Israel. Above it are the framed photographs of his relatives who have already managed to emigrate there.

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