The 2014 Winter Games officially kick off today. And we're going to spend a few minutes to talk about the driving force behind them, Russian President Vladimir Putin. He's been in power since Russia began bidding for the games back in 2005, and he's made it a mission to bring them to Sochi. NPR's Corey Flintoff is on the line with us from Sochi to talk about why these games are so important to the man at the top. Hi there, Corey.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 1:57 pm
Stephen Kim, a former State Department contractor who leaked classified material to Fox News, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized disclosure of secret government information, his lawyer told U.S. District judge on Friday.
NPR's Carrie Johnson reports:
"Under a deal with prosecutors Kim has agreed to serve 13 months in prison but the agreement must be approved by a judge. If the deal is approved the investigation will end - meaning no more charges against anyone else including Fox reporter James Rosen."
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 12:09 pm
The oldest human ancestors to have walked on the British Isles left nothing except footprints. But they've made quite an impression on the world of science.
Researchers say 50 or so prints found on a beach near the village of Happisburg in Norfolk are the oldest known human footprints outside Africa. They were discovered last spring by a team of experts from the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and Queen Mary University of London.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop, where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael, with us from Cleveland, Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor of The Islamic Monthly, with us from Chicago. Here in Washington D.C., contributing editor for The Root, Corey Dade. Also here in D.C., TELL ME MORE editor Ammad Omar. Take it away, Jimi.
So we're staying in the world of sports because today marks the official opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. And because we're going to be spending so much time watching events from Sochi in the next couple of weeks, we thought it would be fun to learn more about Sochi - the region, the history and to try to learn about some of the pageantry we will be witnessing. So we have called Jennifer Eremeeva.
It seemed like a fairy-tale romance. The Spanish king's youngest daughter, Infanta Cristina, went to the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta and fell in love with a handsome Spanish aristocrat-turned-Olympian, Iñaki Urdangarin. A year later, King Juan Carlos walked his daughter down the aisle.
Through marriage, Urdangarin got a royal title — the Duke of Palma — and carried his bride over the threshold of an $8 million mansion in Barcelona.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 1:22 pm
A 2,000-pound bomb dropped on Japanese-occupied Hong Kong by an American bomber during World War II has been defused after it was unearthed at a construction site in the city's central Happy Valley district.
Some 2,200 Hong Kong residents were evacuated from apartment buildings around the site where the massive explosive was found. Police bomb squads moved in, carefully, to dismantle the bomb. Authorities said it was simply too big to explode in place, which is usually the safest option in such circumstances.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says the United States is looking at various solutions to bring about a political resolution to the civil war in Syria.
"What President Obama has instructed all of us to do is just look under every stone, look at every tool that we have in the toolbox and see what we can deploy so that we don't confront a choice between doing nothing on the one hand and sending in the Marines on the other," Samantha Power, the envoy, told NPR's Renee Montagne.
In June last year, soon after Secretary of State John Kerry named his old Senate colleague Russ Feingold as the first American special envoy to the Great Lakes, one of Feingold's former constituents approached him with a welcome smile, and a puzzled look. Feingold had, after all, spent 19 years as a senator in the American Great Lakes.
"The is terrific," the man said to Feingold, the former senator recently recalled. "What are you going to be doing, checking water levels?"
It's after dark in Sochi, and a pack of stray dogs is hogging the sidewalk like they own the place. There are a dachshund mix, several random mutts and one dog that looks like it may be part chow. They're cute and look like pets; seemingly well-fed and with decent pedigrees.
That is, until a fight breaks out. It's loud but ultimately more dog park than street fight, and the dogs quickly get back to prancing around and eating abandoned leftovers.
More than a thousand would-be North African migrants were rescued by the Italian navy about 120 miles southeast of the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, authorities say.
The BBC says that 1,123 people, from sub-Saharan Africa, were intercepted on Wednesday as they tried to make the passage in inflatable boats, but were intercepted by authorities. They included 47 women, four of them pregnant, and 50 children, the BBC says.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:26 pm
The latest wrinkle in Ukraine's crisis doesn't involve the government and the protesters there.
Instead, it has to do with the diplomats trying to resolve the crisis.
A leaked phone conversation between Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, and Geoff Pyatt, the U.S. envoy to Kiev, appears to show them discussing the merits of Ukraine's various opposition figures. In it, Nuland can also be heard using a distinctly undiplomatic phrase while describing the European Union.
Parliament in London is an old-fashioned place. When members gather in the House of Commons, the sea of faces is generally wrinkled, white and male.
The chaplain who leads them each day in prayer is emphatically not.
The Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin is the first black woman to serve as chaplain to the speaker in the House of Commons. She broke the same barrier when she was appointed chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II. She was also the first woman, and the first person of color, to run her parish in Northeast London.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:43 pm
Aston Martin, James Bond's conveyance of choice, has expanded its recall of vehicles built since 2007 because of problems with fake plastics from China.
In a letter last month to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Aston Martin said it had received reports that throttle pedal arms broke during installation, and it discovered that "initial tests on the failed pedal arm have shown that the Tier Three Supplier used counterfeit material."
And at last, we can say this morning, let the games begin. The Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics will be held tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. But there were just too many sports to fit in, so a few got an early start, including a new Olympic event: slopestyle snowboarding. It debuted on a clear, beautiful day on the mountain of Rosa Khutor.
NPR's Robert Smith has been taking in the scene, and joins us now. Good morning. This is pretty exciting.
China goes back to work Friday after a weeklong holiday marking the Year of the Horse. Traditionally, celebrations continue through the first month of the Lunar New Year.
As in years past, some 800 million viewers tuned in this year to the state TV New Year's gala program to watch Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, French actress and singer Sophie Marceau, and other entertainers.
More than 75 drug-smuggling tunnels have been discovered under the U.S.-Mexico border in just the past six years, and one of the more intriguing cases involves 17 Mexican men who claim they were kidnapped and forced to carry out the work for months before Mexican authorities found them.
There's always been some mystery surrounding tunnels. Diggers were thought to be well-paid cartel loyalists or, as urban legend goes, laborers killed soon after the tunnel's completion to ensure its secrecy.
For the last two weeks, the barrel bombing of the rebel-held area of Aleppo in Syria has intensified. Warplanes drop leaflets on neighborhoods warning civilians to flee — and it seems they're listening. Residents of Aleppo districts held by the regime say they are seeing an influx of families, while aid agencies working in Turkey say hundreds of thousands of the displaced are trying to get in.