World News

Parallels
11:14 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Did London Get An Economic Boost From The 2012 Olympics?

This cable car line in London, shown on Jan. 27, was built in time for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in the city. It is taking 35 percent fewer visitors than predicted.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 12:33 pm

Ronald Reagan once joked that the game Trivial Pursuit had a special economists' edition: It came with 100 questions and 3,000 answers. Economists are notorious for being unable to agree on anything. So it's striking that on the finances of the Olympics, they almost all agree.

"Investing in the Olympics is not worth the investment," says Andy Zimbalist of Smith College.

"You build all these facilities that are perfect for the Olympics, that are not really as desirable once the circus leaves town," says Allen Sanderson of the University of Chicago.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:02 am
Mon February 3, 2014

As Search Ends, Toll Rises To 27 In Quebec Seniors' Home Fire

Jan. 23: Ice covers the remains of a home for seniors in L'Isle-Verte, Quebec. A fire there killed at least 27 people. Authorities fear another five people also died.
Remi Senechal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:27 pm

Twenty-seven bodies have been recovered from the ruins of a home for senior citizens in L'Isle-Verte, Quebec, and authorities believe that bone fragments found in the burned-out building will help them identify five more victims.

The search is over at the site, which was consumed by a fire on Jan. 23. It took 10 days to search the wreckage because water used to fight the flames had frozen. In some spots, ice was more than a foot thick.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:41 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Al-Qaida Says It Has No Ties With One Syrian Rebel Force

In January, this Free Syrian Army fighter stood in front of graffiti in Aleppo that read, roughly, "down with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." On Monday, al-Qaida's leadership said it has no ties with that jihadist group.
Jalal Alhalabi Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:17 am

In a statement posted Monday on websites where other messages from the terrorist network have appeared, al-Qaida's leadership reportedly denies it has any ties with one of the Islamist fighting groups that has joined the battle for control in Syria.

Reuters begins its report this way:

Read more
Latin America
3:03 am
Mon February 3, 2014

For Descendants Of Brazil's Slaves, A Quest For Land

Residents enjoy a meal at the Quilombo Sacopa in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. Brazil has some 3,000 quilombo communities, which were formed by runaway slaves, dating to the 19th century. Residents have been promised ownership of their land but say the legal process has moved slowly.
Victor R. Caivano AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 12:26 pm

Brazil was the last country in the Americas to outlaw slavery, and it imported more slaves than any other country in the region. Some 4 million Africans were enslaved in Brazil.

Some ran away from the brutal treatment, forming hidden communities all over the country known as quilombos. Their descendants — called the quilombolas — were granted land rights in 1988. That was exactly a century after slavery was outlawed. But to this day, very few have actually gotten legal ownership of the land where their families have lived for generations.

Read more
Europe
3:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Sochi Games Open On Friday But Not Everything Is Completed

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Workers in the Russian resort town of Sochi are scrambling to put the finishing touches on President Vladimir Putin's multibillion dollar Winter Olympics. The 2014 Winter Olympics officially open on Friday, but it looks like some of the elements, including hotel rooms, may not be ready. NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Sochi.

Read more
Europe
3:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

World's Top Diplomats Examine Security Concerns

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:43 am

Many of the world's top diplomats met over the weekend along with defense officials for an annual security conference in Munich, Germany. Top of the agenda were two countries in particular: Ukraine and Iran.

Africa
3:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Musicians Tell Central African Republic It's Time For Peace

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Central African Republic has a new interim president, and she is pledging to reunite her divided nation. It won't be easy to end months of interreligious violence and anarchy. The Senegalese singing superstar Youssou N'Dour hopes things work out. He's teamed up with an artist from CAR to record a song for peace. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

YOUSSOU N'DOUR AND IDYLLE MAMBA: (Singing in foreign language)

Read more
The Edge
1:25 am
Mon February 3, 2014

The Games Are A Great Party, But Not A Great Investment

Graffiti covers a vent adjacent to the Athens Olympic Stadium in this photo from Feb. 18, 2012. Expenditures on the 2004 Athens Summer Games contributed to the country's debt load, which sparked the current economic crisis.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:02 pm

NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro, in London, and Joanna Kakissis, in Athens, teamed up for this joint look at Olympics economics.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi are just a few days away. Russia has spent $50 billion on everything from construction to security, making these the most expensive games in history.

Countries often justify the Olympic-sized price tag by saying the investment pays off in increased business and tourism.

Read more
Parallels
11:05 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Race Toward Afghan Election Starts, With Skepticism In The Lead

A campaign banner is posted in Kabul, Afghanistan, for presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday.
Omar Sobhani Reuters/Landov

With the campaign for Afghanistan's April 5 presidential election officially underway, three questions are commonly asked around Kabul: Do you think the presidential election will be held on April 5? Will the election be held at all this year? Who do you think will win?

Right now, 11 men are vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai, who is term-limited. If the election goes well, it would mark the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan's history.

The Issue Of Timing

Read more
The Two-Way
10:45 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Ukraine Protests Set To Widen As President Ends Sick Leave

Opposition supporters take part in a rally in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, in Ukraine, on Sunday.
Sergei Chuzavkov AP

Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych says he will return to work on Monday after a brief sick leave, likely setting the stage for a new round of anti-government unrest.

As many as 30,000 protesters gathered in the capital, Kiev, on Sunday, renewing calls for Yanukovych to step down.

The president had announced his sick leave on Thursday, prompting concern that, as The Associated Press writes, "he may have been taking himself out of action in preparation for declaring a state of emergency."

Read more
The Two-Way
7:18 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Thai Election Largely Peaceful, Despite Fears Of Violence

Protesters demanding the right to vote argue with security and election officials at a district office in Bangkok on Sunday after anti-government protesters shut down the station.
Damir Sagolj Reuters/Landov

Fears of election-day violence in Thailand went largely unrealized on Sunday as efforts by anti-government protesters to block voting stations fell short of their goal of disrupting the parliamentary polls.

A few hundred polling stations in the capital were shut down by protesters, but the vast majority of them across the country remained open.

Read more
Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Homs Is Birthplace Of Syrian Protest

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That was NPR's Steve Inskeep reporting last summer. And that piece he referenced still feels very far off to the people of Homs. The city has now been under siege for nearly 600 days. In that time, tens of thousands of people have fled or been displaced from their homes.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul is the president of the Syrian-American Medical Society. He's originally from Homs. He described what the situation is like now.

Read more
Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Ancient Syrian City A Wasteland Of Modern Violence

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Talks in Geneva have ended without any concrete action on Syria. In fact, even without a concrete promise from the Assad government that it will show up for another round of talks next week. The two sides had lengthy discussions about sending aid into the Syrian city of Homs, Syria's third-largest city. But they couldn't agree on passage for an aid convoy. And that means hundreds are still stranded without food or medicine.

Read more
Strange News
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

After Crushing Bad Luck, A Free Bungee Jump

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Asia
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Violence Gives Way To Calmer Thai Elections

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Voters went to the polls in Thailand today in a snap election called by the ruling party. The elections seem to have gone off fairly peacefully, but they were proceeded by violent clashes between government supporters, known as Red Shirts, and protesters backing the opposition. Last night, at least seven people were injured in Bangkok by gunfire and grenades. Reporter Michael Sullivan is with us now from Bangkok to tell us more. Hi, Michael.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN: Hi, Rachel.

Read more
Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Despite Scars Of War, Karachi Holds Onto Its Chutzpah

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. When you hear us say Karachi, Pakistan, you might assume we're going to bring you're a story about terrorism or a bombing or a kidnapping - and you would often be right. It is the most violent city in all of Pakistan. But NPR's Philip Reeves found that isn't all there is to the city. In fact, there's often a gap between Karachi's reputation and the reality of the place, as he explains in this letter from Pakistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISE)

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:30 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Beirut Bombing Spawns An App To Tell Loved Ones 'I Am Alive'

Sandra Hassan put her app online in late January as yet more explosions struck Lebanon. She hopes it will help people in conflict zones, and areas hit by natural disasters.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:33 am

"I am alive."

Those words can mean a lot when you are a resident of Lebanon, where bombings are a frequent reality. So Sandra Hassan, a Lebanese-born graduate student studying public health in Paris, developed an app that lets users get the message out quickly. With one click, they can instantly tweet the message: "I am still alive! #Lebanon #LatestBombing."

Read more
Parallels
5:53 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Knox Case Could Put U.S. In An Extradition Quandary

Amanda Knox waits on the set of ABC's Good Morning America on Friday in New York. Knox said she will fight the reinstated guilty verdict against her and an ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of a British roommate in Italy and vowed to "never go willingly" to face her fate in that country's judicial system.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:06 pm

This week, Amanda Knox was found guilty, again, by an Italian court.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Maximilian Schell, Oscar-Winning Austrian Actor, Dies At 83

Maximilian Schell, in a photo taken in 2009. Schell, who died Saturday at the age of 83, won an best actor Oscar for his role as a defense attorney in the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg.
Volker Hartmann dapd

Maximilian Schell, who won a best actor Oscar for his role in the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg, has died in his native Austria after what doctors describe as a sudden illness. He was 83.

He was also nominated for best actor for the 1975 The Man in the Glass Booth and for best supporting actor in Julia in 1977, The Associated Press says.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

At Least 14 Dead In Eruption Of Indonesian Volcano

Indonesian villagers flee as Mt. Sinabung spews volcanic materials in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Saturday.
Chairaly EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 4:34 pm

An Indonesian volcano that had been rumbling for months finally unleashed a deadly cloud of poisonous gas and gray ash, killing at least 14 people only a day after authorities had allowed thousands of evacuated villagers to return to their homes.

A series of huge blasts came from Mount Sinabung, a 8,530-foot-high volcano in western Sumatra, on Saturday, sending lava and pyroclastic flows down its slope into nearby settlements.

Read more
Energy
1:25 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

'A Global Bathtub': Rethinking The U.S. Oil Export Ban

A pipeline carries oil at the federal Strategic Petroleum Reserve facility near Beaumont, Texas. U.S. oil companies are urging an end to a 1970s-era ban on oil exports.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 8:00 am

When oil supplies ran short and gasoline prices spiked four decades ago, angry drivers demanded relief. Congress responded in 1975 by banning most exports of U.S. crude oil.

Today, domestic oil production is booming, prompting U.S. energy companies to call for a resumption of exporting. Many economists agree.

But would that bring back the bad old days of shortages? Would you end up paying more at the pump?

Read more
Parallels
9:26 am
Sat February 1, 2014

What Comes Next In Syria?

A Syrian man walks through debris following an alleged air strike by Syrian government forces on Friday in the northern city of Aleppo. Nearly 1,900 people have been killed in Syria since peace talks opened in Switzerland on Jan. 22, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Mohammed Al-Khatieb AFP/Getty Images

For eight days, the Syrian regime and an opposition delegation sat face-to-face, but were not on speaking terms in Room 16 of the Palais des Nations in the sprawling complex of United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

Round one demonstrated the bitter divide with no breakthrough on the core issues of a political transition or access to humanitarian aid.

So what comes next?

Read more
Europe
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

British Royal Household Needs To Beef Up Reserves

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You know, being the Queen of England, it's not all about cute Corgis, glamorous balls and lacy hats. Even the royal family has financial troubles. This week a report by members of the British parliament found that the royal coffers are down to their lowest level ever. Just about a million pounds are left in the fund. That is slightly less than $2 million. NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from London. Ari, thanks so much for being with us.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: How could this happen to our Queen, Ari?

Read more
Middle East
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Will A Military Leader Become Egypt's New Strongman?

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Read more
The Two-Way
7:38 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Gunfire, Explosions Rock Thai Capital Ahead Of Polls

Anti-government protesters run as an explosion takes place near their vehicle during a gunfight between supporters and opponents of Thailand's government near Laksi district office in Bangkok on Saturday.
Nir Elias Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:33 am

An hour-long gun battle erupted in the Thai capital of Bangkok on Saturday, a day ahead of parliamentary elections opposed by anti-government activists were to take place.

The opposition is seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose Pheu Thai Party won overwhelmingly in 2011 elections. They have boycotted the polls and threatened to disrupted them in a bid to replace Yingluck's government with an unelected council.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:56 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Kerry: 'Disturbing' Trend Of Authoritarianism In Eastern Europe

Secretary of State John Kerry addresses delegates at the 50th Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.
Tobias Hase EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:33 am

Secretary of State John Kerry has criticized what he calls a "disturbing trend" among governments in eastern and central Europe to "trample the ambitions" of their people.

Speaking at an international security conference in Munich, Germany, Kerry said:

"The aspirations of citizens are once again being trampled beneath corrupt, oligarchic interests — interests that use money to stifle political opposition and dissent, to buy politicians and media outlets, and to weaken judicial independence and the rights of non-governmental organizations."

Read more
Parallels
2:55 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Germany's New Defense Minister: More Peacekeeping Missions Welcome

Germany's new defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, right, chats with German soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, at a training center in Letzlingen on Jan. 28. Von der Leyen has said she would like to see German forces participate more with other European troops in foreign peacekeeping missions.
Thomas Trutschel Photothek via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Many Germans were surprised in December when Ursula von der Leyen was named the country's first female defense minister.

Some people questioned whether a medical doctor with seven children, who championed Germany's generous parental leave policy, was the right choice to shepherd the country's military through the challenges of being a newly minted volunteer force.

Read more
Middle East
3:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Afghan Security Agreement Is Still Unsigned — Who's At Fault?

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. In Afghanistan, the U.S. is in a political standoff with the government of President Hamid Karzai. At issue is what's called a bilateral security agreement that would govern U.S. troops if they stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. President Obama addressed the issue earlier this week in his State of the Union speech.

Read more
Middle East
3:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Assad Regime Slows In Handing Over Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Syrian government is also supposed to be surrendering its lethal chemical arsenal. But the handover of toxic chemicals to an international coalition is way behind schedule. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, that's causing real concern.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Under an agreed plan, hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals were supposed to be moved to a Syrian port by the end of December and loaded onto international ships. That plan is now a month behind schedule and the U.S. is not happy. State Department spokesperson, Jennifer Psaki.

Read more
Middle East
3:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Syria Peace Talks Take A Break

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

No tangible results, that verdict today from Syria's foreign minister as peace talks wrapped up in Geneva. Despite the lack of progress, opposition delegates say they gained new support by standing face to face with representatives of Bashar al-Assad. The U.N. mediator is asking both sides to return to talks on February 10th. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and begins our coverage.

Read more

Pages