World News

Middle East
3:26 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

U.S. And Iran Tread Potholed Path From Rivalry To Negotiation

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The U.S. and other major powers will hold talks with Iran later this month. The goal is turn an interim deal, limiting that nation's nuclear program, into a more lasting agreement. President Obama has asked that Congress give diplomats some room to maneuver and not pass any new sanctions bill. That he says could derail the entire process.

As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, this threat of sanctions is just one symptom of a deeper problem that makes these negotiations hard for both sides.

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Parallels
2:18 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Iran's Nuclear Talks: What To Expect Next

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) speaks during a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt in Tehran on Tuesday. Bildt is visiting to try to bolster the temporary nuclear deal on Iran's nuclear program.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

The next round of Iranian nuclear talks with world powers is fast approaching, and there's still a lot of skepticism in the air over the prospects for a comprehensive deal.

Iran will sit down with the U.S. and five other major powers in Vienna on Feb. 18 as they try to hammer out a long-term agreement on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. By most every estimate, it won't be easy to build on the success of a temporary deal drawn up last November given the lingering, visceral mistrust between the United States and Iran.

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Politics
9:56 am
Tue February 4, 2014

House Republicans' New Immigration Proposals: 'Trap' or Opportunity?

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 12:21 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're a month into a new year, but we want to start the program today talking through some of the old issues that are bubbling back up in Washington. The political parties are doing that, too. In fact, House Republicans just finished a three-day retreat in Maryland to plan their strategy for the year. And one of the issues they focused on was immigration.

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Tue February 4, 2014

U.K. Admits 'Limited' Role In India's 1984 Raid On Sikh Shrine

A Sikh devotee takes a holy dip in the sacred pond at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, on Jan. 1. The British government acknowledged Tuesday it advised India before the deadly 1984 raid on Sikhism's holiest shrine.
Sanjeev Syal AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:33 am

We told you last month about revelations that Britain had aided India three decades ago in a deadly raid on the Golden Temple to remove separatist militants holed up in Sikhisim's holiest shrine. On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague acknowledged that British military advice had "limited impact" on the operation.

Here's what Hague told Parliament about the June 1984 raid in Amritsar, India:

And here's his statement in full:

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Parallels
9:03 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Chinese Red Guards Apologize, Reopening A Dark Chapter

Red Guards — high school and university students — wave copies of Chairman Mao Zedong's Little Red Book during a parade in June 1966 in Beijing's streets at the beginning of China's Cultural Revolution. More than 1 million people are believed to have died during the decade-long upheaval.
Jean Vincent AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

For most of the past half century, China has avoided a full accounting for one of the darkest chapters of its recent history: the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976.

During that time, Chairman Mao Zedong's shock troops — Communist youth known as Red Guards — persecuted, tortured or even killed millions of Chinese, supposed "class enemies."

Now, some Red Guards have issued public apologies to their victims, a rare example of the ruling party allowing public discussion of its historic mistakes.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Tue February 4, 2014

'Secret Contacts' Reported Between Afghan President, Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:17 am

It's a question that's been vexing American diplomats for months:

Why won't Afghan President Hamid Karzai sign a security agreement with the U.S. — a deal that President Obama and his aides say needs Karzai's signature if any American troops are going to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year?

As Sean Carberry, NPR's Kabul correspondent, has said:

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Africa
3:16 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Violence Reigns In Central African Republic Despite Peace Steps

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's the kind of international crisis that is numbingly familiar: a coup, followed by a steep descent into sectarian bloodshed and revenge killings. This is what's happening now in the Central African Republic.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The coup happened last year. It was led by a rebel group call Seleka, drawn from the minority Muslim community in this largely Christian country. After the coup, many of the Muslim rebels targeted Christian neighborhoods, plundering and killing. And then came a moment of hope.

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NPR Story
2:59 am
Tue February 4, 2014

After 400 Years, Mount Sinabung Erupts

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The eruption of an Indonesian volcano has claimed its first fatalities. It happened in recent days. Mount Sinabung has been erupting for about three months after 400 years of quiet. Nobody knows how bad this could get, but already the volcano is sending scalding ash a mile into the sky and it killed 14 people last weekend. Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Otto is on the line in Jakarta. Welcome to the program, sir.

BEN OTTO: Hi. Thanks for having me.

INSKEEP: What does the erupting volcano look like?

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Afghanistan
1:48 am
Tue February 4, 2014

An Afghan Success Story: Fewer Child Deaths

A young girl receives a polio vaccine at the Isteqlal hospital in Kabul on Sept.19, 2011.
Adek Berry AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

One of the most dramatic changes in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban is the increase in average life expectancy from 45 to 62 years. That gain is almost entirely a function of reductions in child mortality due to the spread of basic health services.

Yet Afghanistan still has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, and there could be significant backsliding as the international community reduces aid after NATO troops withdraw at the end of this year.

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Parallels
1:03 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Istanbul's Mega-Projects: Bigger Is Better, Or A 'Crazy Canal'?

The pillars for the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, commonly known as the "Third Bridge" rise from the Anatolian and European sides of the Bosphorus, above the fishing harbor of Poyrazkoy. When completed, the bridge will be over two kilometers in length, making it the longest combination railway/highway bridge in the world.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Istanbul has long been a city of historical layers and sharp contrasts: ancient monuments share the skyline none too comfortably with modern skyscrapers, and charming cobbled streets run alongside massive highway traffic snarls.

Those contrasts have multiplied under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his love of giant building projects hasn't abated after more than a decade in power.

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All Tech Considered
2:19 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Wikipedia Archiving Voices So You'll Always Know How Celebs Sound

Actress Emma Thompson is one of the first to have an audio snippet of her voice included in her Wikipedia biography.
Joe Scarnici Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:30 pm

What's in a voice? To the folks at Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, a voice means a lot. They've begun a project to archive the voices of famous people.

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Hacker Group Sues German Government Over NSA Spying

Revelations made by Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency, have strained diplomatic relations, prompted congressional hearings, and shed light on some aspects of

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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

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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."

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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."

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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.

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