With an expensive communication satellite as its payload, a Russian Proton-M rocket broke apart during its third stage last night. The unmanned rocket failed at an altitude of 100 miles — video of the launch showed it flaring across the night sky.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
If one city could represent Syria's suffering in its civil war, it is the city of Homs. That was the country's third largest city once, a mix of ethnic and religious groups. Now much of the city is in ruins and the government of Bashar al-Assad is back in full control after a U.N.-brokered cease-fire ended a siege of rebels there. The regime has just allowed Western journalists to see what is left of the city.
Now, let's go to Turkey now where the government says at least 284 people are dead and another 18 still missing in a mining accident. Earlier this week, an explosion in a mine set off a fire and trapped hundreds of miners underground. Hope for more survivors is running out and the anger toward Turkey's government is growing. NPR's Leila Fadel spent the day in the mining town of Soma.
I recently took a Ukrainian taxi from the airport to my hotel. The fare should have been $20. The cab driver was adamant that I pay $30. When I finally paid him $30, the driver gave me a receipt with a wink. He'd made it out for $40.
The driver got a cut by overcharging me, and assumed that I would take a cut by overcharging NPR (which I did not).
In Ukraine, corruption is a daily fact of life. It reaches into big business, law enforcement, education and even the smallest transactions between people on the street.
Outside a small organic produce shop in Gaza City, a large sidewalk placard reads "Good Earth" in Arabic in big red letters, followed by "Organic produce, free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides." The same message is on the shop's awning.
But "people don't notice the signs, they come in and ask, 'Why these [high] prices?,' " says Rami al-Naffar, the clerk here.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin started vilifying the U.S., and state-controlled media took his cue, Michael McFaul was portrayed as one of the American villains. McFaul was the American ambassador to Russia from January 2012 to February of this year. He planned to leave just after the Sochi Olympics, which ended up coinciding with the Ukrainian Parliament voting to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, leading to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
There are questions not just about Nigeria's military capability but also about that government's commitment to bringing the girls home. Earlier today, I spoke with Sarah Sewell. She's the undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights. She's just returned from Nigeria, where she met with senior government officials. They discussed efforts to find the kidnapped girls and, longer-term, how to combat violent extremism. I asked her to describe the tone of those meetings.
Since the explosion on Tuesday, mine safety expert Davitt McAteer has been looking into what went wrong at the Soma mine and how the disaster could have been prevented. McAteer is the former head of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration and he joins me now here in our studios. Welcome to the program.
The U.S. has deployed surveillance aircraft to Nigeria in the search for the more than 250 schoolgirls still missing. Imagery gathered by the aircraft and satellites will be shared with the Nigerian government.
A second day of violence in Vietnam has seen mobs singling out Chinese workers for attack, killing at least one and injuring dozens, as hundreds of Chinese nationals fled the country by land and air. A major foreign-owned steel operation was set ablaze in the country's north.
The unrest has been sparked by China's efforts to deploy an oil platform in disputed waters in the South China Sea, putting tensions on boil and spreading fear of a possible conflict between the neighboring countries that fought a brief border war in 1979.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Nigeria has been in the news a lot lately. That's since the militant Islamic organization Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls on April 15. Professed to be against Western education, Boko Haram took the girls away from their books and their teachers and have threatened to sell them as wives and slaves.
The death toll in the coal mine explosion in Turkey keeps rising, and anger over the incident has spread around the country. Thousands of people staged protests after a speech from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which he suggested such accidents are unavoidable.
Officials say at least 282 mine workers have died in the incident in the city of Soma. That figure seems certain to rise, as about 100 people are still missing. The mine explosion is already being called the deadliest industrial disaster in Turkey's history.
Picnickers in a riverside park in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, react in horror as a man in a yellow baseball cap named Guillermo Arevalo lies on the bank of the Rio Grande, bleeding to death.
It's a warm Monday evening in September 2012. He has just been shot by an agent on a U.S. Border Patrol airboat on the river. The Border Patrol says the agent shot at rock throwers and that the incident is under investigation.
An attack on anti-government protesters in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, has left at least two people dead and more than 20 wounded, Thai authorities say.
The incident marks renewed violence between supporters and opponents of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was removed from her post last week by the country's Constitutional Court along with nine of her Cabinet ministers. Her Pheu Thai party, however, remains in power.
In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists are claiming independence based on a victory in a hastily organized referendum. Now, they're resisting a nationwide presidential election that's scheduled for May 25.
With Russian troops still massed near the border, Ukrainian and international mediators are trying to find a solution for the crisis.
There are some very different visions of the future for the volatile region.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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Protests broke out today in Istanbul, Ankara and in the western Turkish town of Soma, a day after an explosion and fire at a coal mine there killed at least 274 miners. Many more remain unaccounted for.
People living in cities in the Northeast may find mint, chives and basil in their grocery stores that have been grown in the Gaza Strip. Despite tight Israeli restrictions on exports from the impoverished Palestinian enclave, Gazan farmers have started building a U.S. market.
But as NPR's Emily Harris reports, the obstacles to building a real export economy are hard to overcome.
Mobs in southern Vietnam — angered by China's placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters — have torched scores of foreign-owned factories. Meanwhile, Beijing has reportedly begun construction on an airstrip in an island chain also claimed by the Philippines.
Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul spent several years and all his money to make a moving documentary about an American singer, Sixto Rodriguez, who was unknown in the U.S. yet somehow became a legend in South Africa.