World News

The Two-Way
7:47 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Panama To Free Crewmembers Of Seized North Korean Ship

Investigative officers look inside a container carrying a Russian-made MIG-21 fighter jet aboard the Chong Chon Gang, in the port city of Colon, Panama, in July.
Arnulfo Franco AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 8:25 am

Panama says it will release most of the crew of a North Korean ship that was seized six months ago after it was found to be carrying Soviet-era jet planes and weapons from Cuba in violation of U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang.

Panama says it will release 32 crew members, but that the captain and two others will remain in custody to face charges of trafficking.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:46 am
Fri January 31, 2014

No Breakthrough, But 'Bit Of Common Ground' In Syria Talks

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi during his news conference Friday in Geneva.
Martial Trezzini EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:50 am

  • U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi

At the conclusion Friday of the first round of talks between representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition, the United Nations mediator reported that he "observed a little bit of common ground, perhaps more than the two sides themselves realize or recognize."

Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva that "there have been moments when one side has even acknowledged the concerns and difficulties of the other side," the BBC reports.

Read more
Asia
3:10 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Air Quality Worries Dampen Chinese New Year Fireworks

Fireworks explode in a Shanghai street on Thursday, the eve of the Lunar New Year. Setting off firecrackers is meant to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. But many Chinese say they won't buy firecrackers this year, owing to growing worries about air quality.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 11:56 am

People in China rang in the Year of the Horse overnight with the traditional barrage of fireworks, but Lunar New Year's celebrations in some cities were quieter than usual. After severe pollution choked much of eastern China last year, many people swore off the ancient tradition so they could protect their lungs and the environment.

Read more
Asia
3:06 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Job Vacant After Karachi's Top Counter-Terrorism Cop Is Killed

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:58 am

An intense debate is underway in Pakistan over what to do about a surge of deadly Taliban attacks. The city's chief counterterrosim officer was killed a few weeks ago. Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam Khan was and remains a legendary figure.

Movie Interviews
3:04 am
Fri January 31, 2014

'Return To Homs' Follows Cycle Of Syrian Demonstrations

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:58 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. We have an intensely personal look now at the Syrian city of Homs. It's in the news. Negotiators are trying to arrange delivery of humanitarian aid.

INSKEEP: Residents have suffered years of house to house combat. Entire neighborhoods are wrecked on this battlefield of Syria's civil war.

GREENE: That ruined city looks different in the memory of Orwa Nyrabia.

Read more
Latin America
2:27 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Michoacan Vigilante Groups Collaborate With Mexican Government

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:58 am

The Mexican government has a new plan to control heavily armed vigilante groups fighting back against drug cartels. The government announced this week it is making the militias a legitimate part of the country's security forces and will allow them to help police the countryside.

The Salt
1:18 am
Fri January 31, 2014

For A Twist On The Lunar New Year Dumpling, Add Green Tea

Ying Compestine's green tea-steamed shrimp dumplings.
Lucy Schaeffer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 12:32 pm

Friday is New Year's for the millions of people around the world who celebrate the Lunar New Year. This year is the Year of the Horse.

On Morning Edition, Ying Compestine, a cookbook and children's book author, talks about her favorite dish for the holiday: steamed dumplings infused with green tea. They appear in her most recent book, Cooking with an Asian Accent.

The New Year holidays of Compestine's youth were very austere. She came to the U.S. as a grad student in the 1980s, but she grew up in Maoist China.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:37 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Russia's Love Affair With Vodka Lures Many To An Early Grave

Shoppers check out vodka in a street kiosk in Moscow in 2008.
Alexander Nemenov/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:48 am

Vodka is our enemy, the Russian proverb goes, so we'll utterly consume it. This embrace of the enemy has a lot to do with the country's abysmal life expectancy rates, with one quarter of Russian men dying before age 55. But when the drinkers start cutting back, death rates drop almost immediately, a study finds.

"High mortality absolutely is caused by hazardous alcohol consumption," says Dr. David Zaridze of the Russian Cancer Research Center of Moscow, who with his colleagues tracked Russian drinking habits for a decade.

Read more
Middle East
4:32 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Syrian Opposition Group Treads New Territory In Geneva

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The first round of the Syria peace talks is set to adjourn tomorrow. The opposition delegation is expecting to leave Geneva without progress toward its top goal: a transitional government that ends the tenure of President Bashar al-Assad. The opposition began these talks with a reputation as a fractious and ineffective group.

And NPR's Peter Kenyon reports the delegates have been surprised and pleased to see messages of support beginning to come from inside Syria.

Read more
Middle East
4:32 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Is The U.S. Leaving A Leadership Void In The Middle East?

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 6:00 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 this part of the program, we're going to address a question that keeps bubbling up in news stories and commentary from the Middle East. It's a question President Obama addressed indirectly in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In a world of complex threats, our security, our leadership, depends on all elements of our power, including strong and principled diplomacy.

Read more
Parallels
2:52 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Report: Syrian Government Has Demolished Entire Neighborhoods

The complete demolition of the Masha' al-Arb'een neighborhood in the Syrian city of Hama. The group Human Rights Watch says the Syrian government army destroyed at least seven neighborhoods since the middle of 2012 because they were opposition strongholds.
DigitalGlobe

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 3:58 pm

As the Syrian government and opposition forces try to make peace in Geneva, the group Human Rights Watch has issued a new report that accuses the regime of demolishing entire neighborhoods that were considered opposition strongholds.

Read more
Parallels
2:28 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Scarlett Johansson's Middle East Flap ... Over Soda

Scarlett Johansson recently became SodaStream's spokeswoman and appeared at an event at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Jan. 10 in New York City. The actress soon found herself engulfed in controversy because of her affiliation with a company that has a factory in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Mike Coppola Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SodaStream

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 7:55 am

Read more
Music
12:53 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

'Spirit Of Family' Unites Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Darren Phillip Jones

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:58 am

For fans of world music, South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo needs no introduction.

The group has been singing a capella together for 50 years, brought together by Joseph Shabalala, a young farmhand turned factory worker from the town of Ladysmith. He had a dream of tight vocal harmonies and messages of peace.

That dream developed, and the band came to the attention of Paul Simon, who had it record "Homeless" on his album Graceland. It introduced the group to the world.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:05 am
Thu January 30, 2014

U.S.: Syria Behind Schedule On Dismantling Chemical Stockpile

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 11:05 am

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says the U.S. is "concerned" that Syria is behind schedule in removing its chemical stockpiles.

Hagel, speaking during a visit to Poland, says Syria "is behind in delivering these chemical weapons precursor materials on time with the schedule that was agreed to."

White House spokesman Jay Carney, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, added: "It is the Assad regime's responsibility to transport those chemicals to facilitate removal. We expect them to meet their obligation to do so."

Read more
Africa
9:41 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Egypt: 'A Very Divided Nation Right Now'

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 12:37 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Today, we want to focus on events in Egypt, which as you probably know, has seen some of the region's most dramatic change since the beginning of the Arab Spring when longtime President Hosni Mubarak agreed to relinquish power.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:18 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Oh Toronto! New Accusation For Mayor And New Charge For Bieber

There was quite a commotion Wednesday night in Toronto when pop star Justin Bieber (center) arrived at a police station to be charged in connection with the alleged assault on a limo driver.
Alex Urosevic Reuters/Landov

Before we start this post, we'll point to one from earlier this week:

Rather Than Joking About Justin Bieber, Watch This Video

Read more
The Two-Way
5:44 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Racing's Michael Schumacher Being Brought Out Of Coma

Michael Schumacher in April 2012.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 12:13 pm

The sedation that put race car legend Michael Schumacher into a medically induced coma after he suffered a serious head injury while skiing in France last month is gradually being reduced "to allow the start of the waking up process," the German driver's manager said Thursday.

Read more
Afghanistan
2:43 am
Thu January 30, 2014

During Speech, Obama Softens Tone On Afghan Pullout

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 5:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Obama's State of the Union speech acknowledged the obvious about Afghanistan. The U.S. wants to keep troops in the country after this year but says it won't do that unless President Hamid Karzai signs a new security agreement, so Americans made themselves dependent on Karzai, who has repeatedly put off signing as he prepares to leave office. This week, President Obama said only that the U.S. could still keep troops there if someone signs.

Read more
Africa
2:42 am
Thu January 30, 2014

U.S. Maintains Humanitarian Assistance To South Sudan

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 5:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The effort to restore peace in South Sudan included the person we'll hear from next. She's a White House official just returned from peace talks. The problem here involves a feud between the two top politicians in South Sudan. An estimated 10,000 people have died in vicious fighting that broke out six weeks ago. The carnage is all the more shocking, given that the country celebrated its independence in 2011. The United States played a big role in the creation of South Sudan, and has just helped to broker a ceasefire.

Read more
Europe
2:42 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Ukraine Activists Charge Police Beat And Even Kill Protesters

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 5:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne.

Ukraine's parliament tried last night to defuse the country's protests. The parliament offered amnesty for demonstrators who are in jail, but only if the demonstrators who are still free agree to leave buildings they're occupying. Opposition leaders said no. They want unconditional amnesty for those arrested. More important, they want the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych. His government is accused of using both arrests and brutality.

Read more
The Edge
1:31 am
Thu January 30, 2014

'Mariachi Olympic Prince' Takes Glamour To Sochi Ski Slopes

Mexican-born Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, a German prince, plans to ski in style for the Winter Olympics.
Courtesy of Alex Jorio

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 6:38 am

In Sochi, Russia, Hubertus Von Hohenlohe will compete in his sixth Winter Olympics. The 55-year-old downhill skier and German prince won't be skiing under the flag of his royal heritage, however. He'll be with the team of his birthplace, Mexico.

In honor of his Querido Mexico (beloved homeland), Hohenlohe says he will race down the Russian slopes decked out in a state-of-the-art mariachi ski suit.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:35 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Detention Of Al-Jazeera Journalists Strains Free Speech In Egypt

Mohammed Badr, a cameraman for Al-Jazeera, appears at a court in Cairo, on Dec. 4, 2013. He is among the journalists referred to the Egyptian criminal court Wednesday.
Ahmed Omar AP

Twenty people were referred to criminal court in Egypt today, among them three Al-Jazeera English journalists who have been in prison since Dec. 29. The charges are chilling.

Egyptian authorities say Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy was running a terrorist cell out of a swank hotel in the upscale district of Zamalek. He was aided by four foreigners, according to the charges.

Read more
Middle East
3:30 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Welcome To Homs, A Syrian City Under Siege

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:00 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The ongoing Syrian peace talks in Geneva have raised hopes for humanitarian relief in cities, towns, and villages across the country that are under siege by government or rebel forces. And no place is more in need than the central city of Homs, whose residents were among the first to rise up against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Read more
Parallels
3:30 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Palestinian Explains Why He Worked As An Israeli Informant

Abdel Hamid el-Rajoub, a Palestinian, became an informant for Israel while serving time in an Israeli prison. Palestinian informants play a key role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though both sides can be reluctant to speak about it. Rajoub, who now lives in Israel, says he is no longer an informant.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:00 am

It took four years in a prison cell for Palestinian Abdel Hamid el-Rajoub to decide to work as an Israeli informant. Not that he ever planned it that way. Rajoub is in his 60s now. He grew up in a Palestinian village near Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He says he was 19, an emotional young man, when he got involved in fighting Israel.

"It was my right," he says, "to fight Israel and the occupation."

Read more
The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

Edward Snowden, seen here in a photo provided by The Guardian, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two Norwegian politicians.
AP

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 8:46 am

Saying Edward Snowden has "contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order" by exposing U.S. surveillance practices and forcing a new debate over security and privacy, two Norwegian politicians nominated the former intelligence contractor for the Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday.

If he were to win the award, Snowden, who gave a trove of classified documents to media outlets last summer, would join the ranks of popular Nobel Peace laureates such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:56 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Neanderthal Genes Live On In Our Hair And Skin

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:11 am

Neanderthals died out long ago, but their genes live on in us. Scientists studying human chromosomes say they've discovered a surprising amount of Neanderthal DNA in our genes. And these aren't just random fragments; they help shape what we look like today, including our hair and skin.

These genes crept into our DNA tens of thousands of years ago, during occasional sexual encounters between Neanderthals and human ancestors who lived in Europe at the time. They show up today in their descendants, people of European and Asian descent.

Read more
Parallels
1:20 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

On A Roman Street, Graffiti Celebrates 'SuperPope'

Graffiti artist Mauro Palotta says Pope Francis is the only world leader who stands on the side of the people.
Sylvia Poggoli NPR

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:00 am

First, he's Time magazine's "Person of the Year." Then, he's Rolling Stone's cover story: "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in the Roman Catholic Church.

Now, he's "SuperPope," the latest incarnation of Pope Francis, who has rapidly become one of the most popular leaders on the planet.

Read more
Parallels
11:48 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Brazil's Slaves Are Being Freed, But Owners Go Largely Unpunished

Brazilian slave laborers stop their work to listen to a Labor Ministry inspector explain their legal rights, on the Bom Jesus farm in the Amazon basin in 2003.
Rickey Rogers Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:32 pm

I bought Francisco Lima his first taste of freedom in decades.

A cheeseburger.

It was 2004, and Brazil was starting to confront one of its most distressing problems: slavery. I was in northern Pará state, in the Amazon, observing a special police unit that raided slaveholding farms and firms and liberated workers like the 74-year-old Lima.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:43 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Tycoon's Lesbian Daughter Rejects Multimillion-Dollar 'Marriage Bounty'

Gigi Chao (right) daughter of Hong Kong property tycoon Cecil Chao, poses with her partner, Sean Eav, at an event in Hong Kong.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 9:58 am

A Hong Kong real estate tycoon made headlines two years ago when he offered a $65 million bounty to the man who could win his daughter's heart and marry her. In an open letter today, the daughter says she hopes he can accept that she is indeed a lesbian.

Read more
The Salt
8:40 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Frogs And Puffins! 1730s Menus Reveal Royals Were Extreme Foodies

Britain's King George II: Snazzy dresser, adventurous eater.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 9:10 am

You think 21st century foodies will go to great lengths for a culinary thrill? (Lion meat, anyone?) Turns out, they've got nothing on 18th century English royals.

Frogs, puffins, boar's head and larks and other songbirds were all fair game for the dinner table of England's King George II, judging by a chronicle of daily meals served to his majesty and his wife, Queen Caroline.

Read more

Pages