World News

Animals
5:39 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Ambassador Kennedy Criticizes Japan's Dolphin Hunt

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:12 am

The dolphin roundup by a Japanese community is an annual hunt. But this time, new U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has weighed in with displeasure. That puts her on the side of several wildlife and animal rights advocates who've condemned the annual slaughter. The Japanese defend it as traditional — just as the U.S. does with native Alaskans who kill whales.

The Two-Way
5:05 am
Wed January 22, 2014

'Accusations And Acrimony' At Start Of Talks On Syria

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem (left) at the peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Gary Cameron Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:24 am

Update at 1:20 p.m. ET. No Peace As Long As Assad Remains, Kerry Says:

After what appeared to be a difficult start to talks aimed at eventually ending the civil war in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry repeated the U.S. position that President Bashar Assad must give up his post.

"You can't have peace and stability, you cannot restore Syria or save Syria as long as Bashar al-Assad remains in power," Kerry said, according to NPR's Michele Kelemen.

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Parallels
4:40 am
Wed January 22, 2014

What's At Stake In The Syrian Peace Conference

A man runs with a child after an attack Tuesday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Activists said President Bashar Assad's military carried out an airstrike.
Ammar Abdullah Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:34 am

With a major push from the U.S., a new Syrian peace conference opened Wednesday in Switzerland, the first such effort since the middle of 2012. It wasn't easy getting everyone there, and it will be harder still to achieve a breakthrough.

Here are a few key things to know about the conference:

1. What's the goal?

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Middle East
3:30 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Peace Conference On Syria Opens In Switzerland

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's go next to Switzerland, where the Syrian peace conference began this morning, with diplomats making public statements filled with accusations and acrimony - just how you'd want to start a peace conference. The civil war has gone on for almost three years now, killing well over 130,000 people and displacing some nine million others. Much of the fight hinges on whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should remain in power. Let's go now to NPR's Deborah Amos, who's covering the talks. Deborah's on the line. Hi, Deborah.

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Europe
3:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Anti-Government Protests In Ukraine Turn Deadly

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:12 am

New laws to curb protests are in effect in Ukraine but anti-government demonstrators remain on the streets of the capital Kiev. For more on the protests that have turned deadly, Renee Montagne talks to David Stern, a reporter for the BBC.

Middle East
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Report Claims 'Systematic Torture And Killing' By Syrian Regime

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

A prominent team of war crimes prosecutors has released a harrowing report, saying it's reviewed what it calls clear evidence of systematic torture and killing by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The report is based on tens of thousands of carefully catalogued government photographs that show the bodies of some 11,000 Syrian detainees.

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Africa
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

In Kenya, A Fraught Return To The Site Of A Massacre

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In Nairobi, four men are on trial for helping the terrorists who stormed Westgate Mall in September. More than 70 people were killed in that attack. Today, the judge and lawyers on both sides left the confines of their courtroom and took a field trip to the mall.

As NPR's Gregory Warner reports, they went looking for the truth of what happened that day. But they also went looking for closure.

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Asia
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

State Of Emergency Raises New Questions In Bangkok

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

To Thailand now, where the government has declared a 60-day state of emergency ahead of next month's snap elections. The move comes after weeks of anti-government protests and it gives authorities the power to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge and ban public gatherings of more than five people.

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Middle East
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Table's Laid And Guests Are Ready: Syria Peace Talks Set To Begin

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Syrian peace conference begins tomorrow following a tumultuous 24 hours. Yesterday, at the last minute, the UN withdrew Iran's invitation after the Syrian opposition threatened to boycott the meeting. The aim of the talks: to end a three-year war that has claimed the lives of over 100,000 people.

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It's All Politics
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Finding Common Interests, Obama And The Pope Set A Date

Pope Francis waves to faithful during the Angelus prayer from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sunday. President Obama will meet with the pope for the first time in March.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 6:32 pm

President Obama plans to meet this spring with Pope Francis.

On Tuesday, a White House spokesman announced the president will visit the Vatican as part of European trip in March. The president is said to be looking forward to talking with the pope about their "shared commitment to fighting poverty" and income inequality.

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Thai Government Declares State Of Emergency

An anti-government supporter displays her donations for the cause during a street rally in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday. Thailand has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and its surrounding areas to cope with anti-government protests that have stirred up violent attacks.
Wally Santana AP

Thailand's government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in Bangkok and surrounding areas amid massive protests that have rocked the country since last November.

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Om My: Chinese Buddha Booted Over Booty

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:30 pm

It seemed like a good idea at the time: A restaurateur in the Chinese city of Jinan wanted to advertise a dish so good that the Buddha himself scaled walls for a taste, so the owner put up giant sculptures of naked Buddhas climbing over the restaurant.

The South China Morning Post has the background:

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Japanese Government Defends Dolphin Hunt As Killing Goes On

Fishermen in wetsuits trap dolphins in a cove off Taiji, western Japan, on Monday.
Adrian Mylne Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 1:09 pm

His nation's annual dolphin hunt "is a form of traditional fishing in our country," Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga says in response to criticism of the practice from Caroline Kennedy, the new U.S. ambassador in Tokyo.

"We will explain Japan's position to the American side," the chief Cabinet secretary adds, according to The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Ukraine Tracks Protesters Through Cellphones Amid Clashes

Ukrainian priests stand between protesters and riot police during an anti-government protest Monday in Kiev.
Sergey Dolzhenko EPA /Landov

We have news from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev: The New York Times is reporting that the Ukrainian government used technology to zero-in on the locations of cellphones in use Tuesday near clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters.

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The Two-Way
8:27 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Report Details Alleged 'Systematic' Killing By Syria's Assad

Syrian look up after an apparent airstrike by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad on Tuesday in the city of Aleppo.
Ammar Abdullah Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:58 am

This post was updated at 5:39 p.m. ET

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The Two-Way
6:02 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Hunt Is On For At Least One 'Black Widow' In Sochi

Police in Sochi have distributed leaflets as they search for Ruzanna Ibragimova, an alleged "black widow" who may be intending to set off a suicide bomb at the site of next month's Winter Olympics.
Natalya Vasilyeva AP

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:22 am

Is there already one or more "black widow" in or near Sochi, Russia, who might be determined to set off a suicide bomb at the site of next month's Winter Olympics?

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow that Russian security forces are said to be looking for "Ruzanna Ibragimova, the 22-year-old widow of an Islamist militant who was killed by security forces."

He tells our Newscast Desk that according to Russian news outlets:

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Middle East
5:11 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Egyptian Military Clamps Down On Freedom Of Speech

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:57 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Egypt, the military-led government took charge last year with a violent clampdown on Islamists. Since then, it's been targeting many others who criticize its leadership. A high-profile liberal is being charged with a crime over a tweet. And there are at least five journalists behind bars in Egypt, including a team of Al Jazeera English journalists who are being accused of terrorism and other crimes. Egypt is now one of the most dangerous places for reporters to report.

NPR's Leila Fadel has the story of one of them.

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Middle East
4:12 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Framework Of Syria Peace Talks Divides Interested Parties

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 6:07 am

A long delayed Syrian peace conference is to begin in Switzerland on Wednesday. In 2012, Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart issued a joint call for talks between the Syrian government and the opposition to reach agreement on a transitional government with "full executive authority." For the U.S., that means Syria's president would be out of power. But the Russians don't see it that way, arguing only the Syrian people can decide on their leader.

Parallels
4:06 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Palestinian Herders Pick Up The Pieces After Homes Destroyed

Nehida Bne Menneh stands amid the rubble of her home in a small Palestinian herding camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It was destroyed for being in an area Israel long ago declared a closed military zone.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 12:14 pm

NPR's Emily Harris sent this postcard after visiting a community of Palestinian herders whose camp was demolished for being in a closed Israeli military zone.

It's about 20 minutes by four-wheel drive up a rocky canyon to Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah, a near-barren plain with a small spring. A handful of families live here, including more than a dozen children and over 700 sheep and goats.

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Asia
3:23 am
Tue January 21, 2014

New Force Emerges In Indian Politics: Common Man Party

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 6:07 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Iraq
3:15 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Violence In Iraq Goes From Bad To Worse

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 6:07 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The violence in Iraq is getting even worse. To recap here, the ongoing Syrian civil war next door created lawless areas where Muslim extremists - Sunni Muslim extremists - from both countries could operate and find safe havens, which helped fuel a wave of hundreds of bombings in Iraq.

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Europe
3:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

As Protests Renew In Ukraine, Fears Of Violence Return

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to Ukraine where the crisis is intensifying. Today, there were more clashes between protesters and police in the capital city, Kiev. This after a massive protest turned violent yesterday, when more than 100,000 people turned out to denounce a new law that limits public protests. The protests have shaken Ukraine for two months, as the opposition claims President Viktor Yanukovych is turning increasingly autocratic and aligning his country with Russia.

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Middle East
3:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Surprise Invitation Lands Syrian Peace Talks In Hot Water

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 5:44 pm

The long-anticipated Syrian peace conference is again in turmoil. The U.N. secretary-general's surprise decision to invite Iran to attend the conference prompted a boycott threat from Syria's exiled opposition. At issue is the fact that Iran has not publicly committed to the framework for the conference or pledged to withdraw its troops and allied militias from Syria. Under pressure from the opposition groups and the U.S., the U.N. has since withdrawn its invitation to Iran.

Afghanistan
3:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Punctured Tires In Kabul Are The Work Of Police, Not Punks

NPR producer Sultan Faizy's car — parked right outside the NPR office in Kabul — was recently targeted by the police. Police say the policy is meant to prevent militants from stealing cars for use in bomb attacks.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 10:16 am

In Kabul, car theft isn't a big problem, but it is a big concern. Security officials fear that militants could use stolen vehicles as car bombs. So the police have turned to a rather controversial tactic to deter thieves.

On a recent evening, a guest left our office only to discover two of his car tires had been punctured. Moments later, my producer discovered two of his tires had been punctured. Both cars were parked on the side of the street in front of our office.

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Middle East
3:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Nuclear Inspectors Enter Iran, With Eyes Peeled For Cheating

An unidentified inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency examines equipment at the Natanz facility in Iran on Monday.
Kazem Ghane AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 5:58 pm

This week in Iran, international inspectors are stepping up surveillance of the country's nuclear program.

The inspections are at the heart of a landmark deal that freezes Iran's uranium enrichment in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from sanctions, but they are just a first step.

When you hear "nuclear inspection," maybe you imagine convoys of white SUVs with the United Nations logo stamped on the side and dozens of inspectors bursting into secret facilities.

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The Two-Way
2:06 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

New Zealand Quake Shakes Eagle Sculpture From Airport Perch

A giant eagle sculpture that was being used to promote The Hobbit film trilogy after a 6.3 quake caused it to fall from the ceiling of the Wellington Airport on Monday.
Hagen Hopkins AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 2:49 pm

Travelers at Wellington Airport in New Zealand may have felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins on a quest through Middle Earth when a giant eagle descended from the ceiling during a strong 6.3-magnitude quake that shook North Island on Monday.

The eagle — a sculpture, actually — was one of two giant birds used to promote The Hobbit films, which were shot in New Zealand. The bird was shaken off its perch in the terminal and crashed to the floor.

No one was seriously hurt at the airport or anywhere else on the island, where damage from the earthquake was reportedly minimal.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Oxfam: World's Richest 1 Percent Control Half Of Global Wealth

Local villagers scavenging coal illegally from an open-cast mine in a village near Jharia, India, in 2012.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:16 pm

Just 1 percent of the world's population controls nearly half of the planet's wealth, according to a new study published by Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.

The study says this tiny slice of humanity controls $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion people.

Other key findings in the report:

-- The world's 85 richest people own as much as the poorest 50 percent of humanity.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Mon January 20, 2014

U.S., EU Lift Some Iran Sanctions After Assurances On Uranium

An IAEA team checks the enrichment process inside the uranium enrichment plant Natanz in central Iran on Monday.
Kazem Ghane EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 2:46 pm

This post was updated at 11:40 a.m. ET.

The United States and European Union say they will lift some sanctions against Iran after reports from international inspectors that Tehran has suspended high-level enrichment of uranium under an interim pact to scale back its nuclear program.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
8:06 am
Mon January 20, 2014

U.N. Rescinds Offer For Iran To Take Part In Syrian Peace Talks

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the media during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sunday.
Jason Szenes EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 4:06 am

This post was updated at 4:35 p.m. ET.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has withdrawn an invitation to Iran to participate in Syrian peace talks after groups opposing President Bashar Assad's regime threatened a boycott of the discussions if Tehran got a seat at the table.

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Parallels
5:30 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Low Hopes, High Stakes For Syria Peace Conference In Geneva

In Istanbul on Saturday, Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba announces the opposition group will attend the upcoming peace conference in Geneva.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 12:00 pm

Can a meeting in Switzerland, known as Geneva-2, solve the crisis in Syria?

The expectations are low. The warring parties are reluctant. Some of the most important players, including powerful armed rebel groups, are not on the invitation list.

The superpower hosts, the U.S. and Russia, fully back the peace conference, set for Wednesday. They hope to kick-start a political process and end the armed conflict that has ravaged Syria and destabilized the region.

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