Iran's reported decision to name Hamid Aboutalebi as its ambassador to the United Nations has ignited anger in the U.S. That's because the diplomat was part of the student group that held Americans hostage in 1979. Now, dozens of lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to deny him a visa.
It's the latest sign of just how difficult it will be for Washington and Tehran to overcome decades of mistrust.
Afghan Election: NPR's Sean Carberry Reports From Kabul
Millions of Afghans lined up to vote for a new president Saturday, despite warnings of violence from the Taliban.
Saturday's historic vote begins what would be the first democratic transfer of power for Afghanistan; President Hamid Karzai has served for two terms and is not allowed to run for a third under the country's constitution.
The Taliban launched a number of attacks that killed dozens in the weeks before the election, but no major violence was reported after polls opened Saturday.
McDonald's, citing the "evolving situation" in Crimea, said Friday it was closing its three restaurants on the Black Sea peninsula, but the move has prompted one prominent Moscow politician to call for the fast-food giant to be booted from all of Russia.
"Due to operational reasons beyond our control, McDonald's has taken the decision to temporarily close our three restaurants in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta," a spokeswoman said.
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U.S.-Russia relations have deteriorated since Russia's annexation of Crimea and there are still questions over Russian President Vladimir Putin's agenda in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Targeted sanctions, political isolation and NATO's plans to beef up its presence in Eastern Europe haven't persuaded Putin to change course.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has more from Moscow.
To Afghanistan now, where tomorrow voters will choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai who was barred from running again. The election will mark the country's first democratic transition of power. The Taliban have been calling the election a Western-backed sham and have been waging a campaign of violence to disrupt the vote.
A few decades ago, inequality started rising in countries around the world. That came as a shock to many economists who originally thought inequality tended to go down overtime. They wondered how inequality could rise in so many different places at once. Well, now a new book by one of the world's leading experts on the topic suggests an answer to that mystery. Jacob Goldstein of our Planet Money team reports.
JACOB GOLDSTEIN, BYLINE: The book is called "Capital in the Twenty-First Century." Here's the author.
The recent oil and natural gas boom in the U.S. is paying major dividends for Washington's geopolitical clout. Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. is awash in domestic energy, which is having a ripple effect globally.
If you want to gauge one effect of this newfound energy wealth, you don't have to look any further than the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine, says Michael Levi, a senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Frustrated by obstacles encountered in talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the White House was re-evaluating its role in the process, and that the time had come for a "reality check."
Speaking at a news conference in Rabat, Morocco, Kerry said the dialogue that the U.S. has been mediating is "not an open-ended effort, it never has been.
On International Women's Day last month, Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani held a rally in Kabul attended by several thousand women. While they were all wearing headscarves, there was not a full-length burqa to be seen in the crowd. And the Western-educated Ghani did something highly unusual in Afghanistan: He let his wife, Rula, a Lebanese-American Christian, address the crowd.
More than 1 million Arabs are citizens of Israel. And over the years, some 350,000 Jewish Israelis have moved to settlements in the West Bank. If the Israelis and Palestinians were to make peace and set a formal border, what would happen to all these people?
As Afghans prepare to choose a new president Saturday, it's hard not to notice a striking contradiction.
The three leading candidates are all urbane, Westernized men inclined to wear suits and ties in public. And yet, as they crisscross this impoverished, traditional country, they've all had to remake themselves to some degree, in their dress, their speech and even in the surprising choices they've made for vice presidential running mates, who range from notorious warlords to a woman.
NASA is suspending "the majority of its ongoing engagements" with its Russian counterpart over the crisis in Ukraine.
The Verge, which first broke the news based on a leaked memo, reports that "the suspension includes travel to Russia, teleconferences, and visits by Russian government officials to NASA facilities. NASA is even suspending the exchange of emails with Russian officials."
NASA confirmed the story in a statement late Wednesday.
The U.S. says Iran's potential nomination of a new United Nations ambassador who was a hostage-taker during the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is "extremely troubling," but stopped short of saying it would deny him a visa.
"We're taking a close look at the case now, and we've raised our serious concerns about this possible nomination with the government of Iran," State Department deputy spokesman Marie Harf said of Hamid Aboutalebi, who was a member of a radical Muslim student group who seized the took over the embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted after asking Russian troops into Crimea, admits that his decision was wrong, calling Moscow's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula "a major tragedy."
Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 12:07 pm
When disease strikes in the developing world, like the current Ebola outbreak in Guinea, doctors, nurses and epidemiologists from international organizations fly in to help.
So do anthropologists.
Understanding local customs — and fears — can go a long way in getting communities to cooperate with international health care workers, says Barry Hewlett, a medical anthropologist at Washington State University.
For lovers of fatty tuna belly, canned albacore and swordfish kebabs, here's a question: Would you be willing to give them up for several years so that you could eat them perhaps for the rest of your life?
If a new proposal to ban fishing on the open ocean were to fly, that's essentially what we might be faced with. It's an idea that might help restore the populations of several rapidly disappearing fish – like tuna, swordfish and marlin — that we, and future generations, might like to continue to have as a food source.