Saying Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had violated Thailand's constitution, the country's Constitutional Court ordered the caretaker leader to step down from office, along with nine ministers. She had held the post since the summer of 2011.
The court's ruling Wednesday stems from accusations that Yingluck abused her powers in 2011 by transferring the national security chief, who had been appointed by the opposition. The court's nine judges went on national television to broadcast their decision.
The commander of the rebel movement in South Sudan has agreed to talk peace — if he can make it out of his secret war bunker.
Riek Machar told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by phone on Tuesday that he would "try his best" to make it to Friday's scheduled sit-down in Ethiopia, but that he was "now in a very remote area."
There might be some truth to it: South Sudan is one of the least developed countries in the world, with almost no paved roads outside of the capital. The current rainy season can make travel virtually impossible.
For the second time this year, Vatican officials were subjected to scathing questions by a U.N. panel. The questions focus on the church's handling of cases of sexual abuse by priests. The grilling came in two days of hearings in Geneva by the U.N. Committee on Torture. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is following this and joins me now. And, Sylvia, earlier this year, it was a U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child that issued a very harsh report about clerical sex abuse. What is the Committee on Torture saying now, and is it different?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. won't sit idly by while Russia fans the flames of instability in Ukraine. But so far, U.S. and European sanctions haven't changed Russia's calculations. Kerry blames Russia for failing to calm the crisis. Russia says Ukraine should stop its offensive against separatists in the east. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that the diplomatic options during these tense days look limited.
The radical Islamist group Boko Haram isn't new. The group has been around for more than a decade and has waged a bloody insurgency in northeastern Nigeria for the past five years. But it has suddenly achieved international notoriety by kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls who have now been missing for more than three weeks.
The gunmen who abducted 276 girls from a school in Nigeria last month wore uniforms and said they were soldiers who had come to help, according to a girl who escaped her captors. The girls were led outside — and it wasn't until the gunmen stole food and set fire to the school that the girls became certain they were in trouble.
Ukraine says its military has killed 30 pro-Russian separatists as government forces try to retake Slovyansk and other cities near the border with Russia. At least four Ukrainian soldiers have died, and separatists shot down a helicopter in eastern Ukraine.
The helicopter's "crew escaped because they apparently crashed into a riverbed once it was shot down," NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.
Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced the death toll in Slovyansk on Tuesday.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
Let's get an update now on a struggle starting to look more like a war in Ukraine. At least four Ukrainian soldiers and 30 pro-Russian fighters have been killed in this latest round of fighting as the government tries to retake cities near the border with Russia. Several Ukrainian helicopters have been shot down by well-armed separatists.
At the end of a weathered street lined with sooty apartment blocks and minimarkets, in a smoky budget hotel in central Athens, the refugees wait.
"This lobby is like Syria," says a small, green-eyed man who calls himself Muhammad and says he's from Aleppo. "That guy is from Damascus," he says, pointing. "That one is from Homs, that one from Latakia."
There are about 80 Syrians here, including six neighbors from Yarmouk, the Palestinian neighborhood in Damascus. They sit together at a table in the hotel's breakfast room, sipping sweet, hot Nescafe from tall glasses.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new measure that will give the government much greater control over the Internet.
Critics say the law is aimed at silencing opposition bloggers and restricting what people can say on social media. It would also force international email providers and social networks to make their users' information available to the Russian security services.
It is, says the World Health Organization, "an extraordinary event." Polio is spreading to a degree that constitutes a public health emergency.
The global drive to wipe out the virus had driven the number of polio cases down from 300,000 in the late 1980s to just 417 cases last year. The World Health Organization has set a goal of wiping out polio by 2018.
A Human Rights Watch report documents brutal force used by Venezuelan security forces against peaceful demonstrators — including beatings, shootings and, in some cases, torture. The report also shows how security forces work in cahoots with pro-government armed gangs, calling the abuses the worst they have seen in years.
Over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry called the kidnapping of the Nigerian girls an unconscionable crime. And he promised the U.S. would do everything possible to help return the young women to their homes and hold the perpetrators to justice.
So, just what might that everything possible mean? For insights on that I'm joined by Richard Downie. He's deputy director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington.
Nigerian Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram claimed credit for abducting more than 200 schoolgirls. The girls remain missing, and parents are pressing the government to find and bring them home. The president's wife has ordered the arrest of the parent who is leading the protests demanding government action.
When Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, was released in September 2013 — along with 11 other high-profile political prisoners — many Iranians saw the move as opening a new era following the election of centrist President Hassan Rouhani.
He had promised to release political prisoners rounded up after the contested 2009 elections, when thousands of protesters, known as the Green Movement, were tried and jailed.
I am Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Continuing with our top story today we want to look at what activists have been doing around the world in response to the kidnapping of those 200-plus schoolgirls in Nigeria. On Twitter, activists have started a hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls to keep focus on the crisis and to keep-up pressure on the government.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to start the program today with a story we've been covering closely for the last few weeks - the kidnapping of more than 200 girls at a boarding school in Nigeria last month. There have been a number of new developments we want to tell you about, including mounting pressure on the government of Nigeria to step up its efforts to find the girls. That pressure coming from the streets of Nigeria, online and in cities around the world.