Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:18 pm
Liquor companies like to make drinkers think their favorite spirits always have been and always will be attached to a very particular place — Kentucky bourbon, Irish whiskey, Russian vodka.
But like many other industries, the liquor business has gone global, and a small number of players increasingly dominate the industry worldwide. The distilling may still be local, but ownership is definitely international.
It was one of the most stunning disasters of the last decade. The day after Christmas 2004, the Asian Tsunami killed nearly a quarter of a million people. Most of them, more than 175,000, died in the Indonesia's Aceh Province.
In the two years following that utter devastation, reporter Michael Sullivan spent time with several people, tracking, for MORNING EDITION, their recovery from the disaster. And he returned again, a few weeks ago.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
The warring parties in Syria are one week away from a peace conference. Rebels have been fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Rebels have also been fighting rebels. Syria's political opposition is fractured over attending the peace conference at all, raising the prospect that Assad may come out on top.
The prime minster of Thailand says she plans to go ahead with next month's elections, despite opposition protests that have blocked much of the center of Bangkok. The anti-government demonstrators want the current, caretaker prime minister to step down, to be replaced with an unelected "people's council". The political turmoil is also impacting the local economy.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Human rights advocates in Nigeria are reporting that dozens of gay men have been arrested under a new law that makes homosexual clubs or associations illegal. That law also criminalizes same-sex marriage. Gay men who have been arrested have reportedly been tortured into giving up the names of others. Michelle Faul with the Associated Press has been writing about this and she joins us now from Lagos.
When German farmers and activists descended upon Chancellor Angela Merkel's office building Wednesday morning, they brought along some special guests — 17 pigs. The stunt was the latest European backlash against a proposed free trade deal with the U.S. that could lift restrictions on American meat sold in Europe.
Under the watchful eye of German police officers, the pigs munched happily on straw strewn across the pavement to keep the herd from running amok.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:50 pm
Despite a $7 billion effort to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan, poppy cultivation there is at its highest level since the U.S. invasion more than a decade ago, sparking corruption, criminal gangs and providing the insurgency with hard cash, says John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.
In testimony before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, he warns Wednesday that Afghanistan could degenerate into a narco-criminal state.
Centuries before the U.S. was colonized, the British were handing down estates and titles from father to son. Never from mother to daughter.
Then came the royal pregnancy last year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, had a boy, George. But before the prince was born and his sex known, Parliament changed British law so a first-born girl could inherit the throne. And a group of female aristocrats began fighting to apply the principle more broadly.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:50 am
Several donor nations have each pledged tens of millions of dollars for civilians affected by Syria's civil war.
The pledges, including $500 million from Kuwait and $380 million from the U.S., came Wednesday at the start of a conference in Kuwait City to raise money for the humanitarian suffering caused by the more than two years of fighting. The U.N. wants $6.5 billion for the effort to assist Syrian refugees. It's the largest-ever appeal for a single crisis.
The maritime watchdog says there were 264 strikes against shipping worldwide last year — a drop of 40 percent since attacks peaked in 2011. And there were just 15 attacks off the coast of Somalia; by comparison, that same area saw 75 attacks in 2012 and 237 the year before.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:14 am
A 51-year-old Danish tourist was allegedly gang-raped in the heart of India's capital, and police said Wednesday that they've detained several suspects for questioning.
According to a police spokesman, the woman asked a group of men for directions back to her hotel Tuesday after she became lost. The Press Trust of India news agency reports that the men allegedly lured her to a secluded area near New Delhi's Connaught Place where she was robbed, beaten and sexually assaulted at knife-point.
From 'Morning Edition': Journalist Barton Gellman on the NSA
"The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks," The New York Times reports.
Secretary of State John Kerry is attending a donors conference in Kuwait to try to raise money for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. Millions of people have been forced from their homes and the U.N. has struggled to gain access to many parts of the country.
Among those calling for the U.S. to take in more Syrian refugees is the International Rescue Committee.
SHARON WAXMAN: Enabling people to go home and rebuild their lives is always the first, second and third priority. But in many cases, there are Syrians - as there have been in other civil war situations - who will not be able to return home.
MONTAGNE: That's the group's vice president for public policy, Sharon Waxman. Her group says the U.S. could comfortably accept thousands more Syrians fleeing that civil war.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:01 pm
Reports of white smoke from a battery compartment have temporarily grounded a Boeing 787 in Japan, nearly a year after all the new airliners were grounded owing to a problem with batteries overheating. Today's incident happened on an airliner at Tokyo's Narita Airport that had no passengers aboard.
It was during a preflight checkout that a mechanic saw smoke emerging from the underside of a Japan Airlines 787, according to Japan's NHK TV News
The Arab Spring that brought those changes to Egypt began in Tunisia, exactly three years ago today. Tunisians overthrew their dictator, prompting a wave of uprisings across the region. But three years on, lawmakers are still struggling to ratify a new constitution and lay the foundations of their country's future. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in Tunis and sent this report.
The U.S. and Afghanistan are locked in a standoff over a security agreement that would allow U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. That's when the NATO mission there ends. Analysts say part of the reason the two countries can't close the deal is because they just don't understand each other.
Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 5:02 pm
India's Supreme Court is set to hear a petition Wednesday against one of its own retired judges over allegations that he sexually harassed a former intern — the second such case to be made public in as many months.
The alleged incidents have cast a cloud over the country's highest court and pressure has mounted for it to comply with its own 1997 rulings requiring panels in the workplace to hear harassment complaints. Critics say such a panel for the Supreme Court itself is long overdue.
Thirty years ago, the Indian government was trying to suppress a bloody separatist rebellion by Sikh militants. Then-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the army to raid the Golden Temple to remove militants holed up in Sikhism's holiest shrine. The move cost her her life, and its repercussions are still felt in Indian politics.
Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 3:34 pm
At least 200 refugees, mostly women and children, have drowned in South Sudan after a ferry sank as they were trying to cross the Nile River to escape fighting near the northern town of Malakal.
Army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said the group was in an "overloaded" boat. The New York Times, which places the number of dead at between 200 and 300, reports that it is the worst such ferry accident to date as tens of thousands of residents have sought refuge.