Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 4:40 am
President Obama announced over the weekend that he will seek authorization from Congress for strikes against Syria over its reported use of chemical weapons. For an update on the situation in Syria, Steve Inskeep talks to Sam Dagher, the Middle East correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, in Damascus.
Twenty-four hours after President Obama announced on Saturday that he'll wait for congressional authorization before launching strikes on Syria; members of Congress attended a classified briefing at the Capitol.
For days, most of the discontent among members of Congress has been about not being included in the deliberations on Syria, about not getting the chance to vote. Now that they've gotten their way, each member of Congress will have to go on the record.
The government of Ecuador has abandoned a plan that would have kept part of the Amazonian rainforest off limits to oil drilling. The initiative was an unusual one: Ecuador was promising to keep the oil in the ground, but it wanted to be paid for doing so.
The Central Intelligence Agency was behind the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. It's been an open secret for decades, but last week, The George Washington University's National Security Archive released newly declassified documents proving it.
Orchestrating the Iranian coup d'état was a first for the CIA and would serve as the template for future Cold War covert operations worldwide.
Host Jacki Lyden speaks with Liz Sly of The Washington Post Beirut bureau about the social media reaction from Syrians to Obama's announcement Saturday that he would seek approval from Congress before taking military action.
Egypt's top prosecutor has referred ousted President Mohammed Morsi to trial on charges of inciting deadly violence against his opponents.
State television said Sunday that Morsi, senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam el-Erian, former presidential aides and advisors Assad Sheikha and Ahmed Abdel-Ati were among those charged in connection with clashes Dec. 5, 2012 at the presidential palace.
In all, 14 individuals have been referred to a Cairo criminal court, according to Sky News.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:48 am
Radiation surrounding Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has increased 18-fold following a report last month that radioactive water had leaked into the ground around the plant, which was badly damaged in a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, reports that radiation around the site is at 1,800 millisieverts per hour, a level that Reuters says is "enough to kill an exposed person in four hours."
Previously, the utility, also known as Tepco, said the leaking water was at around 100 millisieverts per hour.
Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 2:46 pm
Secretary of State John Kerry says that tests have shown evidence of Syria's use of the chemical agent sarin in an attack on the opposition last month that the White House has blamed on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"I can share with you today that blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from East Damascus, from first responders, it has tested positive for signatures of sarin," Kerry told CNN on Sunday.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Wade Goodwyn. Rachel Martin is away. Syrians and the world have spent the last week bracing for a U.S. attack on Damascus that seemed to be imminent. Now, President Obama has surprised everyone by pushing the pause button and by announcing yesterday in the Rose Garden that he will go to Congress for approval. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from the White House.
Military officials are concerned that a limited strike against Syria could prompt the Assad regime to target civilians with more conventional weapons. Guest host Wade Goodwyn speaks with NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.
A boy waves the flag of his new homeland on the last flight of organized, large-scale emigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
Credit Moshik Brin / Photo Courtesy of Moshik Brin
Natan Sharansky, chairman of The Jewish Agency, and Sofa Landver, Israel's Minister of Immigrant Absorption, arriving in Israel with the final large group of Ethiopian Jews to be allowed to immigrate to Israel.
Credit Ariel Schalit / AP
A newly immigrated Ethiopian Jewish girl holds flowers and a flag as she attends a welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 29, 2012. The Israeli government's program to bring Jews from Ethiopia officially ended this week.
Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 5:51 pm
Nelson Mandela, still in critical condition with a chronic lung infection, was discharged from a hospital Sunday and taken by ambulance to his home in Johannesburg after three months of intensive care. The former South African president and anti-apartheid leader is 95.
Tom Cole is a U.S. congressman from Oklahoma. He's a Republican and has served in the Congress since 2003. Congressman Cole, thank you for being with us.
REPRESENTATIVE TOM COLE: Thank you.
LYDEN: Congressman, you signed a letter with more than 100 of your colleagues asking the president to consult with Congress before acting in Syria. Well, President Obama now says he will do exactly that. Are you happy with the president's approach?
With us now to talk about congressional reaction to the president's announcement this afternoon is NPR's congressional reporter Ailsa Chang. Thanks for being with us.
AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: You're welcome. Good to be here.
LYDEN: So it seems the president has been listening to the rancor this week, Ailsa, from members of both parties. What's been the reaction from congressional leaders you've had a chance to speak to since the announcement?
This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
It was a stunner today for pundits on the Potomac. President Obama announced in the Rose Garden that while he has the authority to unilaterally attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons, he won't use it. Only 24 hours after Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for military action, the president made the case for congressional approval.
The U.S. will not be acting alone if and when it launches military strikes against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. French President Francois Hollande spoke with President Obama today. France and the U.S. will act together after congressional discussions.
As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, this Franco-American alliance is a complete turnabout from the lead up to the war in Iraq 10 years ago.
If you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
The chemical weapons attack in Syria on August the 21st was the first time in a quarter century that such weapons had been used against civilians during a conflict. In 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War, the Iraqi city of Halabja was subjected to a gas attack by Saddam Hussein. At least 5,000 people died.
A transcript of President Obama's remarks on possible U.S. military action in Syria, as released by the White House:
Good afternoon, everybody. Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.
U.S. forces transfer a missile for a fighter plane as the military prepared for war in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia in 1990. American presidents have been calling on the military frequently since the end of the Cold War more than two decades ago.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:22 am
When the Cold War ended two decades ago there was a widespread belief that the greatest threat to U.S. troops would be boredom. It seemed they faced a future with little to do besides polishing their boots and staging the occasional military exercise.
Yet U.S. presidents are calling on the military more often than ever, with U.S. forces carrying out more than a dozen separate operations since the first Gulf War in Iraq in 1991.
Police say the convicted 18-year-old was one of five men who lured the 23-year-old victim and her male friend onto a bus in the capital, New Delhi, where she was repeatedly raped and beaten in December.
The Taliban conducted a series of deadly attacks across Afghanistan this week, killing civilians, Afghan forces and several NATO service members. But they are targeting far fewer NATO troops these days, because those troops are focused on training and advising the Afghan army. NPR's Sean Carberry spent five days with U.S. Marines in one of Afghanistan's chronic hot spots and speaks with host Scott Simon.
What would Iraq and Israel do if the U.S. launches military action against the Syrian government? Former analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency Joshua Foust speaks with host Scott Simon about the wider consequences for the Middle East.