It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
It has been nearly three years since a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed nearly 20,000 people. Another victim: the Fukushima nuclear power plant. There was a meltdown at three reactors there. Cleaning up and shutting down that plant involves huge challenges and risks that are expected to last for decades.
NPR's Anthony Kuhn recently went inside one of the damaged plant's nuclear reactors, and he filed this report.
Born in a tiny pueblo south of Madrid, Esperanza Puente arrived in the Spanish capital fresh out of high school. It was the late 1980s, and Spain was reveling in newfound freedoms after its military dictator Francisco Franco died and democracy took hold.
"The end of the 1980s was a wild time in Madrid — alcohol, drugs, nightlife, sex without commitment. When I arrived from a small village, I ate it up, like it was the end of the world!" recalls Puente, now 43, smiling. "But I ended up pregnant, and my boyfriend suddenly didn't want anything to do with me."
The Terni apartment complex in Rio de Janeiro's far west zone of Campo Grande. Many residents were relocated to this area because their old neighborhoods were knocked down to make way for building projects related to the Olympics.
Jeane Tomas scraped all her money together to build a house where she could raise her son. She'd been renting in the favela, or shanty town, of Vila Harmonia and wanted to put down roots in the community where she lived when her child was born.
The house went up — only to quickly come down.
"There is this frustration to have worked so hard, dreamed so much to leave everything behind," she said.
Now that the Winter Olympics in Sochi are over attention will be turning to Brazil, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
A demonstrator confronts riot policemen during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, on Feb. 22.
Credit Raul Arboleda / AFP/Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jose Jaua have tried to improve relations between the two nations, to no avail so far. They're shown here in Guatemala in June 2013.
Credit Moises Castillo / AP
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cheers during a motorcycle rally organized in support of the government in Caracas on Monday. Although Maduro says he wants to send an ambassador to the U.S., he recently expelled three American diplomats from his country.
The escalating political crisis in Venezuela has set off alarms in Washington. But there's little the U.S. has been able to do, aside from criticize the jailing of opposition figures or the rising death toll as protesters continue to take to the streets, blaming the government for high inflation and crime.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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We begin this hour with the latest developments from Ukraine and some of the responses from Western powers. Washington is offering financial advice and is now considering a $1 billion loan-guarantee package to help support the Ukrainian economy. In a moment, we'll hear how the British government views the crisis.
In northeastern Nigeria, a brutal attack on a boarding school is the latest sign of the rise of Islamist militants and the inability of the government to stop them. The attack came in the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday and details of the massacre are gruesome. At least 59 students were killed. Many were burned alive, after militants set fire to a locked dormitory. Students who tried to escape were shot and their throats were slit. They slaughtered them like sheep. That's the way one teacher described the attack to the Associated Press.
With Ukraine in a political limbo following the flight of its president Saturday, the name of Arseniy Yatsenyuk is being put forth as the country's next leader until new elections are held in May. Yatsenyuk is a member of the Batkyvshchina party, whose leaders include former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
On Wednesday, a web page dedicated to Yatsenyuk announced, "Began collecting signatures under the agreement on forming a coalition. The government will be voted on Thursday," according to a web-based translation service.
A vehicle inside the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi is engulfed in flames after an attack on Sept. 11, 2012. "There is no evidence whatsoever that al-Qaida or any group linked to al-Qaida played a role in organizing or leading the attack," says <em>New York Times</em> correspondent David Kirkpatrick.
On Sept. 11, 2012, an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Who led this attack and why have been the subject of much controversy in Washington. Republicans have charged that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton's State Department were at fault for not stopping what the Republicans claim was a carefully planned attack by international terrorists, including al-Qaida.
Clashes break out between rival Egyptian groups near Cairo's Tahrir square, on Jan. 25, 2014. The day marked the third anniversary of the uprising that toppled former ruler Hosni Mubarak, but the military is back in control in Egypt.
Credit Khaled Kamel / AFP/Getty Images
Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi smiles during a visit to Moscow, on Feb. 13. He is popular among many Egyptians and is considered likely to run for president.
Credit Vasily Maximov / AFP/Getty Images
Egyptians gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Jan. 25 to mark the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising. Many Egyptians expected dramatic changes at the time, but the military remains the country's most powerful institution.
Just three years after protesters and the Egyptian military drove Hosni Mubarak from power, the revolution hasn't delivered what many Egyptians expected, and hopes are fading that it ever will.
Military commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to announce his candidacy for president any day now. The charismatic strongman would be the frontrunner and his candidacy would be a landmark in the ongoing military crackdown now restricting many of the freedoms Egyptians hoped for when toppling Mubarak.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. This week, we've been taking a look at proposed new laws, both here and overseas, that affect LGBT people. Yesterday, we talked about a bill under consideration in Arizona that would allow business owners with religious objections to refuse to serve LGBT people.
Soldiers march during a graduation ceremony for recruits of the Libyan army in Tripoli, the capital, on Jan. 16. The military, gutted by years under Moammar Gadhafi and by NATO attacks, faces multiple challenges as it tries to rebuild.
Credit Ismail Zitouny / Reuters/Landov
These are among the some 230 men undergoing military training at a camp outside Tripoli. On the day NPR visited, a gun battle raged about a mile away. No one intervened.
Credit Leila Fadel / NPR
A member of a heavily armed militia group is seen with his weapon in Freedom Square in Benghazi, Libya, on Feb. 18. Many of the militias are actually on the government payroll.
Credit Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters/Landov
A batch of former rebels who have joined the Libyan army board a plane in Tripoli on Jan. 9. They were headed to Italy to receive training.
Credit Mahmud Turkia / AFP/Getty Images
A member of the Libyan police special forces holds his weapon as he and another stand atop a vehicle at Martyrs' Square, also known as Green Square, in Tripoli, on Nov. 21.
On a recent day, just west of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, gunfire erupts, a battle between two families. It builds for hours; people run for cover. No one intervenes — even though a Libyan army base is just a mile away.
Inside that military camp in a town called Zawiya are 230 young men from across the North African nation, part of the government effort to address the country's most glaring problem: an almost nonexistent security force.
An anti-Yanukovych protester holds a Ukrainian flag in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Tuesday. The Ukrainian Parliament has voted to turn prosecution of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych over to The Hague.
The whereabouts of Ukraine's ousted President Viktor Yanukovych remain unkown, but the country's opposition-led Parliament says any war crimes prosecution of the former leader would come in The Hague's International Criminal Court.
The opposition, which took control after Yanukovych fled the capital, has not yet formed a government. But its leaders have said they want to ensure the former president and other officials are held accountable for the deaths of protesters during months of demonstrations.
NPR's Peter Kenyon reports for our Newscast unit from Kiev:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
Huge protests have engulfed Venezuela for several weeks now. The protests started with students and expanded to the middle class. Venezuelans angered by an economy in freefall, high inflation, and soaring rates of crime. At least 15 people have been killed and about 150 injured during the demonstrations.
Norwegians love winter sports. Their haul of 26 medals in Sochi placed them third behind Russia and the U.S., a disproportionate haul. So you might think people in Oslo would be thrilled that their city is a likely contender to host the 2022 Winter Games.
But Sidsel Overgaard found that's not always the case.
SIDSEL OVERGAARD, BYLINE: It's a brisk night in Oslo, a new dusting of snow on the ground. In the city center, mittened children scrape and twirl on an outdoor rink, torn up by a day's hard use.
Separatist rhetoric is perhaps strongest in Crimea, the strategic peninsula that's home to Russia's Black Sea Naval fleet. Crimea used to be part of Russia, but in 1954, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine. Ethnic Russians are a majority in Crimea and the region tilts toward Moscow. Paul Sonne is in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol reporting for The Wall Street Journal and he joins me now. Paul, welcome to the program.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. It took nearly three months for Ukraine's people to overthrow their government and now the opposition is running into problems as it tries to build a replacement with infighting among the various parties. Meantime, the Ukrainian economy is in a shambles. The country is on the verge of default.
Clara Rojas waves as she arrives at an airport near Caracas, Venezuela, on Jan. 10, 2008, after being released from six years of captivity by Colombian rebels.
Credit Gregorio Marrero / AP
Clara Rojas, right, was held for six years by Colombian guerrillas. During that time, she nearly died during childbirth and had her son taken away from her. Rojas, who is now running for Congress, is shown here in 2012 speaking with relatives of people kidnapped or forcibly recruited by Colombian rebels.
Credit Guillermo Legaria / AFP/Getty Images
Clara Rojas embraces her son, Emmanuel, at a foster center in Bogota on Jan. 13, 2008. He had been taken from his mother by the guerrillas holding her, and they were apart for three years until her release.
Politicians on the campaign trail love to talk about their personal stories and they often mention their kids as well. It can be pretty routine stuff, unless you happen to be Clara Rojas, a candidate for Congress in Colombia's elections next month.
Rojas, a lawyer, was a central figure in one of the most dramatic episodes of Colombia's long guerrilla war. In 2002, she was managing the presidential campaign of Ingrid Betancourt when both women were kidnapped by Marxist rebels.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 12:16 pm
President Obama told Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday that he has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans to have all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.
But at the same time, Obama opened the door to the U.S. staying in the Central Asian nation even if Karzai hasn't signed a newly negotiated "Bilateral Security Agreement" before the end of April — the month of scheduled presidential elections in Afghanistan and what had been something of a deadline set by U.S. officials.