World News

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Brazil hosted the World Cup last year. Next year, it will host the Summer Olympics. On Sunday, though, the country played host to another international gathering of talented competitors: the Rubik's Cube World Championship.

This past weekend, hundreds of "speedcubers," as they're known, descended on Sao Paulo from over 40 countries, to take part in three days of intensive competition.

A Near Miss For A Surfer In South Africa

Jul 20, 2015

Mick Fanning had no idea he'd be going head-to-head with a shark Sunday in a South African surfing contest.

Video shows Fanning paddling out when a fin surfaces behind him.

There's a tug, and he falls into the swirling water scrambling for his board.

Luckily, the shark only bit off the board's leash, which was tied to Fanning's ankle.

Fanning told reporters: "I just saw fins. I was waiting for teeth, and I punched the shark in the back."

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

I'm Arun Rath.

(SOUNDBITE OF APOLLO-SOYUZ TRANSMISSION)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Moscow is go for docking. Houston is go for docking. It's up to you guys. Have fun.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Japan's Mitsubishi corporation is making a big apology. It's not for any recall or defect in its products, which include automobiles, but for its use of American prisoners of war as forced labor during World War II.

James Murphy, 94, traveled from his home in Santa Maria, Calif., to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, where a ceremony was held and Hikaru Kimura, a senior Mitsubishi executive, made the apology in person.

South Africa's coast is well known as the haunt of sharks, particularly the fearsome great white.

Even so, an encounter today between a large shark and Australian surfer Mick Fanning, who was competing in the Jeffreys Bay World Surf League competition (the J-Bay Open), broadcast live on television, has caused a few hearts to skip a beat.

The Turkish television industry is booming.

During Ramadan, which ended this week, many Muslims — around the world — tuned in to watch Turkish TV in massive numbers.

But Turkey isn't just presenting religious programming. The country is second only to the U.S. in producing and exporting secular TV dramas — and they're becoming global hits

A 'Captive Audience' During Ramadan

Many families watch as they gather as they wait to break their Ramadan fast after sundown, says Pinar Tremblay, a columnist for the online newspaper Al-Monitor.com.

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, identified as the gunman who killed five service members at Chattanooga military facilities last week, was suffering from depression, his family says in a statement expressing their "shock, horror, and grief" at the shooting rampage that killed five servicemen.

The statement comes as investigators are reportedly stepping up their investigation into what motivated Abdulazeez, a graduate in engineering from the University of Tennessee, to open fire Thursday on a recruiting center and the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

How much does hope cost? For many Syrian families the price was counted in tens of thousands of dollars — which many were willing to pay for signs that a missing friend or relative was still alive in Syria's vast prison system.

A trove of pictures from a Syrian police defector proved otherwise. There are 11,000 victims, documented in high resolution, the bodies carefully cataloged with coded numbers inked on every corpse.

The revelations have disrupted a widespread business in Syria — one that tells a disturbing story about a society at war.

Why My Mom Didn't Say 'I Love You' For 11 Years

Jul 19, 2015

Earlier this year on my 40th birthday, my mother sent me a text that said, "I love you."

This was the first time she said this to me since I publicly came out as gay on Nigerian television in 2004.

In one of this year's most intense international competitions, the United States has come out as best in the world — and this time, we're not talking about soccer.

This week, the top-ranked math students from high schools around the country went head-to-head with competitors from more than 100 countries at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And, for the first time in more than two decades, they won.

In Northern Ireland, "the Troubles" — the long and bloody conflict between Catholic Irish nationalists and pro-British Protestants — formally came to an end with a peace agreement in 1998.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, signaled his all-important approval of a historic nuclear deal forged with the West, but he portrayed the agreement as having been on Tehran's terms.

"Our policy toward the arrogant U.S. government won't change at all," Khamenei said in televised a speech in Tehran marking Eid, the end of Ramadan.

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who was forced out of his job as part of a new bailout deal to keep Athens in the euro zone, tells the BBC that the austerity measures that come with the agreement are "going to fail."

The financial reforms, imposed in exchange for an 86 billion euro ($93.6 billion) lifeline will "go down in history as the greatest disaster of macroeconomic management ever," Varoufakis tells the BBC.

President Obama responded sharply this week when a reporter asked if he was "content" to celebrate the nuclear deal with Iran when at least three and possibly four Americans are being held in Iranian jails.

"Nobody's content," he said, "and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out."

At least one former American hostage thinks the deal is worth signing, despite the remaining hostages.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

In the deadliest single attack in a decade in Iraq, a truck bomb exploded at a crowded marketplace in eastern Diyala province, killing at least 115 people celebrating the end of the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan. The self-declared Islamic State reportedly has claimed responsibility.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The International Atomic Energy Agency has the big job of making sure Iran complies with the landmark nuclear deal reached this week in Vienna.

So how will the IAEA go about this? How many inspectors will they have? How many will be Americans?

Thomas Shea, who spent more than two decades as an IAEA inspector, says Iran does not accept any American inspectors today. He recently told the Atlantic Council that he hopes that will change.

This week, Tour de France riders cranked through three grueling days in the Pyrenees mountains. Once more, they've all made the curious decision not to just get off their bikes and take a bus like sensible people.

Be that as it may, the Alps are still to come, and there's plenty of pedaling to go before they sprint into Paris on July 26.

So, while fans await that triumphant homecoming, there's no better time to turn to know-it-all journalist A.J. Jacobs. He takes NPR's Scott Simon on a tour of their own, talking trivia with a bit of bicycling lore.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The U.S. and Europe are in the midst of negotiating a historic trade deal that will create the world's largest consumer market: some 800 million people. Despite promises that the agreement will create thousands of new jobs, there's fierce resistance to it in Europe, especially when it comes to food.

Many Europeans say they want to preserve a way of life and eating that they say America's industrial farming and multinational corporations threaten. A smaller version of that battle is being fought in one Paris neighborhood known as "the belly of Paris."

North Korea knows a little bit about drought and famine. In the 1990s, it's believed that up to 1 million North Koreans died in one of the worst famines of the 20th century.

So when Pyongyang issued a statement last month saying the country is facing its "worst drought in 100 years," it was taken seriously.

Humans of New York has become a worldwide hit, with hundreds of thousands of people "liking" Brandon Stanton's photos on Facebook — candid shots and candid comments. Among this month's posts: A dad taking his headstrong little daughter for a walk and observing, "This is tougher than the Marine Corps."

Iran may not be fond of Western-style capitalism, but it has a stock market where shares in Iranian companies are traded.

And if sanctions are lifted following the nuclear deal, it could be where international investors road-test Iran's economy.

Earlier this week, just after the landmark deal about the future of Iran's nuclear program had been announced, Radman Rabii in Teheran was excited about the future.

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