Six brand new Challenger corporate jets sit on a showroom floor waiting to be picked up here at the Bombardier Aerospace plant on the outskirts of Montreal. Manager Frank Richie watches as technicians polish the gleaming aircraft and make last-minute adjustments. Each one is personalized, from the leather trim inside to the fancy paint job on its exterior.
Through a side door, you enter an enormous assembly line for more than a dozen other Challenger jets. The factory floor spans nearly 900,000 square feet.
Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 12:14 am
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had a Christmas Day warning for Britons: "A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all."
Britain's Channel 4 televised Snowden's short address as the network's "Alternative Christmas Message," an annual address delivered by a public figure that mimics the style of Queen Elizabeth's Royal Christmas Message. You can watch the full 1:43 video at Channel 4's website.
Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 9:15 am
Who doesn't love a Danish pastry?
And in Denmark, they like their pastries sprinkled with plenty of cinnamon.
But now, Denmark's bakers are being told that their time-honored recipe for the beloved kanelsnegle — or cinnamon swirl — may be unhealthy and against the law. Recent testing by the Danish government found that a large number of the rolls had too much cinnamon — more than the recommended limits set by the European Union.
Now for the 13th year in a row, U.S. troops are spending Christmas in Afghanistan. For the 7,500 of them based in the eastern part of the country, Major General James McConville is providing the closest thing to a visit from Santa.
NPR's Sean Carberry has been traveling with McConville - not by sleigh, but in the air.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
Pope Francis is celebrating his first Christmas as pope at the Vatican. He's had quite a year. Time Magazine hailed him as the People's Pope when they named him Person of the Year. And this week, NBC called the pope's question: Who am I to judge, the most powerful phrase of the year.
NPR's Nathan Rott went out to see how American Catholics in the pews feel about the new pontiff.
The medieval village of Flavigny, France has livened up its winter streets with nativity scenes, 85 of them exhibited in windows of houses throughout the town. This centuries-old village has been doing this for five years now and it's bringing in crowds of tourists.
NPR's Eleanor Beardsley was one of them and she sent us this Christmas postcard.
The military conflict in South Sudan in Africa appears to be easing. The government says its army has retaken the city of Bor, which had been in rebel hands for more than a week. And a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the capital Juba has been lifted, allowing people to attend Christmas Eve services. But there is also more grim news to report.
In Bethlehem's Manger Square, Palestinian singer Omar Kamal entertained a crowd of several hundred people this week. Young men met friends; parents snapped pictures of children by a nativity scene next to a giant artificial Christmas tree. A Santa Claus arrived by motorbike.
Bethlehem resident Suhair Issa loves Christmas in her hometown.
"Most people come at night," she says. "They like to drink and eat and buy sweets. It's very nice."
Now, we turn to Ryan Crocker who was U.S. ambassador in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. He's now retired. And recently he has infuriated Syrian rebels and their supporters by publically thinking what, for them, is the unthinkable. Crocker wrote this in an op-ed for the New York Times. "In Syria, we need to come to grips with a future that includes Assad," that is Syria President Bashar Al Assad, "and consider that as bad as he is, there is something worse."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. The civil war in Syria is unrelenting. More than 300 people killed in the past 10 days, according to opposition activists in a government air assault around the city of Aleppo. We're going to get an update and also consider the diplomatic possibilities in this part of the program and we'll start with the latest on the fighting.
Over the past decade, Qatar's population has soared from 660,000 to more than 2 million. Here's the catch: Qataris themselves number only around 260,000.
The rest, more than 85 percent of the population, are not citizens. As Professor Mehran Kamrava, an American scholar at Georgetown University's campus in Qatar, says, they are all migrant workers of varying types.
"Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project building a direct route from the Alftanes peninsula, where the president has a home, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer."
At a hospital tucked away off one of Lisbon's main cobblestone squares, Manuela Cutileira does triage on incoming patients.
"First we do a checkup, create a chart and assign a bed number — like you would in an ordinary hospital," Cutileira, the hospital's owner, explains. "Then we try to figure out what the treatment should be. If it's a simple procedure, we'll inform the family right away of the cost. And if it's something more complicated, they may have to leave the patient here overnight for more tests."
Since the recent arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, US-Indian relations have been strained. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian-Americans Leading Together and Sandip Roy, Culture Editor for the Indian news site FirstPost.com.
In a statement, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said "we have discovered a mass grave in Bentiu, in Unity State, and there are reportedly at least two other mass graves in Juba," the new nation's capital.
On the morning of Christmas Eve, this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
One legacy of World War II is found in Japan's constitution. It bans that country from having a military force. But now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed a tough new national security strategy which is raising some questions about Japan's intentions.
Tamzin Booth, the Tokyo bureau chief for The Economist, explained to us what's behind the new plan.
For people in Germany, Christmas means evergreens, "Silent Night" and mulled wine. In the city of Berlin, Christmas also means celebrating a scrappy group of athletes. The FC Union soccer team was formed by iron workers more than a century ago. During the Cold War, it became a symbol of resistance against the East German government. These days, despite mixed results on the field, FC Union remains a fan favorite.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson sent this postcard from a game over the weekend.
The British government has issued a posthumous pardon for a man who helped win World War II for the allies. Alan Turing was a pioneering computer scientist and code breaker who helped crack Nazi Germany's enigma machine. He worked at Britain's legendary military intelligence headquarters at Bletchley Park.
Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 2:18 pm
British mathematician Alan Turing, who helped crack Nazi Germany's 'Enigma' code and laid the groundwork for modern computing, was pardoned on Tuesday, six decades after his conviction for homosexuality is said to have driven him to suicide.
Following his singular contributions toward winning the war against Adolph Hitler, Turing's 1952 conviction is believed to have led two and a half years later to him taking his life by ingesting cyanide.
Thanos Ntoumanis and his wife, Laura, are crashing at his parents' apartment in Greece's northern city of Thessaloniki.
The couple have packed their home and are moving to Germany. Thanos, a 38-year-old psychiatrist, is joining some 4,000 Greek doctors who have left the austerity-hit country for jobs abroad in the past three years. It's the largest brain drain in three decades.
"I won't say that I'm never coming back," he says. "I do need some distance, though. I don't want to get to that tipping point. I don't want to get to that point where I hate it here."
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:14 pm
An al-Qaida affiliate has taken the rare step of apologizing to the families of victims killed in a botched attack in Yemen earlier this month.
The attack on the Defense Ministry in the capital, Sanaa, was meant to hit an area of the complex where al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) says U.S. drones are being controlled. But a hospital on the grounds was also hit in the Dec. 5 attack, and many of the 56 victims were doctors, nurses and patients.
The inventor of the iconic AK-47 automatic rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has died. Kalashnikov's simple, durable and easily maintained gun became the world's most popular rifle, with more than 100 million in circulation. Kalashnikov was modest about his invention, saying he created it solely for the defense of the motherland. Some analysts say his domination of Soviet and Russia weapons design actually kept the country from entering the modern age of small arms.
Qatar is a tiny place that insists on being heard.
The Arab nation just off the coast of Saudi Arabia has made itself a major diplomatic player, a generous donor of foreign aid, and a leader in modernizing education in the region. The ultra-modern capital Doha is full of skyscrapers, museums and history, much of it dating as far back as ... the 1990s.
Qatar is also a commercial capital that aims to become a cultural, sports and tourist center for the Gulf region despite having just 260,000 citizens.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 11:03 am
The remaining members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot have been released from prison in Russia, a few months short of serving their full two-year sentences for "hooliganism" — a charge that the band's supporters say was just a trumped-up effort to quash free speech.