World News

Parallels
1:04 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

NAFTA Opened Continent For Some Canadian Companies

The Bombardier Challenger 300 is one of the most popular midsize business jets in production. Canada-based Bombardier has boomed in the two decades since the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed.
Todd Williamson AP

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 6:27 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
11:59 am
Wed December 25, 2013

In Christmas Message, Snowden Tells Britons 'Privacy Matters'

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in an address televised Wednesday on Britain's Channel 4.
Screengrab/Channel 4

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.

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Wed December 25, 2013

U.S. Embassy In Kabul Hit By Indirect Fire

Afghans stand near a crater from an attack reportedly targeting the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Wednesday.
Ahmad Nazar AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 12:10 am

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was hit by indirect rocket fire Wednesday morning, officials say. NPR's Sean Carberry reports for our Newscast unit that no one was injured.

"They hit in an open area; they didn't strike any of the embassy buildings. There was no damage to embassy facilities, and there were no causalities," he said.

Embassy officials say they are investigating. Taliban insurgents claimed they fired rockets at the embassy, but they often make claims that turn out to be exaggerated or untrue.

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The Salt
4:03 am
Wed December 25, 2013

When Is Cinnamon Spice Not So Nice? The Great Danish Debate

Ah, the cinnamon swirl: They're beloved by the Danish, but the traditional recipe for these pastries may be too spice-laden for European Union law.
iStockphoto.com

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.

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Africa
3:20 am
Wed December 25, 2013

South Sudan's Political Rift Leads To Violent Deaths

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

This is a sound you might not expect to hear in a nation being torn up by violence.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

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Afghanistan
2:55 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Major Gen. McConville Praises U.S. Forces in Afghanistan

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF HELICOPTER ROTOR)

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Religion
2:50 am
Wed December 25, 2013

U.S. Catholics Invigorated By Pope Francis' First Year

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:04 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHURCH BELLS)

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NPR Story
2:48 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Nativity Scenes Liven Centuries-Old French Village

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

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Africa
2:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Fighting In South Sudan Eases As U.N. Finds Mass Graves

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 6:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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.

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Middle East
2:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

In Little Town Of Bethlehem, U.S. Aid On Display At Christmas Market

A Palestinian family poses for pictures by the creche in Bethlehem's Manger Square.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 6:15 am

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."

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Middle East
2:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Crocker: Assad Is 'Brutal Beyond Belief' But Better Than Rebels

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 6:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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."

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Middle East
2:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Escalating Violence In Syria Kills More Than 300 In 10 Days

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 6:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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.

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Parallels
12:23 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

As World Cup Looms, Qatar's Migrant Worker System Faces Scrutiny

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 6:02 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Highway In Iceland May Be Sidetracked By Elves

New Line Cinema Reuters /Landov

Here's a sentence we didn't expect to read today:

"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."

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Parallels
10:55 am
Tue December 24, 2013

A Portuguese Tradition Of 'Healing' Dolls For Christmas

At a hospital tucked away off one of Lisbon's main cobblestone squares, Manuela Cutileira does triage on incoming patients.
Lauren Frayer NPR

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 6:02 pm

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."

But this is no regular hospital.

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World
9:58 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Diplomat's Arrest Causes US-India Strain

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.

The Two-Way
9:07 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Money Seen As A Motive In Execution Of North Korea's No. 2

Before their split: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, in February 2012. Earlier this month, Jang was executed.
Kyodo/Landov

Initial suspicions focused on personal dislike and a desire to send a "don't mess with me" message.

Now there's a report from The New York Times that:

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Mass Graves Discovered In South Sudan; Is Civil War Coming?

Troops sent to South Sudan by the U.N. watch as men walk to a camp for refugees near Juba, the nation's capital.
James Akena Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 1:20 pm

The already alarming news from South Sudan grew even more worrisome Tuesday with word from the United Nations of mass graves.

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.

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Asia
3:24 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Japan Revisits Its Official Pacifist Policy

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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Sports
3:22 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Berlin Cheers On Former East German Soccer Team

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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Africa
3:18 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Power Struggle Fuels Violence In South Sudan

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

Later today, the United Nations Security Council is expected to vote on sending thousands more peacekeeping troops to South Sudan. This is a country that the United States helped form in 2011.

And now a power struggle between the president and his former vice president has spiraled into violence along tribal lines. Hundreds of people have died and tens of thousands are displaced.

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Remembrances
3:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Alan Turing, Who Cracked War Code, Receives Posthumous Pardon

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Alan Turing, Who Cracked Nazi Code, Gets Posthumous Pardon

Detail of a Turing Bombe machine in Bletchley Park Museum in Bletchley, central England. The device, the brainchild of Alan Turning, was instrumental in cracking the German code during World War II.
Alessia Pierdomenico Reuters /Landov

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.

The Associated Press reports:

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Parallels
4:54 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

With Its Economy Hobbled, Greece's Well-Educated Drain Away

Laura and Thanos Ntoumanis recently moved from Greece to Germany, where Thanos, a psychiatrist, got a job.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

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."

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The Two-Way
4:25 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Al-Qaida Group Admits 'Mistake And Guilt' For Botched Raid

A photo provided by Yemen's Defense Ministry shows damaged vehicles after an al-Qaida affiliate attacked the ministry's complex in Sanaa on Dec. 5.
AP

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.

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Remembrances
2:36 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Mikhail Kalashnikov, Inventor Of The AK-47, Dead At 94

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:56 pm

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.

Africa
2:29 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Fighting, Fears Escalate In South Sudan

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:56 pm

The United Nations' chief is calling for additional peacekeepers for South Sudan where fighting between forces loyal to the president and those loyal to his former deputy is spiraling.

Parallels
11:40 am
Mon December 23, 2013

How Tiny Qatar 'Punches Above Its Weight'

Soldiers on camels take part in a military parade on Qatar's National Day in the capital Doha last Wednesday. The city's rapidly growing skyline is in the background. Despite its small size, Qatar has used its wealth to play an outsized role in regional affairs.
Chen Shaojin/Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:31 am

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.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Reports: Mikhail Kalashnikov, Inventor Of AK-47, Dies

Mikhail Kalashnikov, with his AK-47, in 2002.
Jens Meyer ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose name will forever be connected to one of the world's most popular and deadly weapons, has died, according to news reports from Russia.

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The Two-Way
4:55 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Their Release Is Just A 'PR Stunt,' Pussy Riot Member Says

Maria Alyokhina, after her release from prison on Monday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
Sergei Karpukhin Reuters/Landov

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.

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