Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 4:19 pm
The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.
This week, Ozy co-founder Carlos Watson tells NPR's Arun Rath about a gangster-turned-astrophysicist and a race car driver working to making science "sexy" again. Plus, a look at the changing landscape of African art — no tribal masks allowed.
British-Iranian comedian and actor Omid Djalili gained a degree of fame in the United States talking about and even joking about issues of terrorism and the Middle East following 9/11. After several years and success in Britain, he's coming back to the States.
Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 1:27 pm
When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Africa's record on democracy was abysmal. One stark fact summed it up: Not a single African leader had ever lost his job at the ballot box in the three decades since African countries began receiving independence around 1960.
But with Mandela leading the way, South Africa became the most prominent example of the emerging democracies and open elections that spread across the continent in the 1990s.
At the 1964 trial that convicted Nelson Mandela and his co-accused, and sent them to prison for life, he made a statement to the packed courthouse, which he repeated on his release in 1990, after 27 years in detention.
Navid Khonsari worked on blockbusters like Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City and Max Payne. These are all violent and aggressive games, set in fictional cities where you shoot your enemies. But for the past two years Khonsari, a video game director, has led a small team, some of them fellow Iranians, working on something very different — a documentary game about the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:37 pm
A day after The Associated Press reported that an ex-FBI agent who went missing in Iran nearly seven years ago was on a rogue mission for the CIA, the White House has reiterated its long-held position that Robert Levinson was not on the U.S. payroll when he disappeared.
Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 9:32 am
An early winter storm in the Mideast has blown down tents in Syrian refugee camps and flooded parts of the Gaza Strip. It has also given Jerusalem its heaviest snowfall in 50 years, and Cairo its first snow in decades.
The storm dubbed Alexa was "pushing temperatures below zero in mountainous areas and dumping snow and heavy rains. The snow has heaped another layer of misery on the already grim existence of many of the ... Syrians who have fled the civil war raging in their homeland," according to The Associated Press.
Let's switch gears now and talk about your plans for the weekend. If you plan to head to the movies, you might be interested in the critics' picks from the Golden Globes. The nominations were announced yesterday. "12 Years a Slave" was one of the most honored films. That's the story of Solomon Northup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He's played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was also nominated for his role in the film. Here's a clip.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:53 pm
NPR's Anthony Kuhn has lived in and covered Asia for the past two decades. The majority of his time has been in China — where he is currently based — though he spent most of the past three years covering Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, from his base in Jakarta.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:16 am
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Previously Charged With Murder?
"The South African government said Friday it is aware of reports that the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial once faced a murder charge, and said he is being investigated," The Associated Press reports from Johannesburg.
Phuc Tran grew up caught between two languages with opposing cultural perspectives: the indicative reality of Vietnamese and the power to image endless possibilities with English. In this personal talk, Tran explains how both shaped his identity.
Some African leaders have lavished resources on their home villages, building palaces and outsize monuments to themselves that look entirely out of place in the poor and remote spots they came from.
Nelson Mandela adamantly rejected such extravagance, and the world will see for itself when he's buried Sunday in Qunu, a simple village set amid the lush green hills in the southeastern corner of the country. It's little changed from the days when Mandela ran barefoot in the fields and herded sheep and calves as a boy nearly a century ago.
And another story of intrigue with plenty of unanswered questions. An American claiming to be a businessman went to Iran seven years ago and then he vanished. An Associated Press investigation into Robert Levinson's disappearance uncovers that he was actually part of a sensitive covert and apparently rogue operation that shook the CIA when it came to light.
Matt Apuzzo is part of the reporting team at the AP who broke this story. Matt, welcome back to the program.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. We're looking this morning at two stories of international intrigue. First to North Korea. Until recently, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un was the country's second-in-command. Earlier this week, though, he was detained on national television, hustled out of a meeting by guards.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am
The Associated Press reports in an investigative piece that an ex-FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and was last seen in a "proof of life" photograph more than two years ago had been working for the CIA, despite official denials from the U.S.
Robert Levinson, who would now be 65, vanished after traveling in March 2007 to the Iranian island of Kish, described by The Associated Press as a resort "awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures."
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am
North Korea has announced that Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un and formerly the second most powerful man in the country, has been executed after being found guilty of treason by a military tribunal.
"The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state," North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Protests have erupted in New Delhi after India's supreme court reinstated a law that criminalizes homosexual acts. The decision brings back a colonial era law introduced under the British. A lower court had previously ruled that statute unconstitutional. But yesterday, the supreme court declared that only parliament can change the law.
As we just heard, Turkish officials say they're clamping down on the radical Islamists who move through Turkey to join the rebellion in Syria. But in some frontier towns of southern Turkey, there's little sign of a crackdown.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 3:57 pm
Somewhere between a food pantry and a traditional grocery store lies an opportunity to help feed those in need.
Enter "social supermarkets," a European model that offers discounted food exclusively to those in poverty. The stores have grown in popularity across the continent, and this week, the U.K. opened its first. Dubbed Community Shop, the store is located in an impoverished former mining town in South Yorkshire.
Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:24 pm
The leader of massive anti-government protests in Thailand says the chiefs of the country's military branches and police force have agreed to meet and hear him out on "political reforms" — a move likely to spark concern over a possible coup similar to the one that overthrew the prime minister in 2006.
Bangladesh has hanged an Islamist leader convicted of committing atrocities in the country's war of independence from Pakistan more than 40 year ago.
Abdul Quader Mollah, a top leader in the Jammat-e-Islami party, was originally scheduled to be hanged Tuesday, but he gained a temporary reprieve pending appeal. The country's Supreme Court denied the appeal on Thursday. Mollah, 65, was hanged at 10:01 p.m. Thursday.
Now we turn to India where the Supreme Court has dealt a blow to gays and lesbians in that country. On Wednesday, the court reinstated a ban on gay sex, which is punishable with jail time. The ban, which dated to the 1800s, was originally overturned in 2009 but religious groups challenged it all the way to the Supreme Court. The decision is lighting up social media and India news channels. Here is the celebrated Indian author Vikram Seth speaking to India news channel, NDTV.
Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:13 am
The sign language interpreter widely criticized as a "fake" for his performance at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in South Africa says he suffered a schizophrenic episode while on stage, a South African newspaper reported Thursday.
A major concern among peaceful anti-government protesters crowding into Kiev's central square is that Ukraine's government is trying to provoke violence in order to justify a police crackdown. In one incident, according to protest organizers, the government used provocateurs.