World News

The New And The Next
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Science Becomes 'Sexy' With Fast Cars And Gangsta Physics

Todd Rosenberg Getty Images

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.

World
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Iranian Comedian Tries The U.S., Again

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.

Parallels
8:36 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Africa Wanders From Mandela's Path To Democracy

Nelson Mandela casts his vote during South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994. Mandela's example led to more democracy across Africa, although overall political freedom has declined on the continent in the last five years.
John Parkin AP

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.

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
5:05 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

South Africans Reflect On Mandela's 'Rainbow Nation'

A South African boy stands in front of a mural of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, earlier this month.
Veronique Tadjo for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:39 pm

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.

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Middle East
4:56 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

U.S. Reassesses Relationship With Rebel Groups In Syria

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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All Tech Considered
2:35 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Game Director Shifts From 'Grand Theft Auto' To Iranian Revolution

The creators of 1979 Revolution interviewed fellow Iranians to create accurate scenes of Iran.
iNK Stories

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:56 pm

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.

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Poetry
2:00 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Poem: Nelson Mandela, 'An Ordinary Man'

Jonathan Blakely/NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:56 pm

On Sunday, South Africans will lay to rest the remains of Nelson Mandela.

The legacy left by the activist and political prisoner who transformed a nation and became president is being remembered by politicians, historians and artists.

Among them is Thabiso Mohare, a young South African spoken word artist who performs under the name Afurakan. He wrote a poem for NPR about Mandela called "An Ordinary Man."

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

White House: American Seized In Iran Wasn't On CIA Payroll

A photo provided by Robert Levinson's family shows the retired FBI agent in captivity in April 2011.
AP

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.

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The Two-Way
12:16 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Winter Storm Brings Misery, Rare Snow To Mideast

Palestinians build a snowman in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.
Issam Rimawi APA /Landov

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.

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Movies
9:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Golden Globe Nominees: 'An Embarrassment Of Riches'

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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Parallels
9:25 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Ask Me Anything: Asia Correspondent Anthony Kuhn Answers

NPR's Anthony Kuhn
Wright Bryan NPR

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.

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Report: Mandela Interpreter Was Once Charged With Murder

Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose appearance at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela angered many in South Africa's deaf community and has led to an apology from the government. His sign language interpretation was just meaningless gestures, say those who understand that language.
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

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.

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TED Radio Hour
7:28 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Does The Subjunctive Have A Dark Side?

"When employed at the right time, grammar can bring the world into sharp focus, and when used at the wrong time, it can make things incredibly blurry." — Phuc Tran
TEDxDirigo

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 2:48 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About Phuc Tran's Talk

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.

About Phuc Tran

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Africa
5:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

For Burial, Mandela Will Return To His Beloved Boyhood Village

A mother and her son stand in their garden behind a fence at the perimeter of Nelson Mandela's property in Qunu, South Africa, as funeral preparations continue Friday. Mandela will be buried Sunday in the small, rural village that was his boyhood home.
Yannis Behrakis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 11:29 am

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.

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Middle East
5:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

AP Reporter On Story Linking CIA, American Missing In Iran

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

MATT APUZZO: Great to be here.

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Asia
5:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

What The Execution Of Kim Jong Un's Uncle Means For N. Korea

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

American Who Disappeared In Iran Reportedly Worked For CIA

A "proof of life" photo provided to the family of ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson in April 2011.
Uncredited AP

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."

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The Two-Way
5:20 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

U.N. Report Confirms Chemical Weapons Were Used In Syria

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:23 am

Chemical weapons were used in Syria's civil war, according to a team of international chemical weapons experts sent to investigate claims of chemical attacks.

"The United Nations Mission concludes that chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic," the inspectors say.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Kim Jong Un's Uncle, Formerly North Korea's No. 2, Is Executed

A still image taken from North Korea's state-run television footage and released Monday shows Jang Song Thaek being forcibly removed by uniformed personnel from a meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang.
Yonhap/Reuters/Landov

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.

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Asia
3:35 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Indian Supreme Court Reinstates 150-Year-Old Gay Sex Ban

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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Middle East
3:35 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Radical Islamists In Northern Syria Spill Over Turkish Border

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

NPR's Deborah Amos has that story.

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Middle East
3:35 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Turkey Struggles To Set Foreign Policy In Changing Neighborhood

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Shots - Health News
3:12 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Why Meningitis That Hit Princeton Is Hard To Beat With Vaccines

Developing a vaccine for meningitis B was tricky. Even the existing vaccine doesn't protect against all B strains.
Josef Muellek iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:46 pm

There's been a lot of talk about meningitis B lately. That's the type responsible for outbreaks at Princeton and the University of California in Santa Barbara.

And it got us thinking. How come this form of the illness isn't fazed by the vaccines given routinely to most young people in the U.S.?

This week, Princeton is administering an imported vaccine not approved for general use in this country, with special permission from the Food and Drug Administration.

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The Salt
1:26 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Social Supermarkets A 'Win-Win-Win' For Europe's Poor

A customer scans the shelves at Community Shop, the U.K.'s first "social supermarket." The discount grocery stores are growing in popularity across Europe and are open exclusively to those in need.
Courtesy of Community Shop

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.

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The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Thai Protest Leader Says Heads Of Military, Police To Meet Him

Anti-government protesters react to a speech by former Democrat Party MP and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban during a large rally near Government House on Tuesday in Bangkok.
Rufus Cox Getty Images

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.

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Bangladesh Executes Islamist Leader For War Crimes

Bangladeshi activists participate in a rally Thursday in the capital, Dhaka, celebrating the Supreme Court's decision to clear the way for the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah. Mollah was hanged Thursday for crimes committed during the country's 1971 war of independence.
A.M. Ahad AP

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.

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Parallels
10:51 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Pakistan's Fearless Chief Justice Challenged The Powers That Were

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (center) is greeted by lawyers in Islamabad after the government announced it would reinstate him, in March 2009. Pakistan's longest-serving chief justice challenged the status quo and fought to chart a more assertive and independent course for the country's judiciary.
Anjum Naveed AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 1:41 pm

He defied a military dictator, sacked a prime minister, and persistently sought to call generals and intelligence chiefs to account.

He became a symbol of hope for an impoverished multitude, seeking to assert their rights in a land where these are frequently ignored and abused.

He was one of his country's best-known figures who was seen — though not usually heard — on his nation's television screens as frequently as celebrity actors and cricket stars.

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Asia
9:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Did India 'Turn Back The Clock' On Gay Rights?

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 2:23 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

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The Two-Way
6:03 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Mandela Sign Language Interpreter Says He Had Schizophrenic Episode

Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34, appeared alongside President Obama and other world leaders during Tuesday's memorial for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. Many in the deaf community are outraged over Jantjie's sign language interpretation.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

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.

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World
4:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Ukraine Protesters Blame Violence On Government Thugs

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:00 am

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.

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