Let's turn to a country in the region that's been racked by violent protest in recent days. And now the capital, Thailand, is suddenly calm. Riot police have taken down barricades and left their defensive positions around Government House, which is the symbolic seat of power there. Protesters are now inside, moving about freely.
To get a better idea of what this all means in a country of nearly 70 million people, where the big industry is tourism, we turn to reporter Michael Sullivan in Bangkok. Good morning.
The World Health Organization has declared a polio emergency in Syria.
After being free of the crippling disease for more than a decade, Syria recorded 10 confirmed cases of polio in October. Now the outbreak has grown to 17 confirmed cases, the WHO said last week. And the virus has spread to four cities, including a war-torn suburb near the capital of Damascus.
A former Amazon executive who helped Jeff Bezos turn shopping into a digital experience has set out to end illiteracy. David Risher is now the head of Worldreader, a nonprofit organization that brings e-books to kids in developing countries through Kindles and cellphones.
Risher was traveling around the world with his family when he got the idea for Worldreader. They were doing volunteer work at an orphanage in Ecuador when he saw a building with a big padlock on the door. He asked a woman who worked there what was inside, and she said, "It's the library."
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:39 am
The holidays mean many things, among them: travel. Combine that with wild weather patterns and you often get some unexpected downtime in the world's weirdest corners. We're talking layovers and delays and canceled flights and the like.
But what if that wasn't all bad news? What if there were an airport that you actually looked forward to being stuck in? Is it possible? According to this list of favorites, it may be.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:05 pm
There's no easy way to track all of the world's crops. What's missing, among other things, is an accurate map showing where they are.
But the people behind Geo-Wiki are hoping to fix that, with a game called Cropland Capture. They're turning people like you and me into data gatherers, or citizen scientists, to help identify cropland.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:22 pm
We've been following the story of the helicopter that crashed into a pub in Glasgow, Scotland, last week. There's more news Monday on the deadly crash: A ninth body has been pulled from the wreckage of The Clutha Bar.
Demonstrations, often violent, are happening across Ukraine after its president refused to sign a trade agreement with the European Union. His decision came under heavy pressure from Russia, which in the past has cut off critical gas supplies to Ukraine to show its dissatisfaction. For more, Renee Montagne talks to journalist David Stern in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
In just a couple of months, the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi will host the Winter Olympics. Russia is reportedly spending nearly $50 billion on those games, which would be an Olympic record. To finance venues and housing, one of Russia's state-owned banks lent about $7.5 billion to an elite group of industrialists who are helping bankroll the games. Now, those investors are getting a little nervous.
It sounds unthinkable, but there are times, according to the rules of war, when it's morally acceptable to shoot a child.
A 12-year-old can, of course, fire an AK-47, but the more gut-wrenching decisions revolve around ambiguous situations. Could a child with a cell phone be a lookout for insurgents or send a detonation signal to an IED bomb?
These were the types of scenarios our soldiers had to face in Iraq. Countless soldiers have returned haunted by civilians they killed because the civilians panicked and ran through a checkpoint or reached for something too quickly.
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
The U.S. Congress doesn't usually weigh in on domestic politics in other countries, but a resolution recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Keith Ellison is designed to put pressure on Narendra Modi, the front-runner to be India's next prime minister.
NPR's Jennifer Ludden recently traveled to the African nation of Malawi, one of many countries in the developing world where child marriage remains prevalent. She found girls like Christina Asima, who was married at 12 and became a mother at 13. She is now divorced and caring for her infant son on her own. You can read Jennifer's full report here. Below are a few more things she learned while reporting on child marriage.
Think Taj Mahal and then try to imagine what came before it. What was the inspiration for that masterpiece?
Archaeologists and architects say a 16th century tomb tucked in the southeast corner of Delhi presaged the jewel of Muslim art in India.
The recent restoration of the mausoleum built to memorialize the Muslim emperor Humayun has created a sensation in the city, drawing sightseers, schoolchildren and history buffs to the site that is now a showcase for India's architectural patrimony.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 11:26 am
Clashes among protesters in Thailand's capital have led to the death of at least one person amid mass rallies by opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as well as by supporters of her government.
Reuters says the person was shot dead and that 10 others were wounded in the first bloodshed in a week of protests aimed at toppling Yingluck, whose government won overwhelmingly in 2011 elections.
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 deputy editor Eugene Robinson fills in for Carlos to tell NPR's Arun Rath about two dueling divas in Bangladeshi politics, the rising popularity of an obscure winter sport, and tattoos that you can wear to work.
This week, Pope Francis released a new document called the "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel). His first major document has captured the attention of Vatican watchers, who describe a vision statement of what Francis sees for the future of the Catholic Church.
Remember those Chilean miners who spent more than two months trapped underground? What if I told you they were the lucky ones?
Many miners in South America work in conditions far more dangerous, and some of them are as young as 6 years old. Their daily travails would shock Charles Dickens. But now, some children in Bolivia are unionizing and asking the government to lower the working age.
Wes Enzinna went into the mines in the city of Potosi to understand why. And he writes about the experience for VICE magazine.
On Sept. 21, terrorists attacked the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 67 people. Despite early reports of as many as 15 gunmen, Kenyan police now know that the attack was the work of only four terrorist, all of whom died in the suicide mission. But some other very important questions remain unanswered.
This week, at least 30 people died when a packed sailboat ran aground and capsized off the coast of the Bahamas. The rest of the migrants on board clung to that splintered boat for hours until the U.S. Coast Guard found them. The survivors are being cared for at a Bahamian military base until they are sent back to the place they risked their lives to leave.
Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 9:05 am
How to make dead fish look attractive? That's the challenge New York-based duo Shimon and Tammar Rothstein faced when they were hired to do the photography for famed French chef Eric Ripert's book On the Line.
Afghanistan may be one of the world's poorest countries, but weddings are still a big — and expensive — deal. On most weekends, Kabul's glitzy and somewhat garish wedding halls are packed with people celebrating nuptials.
One of them is the Uranos Palace complex. On the night I attended my first Afghan wedding, all three of its halls were overflowing. I was one of two foreigners in a room of about 200 men. The female guests sat on the other side of a 7-foot-high divider in the middle of the hall.