French troops patrolled the Central African Republic's tense capital on Saturday, as reinforcements crossed into the country as part of a UN-mandated effort to quell a wave of deadly sectarian violence.
Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:51 am
France is increasing its military presence in the Central African Republic. The Associated Press reports that after a summit in Paris on Saturday, French President François Hollande said 1,600 troops would be deployed by the end of the day and they would remain in the country until tensions between Muslim and Christian militias cool.
David Vetter was born without a functioning immune system and spent his life in a bubble that protected him from germs. He died at age 12 in 1984. Scientists are using gene therapy to treat the disorder so that children can live normally.
Researchers say they are achieving success in curing the genetic defect that causes some children to be born without immune defenses, a rare condition made famous in the 1970s by a Texas boy who lived most of his short life in a sterile "bubble."
Scientists now report that 8 out of 9 young children given gene therapy for a type of severe combined immunodeficiency disease, called SCID-X1, are alive and living amid the everyday microbial threats that would otherwise have killed them. The oldest is just over 3 years old.
Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:22 am
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel landed in Afghanistan Saturday for a surprise visit with the troops.
Despite the fact that the U.S. and Afghanistan are at odds over a security agreement that allows U.S. troops to remain in the country past 2014, Hagel has no plans to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has refused to sign the security agreement.
By the time he died this week, Nelson Mandela was considered one of the few — perhaps the only — giants on the world stage.
But the man who was prisoner 466/64 on Robben Island was a giant among heroes who offered their lives for freedom as valiantly as he did. In a way, the acclaim the world now heaps so justly on Nelson Mandela commemorates them, too.
Refugees warm their hands at a refugee camp in Harmanli, Bulgaria, on Nov. 27. More Syrians are turning up in Europe. Many are trying to get to northern Europe, believing that is the best place to start a new life.
Credit STR/Italy / Reuters /Landov
A boatload of refugees, including Syrians, is picked up by an Italian coast guard rescue boat off the coast of Sicily on Sept. 20.
The 27-year-old Syrian, who once smuggled arms for Syrian rebels, is now waiting in Istanbul for a human smuggler to get him to Europe. He says his name is Mohammed. He does not offer a second name. He will go by air, he says, the safest route. He has paid a smuggler more than $8,000, and he's sure he will get to Austria.
In the past week, he connected seven friends with smugglers.
"I know that most of them made it," he says, with a tight smile. He is traveling light. Everything he owns is in a backpack.
"I am leaving Syria under a lot of pressure," he explains.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 1:25 pm
The official North Korean news agency, KCNA, reports that Pyongyang has deported Merrill Newman, the U.S. tourist and Korean War veteran who was arrested in October during a visit to the reclusive state.
The Associated Press says, "Newman appeared over the weekend on North Korean state television apologizing for alleged wartime crimes in what was widely seen as a coerced statement."
KCNA said he was being released because he had made the apology.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:03 pm
The Associated Press is quoting a Mexican government official as saying six people in the hospital for possible radiation exposure are suspects in this week's theft of a shipment of radioactive cobalt-60.
The unnamed official tells the AP that the suspects were arrested on Thursday and were taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for observation and testing.
The news agency quotes Hidalgo state Health Minister Pedro Luis Noble as saying none are in grave condition and may be released soon.
Egyptians are preparing to vote on a new constitution, again. When the last constitution was approved, President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was in power. He was ousted in July. The latest constitution was drafted by the military-backed government that ousted Morsi. Nathan Brown, who studies constitutionalism and rule of law in the Arab world, talks to Robert Siegel about what's at stake in the process, and the criticism the draft constitution has received. Brown is a professor at George Washington University and a scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Ever since the great anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela died last night, crowds have been gathering outside his former home in Soweto township. This is the house where Mandela lived before he was arrested, before he was imprisoned for 27 years, before he became an icon.
SIEGEL: The mood among the hundreds of people outside the house and throughout the neighborhood was anything but somber.
All this week, All Things Considered and Morning Edition has aired stories about the global journey a T-shirt makes from seed to finished product. Over the months NPR's Planet Money team spent reporting the series, they tackled questions about trade, work and clothes play in the global economy. There's a whole lot more about a simple T-shirt's journey from cotton to completion here.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Dozens of African leaders received word of Nelson Mandela's death yesterday as they gathered in Paris for a two-day summit. The goal was to promote peace and security across Africa. At the top of the agenda, the troubled Central African Republic not at risk of genocide. Nelson Mandela's death now overshadows the gathering. As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, it's made Africa's leaders more determined to make progress.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. We're going to remember Nelson Mandela now by airing part of a documentary that we first broadcast back in 2004. It's called "Mandela: An Audio History" by Joe Richman and Sue Johnson of Radio Diaries. It tells the story of the struggle against apartheid through the voices of Mandela and the people who fought with and against him.
In Mexico, lawmakers are debating one of the touchiest subjects in the country today, whether to open up the nation's state oil monopoly to foreign investors. Ever since the oil industry was nationalized back in the 1930s, Mexico's control of this precious resource has been a symbol of national pride. But with oil prices rising and revenues down, the president has made modernizing the oil company Pemex his number one priority.
As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, not everyone is happy about it.
Mohsin Ikram drives a 1954 Austin-Healey across Pakistan. As the head of Pakistan's Vintage and Classic Car Club, he's doing it mostly because he loves the open road. But he also sees it as a statement against the turmoil that has made parts of the country no-go zones.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 3:11 pm
France has sent troops to the Central African Republic after violence there flared between Muslim and Christian militias amid reports that the death toll from fighting had reached 280.
The Associated Press reports:
"[Mostly] Muslim armed fighters who have ruled the country since March hunted door-to-door for their enemies. Bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital [Bangui] too dangerous for many to collect the corpses."
The world is reacting to news that Nelson Mandela has passed away. Ebrahim Rasool, South Africa's Ambassador to the United States, met Mandela in prison and he's been inspired by him ever since. Rasool speaks to host Michel Martin about Nelson Mandela's life and legacy.
South African musician Vusi Mahlasela's work was born out of the struggle against apartheid. His song "When You Come Back" was performed at Mandela's 1994 inauguration and was written to the political exiles who escaped South Africa. Mahlasela shares his memories with host Michel Martin.
Nelson Mandela was an inspirational figure around the world for decades. Host Michel Martin talks with Ferial Haffajee, editor at City Press in Johannesburg, about the immediate reactions from South Africans to Mandela's passing.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. This morning, in Soweto, South Africa, crowds continue to congregate around the family home of Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday. During the struggle against apartheid, Soweto became a symbol of the separation of the races, both physically and economically.
We're hearing a song that was popular in South Africa in the 1980s, popular even though it was banned. The song was called "Asimbonanga," which means "We Have Not Seen Him." He was Nelson Mandela, who by then had been in prison for more than two decades. This morning we reached the writer of that song, Johnny Clegg, in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela is universally admired today, but was a controversial figure for much of his life. To reconstruct what that controversy was about, we turn to Bill Keller. He's a New York Times columnist and former executive editor who once covered South Africa and wrote a youth biography of Mandela. He's on the line.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
We're remembering, this morning, the life of Nelson Mandela, who died last night in Johannesburg. He was a public and charismatic figure for more than 60 years. Let's take a few moments to revisit some of his memorable speeches.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
In 1963, he went on trial in South Africa. Mandela and others in the African National Congress were accused of plotting the violent overthrown of the white minority government. And he spoke in his defense when the trial began.
We turn now to someone who knew Nelson Mandela well, and indeed lived through history with him. Ahmed Kathrada fought apartheid with Mandela and was jailed with him in the notorious prison on Robben Island. He told us that when they were sent to the prison, they felt lucky to be alive.
AHMED KATHRADA: The life sentence was a bonus because until the very last day our lawyers and we ourselves expected the death sentence.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. It takes a moment to realize just what made former South African President Nelson Mandela so much more memorable than other leaders. He was not the only man to fight for racial equality. He was not the only man jailed for his beliefs, nor the only man who came out of jail to lead his country, nor even the only African leader to capture the world's attention as the colonial era came to an end.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:41 am
For the first time in its history, Pakistan is poised to put a former president and army chief of staff on trial. A special court has been convened to hear allegations against General Pervez Musharraf. He's charged with committing treason after he suspended the nation's constitution in 2007 and declared a state of emergency.