World News

Belgian Transport Minister Jacqueline Galant resigned Friday, after enduring days of criticism that became more pointed after a European Commission report from last year — finding flaws in Belgian airport security — was leaked.

Leaders in the Czech Republic are poised to change the casual form of the nation's name to "Czechia."

It's been a long time coming. Proposals for a one-word English name have been floating around since the Czech Republic was established over two decades ago, following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

The BBC notes that a shorter name would "make it easier for companies and sports teams to use it on products and clothing."

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The migrants on rafts began landing on the rocky shores of Lesbos a year ago. In a pretty village of colorful fishing boats, one of the first people they saw was Efstratia Mavrapidou, 89, who was born here. She's fragile, her eyes clouded by cataracts. But she made her way to shore by cane.

She wanted to be there to embrace the migrants crowded onto those rafts, especially the young mothers who wept as they clasped tiny, sea-drenched babies.

Deadly firefights are all too common in Pakistan, but few compare with the extraordinary battle that's been waged on an island in a remote stretch of the Indus River over the last few days.

It's taking place in the country's "cotton belt", where the river has completed about three-quarters of its southerly journey from the mountains of Tibet to the Arabian Sea.

An deadly earthquake struck southern Japan on Thursday.

At least nine people were killed and more than 700 were injured, The Associated Press reports, citing the government's chief spokesman.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck near the city of Kumamoto at 9:26 p.m. local time. The organization evaluated the earthquake's damage as level red, meaning "extensive damage is probable and the disaster is likely widespread," the website said.

A solar-powered plane called the Solar Impulse 2 is preparing to resume its flight around the world after nine months on the ground for repairs.

The team's goal: to be the first plane to circumnavigate the globe using only solar power.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel tells our Newscast unit that the plane is getting ready for liftoff in Hawaii. Here's more from Geoff:

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This story is part of NPR's podcast Embedded, which digs deep into the stories behind the news. Warning: Some of the images in the story are graphic.

When Pope Francis travels to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, he will likely bring with him a sharp rebuke for Europe's response to the migrant crisis.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The leaking of more than 11 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca earlier this month cast new light on the arcane world of offshore shell companies, long a favorite hiding place for the very rich.

Developing countries got $131 billion in official aid in 2015.

And they got $431.6 billion in remittances — money sent home by migrants who are working abroad.

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Springtime is usually beautiful in Mexico City. As the weather warms, the purple jacaranda trees that line boulevards and dot neighborhoods are in full bloom. Everything is prettier, says Fernando Padilla, a driver taking a break in a park.

"It's my favorite time of the year," he says.

But this spring, his eyes are watering, his throat hurts and one day a week he's not allowed to use his car on the road, which means he's poorer too.

The Obama administration has shaken up U.S. policy by reaching out to longtime foes including Cuba, Iran and Myanmar. This has spurred a debate about what impact, if any, the U.S. moves have on human rights in these countries.

Some argue that such engagement can encourage authoritarian countries to improve their human rights record, while others say it makes no difference, or may even lead regimes to feel they don't have to worry about punitive measures for rights violations.

Syria's bloody civil war has been raging for six years. At least a quarter of a million people have been killed, and half the country is displaced. Major swaths of the county are held by ISIS or opposition fighters.

But in government-held areas, citizens queued up to cast ballots Wednesday for parliamentary elections, the second since the start of the war. Syrian state media carried photos from multiple provinces showing voters tucking their ballots into boxes and dipping their fingers into ink to show their participation.

The dispute over the South China Sea, one of the most complicated geopolitical issues of the 21st century, keeps heating up. China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and other regional governments are all part of the dispute — along with the United States.

Here are four key things to know about the dispute.

1. What's At Stake

The South China Sea holds immense resources, from the oil and gas located underneath the seabed to the lucrative fishing it has afforded for generations.

A court in central China has ruled against a gay couple seeking to register for marriage. It's the first time a Chinese court has addressed the issue of same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit against authorities in the city of Changsha, Hunan province, was filed after they said Sun Wenlin, whose age has been put at 26 or 27, could not register to marry his 36-year old partner, Hu Mingliang. In January, a district court unexpectedly accepted the case.

A German train dispatcher was playing a game on his cellphone shortly before he misdirected two trains, causing a head-on collision that killed 11 people, according to prosecutors.

The dispatcher may face charges of negligent homicide, according to Reuters and The Associated Press — though he insists he was not distracted by the game.

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