President Obama spoke via phone Friday with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, the first time leaders of the two countries have directly communicated since 1979. Host Scott Simon talks with Iran analyst Karim Sadjadpour about what it means for U.S.-Iran relations going forward.
The United Nations Security Council has broken its two-and-a-half-year deadlock over Syria, approving a resolution on the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. The U.S. and Russia are now trying to move beyond that and will try to get the warring sides around the negotiating table in Geneva.
Al-Shabab has been around for years as a militia group fighting for territory in Somalia.
When al-Shabab militants, dressed in casual clothes, turned up in a ritzy shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last weekend and gunned down men, women and children, the group shifted from an insurgent movement to a terrorist organization.
"A week ago, al-Shabab wasn't in the news," says Bruce Hoffman, a a terrorism expert at Georgetown University and the Rand Corporation. "Arguably, outside of Somalia, no one really cared about them."
Kenyans are feeling helpless a week after gunmen stormed a Nairobi mall in a carefully orchestrated terrorist attack. NPR's Gregory Warner looks at what we now know about those terrorists, including claims that a British woman was among the attackers.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:53 pm
Two former U.S. Army sergeants are among those facing charges in connection with an alleged international hit squad after their extradition from Thailand in a case the prosecuting U.S. attorney says reads like a Tom Clancy novel.
Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, nicknamed "Rambo," was arrested by Thai authorities after a sting operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Timothy Vamvakias and at least three others on the resort island of Phuket on Thursday.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:22 pm
The United Nations Security Council is considering a legally binding resolution that would require the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons.
Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says the U.S. is getting what it wants in the Security Council's draft plan, which calls for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons or face consequences.
UN Security Council diplomats are working on a resolution that focuses on ridding Syria of chemical weapons. Aid groups want the UN to go further and help them open up routes to get desperately needed assistance to Syrians uprooted by the civil war. They say the paralysis on the security council has had a real costs on the ground and has added to donor fatigue.
Some two million Syrians have fled the war in their homeland. Most have sought refuge in neighboring states - Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. But some have gone farther afield to a place few would consider a safe haven, the Gaza Strip. Emily Harris has that story.
"Today society accepts the idea of improving one's image," says Dr. Ivo Pitanguy, Brazil's most famous plastic surgeon. Here a patient receives an injection of hyaluronic acid to plump up her lips at the Brazilian Society for Aesthetic Medicine in Rio de Janeiro in 2008.
Credit Antonio Scorza / AFP/Getty Images
The cosmetics department at a Bangkok store.
Credit Sakchai Lalit / AP
<strong>Moving On Up:</strong> <em>The Redemption of Ham,</em> a 19th century painting by Modesto Brocos, portrays a dark-skinned grandmother celebrating the fact that her grandson has lighter skin.
Credit Wikimedia Commons
Julie Chen had surgery to give her "double eyelids" after a news director described her "Asian eyes" as "small" and "heavy" and told her — among other choice comments — that they made her look "disinterested" and "bored" during on-air interviews.
Friends and relatives of Mbugua Mwangi and his fiancee Rosemary Wahito attended their funeral service Friday in Nairobi, Kenya. Mwangi, who was Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's nephew, and Wahito died in the Westgate Mall attack.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:57 am
After the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus that reportedly killed more than 1,000 people and has been blamed on Bashar Assad's regime, the Syrian president's ambassador to the U.N. claimed that opposition forces had used such weapons at least three times in the days immediately after.
Good morning, I'm David Greene with the story of a very happy but long accident. Thirty-four-year-old Meredith Fitzmaurice signed up for the recent Run for Heroes Half Marathon in Ontario, Canada. Somewhere on the route, she took a wrong turn, landing on the full marathon course, 26.2 miles.
And she decided to just keep going. Fitzmaurice ended up being the first woman to cross the finish line, the 10th person overall; and she qualified for the Boston Marathon.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:56 am
Declaring that "human influence on the climate system is clear," a U.N.-assembled panel of scientists reported Friday that "it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."
As Syria's civil war drags on, the rebels find themselves increasingly divided. This week, about a dozen armed opposition groups broke with the U.S.-backed Syrian National Coalition, a political organization that's been the voice of the rebels in the West. Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep talks to Najib Ghadbian, the coalition's envoy to the United Nations.
Iran's President Hasan Rouhani speaks at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. With his outreach to the West, he received mostly positive reviews in the U.S., and most Iranians, who are being squeezed by sanctions, also appear supportive.
Iran's President Hasan Rouhani has been well-received in the U.S. this week with his United Nations speech and other remarks that held out the possibility of the U.S. and Iran mending relations ruptured more than 30 years ago.
As we've reported on Parallels, Rouhani still faces plenty of skeptics, though most U.S. media coverage has been positive. But how have his comments been received in Iran, where the country's economy has been hard-hit by Western sanctions?
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:14 am
Scientists assembled by the United Nations sent out a renewed warning Friday that the planet is warming up and human beings are largely responsible. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report that projects more warming air, melting ice and rising seas in this century.
Secretary of State Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France, Russia, China and the European Union met with Iran's foreign minister at the United Nations on Thursday. They left the meeting praising Iran's new tone, but saying there is a lot of work to be done in dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear program. The talks resume in Geneva in mid-October.
Another round of talks on Iran's suspect nuclear program took place Thursday, this one at the United Nations and, for the first time, at the ministerial level. Secretary of State Kerry and Iran's new Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, will be among those in attendance along with their counterparts from the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany. No breakthroughs are anticipated in New York but the talks are expected to reconvene a week or so later in Geneva in search of an accord.
But the study also finds that strikes carried out by unmanned aerial vehicles cause fewer civilian casualties than other kinds of combat and that those deaths don't appear to be linked to further violence against U.S. forces and allies.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. In this part of the program, we want to talk about the question of how to achieve justice in cases that cross borders or go beyond the reach of local courts. This is a subject that's been in much of the news of late as the world continues to grapple with what to do about allegations that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, a special court at The Hague has upheld a 50 year sentence for Liberia's former president Charles Taylor for crimes against humanity. So we thought this was a good day to hear from an international human rights lawyer who's been called the dictator hunter for bringing cases like that to the International Criminal Court. So we'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 10:40 am
The remains of two people, presumed to be a missing passenger and crew member from the ill-fated Costa Concordia, have been located by divers near the site of the wrecked cruise liner that was righted last week in a dramatic salvage operation off the Italian coast.