This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
There appears to be momentum this morning in nuclear talks between Iran and Western countries, led by the United States.
For years, American-led economic sanctions have been meant to squeeze Iran into proving that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, not for bombs. But the election of a new Iranian president this summer raised hopes for a new approach: negotiations.
Before the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the head of Pakistan's armed forces visited President Obama. In the room, as the two men talked, was Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. As then-Ambassador Hussain Haqqani remembers it, President Obama hinted at what was likely to happen.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
For Haqqani, that conversation and all that followed was a classic moment in relations between the United States and Pakistan. Those relations have always been filled with miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 2:17 pm
The new leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, is perhaps best known for being the man behind the shooting attack on Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl who courageously campaigned for girls' education.
Fazlullah, who was elected Thursday as head of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, rose to prominence in Pakistan's Swat Valley earlier through his fiery religious radio broadcasts, which earned him the nickname "Radio Mullah."
Add "obviously, I was extremely, extremely inebriated" to this week's amazing quotes from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
The mayor, who on Tuesday admitted that "yes I have smoked crack cocaine ... probably in one of my drunken stupors" after reports about one video he appears in, issued his "extremely inebriated" mea culpa on Thursday in response to another.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 8:52 pm
Classified as a super typhoon, the Pacific storm Haiyan has made landfall in the Philippines, bringing top sustained winds that were measured at more than 195 miles per hour before landfall. The measurement reflects the winds sustained by the storm for one minute; the storm was also producing gusts of 230 mph.
Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET: Storm Strength Could Be Historic
The strength of the massive super typhoon could be record-setting, weather experts were saying Thursday night.
But the really big business news is that "the European Central Bank startled investors Thursday with a surprise cut in its benchmark interest rate." As The Associated Press adds, "The bank lowered the benchmark refinancing rate to a record low 0.25 percent from 0.5 percent."
In the U.S., graffiti is often condemned as vandalism. But during the Arab Spring, artists say city walls were often the only places where they could talk back to tyrants.
Street art can be found across the Middle East and North Africa, and the Arab Spring protests inspired an artistic revolution. The "Creative Dissent" exhibit at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan is putting that art on display.
Zintan, a mountain town in northwestern Libya, is a place of gray and brown buildings, with little infrastructure, about 50,000 people and no central government control.
The Libyan government doesn't provide basic services, not even water. People use wells to provide for themselves. The local council runs all of Zintan's affairs out of a building in the center of town.
At the local militia base on the outskirts of town, we meet the keeper of Saif el-Islam Gadhafi, the son and one-time heir apparent of Moammar Gadhafi.
The eastern Congo is known to some as the 'rape capital of the world' because nearly 50 women are raped there every hour. Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist, has put his practice, and his life on the line, to help save these women. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with him about his work.
The Congolese rebel group M-23 is has been condemned for its years of brutal violence against civilians. But now, they've vowed to lay down their weapons. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the issue with NPR's Eastern Africa correspondent Gregory Warner.
There's guarded optimism as the second round of talks between Iran and international powers over the Islamic republic's nuclear program got under way in Geneva.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met for an hour with Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, ahead of Thursday's talks. A tweet from Ashton's spokesman Michael Mann described the meeting as "good."
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, leaders of the once-powerful rebel group M23 announced they are giving up their insurgency. Renee Montagne talks to the U.S. Special Envoy to Congo Russ Feingold about the hopeful signs that peace may come to the eastern part of the country after decades of war.
Negotiators from Iran and six world powers resume talks Thursday in Geneva on Iran's nuclear program. Iran's Supreme Leader says he's not optimistic, and U.S. officials say "no deal is better than a bad deal." Still, Iran's desire to get out from under crippling economic sanctions may drive progress forward despite the long odds.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
The peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli officials appear to have hit their roughest patch since the process restarted last summer. Secretary of State John Kerry spent today in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
As NPR's Emily Harris reports, Kerry met with leaders from both sides in an attempt to keep the talks on track.
Rarely does canceling a conference cause so much anger, but the nixing of a major soccer convention in Brazil has the government and organizers pointing fingers at one another. Known as Soccerex, the conference was intended to bring clubs, sponsors and business leaders together before next year's World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports the cancellation has pushed them farther apart.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Welcome, 2014 to the country Brazil.
Israel's Foreign Ministser Avigdor Lieberman, one of the country's most prominent and polarizing political figures, was acquitted of fraud charges on Wednesday in a closely watched case.
Lieberman, who is known for his hard-line policies against the Palestinians and Arab countries, is now expected to return to the job from which he resigned a year ago while the case was working its way through the courts.
Several hundred doctors and nurses jammed the courtyard of the No. 1 People's Hospital in Wenling, a city with a population of about 1 million in Zhejiang province, a four-hour train ride south of Shanghai.
They wore surgical masks to hide their identities from the government and waved white signs that read, "Zero tolerance for violence."
"Doctors and nurses must be safe to take care of people's health!" video shows them chanting.
Given its dark history, Germany prohibits, in its constitution, Nazi glorification, and forbidden speech includes neo-Nazi songs. The government is tracking more than 180 right-wing bands, an underground scene they say helps recruit young people to extremist groups. But officials say censoring neo-Nazi music to protect young Germans is not as easy as it once was.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has the story from Berlin.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro announced an early start to the Christmas season because he wants "happiness for everyone." The decision means that workers will receive the first two-thirds of their Christmas bonuses and pensions this month. Critics say he's just looking for votes ahead of municipal elections in December.
More now on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. The top humanitarian official at the U.N. says the situation continues to deteriorate rapidly and inexorably, with, as we just heard, more than nine million Syrians now in need of aid. But aid groups want the U.N. to do more than just name the problem. They want the Security Council to push all parties to allow humanitarian groups unhindered access to the country.