The president of Sudan wants the U.S. to give him a visa so he can come to New York next week to attend the U.N. General Assembly. For most heads of state, no problem. But Omar al-Bashir faces arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court, accusing him of genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan's Darfur region. So the question of whether to grant President Bashir a visa has put the U.S. in a diplomatic bind.
With us now is Colum Lynch. He covers the U.N. for The Washington Post and Foreign Policy.com. Good morning.
Hassan Rouhani ran on a promise of getting his country out from under the weight of sanctions, embargoes and other financial weapons from the West that have crippled that country's economy. Since taking office, he has been striking a more conciliatory note than his predecessor, especially toward the U.S. For more, Renee Montagne talks with Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
German voters are expected to elect Chancellor Angela Merkel to a third term on Sunday. Now, if she wins, Merkel, who is a former physicist, will be on the path to becoming Europe's longest-serving female head of government. The prospect of another four years of Merkel unsettles many Europeans outside Germany. But she is respected at home. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson sent us this profile from Berlin of the woman the German media call Mutti, or mommy of the nation.
Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis has stunned the Catholic world. In a long and blunt interview, the pope said that the Catholic Church should not be - as he put it - obsessed with abortion, contraception and gay marriage. The interview appeared yesterday in Jesuit journals across the world. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Rome. And Sylvia, do the pope's comments change church policies on issues of sexual morality?
Want to visit Paris and Venice in the same afternoon?
You can, if you're in China.
Chinese developers have for years built residential communities that mimic famous European cities and towns. They are the subject of a new book, Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China.
Potential changes in economic policy from Washington have sent tremors throughout emerging economies. In Turkey, where growth in recent years has put Eurozone economies to shame, the signs are troubling: The Turkish lira has fallen to its lowest value in years and private sector debt is soaring. Economists say continued liquidity and foreign investment remains crucial if Turkey is to avoid a hard landing.
Hurricane Manuel made landfall early this morning, striking Mexico's northern pacific mainland. It uprooted trees, downed power lines and continued a week of nonstop rain, high winds and deadly landslides. Officials say the death toll from a series of storms this week has risen to 80, and more than 50 people are still missing after a landslide consumed nearly an entire village north of Acapulco. NPR's Carrie Khan reports.
Iran's nuclear program and the civil war in Syria are both matters that figure prominently in U.S.-Israeli dealings. And joining us to talk about those issues is Israel's outgoing ambassador to Washington, the American-born writer Michael Oren. Ambassador Oren, welcome back.
MICHAEL OREN: Robert, always delightful to be with you.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
And we begin this hour with Iran and what appears to be an effort on Iran's part to thaw relations with the United States. In a new interview with NBC, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated that his country does not have military nuclear ambitions. He's heard here through an interpreter.
The wild population of the golden lion tamarin, which lives only in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, fell to just 200 in the 1970s. Conservationists have helped the species rebound, but the monkeys are still at risk as development encroaches on their remaining habitat.
Credit Andrea Hsu / NPR
Power lines, roads and agricultural development in Rio de Janeiro state have isolated golden lion tamarins in forest fragments, leaving them vulnerable to inbreeding and other threats.
Credit Mehgan Murphy / Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution
The tiny, copper-hued golden lion tamarin is so beloved in Brazil that its image graces the country's 20-real bank note. But this lion-maned monkey is in peril.
There's only one place on earth where the golden lion tamarin lives in the wild: in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, just north of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation in the region has reduced the monkey's habitat, once a massive ecosystem stretching for a half-million square miles, to just 2 percent of its original size.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:41 pm
Greece's premier has vowed not to let a neo-Nazi party undermine democracy after the killing of a Greek hip-hop and rap singer by a right-wing extremist.
"This government is determined not to let the descendants of the Nazis poison our social life or commit crimes," Antonis Samaras said in a national television address.
An extremist with possible ties to the right-wing Golden Dawn party has admitted to stabbing to death musician Pavlos Fyssas, who goes by the stage name Killah P. The incident has sparked outrage among many Greeks.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:41 pm
The French government has taken a step toward saying non to beauty pageants for girls younger than 16. Earlier this week, the upper house of Parliament voted in favor of banning such contests as part of a larger bill on women's rights.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:25 pm
On Saturday night, the emergency room staff knows all too well what's coming — people showing up with a broken jaw, a knife wound or a bashed-in face, often after too many hours in a pub. Doctors at the emergency department in Cardiff, Wales, realized that many of the people who were injured in fights never reported it to the police. That realization led to a simple program that has radically reduced the toll of violence.
An Afghan dealer waits for customers at a money market in Kandahar province, in November 2012. The U.S. has started attacking the Taliban's funding channels ahead of withdrawing most of its forces from Afghanistan by 2014.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:41 pm
Police in India arrested the co-founder of an organization blamed for terrorist attacks across the country. But it was the revelations following the August arrest of Yasin Bhaktal, the alleged head of the Indian Mujahideen, that caught our eye.
An unusual double whammy hit Mexico this week, with hurricanes slamming into both coasts, Ingrid in the east and Manuel in the west. More than 80 people have died amid mudslides and flooding. Some of the worst damage has been along the Pacific coast around the famous resort town of Acapulco, where tens of thousands of tourists have been stranded. And it looks like more rain is on the way.
Associated Press reporter Michael Weissenstein is on the line from Acapulco. Thank you for joining us.
Soccer was banned in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Today it's fueling a week-long party. Afghans are over the moon since their national team won the South Asian Football Federation championship last week. It was a stunning victory over India, two to nothing, especially for a team of unpaid players who slept in airports on the way to tournaments because they could not afford hotel rooms.
In the last few days we've learned that Iran has released political prisoners and that its new president and President Obama have written each other. Also suggesting a thaw in the relationship, both leaders expressed a desire to resolve their countries' dispute over Iran's nuclear program. These seeming overtures come as President Hassan Rouhani prepares to fly to New York to address the U.N.
The conflict in Syria is causing problems for its neighbors beyond the violence that's spilling over their borders. In Turkey, which has strongly backed Syrian rebels, one of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most important political efforts is in danger of collapsing.
NPR's Peter Kenyon reports on dimming hopes for a peace process between Turkey and its Kurdish minority.
Brazil's favelas, or slums, are notoriously violent places, and in recent years, the Brazilian government has attempted to establish order through police-run "pacification" programs. A cable car ride above several favelas gives a clearer view of what's happened in the communities in recent years.
Roberto de Carvalho (left), who maintains a truck fleet in Recife, Brazil, is shown here with his daughter Sandra, 22, wife Enilda and daughter Susana, 16. The family makes just enough to belong the rapidly expanding ranks of the country's middle class, though they still can't afford a house or even a car.
Tens of millions of Brazilians have risen out of poverty over the past decade in one of the world's great economic success stories. The reasons are many: strong overall economic growth, fueled by exports. A rise in the minimum wage. A more educated workforce. And big government spending programs, including direct payments to extremely poor families.
But becoming middle class in Brazil means a better life, not an easy one. The new, lowest rung of the middle class is what in the U.S. would be called the working poor, with monthly incomes of between $500 and $2,000.
On a busy avenue in Olinda, in northeastern Brazil, two men in wigs, big red noses and full clown makeup are squeaking horns and making a good-natured ruckus.
"Where's your helmet?" shouts one as a motorcyclist whizzes by. "Fasten your seat belt!" calls out the other.
Uncle Honk and Fom Fom are traffic clowns, or palhacos, hired by the city to make the roads a bit safer. They lean into traffic, making exaggerated gestures, like the sweep of the arm to mimic fastening a seat belt, and a mimed reminder to never drink and drive.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:17 pm
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was among several political prisoners released by Tehran on Wednesday, just days ahead of a visit by Iran's newly elected moderate president to the United Nations in New York.
Sotoudeh, who had been held since 2010, was one of eight women and three men released, according to the BBC. Reformist politician Mohsen Aminzadeh was also among the prisoners freed.