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Myanmar President Thein Sein made his debut at the U.N. General Assembly today, using his speech (posted here) to enumerate the democratic reforms implemented so far during his 18 months in office.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the U.N. General Assembly today he will "argue for the need to set a 'red line' for Iran's nuclear program," Reuters reports.

NPR's Michele Kelemen adds that Netanyahu has "been urging the Obama administration to spell out clear red lines that would trigger military action" against Iran if it appears to be near to developing or acquiring nuclear weapons.

Less than a year ago, victorious militiamen swarmed the streets of Libya's major cities basking in their role as national liberators. Today, many of those same men present a challenge to the country's incoming rulers, who face the prospect of long-term instability if they fail to rein in armed irregulars.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Some called it awkward timing, others called it an outrage. Today, as Jews mark the high holy day of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, the president of Iran attacked Israel in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. His message came as no surprise. The U.S. stayed away, complaining about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repulsive slurs.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

For more on Ahmadinejad's speech and the dynamics of political power in Iran, I'm joined by analyst Karim Sadjadpour, who specializes in Iranian politics and society. He's with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Welcome to the program.

KARIM SADJADPOUR: Thank you, Melissa.

BLOCK: We heard Ahmadinejad today make a point of saying that this was his eighth time speaking before the general assembly. Did you hear anything different in this swan song speech, either in tone or in content, than you've heard before?

Tens of thousands of Greeks protested austerity measures Wednesday in a largely peaceful demonstration. But the march broke up after a small band of hooded militants threw rocks and firebombs at riot police, who responded with rounds of tear gas that sent most of the crowd home. Anti-austerity protests have not abated in the two and a half years since Greece received hundreds of billions of euros in bailout loans from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The protests have brought down two governments and forced new elections, but they haven't rolled back austerity.

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The possibility that Israel may launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities has sparked heated debate, and not only in policy circles. Analysts in the Persian Gulf region and beyond are contemplating the economic impact of a military conflict. NPR's Peter Kenyon just returned from a trip to the Persian Gulf and has this report.

When the economic crisis erupted in Greece and the bottom fell out of the domestic wine market, the Kir-Yianni vineyard outside picturesque Naoussa decided to adapt. Like other wineries in Greece, it has increasingly tapped the export market, successfully marketing and selling wine in Europe, the United States and even China.

"If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us," says Stellios Boutaris, the son of the company's founder. "It's going to make us stronger."

Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.

Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Earlier today, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations General Assembly while Israelis openly debate a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities and President Obama warned yesterday that time for diplomacy was not unlimited. President Ahmadinejad did not directly mention his country's nuclear program nor did he address the sanctions that strain Iran's economy. He did denounce what he called the hegemony of arrogance and laid out his vision for a new world order.

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Forget four-leaf clovers, horseshoes and rabbit feet. The secret to a three-time-lottery-winning family in Norway is simple: getting pregnant.

Or, more accurately, making sure Hegge Jeanette Oksnes has recently given birth — or is just about to.

Last week, her brother, 19-year-old Tord Oksnes, won 12.2 million kroner ($2.12 million) and became the latest member of the Oksnes family to win Norway's national lottery — a few months after his sister gave birth to her third child.

A year ago, Omran Ben Shaaban was among the young men who helped capture Moammar Gadhafi as the former Libyan leader tried to hide in a drainage ditch.

The badger, a stalwart of BBC nature programs, is one of Britain's most beloved animals and is a protected species.

To many English dairy farmers, though, this timid omnivore with the black and white stripes is a mobile biological weapon, exposing their cows to bovine tuberculosis through its urine and saliva.

And they've persuaded the British government to sanction extreme measures.

This month, the government issued licenses allowing trained marksmen to wipe out 70 percent of the badger populations in two pilot areas.

Weighing Candidates' Foreign Policies

Sep 26, 2012

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, it's been nearly 60 years since public schools were legally desegregated, but new research shows schools are still divided. That's in just a few minutes.

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People are not getting much work done in parts of Europe. Last night, there were violent protests in Spain. They were protests against austerity measures, which is also the case in Greece, where a nationwide strike came today. It closed businesses and schools, and reporter Joanna Kakissis is following the story from Athens.

Joanna, what's been happening?

Riot police in Athens have fired tear gas at protesters who in turn have been lobbing stones and petrol bombs in one of the largest anti-austerity demonstrations to hit the Greek capital in months.

The CIA tells Pakistan in advance about "broad areas" where it intends to take aim at suspected terrorists with drone strikes and interprets the other government's silence and clearing of airspace as "tacit consent," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning.

Saying its sources are "U.S. officials" and "two senior [Obama] administration officials," the Journal adds that:

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It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

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And I'm David Greene.

China Launches Its First Aircraft Carrier

Sep 26, 2012

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

China has just joined an exclusive, global club. They have launched their first aircraft carrier. The Liaoning is a Soviet ship that the Russian navy never actually put into service. To talk with us about the significance of this ship, we're joined from London by naval historian and defense analyst, Paul Beaver.

Mr. Beaver, good morning.

PAUL BEAVER: Good morning to you.

GREENE: So tell us about this ship.

Can tigers and tourists coexist? The debate is rumbling through India, where the Supreme Court has temporarily banned tourism in core areas of the country's 41 tiger reserves. The unexpected and controversial ruling is aimed at protecting the last of India's 1,700 tigers.

Up until the late 1960s, big game hunters trod the forests of Rajasthan's Ranthambore National Park, part of a sprawling tiger reserve southwest of Delhi. Under the court's recent ban, spotting one of India's big cats — a tiger or the more elusive leopard — inside the park is forbidden.

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And let's go next to West Africa, where logging rights to more than 60 percent of Liberia's virgin rainforests have been granted to forestry companies since President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power six years ago. A British advocacy group says the majority of those contracts are unregulated and warns of fraud and mismanagement. The government of Liberia says it is commissioning a full-scale investigation.

Tamasin Ford reports from Liberia.

After fighting for power for nearly 50 years, a Colombian rebel group is now opting to negotiate a peace deal with President Juan Manuel Santos' government and bring the country's slow-burning but brutal conflict to an end.

Most of Colombia's 47 million people are supportive of talks, which begin soon in Oslo, Norway, before moving to Havana.

Mixing Past And Present In Papua New Guinea

Sep 25, 2012

Few places are more exotic in the imagination than Papua New Guinea. The romantic images it conjures up are the stuff of a National Geographic cover story, complete with deadly animals and, of course, cannibals.

But once I stepped off the plane, I entered a land that was wrestling with its past and its present.

The Sepik River basin, deep in the heart of the country, is a popular tourist destination. It's the perfect place for a jungle river tour, with dense greenery, massive birds and stops at tribal villages.

About a dozen men prayed recently at Darkei Shalom, a Hasidic Jewish synagogue in the working-class neighborhood of Otradnoye in north Moscow.

Except for the Star of David on its squat tower, the building is as plain and utilitarian as the linoleum on the floor. It sits — along with a Russian Orthodox church and a mosque — on a leafy stretch of land surrounded by towering apartment blocks.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. President Obama made an impassioned plea for understanding today, on the floor of the U.N. General Assembly.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.

Greece is in the fifth year of a painful recession, and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. One big problem the country faces is a shortage of strong companies that know how to compete on the world market. And nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the challenges faced by the country's olive oil business.

Near the mountain city of Potosi in the southern highlands of Bolivia, the cone-shaped peak of Cerro Rico stands as a 15,800-foot monument to the tragedies of Spanish conquest. For centuries, Indian slaves mined the mountain's silver in brutal conditions to bankroll the Spanish empire.

Today, the descendants of those slaves run the mines. But hundreds of years of mining have left the mountain porous and unstable, and experts say it is in danger of collapsing.

Syria's refugees keep growing dramatically in number, and no country in the region has taken in more of them than Jordan — a poor, desert nation that is now hosting some 200,000 Syrians.

The conditions for the refugees are perhaps harsher in Jordan than in any other country, with many people sheltered in tents on a hot, dusty plain just inside Jordan's northern border with Syria.

At the Zaatari camp, everything is covered with a layer of sand and dirt; rows and rows of tents, once white, are now a golden color.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Earlier today, both of the major party candidates for president spoke on foreign policy in New York. Former Governor Mitt Romney at the Clinton Global Initiative and President Barack Obama before the General Assembly of the United Nations. We're going to play back substantial excerpts from both. Governor Romney spoke first after an introduction by the former president who delivered a well-received speech on behalf of his opponent at the Democratic National Convention.

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