World News

Parallels
11:06 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Why Can't The Former Soviet Republics Figure Out Democracy?

Anti-government protesters clash with police on Independence Square in Ukraine's capital Kiev early Wednesday. The protests have been going on for three months, and Tuesday was the deadliest day yet, with at least 25 reported killed.
Sergei Supinsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 1:09 pm

The Soviet Union collapsed more than 20 years ago, yet genuine democracy is still a stranger in most of the 15 former republics. Ukraine, where at least 25 people were killed on Tuesday, is just the latest bloody example.

From President Vladimir Putin's hard-line rule in Russia to the 20-year reign of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus to the assorted strongmen of Central Asia, many post-Soviet rulers consistently display a fondness for the old days, when opposition was something to be squashed, not tolerated.

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Middle East
3:04 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Malala Fund Tries To Help Educate Child Refugees From Syria

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, has become a powerful advocate for children's education. She toured a refugee camp in Jordan along the border with Syria. Malala and Shiza Shahid, the CEO of the Malala fund, spoke with Renee Montagne about the desperate need for more schools and educational opportunities for children of Syrian refugees.

Sports
2:58 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Sochi's Humidity Keeps Olympic Ice Makers Working Overtime

An ice master checks the temperature of the ice rink at the Adler Arena Skating Center, site of the speedskating events at the Sochi Games.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:25 am

In Sochi, balmy weather has bedeviled some snowboarders and skiers. The snow is sometimes, well, slush. But inside the Winter Olympics' arenas, the ice is universally praised, though it's taking some work to keep things cool.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity that's leading ice makers to work overtime at the games.

That's paid off, because athletes in Sochi have been gushing about the ice.

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Europe
2:58 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Dozens Dead In Ukraine Anti-Government Protests

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

As Ukrainian riot police tried to clear thousands of demonstrators camped out behind barricades on the capital's Independence Square, protesters responded with rocks and Molotov cocktails. It was the deadliest day since pro-Western demonstrators took to the streets last fall to protest the pro-Russian president's decision not to sign a trade deal with the European Union.For more, Renee Montagne talks to the BBC' David Stern.

Latin America
2:58 am
Wed February 19, 2014

In Venezuela, Anti-Government Demonstrations Build

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:04 am

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans marched in Caracas after the arrest of an opposition leader. The protests come a year into the tenure of President Nicolas Maduro, who has overseen a sagging economy.

Shots - Health News
1:45 am
Wed February 19, 2014

As Health Crisis Looms, Cameroon Cracks Down On Illegal Clinics

Sylvestre Mebam (right) runs an unauthorized health clinic in Cameroon's largest city of Douala. He and his assistant treat about 10 to 15 people each day.
Andres Caballero NPR

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 7:03 am

When Kwagne Elian came down with a high fever, the young woman in Cameroon did what many of us would do in the United States: She went to a private health clinic in her neighborhood.

But unlike the clinic at the local CVS here in the U.S., the one Elian goes to is illegal. And it's the target of a crackdown by the government.

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The Edge
6:59 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Does The U.S. Lead The Winter Olympics — Or Does Germany?

As of late Tuesday, with the final stretch of the Sochi Winter Games ahead, Germany had collected more gold medals than any other nation. Here, German gold medalists Severin Freund, Andreas Wellinger, Andreas Wank and Marinus Kraus celebrate their win in Team Ski Jumping.
Paul Gilham Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:03 am

The countries that send large contingents to the Olympics love to watch the "medal count" tally. But as of late Tuesday at the Sochi Winter Games, the countries with the most medals didn't have the most gold medals. That's why by some counts, Germany and Norway were leading the way, while the Netherlands, U.S. and Russia all trailed.

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The Edge
2:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Canadian Athletes Pumped To Show The Fitter Side Of Curling

Canada's E.J. Harnden delivers the rock during a curling training session in Sochi. "We like to think of ourselves as athletes now and not just curlers," he says.
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:28 pm

When Jimmy Fallon's version of The Tonight Show premiered Monday night on NBC, guest Will Smith joked about the Olympics:

"I think I could win a gold medal in the thing with the broom — curling!"

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

4 Dead In Thai Protests; Prime Minister Faces Charges In Rice Deal

An anti-government protester is caught in tear gas during clashes with riot police in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday.
Wally Santana AP

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 2:35 pm

Four people were killed Tuesday in Thailand and at least 60 injured as police tried to clear anti-government protesters around Bangkok.

The dead included a policeman, the Bangkok Post reported, as well as three civilians. Here's more from the paper:

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The Two-Way
12:12 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Anti-Government Protests In Ukraine Turn Deadly

Smoke from exploding fireworks and fires billows into the night sky as Ukrainians gather at Independence Square during continuing protests in Kiev on Tuesday.
Igor Kovalenko EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:01 pm

This post was updated at 8:52 p.m. ET

Riot police stormed the main anti-government camp in central Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on Tuesday. They fought with demonstrators armed with clubs and wearing helmets fought back. More than a dozen people were killed, including five policemen, according to AP and the BBC.

Opposition leaders met late in the day with President Viktor Yanukovych, but left without an agreement.

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World
10:22 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Is Egypt Cracking Down On Freedom Of Press?

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:54 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now to a form of employment that has become increasingly dangerous in many places around the world. We hope you don't mind if we talk for a few minutes about our field - journalism. In Egypt, several Al Jazeera journalists are facing trial after weeks behind bars. They're accused of working with a terrorist group, among other things. In Iraq, there has been a spike in the number of journalists killed in recent months.

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Parenting
10:22 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Bringing Up Olympians: Athletes' Parents Shed Their Own Blood, Sweat And Tears

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:54 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Parallels
10:06 am
Tue February 18, 2014

For U.S. Ambassador, Ties To Prague That Transcend Diplomacy

Norm Eisen, the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, poses at his official residence in Prague in October 2013. Eisen's mother was born and raised in what was Czechoslovakia and was sent by the Nazis to the Auschwitz concentration camp, which she survived.
Filip Singer The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:18 am

The drive into Prague is like a journey into the past. As you approach, grand castles and cathedrals appear on the horizon and pull you into an old-world city that could be the setting for a fairy tale.

Three years ago, Norm Eisen made this journey in a motorcade. It was his first day as U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic. He was returning to the land where his mother, Frieda, had been born almost 90 years ago.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Pussy Riot's Nadya And Masha Detained In Sochi, Then Released

Maria Alyokhina (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot on stage at Amnesty International's "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert earlier this month in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jason Szenes EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 2:38 pm

The two most prominent members of the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot say they were taken into custody Tuesday by police in Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics. Later in the day, there were reports that the women and other activists who were with them had been released.

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Asia
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

U.N. Panel Accuses North Korea Of Crimes Against Humanity

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. For years we've been hearing horror stories from North Korea about mass starvation, torture, slavery, political killings. It's a long list that is hard for many of us to imagine. Well, now a new report from the United Nations Human Rights Commission presents almost 400 pages of eyewitness testimony from victims and also at least one perpetrator.

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Food
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Old London Air Raid Shelter Becomes Vegetable Farm

Zero Carbon Food is growing leafy greens, herbs and microgreens in a World War II bomb shelter in London.
Courtesy of Zero Carbon Food

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 9:30 am

During World War II, Londoners would descend spiral staircases into tunnels to escape German bombs. Now one of those long-empty air raid shelters is filled with fresh greens.

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Asia
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Mega Mall Helps Pakistanis Escape Pressures Of Everyday Life

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We occasionally get postcards from our international correspondents who report and live in various spots around the world. NPR's Philip Reeves is based in Pakistan where violence has killed tens of thousands of people in recent years. Philips says some in the capital, Islamabad, to find ways to escape the pressure.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Islamabad can sometimes seem surprisingly tranquil. My house is a short drive from Parliament and the Supreme Court. The foothills of the Himalayas aren't so far away.

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Sports
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

U.S. Women's Bobsled Team Features 2 Summer Olympians

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is one sport in the Winter Olympics you can do with your eyes closed. To be precise, you have to do a few seconds of work, after which you can close your eyes and hope for a gold. I am referring to the brakeman in bobsled. That's the athlete who pushes the sled. Tonight, the woman's two-person bobsled starts in Sochi.

NPR's Robert Smith introduces us to the team.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Let's get this out of the way. The women call themselves brakemen. Not brake women or brake person.

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Parallels
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Olympics Set To Transform Rio — But For Better Or Worse?

Local authorities celebrate a demolition explosion that's part of Rio's Porto Maravilha urbanization project, in Rio de Janeiro, on Nov. 24, 2013. The state- and federal-supported project is part of the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Pilar Olivares Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 6:36 pm

Rio de Janeiro is set to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and there are two starkly different visions of what that will mean for the "marvelous city," as it is known.

"I would love to be born in Rio in 2020. The babies that are born here in 2020 will be born in a marvelous city ... because of the games," says Leonardo Gryner, the chief operating officer of Rio's Olympic Organizing Committee.

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Parallels
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

A Heinrich Himmler Documentary, In His Own Words

Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler and his daughter Gudrun. Vanessa Lapa, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, has made a documentary called The Decent One, based on Himmler's letters to his wife and other personal documents.
Realworks

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

The film's protagonist is Heinrich Himmler, the merciless Nazi leader and a key architect of the Final Solution. The film's director is Vanessa Lapa, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors. Her family recently came into possession of long-lost private letters, diaries and photographs belonging to Himmler.

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All Tech Considered
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

DIY Houses In The Internet Age: Some Assembly Required

Good things come in small packages. Lacy Williams, an architecture student, and her boyfriend, Patrick Beseda, built a WikiHouse to live in during a field project in Utah.
Patrick Beseda and Lacy Williams

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 7:19 am

If you can barely swing a hammer, you can still build your own home.

Builders at the Maker Faire in New York City proved this point last fall, with something akin to an old-fashioned barn-raising.

The event celebrates the do-it-yourself aesthetic, particularly when it comes to digital fabrication and open-source construction plans. Using wooden mallets cut from plywood, a crew of eight banged together the slotted frame of a WikiHouse without a single nail.

The result: a livable home.

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The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

'I'm The Hijacker!' Says Ethiopian Pilot Of Commandeered Jet

After landing in Geneva on Monday, the pilot who reportedly took over control of the Rome-bound Ethiopian Airlines jet used a rope to climb down from the cockpit. He then went to authorities and asked for asylum.
Richard Juilliart AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 1:16 pm

Details are starting to come out about what it was like Monday when one of the pilots of an Ethiopian Airlines flight reportedly locked himself in the cockpit and flew the jet and its 193 passengers to Geneva, Switzerland, instead of Rome, its intended destination.

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Help Arrives, But South African Miners Refuse To Be Rescued

Rescuers tend to a mine worker, in striped top, after he was pulled from an illegal gold mine Sunday in Benoni, outside Johannesburg, South Africa. Many of his colleagues remain below ground for fear of being arrested.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:45 am

After hearing that the 22 men who have made it to safety so far were all arrested, an unknown number of other South Africans are refusing to leave the illegal gold mine where they were briefly trapped over the weekend.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Mon February 17, 2014

U.N. Report Details North Korea's 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 1:14 pm

"Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed" by the leaders of North Korea against their own people, the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights declared Monday in a report that goes on to accuse that nation's communist regime of "crimes against humanity."

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Africa
4:04 am
Mon February 17, 2014

South African Miners Blocked From Leaving Illegal Mine

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:57 am

Rescue efforts have been underway at an illegal gold mine near Johannesburg, where a group of miners were trapped by boulders they say were placed there by a gang of rivals. Some of the men refused rescue because those let out were being arrested by local police for their unauthorized excavations. Renee Montagne talks to David Smith, a reporter for Britain's Guardian newspaper in Johannesburg.

Middle East
3:28 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Abbas Tells Students 'Peace Has To Happen'

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The West Bank city of Ramallah is normally off-limits to Israelis by Israeli law. But yesterday, 300 Israeli college students and other young leaders, with special permission from the military, traveled to Ramallah to hear Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas speak. An Israeli politician organized the unusual gathering, calling it a chance for Israelis to get to know what many of there see as their enemy.

NPR's Emily Harris reports.

(APPLAUSE)

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National Security
3:22 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Marine Commandant Launches Offensive Against Bad Behavior

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Africa
3:17 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Troops Escort Muslims Out Of Central African Republic

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 9:24 am

Tens of thousands of Muslims are fleeing what the U.N. calls a campaign of "ethno-religious cleansing" in the Central African Republic. On Sunday, African forces provided a military escort to hundreds of people on a slow convoy toward the Western border with Cameroon.

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Sports
3:17 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Anticipation Grows That U.S. Ice Dancing Duo Will Win Gold

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:57 am

Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White are favored to win gold in ice dancing. The pair took silver in the last Olympic Games in Vancouver, and expectations are high that they'll do even better in Sochi.

Asia
3:17 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Hong Kong To Destroy Ivory Stockpile, But Will It Curb Demand In China?

Elephant tusks are displayed in October after being seized by customs officials in Hong Kong. The 189 tusks, worth $1.5 million, were hidden in soybean sacks in a shipping container.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:02 am

Lucy Skrine, 11, was walking through the bustling streets of Hong Kong a few months ago with fellow animal activists, holding signs in Chinese and English that read: "Say No to Ivory."

"There was one mainland Chinese that came around, and she said, 'Why can't we buy ivory?' " the sixth-grader recalled. Lucy explained that poachers had to kill the elephant to extract the tusks.

"When she learned this, she was like, 'What? I thought they fell out of the elephants,' " Lucy said.

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