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A political scandal in the United Kingdom involving a bicycle, a police officer and a bad-tempered Cabinet minister has laid bare lingering tensions over the British class system.

The controversy has provided ammunition to those who charge the Conservative Party-led government is out of touch with ordinary Britons.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States will give another $45 million in aid to Syria. That aid will mostly go toward humanitarian assistance, but it will also include communications equipment for the opposition in Syria. The news came at the end of a week of speeches at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, where many raised alarms about the bloodshed in Syria. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

Spain Climbs Toward What It Hopes Is Recovery

Sep 29, 2012

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The Middle East is a region that inspires hope and despair. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has been there to witness and report on a great many of those moments in recent years. She's about to leave Israel and come home to the United States, and she joins us now to talk about impressions she's collected during her time in the field, memories she'll carry with her. She joins us from Tel Aviv. Lulu, thank so much for being with us.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: It's a pleasure.

The southern French city of Marseille on the Mediterranean Sea has long been famous for its spicy fish soup, known as bouillabaisse. The soup started as a poor man's meal, made with leftover fish scraps, but these days, it's evolved to the point that it can run connoisseurs about $75 for a generously sized meal.

The Greek government is set to present a new austerity budget on Monday that's supposed to please the institutions that are lending billions to the country to save it from bankruptcy.

But the cuts also come at a time when a deep recession has dragged into its fifth year. More than a third of businesses in Greece have closed, and nearly a quarter of Greeks are unemployed.

Busking For The Next Generation

Talk of a Tomato War is simmering in agricultural circles, after the U.S. Commerce Department issued a report Thursday that recommends ending an agreement on how fresh tomatoes grown in Mexico are sold in the United States. The issue could create an expanding trade conflict; Mexican officials have said they would retaliate to defend the tomato growers.

The western Afghan city of Herat has become a thriving hub for the money exchange business, a consequence of geography and politics. Money-changers throng the currency market carrying thick stacks of Iranian currency, much of it brought in by the hundreds of thousands of Afghan workers who earn their living in Iran.

While the stacks of crisp 100,000 rial notes that money-changers bring to the market might look like a small fortune, the 10 million rials in each of these stacks is worth less than $400, because the Iranian currency recently lost more than half of its value.

In an attempt to put down the insurgency in Afghanistan, the international community has spent millions to try to reintegrate former Taliban fighters and other militants back into society.

So how well has it worked?

Critics like Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network say many militants use these programs to gain access to arms and money, without necessarily changing their ways.

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Today, China announced that a prominent politician will be expelled from the Communist Party. Bo Xilai will also face wide-ranging criminal charges. NPR's Louisa Lim has this story from Beijing, on the latest developments in China's most sensational political scandal in decades.

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On Monday, the Republic of Georgia holds a crucial parliamentary election. It will decide whether the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili will keep its hold on power. It's been nine years since the pro-democracy movement known as the Rose Revolution. Saakashvili was once a favorite of U.S. lawmakers, who saw him as one of a new breed of reformers in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Since then, though, his government has been accused of repressive tactics and corruption.

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Despite international condemnation, Pakistan's railways minister says he isn't backing down from his $100,000 bounty offer to anyone who kills the maker of the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims.

Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, the slight, silver-haired minister, says he was angry when he saw the video and that he's a man of great faith, passionately devoted to the Prophet Muhammad.

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This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, violence erupted at the University of Mississippi 50 years ago when an African-American student tried to enroll. We'll look back on that day in just a few minutes.

But, first, to the United Nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday, the only way to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb is to draw a clear red line.

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Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring last year, and many regard it as the most Western-looking nation in the Arab world. Yet it's also waging a roaring debate over how to define freedom of expression in an evolving society.

Tunisian protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy recently in response to the anti-Muslim video Innocence of Muslims. This was just the latest of several episodes in which hard-line Muslims have acted out publicly to what they see as attacks on their religion.

A "large scale Canada-U.S. cheese smuggling operation" has been brought down, after an international investigation tracked criminals who were skirting import duties and Canada's higher cheese prices.

"The investigation revealed over $200,000 worth of cheese and other products were purchased and distributed for an estimated profit of over $165,000," Niagara police said.

Spain To Slash Another $50 Billion From 2013 Budget

Sep 27, 2012

Spain is slashing another $50 billion from its budget — scrapping early retirement programs, hiking taxes and sparking public outrage in the streets. Madrid is struggling to avoid a second, larger European Union bailout, beyond what it's already getting for its banks. But markets have plummeted, dragged down by investors' doubts about whether Spain can go it alone.

Two weeks after the attacks that killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, there is still confusion about what exactly happened and whether the United States might have prevented the tragedy. Critics of the Obama administration accuse the White House of dissembling about the attack. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston talks to Melissa Block.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. Israel's prime minister came to New York today to warn the world about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: The hour is getting late, very late.

Israeli Prime Minister laid out in some detail this afternoon his nation's case for taking stronger action against Iran and his nation's response to what he said are "libelous" accusations about how Israel treats Palestinians.

Taking to the stage just minutes after the head of the Palestinian Authority, Benjamin Netanyahu told United Nations delegates this afternoon that Israelis and Palestinians "won't solve our conflicts with libelous speeches at the U.N."

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This week, we've been taking time to listen to several world leaders address the U.N. General Assembly in New York with special emphasis on the looming crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. We heard from President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday, from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the gathering and outlined the situation in stark terms. He warned that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb by next summer.

China, On The Eve Of A New Presidency

Sep 27, 2012

China has been plagued by political scandal and controversy, just as the Communist government prepares for its once-a-decade transfer of power. It's an important moment for the government, which faces questions about how its economy will be governed and how it will handle deal with foreign powers.

Israel's government effectively rejects a "two-state solution" to its impasse with Palestinians and instead continues to wage a "campaign of ethnic cleansing" in the territories where his people live, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told delegates to the United Nations this afternoon.

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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