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President Obama's push for a military strike on Syria is on hold, at least for now. The administration is exploring a possible diplomatic alternative that calls for Syria to surrender its stockpile of chemical weapons. That could provide a face-saving out for the president, who appeared unlikely to win Congressional approval this week for a strike.
Diplomats continue to consider a Russian plan to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international control. If nations can agree on the details, the plan could avert a U.S. strike against Syrian targets. But accounting for and destroying Syria's chemical arsenal is a complicated undertaking.
How feasible is the task of taking control of Syria's chemical arsenal? Could the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the body that implements the Chemical Weapons Convention, do it with confidence?
We're going to ask Amy Smithson, who is senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Welcome to the program.
Is the Russian proposal to have Syria's chemical weapons placed under international control sincere? And if so, what's in it for Russia and can the Russians be trusted to help rid Syria of chemical weapons? Joining us, is Strobe Talbott, a Russia hand and former deputy secretary of state. He joins us from the Brookings Institution, of which he is the president. Welcome to the program once again.
The U.S. and its allies await details of Russia's proposal to place Syria's chemical weapons arsenal under UN supervision. Meanwhile, senior Obama administration officials are continuing to press for congressional approval of a potential military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons in August.
The International Olympic committee (IOC) has elected a new president, Thomas Bach of Germany. He assumes leadership of an organization that faces criticism over politics, costs and what some view as its insular approach to which sports are offered during the games. The new president succeeds Jacques Rogge, who lead the IOC for 12 years.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:31 pm
It's still officially wintertime in Buenos Aires, but the city is in a record heat wave. Tuesday's high was 34.4 degrees Celsius (94 degrees Fahrenheit), the hottest temperature recorded in September since 1940, La Nacion reports.
"The unusually high temperatures are expected until tomorrow and may reach the maximum of 40 degrees," the Buenos Aires Herald reports.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 6:15 pm
China will jail anyone caught using social media to spread "slanderous rumors" or "false information" for up to 10 years, according to a new legal interpretation of Internet restrictions, the official Xinhua news agency reports.
A court's interpretation says the spread of such rumors could automatically incur a three-year prison term, but if the post is read by 5,000 or more people and/or shared more than 500 times, the penalty could jump to 10 years in jail.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 2:04 pm
The International Olympic Committee has elected a new president, naming Germany's Thomas Bach to replace outgoing chief Jacques Rogge, who served in the post for 12 years. Bach was chosen by secret ballot on the last day of meetings in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
An Olympic fencer whose successes include a gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Games, Bach later became an executive at Adidas. He was widely seen as the favorite in the race to lead the IOC.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 6:04 am
The four men convicted in the brutal rape and murder of a young woman last December on a bus in New Delhi were sentenced to death on Friday. Here's a timeline of the story that shocked and outraged India:
In Washington, D.C., this week, there have been demonstrations both in favor of and against a military strike on targets in Syria. Outside the White House on Monday, supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad waved a Syrian flag with his face on it.
On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Julie McCarthy, in New Delhi, speaks with Renee Montagne
Four men convicted Tuesday for the December rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in India are due to learn Wednesday whether they will be sentenced to death by hanging.
From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy reported on Morning Edition that there's great "political pressure ... to mete out the most extreme punishment." She called the guilty verdicts "a moment that the family [of the victim] and the country has been waiting for."
Russia seized on an idea voiced by Secretary of State John Kerry and urged Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control. Russia's state-run news agency said Syria welcomed the proposal.
A judge in New Delhi has just delivered his guilty verdict for four men who raped and murdered a young woman on a city bus back in December. It was one of the most high profile cases in Indian history. The horrific crime stirred a national debate over the country's lax prosecution of crimes against women and became an international issue as well. We talk to NPR's Julie McCarthy who was at the courthouse. Good morning.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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In medieval times, the south bank of the River Thames in London was full of seedy theaters, brothels and scoundrels. But centuries later, it has become one of the world's finest centers for the arts. Recent plans to expand the arts center has revealed a uniquely, contemporary conflict. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, this conflict is reviving grassroots activism in Britain's capital.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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We begin this hour with an unexpected twist in the story of Syria and its alleged use of chemical weapons. Russia is now urging Syria to give up its stockpile to avoid a U.S. military strike. Though the offer appears to be in response to a comment this morning from the secretary of state, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports the U.S. is skeptical.
From the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, comes a new poll on U.S. airstrikes against Syria. The bottom line: Most Americans are against the idea. In fact, comparing the numbers Pew found since last Wednesday with those found in a similar sample a few days earlier, opposition to airstrikes is rising.
Well, Michael Dimock is director of the Pew Research Center and joins us. Welcome to the program once again.
The U.S. is considering adding helicopters to its list of potential targets of a military strike. Here, rebel fighters are seen on a Russian-made helicopter seized from the Syrian army at the Minnig Military Airport near the Turkish border on Aug. 11.
As U.S. lawmakers weigh whether to support an attack on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, military planners have expanded the target list for a potential strike.
The Pentagon had been focused on attacking Syria with so-called standoff weapons — cruise missiles, for example. Launched from ships, they can attack Syrian positions without placing American pilots in danger. Cruise missiles are very precise, and perfect for hitting fixed targets, such as command-and-control centers the Syrian military relies on.
Tunisians are silhouetted Jan. 13 behind a poster of those who died in the revolution that overthrew an authoritarian president and started the Arab Spring. More than two years after the revolution, Tunisia is struggling with high unemployment and rising violence in its politics.
Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 4:54 pm
The Syria conflict was initially part of a wave of uprisings in 2011 known as the Arab Spring, which began in part as a cry for political freedom and more economic opportunity. Fast-forward to today, when unemployment in some of these countries is among the highest in the world.
Zubin Mehta conducts the Bavarian State Orchestra in Srinagar, India, on Saturday night. The heavy security surrounding the event was an affront to many citizens of the state, which has chafed under heavy police presence for the better part of two decades.<strong></strong>
Credit Julie McCarthy / NPR
The audience at the Mughal-era Shalimar Gardens consisted mostly of VIPs. Mehta himself seemed abashed by the exclusiveness of the event.