World News

Asia
1:25 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Chinese Flock To The Countryside For A More Authentic New Year

Chinese blacksmiths in Nuanquan (Warm Spring) Town perform a folk custom called "making trees and flowers." They throw ladles of molten iron onto a wall, creating showers of sparks. The centuries-old custom originated with blacksmiths too poor to afford fireworks. In recent years, urban tourists have flocked to this once obscure town over the Chinese New Year holiday to enjoy local folk customs.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 10:35 am

China goes back to work Friday after a weeklong holiday marking the Year of the Horse. Traditionally, celebrations continue through the first month of the Lunar New Year.

As in years past, some 800 million viewers tuned in this year to the state TV New Year's gala program to watch Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, French actress and singer Sophie Marceau, and other entertainers.

Read more
Parallels
1:21 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Tijuana Prisoner: I Was Forced To Dig Drug Tunnel To San Diego

A Mexican guard at a prison in Tijuana where 17 men are being held on charges they were digging a drug-smuggling tunnel from Tijuana to the U.S. border at San Diego. The men say they were kidnapped and forced to do the work.
Special to NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 9:32 am

More than 75 drug-smuggling tunnels have been discovered under the U.S.-Mexico border in just the past six years, and one of the more intriguing cases involves 17 Mexican men who claim they were kidnapped and forced to carry out the work for months before Mexican authorities found them.

There's always been some mystery surrounding tunnels. Diggers were thought to be well-paid cartel loyalists or, as urban legend goes, laborers killed soon after the tunnel's completion to ensure its secrecy.

Read more
Religion
3:29 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

UN Report Raises Scathing Criticisms Of Vatican

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Middle East
3:29 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Under A Hail Of Barrel Bombs, An Exodus Departs From Aleppo

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

For the last two weeks, the barrel bombing of the rebel-held area of Aleppo in Syria has intensified. Warplanes drop leaflets on neighborhoods warning civilians to flee — and it seems they're listening. Residents of Aleppo districts held by the regime say they are seeing an influx of families, while aid agencies working in Turkey say hundreds of thousands of the displaced are trying to get in.

The Two-Way
3:26 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Antitrust Settlement With EU Calls For Google To Tweak Results

European Commission

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 3:34 pm

Part of an antitrust agreement with the European Union regulators, Google has agreed to tweak its search results in Europe.

The search giant has agreed that when a user searches for a product, for example, the search results of its rivals — Amazon, let's say — will be displayed along with those of advertisers paying Google for prominent space.

Read more
Parallels
2:29 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Even Among Their Own, Consensus Eludes Israelis And Palestinians

Nimrod Vider, an Israeli who owns a cafe in the Jordan Valley, part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He says he would be willing to leave the West Bank if the Israeli government thought it was the right thing to do.
Emily Harris NPR

Disputes between Palestinians and Israelis are a constant in their decades-old conflict, and that's what the wider world usually hears about.

But there are also near constant internal disagreements among Israelis. And Palestinians have divergent views too. On a recent trip through the Jordan Valley, which is deep inside the Israeli-occupied West Bank, near the border with Jordan, I spoke with Israelis and Palestinians about their internal differences.

Here's a sampling of those conversations:

An Israeli Cafe Owner and A Regular Customer

Read more
Business
1:38 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Which Way For Stocks? Investors Watch 'Worry Index' For Clues

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 3:42 pm

Anyone who invests in the stock market knows share prices can go up — and down. That's why they call it a market.

Still, this year, price movements have been fast and furious — shocking investors and prompting many to fear "volatility."

Read more
Parallels
1:17 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Letters From An Egyptian Prison

Peter Greste, an Al Jazeera English journalist shown here in a 2005 interview, has been jailed in Egypt for more than a month. He and other imprisoned journalists and activists have written letters describing their prison conditions.
Thos Robinson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 3:12 pm

As part of a crackdown against critics, Egypt's military-backed government has been jailing journalists and activists. But the government hasn't entirely silenced them.

Writing surreptitiously and risking additional punishment, several of those detained have managed to write letters that have been smuggled out of prison or released by the authorities.

"I am nervous as I write this," detained Al Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste said in a letter published by his network.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:07 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

An Artificial Arm Gives One Man The Chance To Feel Again

Dennis Aabo Sorensen tests a prosthetic arm with sensory feedback in a laboratory in Rome in March 2013.
Patrizia Tocci/Lifehand 2

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:43 pm

Ten years ago Dennis Sorensen was setting off fireworks to celebrate New Year's Eve with his family in Denmark when something terrible happened.

"Unfortunately one of the rockets we had this evening was not good and when we light it then it just blew up and, yeah, my hand was, was not that good anymore," says Sorensen.

Read more
Sports
11:46 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Sochi Has Diversity But 'Blackness' Isn't Part Of It

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
World
11:46 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Alarm As Haitians Flee Country

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Parallels
11:32 am
Wed February 5, 2014

In Pakistan, Another Bhutto Joins The Risky Family Business

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (left), son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, arrives for a festival at Moenjodaro in southern Pakistan on Feb. 1. The event was seen as a political coming-out party for Bhutto, whose family has prominently featured in Pakistani politics for decades.
Waqar Hussein EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

His grandfather was hanged by a military dictator. His mother was assassinated. One of his uncles was slain by the police. Another died in a mysterious poisoning.

His father spent eight years in jail, yet later served a full term as president of Pakistan.

The Bhutto family history is a roller coaster ride, veering from prison, exile and corruption scandals to wealth, fame and power.

Read more
The Salt
7:20 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Electronic Tongues Are The Beer Snobs Of The Future

Personally, we're most looking forward to having robot drinking buddies.
Bongo Entertainment Inc.

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:01 pm

If beer is the new wine, robots are the new beer snobs. Well, sort of.

Researchers in Barcelona have developed an electronic tongue that really knows the difference between a pilsner and a bock.

For now, it looks less like a slick, futuristic robot and more like a big of clump sensors. It's still a prototype, but its creators say it could some day replace human taste testers.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:33 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Vatican Let Abuse Of Kids Go On For Decades, U.N. Panel Says

St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
Ciro Fusco EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 2:01 pm

The Vatican "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by, and the impunity of, the perpetrators," a U.N. human rights committee charged Wednesday.

Read more
Middle East
3:11 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Jordan Valley's Future At Stake In Mideast Peace Talks

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The River Jordan - where we're going next - is the dividing line between Jordan to the east, and the Israeli-occupied areas to the west. When you hear that heavily Palestinian zone called the West Bank, that's what it means: the West Bank of the Jordan. Its future is at stake in peace negotiations. Israelis see the River Valley as a vital security zone. Palestinians call it their breadbasket.

NPR's Emily Harris reports.

Read more
Middle East
3:09 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Syria Accused Of Stalling Disarmament Process

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

Wednesday is the deadline for the Syrian government to deliver hundreds of tons of toxic agents to a port, where they are to be taken out to sea and destroyed. Renee Montagne talks to Amy Smithson, senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, about the possible incentives driving the slow surrender.

NPR Story
3:03 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Ex-Rwandan Officer Goes On Trial In France For Genocide

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. A trial in France is shedding more light on the genocide in Rwanda and 20 years after it occurred France's role in the killing. A former intelligience official close to the family of the then-president went on trial yesterday in Paris. He's charged with abetting the massacre of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis by Hutu militias.

Read more
NPR Story
3:03 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Snowboarder Shaun White Withdraws From Slopestyle Event

Shaun White practiced at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Sochi on Monday. On Wednesday, he withdrew from the event, saying the slopestyle course is too risky for him.
Ryan Pierse Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 4:35 pm

Snowboarder Shaun White has announced that he is dropping out of the slopestyle event at the Sochi Olympics.

The event is scheduled to start Thursday. White will still compete in halfpipe, his usual sport, but he says Sochi's slopestyle course, with its larger-than-usual jumps, is too risky for him.

Read more
The Edge
1:30 am
Wed February 5, 2014

One Prediction Of Sochi Doom That Hasn't Happened

More than 400 snow-making machines are keeping the ski slopes of Sochi covered in snow.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 6:29 am

Heading into the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, there were many predictions of trouble — possible terrorism, incomplete construction, unsold tickets and not enough snow. Well, you can take that last item off the list.

Skiers zip by on a practice run at the Rosa Khutor alpine ski course in Russia with not a cloud in the sky above them. You can't hear the skis, though, because there's a snow-making machine blasting water into the cool, dry air. It mists down onto the ground below in fine ice particles: man-made snow.

Read more
Parallels
1:28 am
Wed February 5, 2014

China Ends One Notorious Form Of Detention, But Keeps Others

Falun Gong practitioners watch a video at the Masanjia re-education through labor camp in northeast China's Liaoning province on May 22, 2001.
John Leicester AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 7:01 pm

After more than a half-century and the imprisonment of millions of people without trial, China officially moved to abolish its re-education through labor camp system at the end of last year.

When the Communist Party makes such sweeping policy statements, it pays to be a little skeptical. Last decade, the government abolished one detention system — and then secretly created another.

So, recently I headed out on a re-education through labor camp road trip to try to find out what the government is doing with its labor camps and what is happening to all those prisoners.

Read more
Shots - Health News
6:00 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Cancer Cases Rising At An Alarming Rate Worldwide

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in the West, while lung and liver cancers are the top problems in Asia.
Courtesy of the World Health Organization

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 6:20 am

As countries modernize around the world, they're increasingly being hit with one of the curses of wealth: cancer.

There are about 14 million new cancer cases globally each year, the World Health Organization reported Monday. And the trend is only getting worse.

The global burden of cancer will grow by 70 percent over the next two decades, the WHO predicts, with an estimated 22 million new cases and 13 million deaths each year by 2032.

Read more
The Edge
3:33 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Countdown To Sochi: Will The City Be Ready?

In Sochi, sporting arenas are ready to receive athletes and visitors, but some stores and hotels aren't quite finished.
Sonari Glinton NPR

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:07 pm

The Winter Games begin Thursday in Sochi, Russia.

Thousands of athletes and journalists have already converged on the city along the coast of the Black Sea, and spectators will be streaming in this week. But ahead of the games, the real race is to see if all the last-minute preparations can be completed in time.

Read more
Middle East
3:26 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

U.S. And Iran Tread Potholed Path From Rivalry To Negotiation

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The U.S. and other major powers will hold talks with Iran later this month. The goal is turn an interim deal, limiting that nation's nuclear program, into a more lasting agreement. President Obama has asked that Congress give diplomats some room to maneuver and not pass any new sanctions bill. That he says could derail the entire process.

As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, this threat of sanctions is just one symptom of a deeper problem that makes these negotiations hard for both sides.

Read more
Parallels
2:18 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Iran's Nuclear Talks: What To Expect Next

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) speaks during a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt in Tehran on Tuesday. Bildt is visiting to try to bolster the temporary nuclear deal on Iran's nuclear program.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

The next round of Iranian nuclear talks with world powers is fast approaching, and there's still a lot of skepticism in the air over the prospects for a comprehensive deal.

Iran will sit down with the U.S. and five other major powers in Vienna on Feb. 18 as they try to hammer out a long-term agreement on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. By most every estimate, it won't be easy to build on the success of a temporary deal drawn up last November given the lingering, visceral mistrust between the United States and Iran.

Read more
Politics
9:56 am
Tue February 4, 2014

House Republicans' New Immigration Proposals: 'Trap' or Opportunity?

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 12:21 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're a month into a new year, but we want to start the program today talking through some of the old issues that are bubbling back up in Washington. The political parties are doing that, too. In fact, House Republicans just finished a three-day retreat in Maryland to plan their strategy for the year. And one of the issues they focused on was immigration.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:06 am
Tue February 4, 2014

U.K. Admits 'Limited' Role In India's 1984 Raid On Sikh Shrine

A Sikh devotee takes a holy dip in the sacred pond at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, on Jan. 1. The British government acknowledged Tuesday it advised India before the deadly 1984 raid on Sikhism's holiest shrine.
Sanjeev Syal AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:33 am

We told you last month about revelations that Britain had aided India three decades ago in a deadly raid on the Golden Temple to remove separatist militants holed up in Sikhisim's holiest shrine. On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague acknowledged that British military advice had "limited impact" on the operation.

Here's what Hague told Parliament about the June 1984 raid in Amritsar, India:

And here's his statement in full:

Read more
Parallels
9:03 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Chinese Red Guards Apologize, Reopening A Dark Chapter

Red Guards — high school and university students — wave copies of Chairman Mao Zedong's Little Red Book during a parade in June 1966 in Beijing's streets at the beginning of China's Cultural Revolution. More than 1 million people are believed to have died during the decade-long upheaval.
Jean Vincent AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

For most of the past half century, China has avoided a full accounting for one of the darkest chapters of its recent history: the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976.

During that time, Chairman Mao Zedong's shock troops — Communist youth known as Red Guards — persecuted, tortured or even killed millions of Chinese, supposed "class enemies."

Now, some Red Guards have issued public apologies to their victims, a rare example of the ruling party allowing public discussion of its historic mistakes.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:58 am
Tue February 4, 2014

'Secret Contacts' Reported Between Afghan President, Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:17 am

It's a question that's been vexing American diplomats for months:

Why won't Afghan President Hamid Karzai sign a security agreement with the U.S. — a deal that President Obama and his aides say needs Karzai's signature if any American troops are going to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year?

As Sean Carberry, NPR's Kabul correspondent, has said:

Read more
Africa
3:16 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Violence Reigns In Central African Republic Despite Peace Steps

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's the kind of international crisis that is numbingly familiar: a coup, followed by a steep descent into sectarian bloodshed and revenge killings. This is what's happening now in the Central African Republic.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The coup happened last year. It was led by a rebel group call Seleka, drawn from the minority Muslim community in this largely Christian country. After the coup, many of the Muslim rebels targeted Christian neighborhoods, plundering and killing. And then came a moment of hope.

Read more
NPR Story
2:59 am
Tue February 4, 2014

After 400 Years, Mount Sinabung Erupts

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The eruption of an Indonesian volcano has claimed its first fatalities. It happened in recent days. Mount Sinabung has been erupting for about three months after 400 years of quiet. Nobody knows how bad this could get, but already the volcano is sending scalding ash a mile into the sky and it killed 14 people last weekend. Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Otto is on the line in Jakarta. Welcome to the program, sir.

BEN OTTO: Hi. Thanks for having me.

INSKEEP: What does the erupting volcano look like?

Read more

Pages