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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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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.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last week, NATO announced sharp reductions in some joint operations in training with the Afghan army and police. The announcement followed a series of so-called green on blue attacks, where Afghan soldiers and police killed U.S. and NATO troops.

In Britain, frustration over why fiery radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri remained a free man for so many years went all the way to the top of society to the queen, the BBC revealed — a revelation the network has subsequently apologized for.

Obama: No Video Justifies Attack On Embassy

Sep 25, 2012

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

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And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

At the United Nations today, President Obama told world leaders that there's no place for violence and intolerance. The president has been struggling to contain widespread anger in the Muslim world, sparked in part by an anti-Islam video.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

So what do cartoonists think about those controversial French cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad?

The cartoons, which ran last week in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, led the French government to close down diplomatic missions in 20 Muslim countries last Friday out of concern they might be attacked. There were protests, but no serious violence

Campaign politics shadowing every word, President Barack Obama will step before the world and declare that anti-American rage and riots among Muslims abroad will never force the United States to backtrack on diplomacy.

In his final international address before the November election, Obama on Tuesday has a United Nations stage afforded to presidents, not presidential challengers. He will use it to try to boost his political standing without mentioning his opponent.

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Israeli officials made it known that Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted to see President Obama during his visit to the U.S. For a variety of reasons, the president was not available. The two men have had a strained relationship.

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And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

President Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly today, at a time when U.S. embassies and consulates have been the target of protests across the Muslim world. Mr. Obama's aides say he will use this speech to again condemn the anti-Islam video that offended many Muslims.

The U.S. military, along with more than 30 allied countries, has just launched a new round of naval exercises in the Persian Gulf at a time when tensions in the region are running particularly high.

But U.S. officials say the aim is not to increase anxiety, but rather to ensure stability. More specifically, the exercises are designed to deal with mines that could hamper shipping in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's oil supply transits.

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Aung San Suu Kyi is on her first trip to the U.S. in decades. After years under house arrest, she is now a member of parliament in Myanmar, also known as Burma. So far, she's collected honors and drawn crowds in the places you might expect: New York City, Washington, D.C. But tomorrow, she heads to a smaller community in the Midwest. Sean Bueter, of member station WBOI, explains where she's going and why.

After decades of enforced silence, Singaporeans who spent years in jail without charges or trial are shattering a political taboo by speaking out about their detention — and the colonial-era security laws that made it possible.

The affluent trading hub — known for its solid rule of law — still allows the government to detain citizens indefinitely.

But people who say that the laws were used to abuse them and silence their dissenting voices are now talking — which many see as a foreshadowing of bigger political changes for Southeast Asia's wealthiest nation.

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I'm Melissa Block. And it's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: And first, our tech news look ahead with NPR's Steve Henn, who joins me from Silicon Valley. Steve, what's on your mind?

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There was another exercise in Washington last week that involved Iran, the U.S. and the impasse over the Iranian nuclear program. The Brookings Institution staged a war game. No real weapons were used, but teams playing the roles of U.S. and Iranian policymakers were presented with a hypothetical but not very far-fetched scenario, and the results were not encouraging. Kenneth Pollack is a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and he ran this exercise and joins us. Good to see you again.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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And I'm Melissa Block.

As anger over an anti-Muslim film continues to reverberate in the Middle East, a new controversial statement has emerged here in the U.S. It is an ad in New York City subway stations, which equates jihad with savagery. The ad was funded by a conservative activist who is no stranger to controversy.

Here's NPR's Joel Rose.

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I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, many parents encourage - some say pressure - their kids to become high achievers, but what if a child just says no? David Yoo discusses his memoir, "The Choke Artist: Confessions of a Chronic Underachiever." That's just ahead.

One of the most interesting stories from over the weekend was the move by people in Benghazi, Libya, against the armed extremist groups that had been operating in their city and which have been linked to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate there that left Ambassador Chris Stevens dead.

At one point overnight as many as 2,000 workers at a Foxconn plant in Taiyuan, China, were involved in a riot that drew 5,000 police officers to the site and has closed the facility that makes parts for Apple's iPhones and hardware for other companies including Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.

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Good morning. I'm David Greene. Sandy Crocker has gone more than 500 miles for love. The Canadian man was touring in Ireland when he met a freckled woman with reddish brown hair. They spoke for a couple minutes at a café, then she left. Back in Canada, he was heartbroken.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M GONNA BE (500 MILES)")

THE PROCLAIMERS: (Singing) But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more...

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. A riot involving at least 2,000 workers broke out late last night at a Foxconn facility in northern China, where employees make iPhones. Foxconn says about 40 people went to the hospital with injuries. Now, in recent years Foxconn has come under intense scrutiny for the working conditions in its factories. Now we have this episode, so we're bringing in NPR's Frank Langfitt, who's following the story from Shanghai.

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The city of Nuevo Laredo, which hugs the border of south Texas, is the latest hotspot in Mexico's violent drug war. Over the past two weeks, over 70 people have been killed there in drug-related violence. Monica Ortiz Uribe from member station KJZZ visited the city and she found a community terrified and afraid to even speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Foreign language spoken)

Libyan Government To Disband Rogue Groups

Sep 24, 2012

Violent protests in eastern Libya have set in motion a movement to take back the nation from dozens of militias born from the revolt against strongman Moammar Gadhafi. Since the dictator's demise, Libya has been beholden to men with guns.

The transitional state is weak, and it depends on the militias to help secure the streets. The state has now promised to integrate the militias into the security forces.

An unusual parliamentary meeting is due to open Tuesday in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, amid speculation of sweeping changes ahead. In the first such confirmation from within the country, farmers told The Associated Press they would be given more control over their crops under new agricultural rules. Long seen as an economic basket case, North Korea now could be on the cusp of economic change.

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