Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 5:04 pm
On the second story of the municipal palace in Iguala, Mexico, Mayor Jose Luis Abarca occupied the large corner office. His wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, head of the city's family welfare department, occupied the one right next door. From there, residents say, the two ruthlessly ruled over this city of 150,000 in the southern state of Guerrero. A national newspaper dubbed the duo the "imperial couple."
Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 3:14 pm
Tomorrow marks the third International Day of the Girl Child, designated by the U.N. to highlight the need to create a better world for adolescent girls.
It's a day when activists ramp up efforts to make the public aware of issues like child marriage, violence against girls and the lack of access to education. It's also a time for activists to push world leaders to make commitments — financial or policy-wise — to end those problems.
Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 8:19 am
Dr. Samuel Johnson's dictionary once summarily dismissed porridge, defining oats as a "grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people."
That was in the 1700s. These days, porridge is seen as more cool than gruel. Today is World Porridge Day — and to celebrate, London hosted its own porridge-making competition.
"Most people think of porridge as a winter dish, and a richer, heavier dish. But I do think it's coming back in vogue. In the last 10 years, it's risen in profile," says Toral Shah, a competitor at Friday morning's event.
Turkey has agreed to train and equip a moderate opposition in Syria to help battle the self-declared Islamic State, the U.S. State Department says.
"There will be a planning team traveling to Ankara next week to continue planning that through military channels," spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, describing a visit to Turkey by two senior U.S. officials.
Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:48 am
Love, respect, integration into communities, work, housing, food and clean water: That's what mentally ill people, like all human beings, need. Instead, in many parts of the developing world, people with mental illness are chained, nearly starved and even locked in a cage with a wild animal like a hyena to scare the demons out of them.
Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 4:28 pm
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a "tragedy not seen in modern times," said Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma.
At the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Thursday, Koroma and the presidents of Guinea and Liberia are pleading with the international community for help battling the Ebola epidemic. In the three hardest-hit countries, the virus has already killed nearly 4,000 people.
Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 2:09 pm
They call themselves "the Butterflies."
And that's not just wishful thinking.
When Gloria Amparo, Maritza Asprilla Cruz and Mery Medina sweep into NPR's bureau in central London, they are indeed as beautiful as butterflies: bright clothing, big beaming smiles. They look around in wonder at the newsroom spread out before them, laughing and joking as I make them a cup of tea.
Yet these are women who've led tough lives — born into Colombian society, where violence and abuse are commonplace.
A 14-year-old girl fights to escape the horrors of the sex trade. A young man from a dysfunctional criminal family dreams of escape, but falls victim to the corruption that surrounds him and his own predisposition for violence.
Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 11:24 am
The U.S. has been bombing the Islamic State for two months now, and several developments stand out: The extremists are still on the offensive, the U.S. is struggling to find partners on the ground, and for the first time in a quarter-century, a major U.S. military intervention lacks a formal name.
When President Obama launched the aerial campaign in August against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq, followed a month later with similar strikes in Syria, it carried the expectation that it could grind on for years.
Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 12:47 pm
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hasn't been seen in public in more than a month, leading to speculation that he might have been deposed or is merely indisposed. For now, though, Western and South Korean officials are awaiting a Friday event to mark the 69th anniversary of the North's ruling Workers' Party to see if Kim makes an appearance.
Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 7:13 am
He liked to joke around with his neighbors. And he always gave them a helping hand. The neighbors that Thomas Eric Duncan's generous spirit is what cost him his life.
Duncan, 42, was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and the first to die of the disease on American soil. He likely contracted the disease in Liberia when he carried a pregnant woman, sick with Ebola, into her house after no clinic would admit her.
Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 2:35 pm
All day long, forklifts fill departing cargo trucks at a Doctors Without Borders distribution center not far from the Bordeaux airport. From here, the humanitarian supplies make their way to some of the most miserable spots on the planet.
The 16,744-square-yard warehouse is stocked with everything from tuberculosis kits to tires. It looks like a humanitarian Ikea. Specially marked boxes are being packed with medicines, supplies and contamination suits. These "Ebola kits" are on their way to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 8:26 am
If the goal of the protesters who flooded Hong Kong streets in the past couple of weeks can be boiled down to a word, it's "democracy."
But many real-life worries have driven that demand, including economic ones. They range from frustration about jobs and high housing prices to competition — and a culture clash — with mainland Chinese.
Perry Chong, a die-hard protester, was sitting beneath a tent in a nearly abandoned protest zone Wednesday across from the city government headquarters.
Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 8:54 pm
Berlin is an on-again, off-again capital with a darker history than most cities in Europe.
It served as the epicenter of Hitler's Third Reich and was nearly wiped off the map at the end of the last World War. Berlin was also the flashpoint of the Cold War between the United States and Russia. Their conflict split the city into two, leaving residents on either side cut off from each other in every way imaginable for a generation.
Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 7:58 am
Some 200 bishops from around the world are gathered at the Vatican for a two-week assembly to discuss issues related to the family, including artificial contraception, premarital sex and ministering gay unions.
But one of the most controversial is a proposal to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion — taboo in church doctrine for 2,000 years.
In February, Pope Francis tapped one of his favorite theologians, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, to address a meeting of all the cardinals.