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Two centuries ago this week, a coalition of European forces defeated Napoleon in an epic battle outside the city of Brussels. The continent is united these days, but the Battle of Waterloo still has the power to divide.

Napoleon Bonaparte was first defeated and sent into exile in 1814, but he didn't stay there.

In a period known as the 100 days, Napoleon regrouped his loyal army and marched into Belgium. There, he was met by a coalition led by the English and the Prussians. Only by combining forces were Napoleon's enemies finally able to beat him.

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Peace talks aimed at ending the fighting in Yemen are underway. But the talks, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, have not been promising.

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After four years of war, Syrians are everywhere in Istanbul — on street corners, squatting in abandoned buildings. But a new venture run by Syrian and Turkish book lovers aims to be a cultural oasis for Arabic readers, and, along the way, give Turks a fuller picture of the Syrians, Iraqis and Libyans increasingly filling the city.

In a painstakingly restored old wooden house in a working class neighborhood, Syrians, Iraqis and Turks mingled recently amid the shelves of the Pages bookstore.

This is a story about Middle East cooperation that seems to defy all the rules.

Israel's long-standing policy has been to isolate Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates the Gaza Strip. And Israel has long accused Qatar of financing Hamas, including providing money used for rockets fired into Israel during last summer's war.

So why, then, would Israel permit a Qatari official to visit Gaza and spend tens of millions of dollars in the coastal territory?

When an email arrived the other day promoting an "Interfaith Service Focused on Below the Belt Cancers," I was intrigued.

It turns out Thursday, June 18, is the start of the third "Globe-athon to End Women's Cancers." To kickoff this continuing campaign, there will be two days of events in New York City dedicated to making people more aware of the cancers that strike more than 1 million women a year and figuring out the best strategies for diagnosis and treatment.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Federal Reserve's policymakers Wednesday held steady on interest rates — and gave no specific time frame for when they might change course.

That was the expected outcome of their two-day meeting.

But this changed: The policymakers seemed a bit more optimistic about the U.S. economy. Their statement said that while inflation is very low, "economic activity has been expanding moderately."

Eighteen months have elapsed since Parvez Henry Gill first began tackling one of the more unusual and sensitive assignments that anyone, anywhere, is ever likely to receive.

Now he is close to completing the task: the construction of a 140-foot tall Christian cross in the middle of Karachi, the business capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Wrapped in bamboo scaffolding, the cross juts into the sky above this turbulent port city, where Sunni Islamist militants frequently target religious minorities — usually Shia Muslims, but sometimes Christians, too.

New data from NASA's GRACE satellites show that many of the world's biggest aquifers are being sucked dry at a rate far greater than they are being replenished. Although scientists don't know how much water is left, they hope their findings will serve as a "red flag" for regions that may be overusing water.

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Russia To Beef Up Its Nuclear Arsenal

Jun 17, 2015
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OK, now let's hear from the other side of this border. It is still not clear how many people might be deported to Haiti. And as Peter Granitz reports, that leaves the Haitian government in a tough spot.

When Elynn Walter walks into a room of officials from global health organizations and governments, this is how she likes to get their attention:

"I'll say, 'OK, everyone stand up and yell the word blood!' or say, 'Half of the people in the world have their period!' "

It's her way of getting people talking about a topic that a lot of people, well, aren't comfortable talking about: menstrual hygiene.

Syria's civil war has uprooted millions of people, including 4 million who have fled their homeland. The U.S., a country that has always been a leader in refugee resettlement, has taken in fewer than 1,000 of them.

Now, the United Nations refugee agency is asking the U.S. and other wealthy countries to open their doors to the most vulnerable victims of the conflict that began in 2011.

If you watch the United States play Nigeria at the Women's World Cup tonight — kickoff is at 8 p.m. — you'll keep your eyes on the field. After all, it's an important match. A win or a tie, and the U.S. is guaranteed to advance to the knockout round. Even with a loss, the U.S. could still move on. Nigeria is the best team from Africa.

But maybe you should look at the stands instead.

Nigerian fans are an attraction in their own right. Decked out in bright green T-shirts and waving flags, they stand, cheer, party, play trumpets and drums, dance and sing.

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In the U.S., the Supreme Court's widely anticipated ruling on same-sex marriage has been the focus of nonstop speculation and debate. In Mexico, meanwhile, the highest court effectively legalized same-sex unions this month with a decision that was so low key many failed to notice.

Mexico's Supreme Court quietly published an opinion, known as a jurisprudential thesis, ruling that defining marriage as a union only between a man and a woman is discriminatory and in violation of Mexico's constitution.

If the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal isn't revived in the next few days, labor unions will have helped defeat one of President Obama's main foreign policy goals. But what will defeating the TPP, an agreement that covers 12 nations along the Pacific Rim, do for labor?

Thea Lee, deputy chief of staff at the AFL-CIO, has had a front-row seat to the trade negotiations on Capitol Hill.

She opposes many of the provisions in the new trade deal, but she can't tell you exactly which.

Nearly two years after he was removed from power, former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi received two severe punishments Tuesday: life in prison for espionage charges, and a death sentence over a prison break.

The rulings in Cairo confirm sentences against Morsi that were handed down this spring. NPR's Leila Fadel reports, "The cases have been criticized as show trials with fantastical accusations."

From the courthouse, Leila reports for our Newscast unit:

Nasir al-Wahishi, the leader of al-Qaida's branch in Yemen and the group's second-in-command overall, died in a U.S. drone attack, according to a video statement that claims to be from Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The U.S. has not confirmed the account.

Al-Wahishi was part of al-Qaida's "old guard," NPR's Alice Fordham reports for Morning Edition. Al-Wahishi had fought in Afghanistan; he had also been Osama bin Laden's personal secretary.

In April this year, on Earth Day, Pope Francis urged everyone to see the world through the eyes of God, as a garden to cultivate.

"May the way people treat the Earth not be guided by greed, manipulation, and exploitation, but rather may it preserve the divine harmony between creatures and creation, also in the service of future generations," he said.

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