World News

Strange News
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

After Crushing Bad Luck, A Free Bungee Jump

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Asia
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Violence Gives Way To Calmer Thai Elections

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Voters went to the polls in Thailand today in a snap election called by the ruling party. The elections seem to have gone off fairly peacefully, but they were proceeded by violent clashes between government supporters, known as Red Shirts, and protesters backing the opposition. Last night, at least seven people were injured in Bangkok by gunfire and grenades. Reporter Michael Sullivan is with us now from Bangkok to tell us more. Hi, Michael.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN: Hi, Rachel.

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Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Despite Scars Of War, Karachi Holds Onto Its Chutzpah

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. When you hear us say Karachi, Pakistan, you might assume we're going to bring you're a story about terrorism or a bombing or a kidnapping - and you would often be right. It is the most violent city in all of Pakistan. But NPR's Philip Reeves found that isn't all there is to the city. In fact, there's often a gap between Karachi's reputation and the reality of the place, as he explains in this letter from Pakistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISE)

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Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Homs Is Birthplace Of Syrian Protest

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That was NPR's Steve Inskeep reporting last summer. And that piece he referenced still feels very far off to the people of Homs. The city has now been under siege for nearly 600 days. In that time, tens of thousands of people have fled or been displaced from their homes.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul is the president of the Syrian-American Medical Society. He's originally from Homs. He described what the situation is like now.

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All Tech Considered
3:30 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Beirut Bombing Spawns An App To Tell Loved Ones 'I Am Alive'

Sandra Hassan put her app online in late January as yet more explosions struck Lebanon. She hopes it will help people in conflict zones, and areas hit by natural disasters.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:33 am

"I am alive."

Those words can mean a lot when you are a resident of Lebanon, where bombings are a frequent reality. So Sandra Hassan, a Lebanese-born graduate student studying public health in Paris, developed an app that lets users get the message out quickly. With one click, they can instantly tweet the message: "I am still alive! #Lebanon #LatestBombing."

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Parallels
5:53 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Knox Case Could Put U.S. In An Extradition Quandary

Amanda Knox waits on the set of ABC's Good Morning America on Friday in New York. Knox said she will fight the reinstated guilty verdict against her and an ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of a British roommate in Italy and vowed to "never go willingly" to face her fate in that country's judicial system.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:06 pm

This week, Amanda Knox was found guilty, again, by an Italian court.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Maximilian Schell, Oscar-Winning Austrian Actor, Dies At 83

Maximilian Schell, in a photo taken in 2009. Schell, who died Saturday at the age of 83, won an best actor Oscar for his role as a defense attorney in the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg.
Volker Hartmann dapd

Maximilian Schell, who won a best actor Oscar for his role in the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg, has died in his native Austria after what doctors describe as a sudden illness. He was 83.

He was also nominated for best actor for the 1975 The Man in the Glass Booth and for best supporting actor in Julia in 1977, The Associated Press says.

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The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

At Least 14 Dead In Eruption Of Indonesian Volcano

Indonesian villagers flee as Mt. Sinabung spews volcanic materials in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Saturday.
Chairaly EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 4:34 pm

An Indonesian volcano that had been rumbling for months finally unleashed a deadly cloud of poisonous gas and gray ash, killing at least 14 people only a day after authorities had allowed thousands of evacuated villagers to return to their homes.

A series of huge blasts came from Mount Sinabung, a 8,530-foot-high volcano in western Sumatra, on Saturday, sending lava and pyroclastic flows down its slope into nearby settlements.

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Energy
1:25 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

'A Global Bathtub': Rethinking The U.S. Oil Export Ban

A pipeline carries oil at the federal Strategic Petroleum Reserve facility near Beaumont, Texas. U.S. oil companies are urging an end to a 1970s-era ban on oil exports.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 8:00 am

When oil supplies ran short and gasoline prices spiked four decades ago, angry drivers demanded relief. Congress responded in 1975 by banning most exports of U.S. crude oil.

Today, domestic oil production is booming, prompting U.S. energy companies to call for a resumption of exporting. Many economists agree.

But would that bring back the bad old days of shortages? Would you end up paying more at the pump?

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Parallels
9:26 am
Sat February 1, 2014

What Comes Next In Syria?

A Syrian man walks through debris following an alleged air strike by Syrian government forces on Friday in the northern city of Aleppo. Nearly 1,900 people have been killed in Syria since peace talks opened in Switzerland on Jan. 22, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Mohammed Al-Khatieb AFP/Getty Images

For eight days, the Syrian regime and an opposition delegation sat face-to-face, but were not on speaking terms in Room 16 of the Palais des Nations in the sprawling complex of United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

Round one demonstrated the bitter divide with no breakthrough on the core issues of a political transition or access to humanitarian aid.

So what comes next?

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Europe
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

British Royal Household Needs To Beef Up Reserves

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You know, being the Queen of England, it's not all about cute Corgis, glamorous balls and lacy hats. Even the royal family has financial troubles. This week a report by members of the British parliament found that the royal coffers are down to their lowest level ever. Just about a million pounds are left in the fund. That is slightly less than $2 million. NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from London. Ari, thanks so much for being with us.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: How could this happen to our Queen, Ari?

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Middle East
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Will A Military Leader Become Egypt's New Strongman?

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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The Two-Way
7:38 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Gunfire, Explosions Rock Thai Capital Ahead Of Polls

Anti-government protesters run as an explosion takes place near their vehicle during a gunfight between supporters and opponents of Thailand's government near Laksi district office in Bangkok on Saturday.
Nir Elias Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:33 am

An hour-long gun battle erupted in the Thai capital of Bangkok on Saturday, a day ahead of parliamentary elections opposed by anti-government activists were to take place.

The opposition is seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose Pheu Thai Party won overwhelmingly in 2011 elections. They have boycotted the polls and threatened to disrupted them in a bid to replace Yingluck's government with an unelected council.

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The Two-Way
5:56 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Kerry: 'Disturbing' Trend Of Authoritarianism In Eastern Europe

Secretary of State John Kerry addresses delegates at the 50th Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.
Tobias Hase EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:33 am

Secretary of State John Kerry has criticized what he calls a "disturbing trend" among governments in eastern and central Europe to "trample the ambitions" of their people.

Speaking at an international security conference in Munich, Germany, Kerry said:

"The aspirations of citizens are once again being trampled beneath corrupt, oligarchic interests — interests that use money to stifle political opposition and dissent, to buy politicians and media outlets, and to weaken judicial independence and the rights of non-governmental organizations."

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Parallels
2:55 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Germany's New Defense Minister: More Peacekeeping Missions Welcome

Germany's new defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, right, chats with German soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, at a training center in Letzlingen on Jan. 28. Von der Leyen has said she would like to see German forces participate more with other European troops in foreign peacekeeping missions.
Thomas Trutschel Photothek via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Many Germans were surprised in December when Ursula von der Leyen was named the country's first female defense minister.

Some people questioned whether a medical doctor with seven children, who championed Germany's generous parental leave policy, was the right choice to shepherd the country's military through the challenges of being a newly minted volunteer force.

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Middle East
3:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Afghan Security Agreement Is Still Unsigned — Who's At Fault?

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. In Afghanistan, the U.S. is in a political standoff with the government of President Hamid Karzai. At issue is what's called a bilateral security agreement that would govern U.S. troops if they stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. President Obama addressed the issue earlier this week in his State of the Union speech.

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Middle East
3:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Assad Regime Slows In Handing Over Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Syrian government is also supposed to be surrendering its lethal chemical arsenal. But the handover of toxic chemicals to an international coalition is way behind schedule. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, that's causing real concern.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Under an agreed plan, hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals were supposed to be moved to a Syrian port by the end of December and loaded onto international ships. That plan is now a month behind schedule and the U.S. is not happy. State Department spokesperson, Jennifer Psaki.

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Middle East
3:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Syria Peace Talks Take A Break

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

No tangible results, that verdict today from Syria's foreign minister as peace talks wrapped up in Geneva. Despite the lack of progress, opposition delegates say they gained new support by standing face to face with representatives of Bashar al-Assad. The U.N. mediator is asking both sides to return to talks on February 10th. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and begins our coverage.

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The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

School's Out For Online Students In 'State Sponsors Of Terrorism'

Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Stanford University computer science professors who started Coursera, pose for a photo at the Coursera office in Mountain View, Calif., on Aug. 2, 2012.
Jeff Chiu AP

Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria are all U.S. government-designated state sponsors of terrorism. They're also the places where students who tried to log on to classes on Coursera this week were greeted with this message:

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The Two-Way
11:01 am
Fri January 31, 2014

PHOTOS: When Barn-Sized Boulder Meets Barn, Barn Loses

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 4:54 am

First things first: No one was hurt.

Now, with that out of the way, we have to confess to being amazed by some photos from northern Italy — where a huge boulder broke free earlier this month, rolled down a mountain and turned a barn into splinters as it narrowly missed a farmhouse.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Australia OKs Dumping Dredged Mud In Great Barrier Reef Park

A tasseled wobbegong shark (top) lies on the seafloor with the head of a brown-banded bamboo shark in its mouth on the fringing reef of Great Keppel Island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef in August 2011.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 12:44 pm

Australian authorities have approved a controversial plan to dump dredged sediment in the Great Barrier Reef marine park, potentially upsetting one of the world's most fragile ecosystems.

The massive dredging operation would make way for deep-draft ships to enter the Abbot Point coal port in northern Queensland. About 106 million cubic feet of dredged mud will be dumped within the marine park under the plan, according to The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Canada Used Airport Wi-Fi To Track Travelers, Snowden Leak Alleges

Travelers at Pearson International Airport in Toronto earlier this month. At an unnamed airport, Canada's spy agency tested a program that allowed them to track those who took advantage of free Wi-Fi.
Aaron Harris Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 1:06 pm

A classified document that's among the many secrets revealed by former U.S.

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Panama To Free Crewmembers Of Seized North Korean Ship

Investigative officers look inside a container carrying a Russian-made MIG-21 fighter jet aboard the Chong Chon Gang, in the port city of Colon, Panama, in July.
Arnulfo Franco AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 8:25 am

Panama says it will release most of the crew of a North Korean ship that was seized six months ago after it was found to be carrying Soviet-era jet planes and weapons from Cuba in violation of U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang.

Panama says it will release 32 crew members, but that the captain and two others will remain in custody to face charges of trafficking.

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The Two-Way
6:46 am
Fri January 31, 2014

No Breakthrough, But 'Bit Of Common Ground' In Syria Talks

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi during his news conference Friday in Geneva.
Martial Trezzini EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:50 am

  • U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi

At the conclusion Friday of the first round of talks between representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition, the United Nations mediator reported that he "observed a little bit of common ground, perhaps more than the two sides themselves realize or recognize."

Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva that "there have been moments when one side has even acknowledged the concerns and difficulties of the other side," the BBC reports.

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Asia
3:10 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Air Quality Worries Dampen Chinese New Year Fireworks

Fireworks explode in a Shanghai street on Thursday, the eve of the Lunar New Year. Setting off firecrackers is meant to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. But many Chinese say they won't buy firecrackers this year, owing to growing worries about air quality.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 11:56 am

People in China rang in the Year of the Horse overnight with the traditional barrage of fireworks, but Lunar New Year's celebrations in some cities were quieter than usual. After severe pollution choked much of eastern China last year, many people swore off the ancient tradition so they could protect their lungs and the environment.

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Asia
3:06 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Job Vacant After Karachi's Top Counter-Terrorism Cop Is Killed

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:58 am

An intense debate is underway in Pakistan over what to do about a surge of deadly Taliban attacks. The city's chief counterterrosim officer was killed a few weeks ago. Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam Khan was and remains a legendary figure.

Movie Interviews
3:04 am
Fri January 31, 2014

'Return To Homs' Follows Cycle Of Syrian Demonstrations

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:58 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. We have an intensely personal look now at the Syrian city of Homs. It's in the news. Negotiators are trying to arrange delivery of humanitarian aid.

INSKEEP: Residents have suffered years of house to house combat. Entire neighborhoods are wrecked on this battlefield of Syria's civil war.

GREENE: That ruined city looks different in the memory of Orwa Nyrabia.

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Latin America
2:27 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Michoacan Vigilante Groups Collaborate With Mexican Government

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:58 am

The Mexican government has a new plan to control heavily armed vigilante groups fighting back against drug cartels. The government announced this week it is making the militias a legitimate part of the country's security forces and will allow them to help police the countryside.

The Salt
1:18 am
Fri January 31, 2014

For A Twist On The Lunar New Year Dumpling, Add Green Tea

Ying Compestine's green tea-steamed shrimp dumplings.
Lucy Schaeffer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 12:32 pm

Friday is New Year's for the millions of people around the world who celebrate the Lunar New Year. This year is the Year of the Horse.

On Morning Edition, Ying Compestine, a cookbook and children's book author, talks about her favorite dish for the holiday: steamed dumplings infused with green tea. They appear in her most recent book, Cooking with an Asian Accent.

The New Year holidays of Compestine's youth were very austere. She came to the U.S. as a grad student in the 1980s, but she grew up in Maoist China.

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Shots - Health News
4:37 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Russia's Love Affair With Vodka Lures Many To An Early Grave

Shoppers check out vodka in a street kiosk in Moscow in 2008.
Alexander Nemenov/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:48 am

Vodka is our enemy, the Russian proverb goes, so we'll utterly consume it. This embrace of the enemy has a lot to do with the country's abysmal life expectancy rates, with one quarter of Russian men dying before age 55. But when the drinkers start cutting back, death rates drop almost immediately, a study finds.

"High mortality absolutely is caused by hazardous alcohol consumption," says Dr. David Zaridze of the Russian Cancer Research Center of Moscow, who with his colleagues tracked Russian drinking habits for a decade.

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