World News

The Two-Way
7:51 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Iran Says It Has Arrested 4 In Nuclear Sabotage Plot

Iran's Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the country's Atomic Energy Organization, says four saboteurs have been arrested and are being interrogated.
Alexander Klein AFP/Getty Images

Iran has arrested four people who it says were intent on sabotaging facilities in its nuclear program. The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says the four are now being questioned.

"Some time ago, a number of people were arrested in one of the (nuclear) facilities when they were involved in planning activities," Ali Akbar Salehi said Sunday, according to Iran's state-run Tasnim News Agency.

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The Two-Way
7:22 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Suicide Bombers In Iraq Kill Students At Elementary School

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 12:29 pm

Suicide car bombers carried out a deadly strike on a school and a police station near Tel Afar, a small town in northeastern Iraq, Sunday. At least 12 students and their principal died in the attack on an elementary school, according to reports.

Part of the school building is believed to have collapsed as a result of the blast. The suicide bombing at the town's police station reportedly did not cause further casualties.

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Destruction Of Syria's Chemical Weapons System Begins

United Nations vehicles leave a Damascus hotel last week. The team of international disarmament experts began to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons production facilities on Sunday.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 8:09 am

In Syria, a team of international weapons experts has begun the process of destroying the country's chemical weapons arsenal.

"The inspectors used sledgehammers and explosives to begin the work," NPR's Deborah Amos reports for our Newscast unit. "They are on a tight deadline to destroy more than 1,000 tons of nerve gas and banned weapons within a year."

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The Sunday Conversation
5:18 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Wife Works To Free Pastor From Iranian Prison

Saeed Abedini continues to miss family trips, birthdays and anniversaries. His wife, Naghmeh, is working with the American Center for Law and Justice to have him returned home to his family.
Courtesy of the ACLJ

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 9:14 am

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Naghmeh Abedini's Iranian-American husband converted from Islam to Christianity 13 years ago. Since then, Saeed Abedini has made many trips to Iran, most recently to build an orphanage.

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Parallels
4:10 am
Sun October 6, 2013

As Afghan Troops Take The Lead, They Take More Casualties

Afghan medics at Forward Operating Base Nolay in the southern province of Helmand treat an Afghan police officer shot by militants.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:46 am

The Taliban have been waging a particularly bloody offensive this year now that Afghan government forces are in charge of security. The result: Afghan army and police are suffering record numbers of casualties — far more than NATO ever did at the height of its troop presence in Afghanistan.

So even as NATO forces are preparing to leave, they are working to bolster the medical capabilities of Afghan forces at hospitals, clinics and training centers across the country.

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Shots - Health News
4:02 am
Sun October 6, 2013

It's Time To Rediscover The IUD, Women's Health Advocates Say

Intrauterine devices are one of the most effect forms of birth control, but are relatively underutilized, at least in the United States.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 2:56 pm

What will it take to make intrauterine devices sexy?

IUDs are highly effective forms of contraception, but fear of side effects, lack of training for doctors and costs can keep women away. Health organizations and private companies are trying to change that by breaking down misconceptions and broadening access.

The contraceptives are inserted into the uterus and can prevent pregnancy for years. And they're reversible. Shortly after they're taken out, a woman can become pregnant.

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Parallels
4:00 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Car-Centric Spain Begins To Embrace The Bicycle

Cyclists whiz past Madrid's Puerta de Alcalá monument as part of Bici Crítica, a movement that seeks to raise awareness of bike safety. On the last Thursday of every month, thousands of cyclists ride in unison through downtown Madrid, blocking traffic during rush hour.
Lauren Frayer NPR

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:47 am

For the first time on record, bicycles have outsold cars in Spain.

Higher taxes on fuel and on new cars have prompted cash-strapped Spaniards to opt for two wheels instead of four. Last year, 780,000 bicycles were sold in the country — compared to 700,000 cars. That's due to a 4 percent jump in bike sales, and a 30 percent drop in sales of new cars.

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The Two-Way
3:26 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

Navy SEAL Team Reportedly Attacks Militants On Somali Coast

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 6:50 pm

(Updated 8:50 p.m. ET)

A force that struck foreign fighters in Somalia early Saturday included members of a U.S. Navy SEAL team, according to reports. The team targeted a senior leader of the militant group al-Shabab, but there were conflicting reports about that man's fate.

The New York Times reported Saturday night:

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World
2:57 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

What A Downed Black Hawk In Somalia Taught America

A U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flies over Somalia in September 1993, a month before the battle of Mogadishu.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:44 am

This week marked the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu, the deadliest firefight U.S. forces had faced since Vietnam.

The incident ultimately pushed the U.S. out of Somalia, leaving a safe haven for extremist groups.

It continues to impact U.S. foreign policy today, from the rise of Islamists to the nation's reaction when asked to send American troops into harm's way.

'Things Did Not Go Well'

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Africa
6:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Teaching Recent History In Egypt

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:11 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

After months of unrest of Egypt led to former President Mohamed Morsi's ouster this summer, schools are back in session. The new government says it has quickly rewritten portions of school textbooks. Merrit Kennedy in Cairo looks at how Egypt is teaching its recent past as historical events continue to unfold.

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Arts & Life
5:58 am
Sat October 5, 2013

At 300, Encyclopedia Pioneer May Yet Get A Hero's Burial

Denis Diderot's work on the Encyclopédie faced stiff resistance in its time, but some scholars credit it with laying the foundations of the French Revolution.
Louis-Michel con Loo Diderot Collection/Gift of M. de Vandeul to the French State in 1911

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:11 am

Before there was Wikipedia, there were encyclopedias — and Saturday marks the 300th birthday of the father of one of the world's most important.

Eighteenth-century French philosopher Denis Diderot was the driving force behind the Encyclopédie, one of the first compendiums of human knowledge of its time. The anniversary of his birth has prompted calls for Diderot to receive France's highest honor: have his remains reinterred in Paris' Pantheon, a mausoleum of sorts for France's national heroes.

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Middle East
5:58 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Syria Expected To Spar With Inspectors As Weapons Hunt Begins

A convoy of inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons moves into Syria at the Lebanese border crossing point of Masnaa on Tuesday.
Bilal Hussein AP

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 10:37 am

An international team of weapons experts is at work in Syria on the job of finding and destroying the nation's chemical stockpile. Inspectors crossed in Syria from Lebanon on Tuesday.

But the job will be difficult and possibly dangerous, says Amy Smithson, a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

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Asia
3:24 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Vietnamese General Who Was Key Architect Of Tet Offensive Dies

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 2:01 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The general who helped end French colonial rule in Vietnam has died. Vo Nguyen Giap was 102. He famously surprised and overwhelmed French troops at Dien Bien Phu. Later in 1968, Giap led the Tet offensive, catching U.S. commanders and the American public by surprise. After Tet, many wondered is victory in Vietnam even possible? Michael Sullivan has this look back at a man considered one of history's greatest military tacticians.

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Europe
3:24 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Tories Tell Jobless Brits: It's Time To Work For Your Dole

Job seekers line up outside a work support office in London in 2009. New measures proposed by the Conservative-led government will require recipients of unemployment benefits to do unpaid community work, spend workdays at a job center or participate in intensive programs to help solve personal issues that prevent them from working.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:18 pm

Britain's Conservative-led government delivered a one-two punch to more pillars of Britain's social benefits system this week. It announced more cuts to the country's social welfare programs — moving ever closer to "workfare."

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Google Vs. Facebook: A Map Of Global Conquest

Google is red; Facebook blue.
Mark Graham/Stefano De Sabbata Internet Geographies at the Oxford Internet Institute

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:14 pm

The U.K.'s Oxford Internet Institute has put together an interesting illustration of the most popular websites around the world. Not surprising, Google and Facebook dominate the globe.

We're not quite sure what the data mean, if anything, but you can be the judge.

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Giant Hornets Kill Dozens In China; Warm Temps Might Be Cause

The Asian Giant Hornet. Attacks on humans in central China have claimed more than 40 lives in recent months.
Scott Camazine Photo Researchers RM/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 12:32 pm

Asian Giant Hornets have killed more than 40 people and injured 1,600 in central China in recent months, forcing the government there to mobilize a special medical response team.

Xinhua News Agency reports that the attacks have occurred in Shaanxi province. In the city of Ankang, 19 people have died, with 22 others killed in attacks in two adjacent cities.

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The Two-Way
11:38 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Netanyahu's Push: Countering Iranian Leader's Charm Offensive

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 7:07 am

It must be draining to do eight interviews in a row, but Benjamin Netanyahu seemed energized by it. The Israeli prime minister walked into our meeting in a New York hotel room bantering and smiling. He commented on the shades (pulled down to avoid a backlit photo) and noticed a novel that our engineer had brought along. Netanyahu picked it up and looked it over — a novel by Joe Hill, the pen name for the son of Stephen King.

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The Salt
11:30 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Meat-Drenched Oktoberfest Warms To Vegans

Traditional fare at Bavarian Oktoberfest is heavy on meat, but that's changing as restaurants add more vegan and vegetarian options.
Wolfworld Flickr

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 2:22 pm

Oktoberfest, one of the world's largest festivals, is mostly about beer. And to soak up all that froth and alcohol, Bavarians have traditionally reached for meat.

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Vietnamese General Who Led Fight Against U.S., France, Dies

Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap (back) with Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh (second from right) and other advisers in 1950.
AFP/Getty Images

Vo Nguyen Giap, the Vietnamese general who masterminded the defeat of French colonial forces at Dien Bien Phu and the Tet Offensive that turned many Americans against the Vietnam War, has died at 102.

Giap, whose legacy in Vietnam is second only to Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary communist leader, died Friday at a hospital in the capital, Hanoi, a government official tells news agencies.

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Movies
9:37 am
Fri October 4, 2013

'The Fade': Four Barbers, Three Continents, One Film

London barber Faisal Abdu'Allah cuts director Andy Mundy-Castle's hair.
Big Bright Films

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 6:35 am

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Parallels
9:20 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Do You Know What The U.S. Government Is Up To In Syria?

Syrian youths line up for food distribution in the Maiber al-Salam refugee camp in northern Syria, near the border with Turkey. The U.S. government has provided more than $1.5 billion in aid to Syrians since the uprising began in 2011.
Dimitar Dilkoff AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:47 am

Mark Ward is the U.S. State Department's senior adviser on assistance to Syria, and when he heard the Syrian border town of Azaz was overrun by an offshoot of al-Qaida in September, he knew it was time to get creative again.

"You always have to have a plan B in this kind of work," he says.

Ward is based in Turkey. His job is to oversee a growing and unusual U.S. humanitarian assistance program in rebel-held areas in seven provinces across northern Syria.

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Grim Search Resumes Off Sicily; It's Feared 300 Drowned

Hearses were waiting Friday outside a hanger at the airport in Lampedusa, Italy, where the bodies of victims from Thursday's ship wreck were being held.
Luca Bruno AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:43 am

The news has only gotten worse about the sea disaster near Sicily, where a ship packed with about 500 African migrants caught fire and sank on Thursday.

When we first posted about the tragedy, the death toll stood at just under 100. Now, as Reuters reports:

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World
4:13 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Skydive And Build A Website At The Same Time

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

Some people skydive, others build websites. Designers Chris Hirst and Leo Zhao have now done both, at once. The stunt was to promote their product, Designbymobile. The message: We've made Web designing so easy, you can do it anywhere. On their first jump, they gathered video. On the second, they used that footage to create a website. It only took a minute, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the 8,000-foot plunge.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
4:23 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Supporters Of Greek Neo-Nazi Party Tested By Arrests

Supporters of the ultra-right-wing Golden Dawn Party wait outside the Athens courthouse for the transfer of party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos to the prosecutor Wednesday. Four lawmakers from Greece's neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn have been indicted on charges of belonging to a criminal organization.
Simela Pantzartzi EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:38 am

The Greek lawmaker who leads the neo-fascist Golden Dawn Party is behind bars, awaiting trial for allegedly running a criminal organization. Nikolaos Michaloliakos' views are racist and anti-Semitic, and he's been blamed for inciting violence, especially against immigrants.

He says he's not a criminal and is being persecuted for his beliefs.

But will shutting down the party shut down its support?

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The Two-Way
4:19 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Israel's Netanyahu Says He'd 'Consider' A Meeting With New Iranian Leader

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
Andrew Gombert AP

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 7:06 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered some rare, if fleeting, hope Thursday in regard to his country's relationship with Iran.

In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, he said the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani "might" offer an opportunity for diplomacy and that he would "consider" meeting him.

"I don't care about the meeting. I don't have a problem with the diplomatic process," Netanyahu said.

"You're saying you would meet him?" Steve asked.

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Middle East
3:03 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Chemical Weapons Inspectors In Syria Just Getting Started

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:38 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

International weapons inspectors have begun the process of verifying Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons. A team of 19 inspectors, plus staff, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday. New York Times reporter Anne Barnard is also in the Syrian capital, and I asked her how the inspectors' mission will work.

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Books
1:06 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Rick Najera: A Latino In Hollywood Is 'Almost White'

Omar 'Yogi' Torres Courtesy of Shabazz Communications, Inc.

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:32 am

Rick Najera doesn't remember his wife Susie dialing 9-1-1. She came home six hours after Najera had taken a fall that left him bleeding on the floor of his home. The Hollywood actor/writer/producer had pneumonia and ended up in an intensive care unit in a coma.

Rick Najera told NPR's Michel Martin that his near-death experience caused him to reflect.

"I really looked at my life and I said I wanted to chronicle it. I wanted to bring it down and talk about it in a very human, honest way," he says.

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The Salt
12:49 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Why Lots Of Grass-Fed Beef Sold In U.S. Comes From Down Under

Patricia Whisnant, who runs Rain Crow Ranch in Doniphan, Mo., says her grass-fed beef can compete with the Australian product because it has a better story American consumers can connect with.
Courtesy of Rain Crow Ranch

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 12:24 pm

Beef from cattle that have grazed only on pasture is in high demand — much to the surprise of many meat retailers, who didn't traditionally think of grass-fed beef as top-quality.

George Siemon, a founder of Organic Valley, the big organic food supplier, says the push for grass-fed beef started with activists who wanted to challenge a beef industry dominated by factory-scale feedlots. In those feedlots, cattle are fed a corn-heavy diet designed to make the animals gain weight as quickly as possible.

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The Two-Way
11:29 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Weapons Inspectors Report Progress In Syria

A convoy of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons crosses into Syria at the Lebanese border crossing point of Masnaa on Tuesday.
Bilal Hussein AP

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:26 pm

An international team overseeing the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons program reports that it's making "encouraging initial progress," according to the United Nations.

"Documents handed over [Wednesday] by the Syrian Government look promising, according to team members," the United Nations said in a statement on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
5:27 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Dozens Dead, More Feared Lost, After Shipwreck Off Sicily

Some of the victims recovered after Thursday's wreck of a ship near Sicily were placed in body bags before being brought ashore to the island of Lampedusa.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 8:59 am

There's been a sea disaster near Sicily, as The Associated Press reports:

"A ship carrying African migrants to Europe caught fire and capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Thursday, killing at least 94 people as it spilled hundreds of passengers into the sea, officials said. Over 150 people were rescued but some 200 others were still unaccounted-for."

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