World News

The Two-Way
5:47 am
Thu January 23, 2014

In Ukraine, Protesters Warn They'll Go 'On The Attack'

A protester walks pass burning tires in central Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 6:24 pm

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has less than 24 hours to agree to hold early elections and lift anti-protest laws or the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have been in the streets of Kiev for days will go "on the attack," a leader of the opposition says.

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NPR Story
3:27 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Danish TV Drama Sparks Discussions On Wills

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 6:20 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Wow. For all we know this could be the next European TV program to become a hit in the United States. You've heard of "Downton Abbey," this program goes a little more continental. The program by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation is spreading to other countries, sparking a discussion of the edgy subject of inheritance.

Sidsel Overgaard reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SERIES, THE LEGACY)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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NPR Story
3:27 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Mexican National Executed For Texas Cop's Murder

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 6:20 am

Texas has executed a Mexican national for killing a Houston police officer in 1994. Mexico opposes the death penalty and the execution revived a long-running diplomatic row between the United States and Mexico.

NPR Story
3:27 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Ukraine Opposition Tries To Force Yanukovych From Office

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 6:20 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Protesters in Ukraine have given their country's president an ultimatum. They say he must call early elections or unrest will grow even worse. This country of 45 million people is fighting over which way it leans - toward European nations to the West or eastward toward Russia, which once controlled Ukraine. Protests began when the president gave in to Russian pressure to block a trade deal with the European Union. And those protests have turned deadly this week with at least two people killed - more by some estimates.

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Parallels
1:39 am
Thu January 23, 2014

From The Trenches To The Web: British WWI Diaries Digitized

The British National Archives has digitized and posted online about 1.5 million pages of diaries from soldiers and units that fought in World War I. Here, a photo of the 12th (Prince of Wales') Lancers Group.
From a private collection, provided courtesy of the National Archives

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 12:37 pm

On the outskirts of London, in a basement room of the British National Archives, a historian delicately turns pages that have the brittle feel of dead leaves. Each is covered in text — some typewritten, some in spidery handwriting from a pen that scratched across the page 100 years ago.

"Saturday, the 26th of September, 1914," reads one. "The most ghastly day of my life. And yet one of my proudest, because my regiment did its job and held on against heavy odds."

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Online Donors Send Jamaican Bobsled Team To Sochi

The two-man Jamaican bobsled team will be heading to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Olympics, after a fundraising campaign gave a much-needed boost to its budget.
Jamaican Bobsled Team

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 11:31 am

After word went out that Jamaica's two-man bobsled team had qualified to compete in Sochi next month — but didn't have money to go to Russia — Internet donors saved the day. Thousands of people contributed to online campaigns, including one held in Dogecoin, the peculiar digital currency.

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Latin America
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Ahead Of World Cup, Brazil's Delays Have FIFA Concerned

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Just six months to go until Brazil hosts soccer's biggest tournament, the World Cup, and for Brazil, it is crunch time. Just yesterday, soccer's governing body, FIFA, issued a stark warning. One of the host cities is now in jeopardy of being dropped because its stadium is hugely delayed. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Sao Paulo on Brazil's mad scramble to get everything done on time.

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Middle East
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Turkish Opposition Eyes Its Opportunity In March

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 8:38 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Over the next 17 months, Turkey will see three elections: local and presidential elections this year, followed by parliamentary voting next year. With Turkey's political landscape unsettled by scandals and growing voter discontent, even the local elections are drawing intense interest and that is especially true in Istanbul. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, the secular opposition sees the mayor's race there as its best chance in a decade of scoring a win over the dominant ruling party.

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Afghanistan
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Pentagon, White House Are At Odds Over Afghanistan

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:01 pm

The Pentagon is saying that it needs to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 to train Afghans and maintain a counterterror mission. But military officials are once again running into interference from Vice President Joe Biden. That's nothing new: Biden in particular has for years pushed for a counterterror option of only several thousand troops, though the military says that number is far too small. The Pentagon argues that Biden's proposal would mean the U.S. forces would be largely consigned to their bases.

Latin America
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Vigilantes Strike Back Against Mexican Cartels

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Mexico, thousands of federal troops remain in dozens of towns in the western state of Michoacan. That's where civilian vigilante groups have emerged in recent months to fight off the Knights Templar cartel. Authorities say they've arrested 38 cartel members, but won't move to disarm the so-called self-defense groups. Heroes to some, gang members to others, these vigilantes are now on the offensive, even taking to social media to spread their message. NPR's Carrie Kahn has the story.

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Middle East
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

In Syrian Conference, Former Diplomat Hears Echoes Of The Balkans

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For some people, the juxtaposition of a sectarian civil war unimpeded by intense diplomatic effort has a familiar ring and that ring recalls the war in Bosnia in the early 1990s. Yugoslavia had come undone. The patchwork of Serb, Croat and Muslim populations descended into a bloodletting.

Lord David Owen, the former British foreign secretary, was the European Union's negotiator for the Balkans and he joins us now from London. Welcome to the program once again.

LORD DAVID OWEN: Nice to be here.

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Middle East
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Syrian Peace Talks Open With Bitterness And A Bit Of Hope

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Syrian peace conference got off to a bitter start today with sharply opposing visions over a future role for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. More than 40 countries sent delegations and many of their speeches struck similar themes decrying the vast human suffering in Syria and calling for a political solution to the crisis.

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Parallels
10:32 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Komla Dumor: The African Journalist Who 'Lifted The Continent'

Komla Dumor, who hosted the BBC program Focus on Africa and was perhaps the best-known journalist on the continent, died of a heart attack last Saturday in London at age 41.
BBC World Service/Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:40 pm

Americans probably didn't know the name Komla Dumor unless they were real news junkies. But for Africans, he was a household name for anyone who followed news across the continent.

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Wed January 22, 2014

New Delhi's 'Agitator' Administrator Ends Unusual Protest

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (center) greets supporters from his blue wagon, which became a de facto local government headquarters during a two-day protest in New Delhi.
Prakash Singh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 2:56 pm

In New Delhi an unprecedented two-day sit-in that pitted the local government against the national authorities has come to an end following altercations between police and protesters.

Some 30 people were injured during the demonstration that was led by newly elected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the local administrator who rallied members of his Aam Aadmi Party, named for the "Common Man," against the central government.

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The Two-Way
8:47 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Hopping Mad: Rabbit In Mandela Statue's Ear Is On Burrowed Time

Look closely and you can see the tiny rabbit that sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren put inside the ear of their nearly 30-foot-tall statue of late South African President Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 2:23 pm

We don't often do hare-raising tales on The Two-Way, but here's one from South Africa.

Two sculptors who were refused permission to engrave their signatures onto their giant statue of Nelson Mandela came up with a novel solution: They hid a bronze rabbit in the statue's ear.

Our story begins Dec. 16, a day after Mandela's funeral, when President Jacob Zuma unveiled the statue by Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren at Pretoria's Union Buildings, the government's headquarters.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Antarctic Travelers Who Got Stuck In Ice Finally Get Home

Back home: Passengers disembark from the icebreaker Aurora Australis on Wednesday at a harbor in Hobart, Australia. The ship brought 52 scientists and adventure tourists back to Australia from Antarctica, where the ship they had been on got stuck in ice.
Rob Blakers EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:36 pm

The 52 scientists and paying passengers who spent more than a week aboard a ship that was trapped in ice off the coast of Antarctica over the holidays are now safely back home in Australia.

From Sydney, correspondent Stuart Cohen tells our Newscast Desk that
"three weeks after being rescued from their stranded research vessel," the members of the exhibition are in the city of Hobart.

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Iraq
5:39 am
Wed January 22, 2014

In Op-Ed, Jeffrey Argues For U.S. To Do More In Iraq

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:12 am

The death toll in Iraq this month is nearly 700 and rising — the result of a wave of bombings and open clashes between government-led Iraqi security forces and Sunni extremists with ties to al Qaida. Steve Inskeep talks to former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey, who says the U.S. should be doing more in Iraq.

Animals
5:39 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Ambassador Kennedy Criticizes Japan's Dolphin Hunt

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:12 am

The dolphin roundup by a Japanese community is an annual hunt. But this time, new U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has weighed in with displeasure. That puts her on the side of several wildlife and animal rights advocates who've condemned the annual slaughter. The Japanese defend it as traditional — just as the U.S. does with native Alaskans who kill whales.

The Two-Way
5:05 am
Wed January 22, 2014

'Accusations And Acrimony' At Start Of Talks On Syria

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem (left) at the peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Gary Cameron Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:24 am

Update at 1:20 p.m. ET. No Peace As Long As Assad Remains, Kerry Says:

After what appeared to be a difficult start to talks aimed at eventually ending the civil war in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry repeated the U.S. position that President Bashar Assad must give up his post.

"You can't have peace and stability, you cannot restore Syria or save Syria as long as Bashar al-Assad remains in power," Kerry said, according to NPR's Michele Kelemen.

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Parallels
4:40 am
Wed January 22, 2014

What's At Stake In The Syrian Peace Conference

A man runs with a child after an attack Tuesday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Activists said President Bashar Assad's military carried out an airstrike.
Ammar Abdullah Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:34 am

With a major push from the U.S., a new Syrian peace conference opened Wednesday in Switzerland, the first such effort since the middle of 2012. It wasn't easy getting everyone there, and it will be harder still to achieve a breakthrough.

Here are a few key things to know about the conference:

1. What's the goal?

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Middle East
3:30 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Peace Conference On Syria Opens In Switzerland

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's go next to Switzerland, where the Syrian peace conference began this morning, with diplomats making public statements filled with accusations and acrimony - just how you'd want to start a peace conference. The civil war has gone on for almost three years now, killing well over 130,000 people and displacing some nine million others. Much of the fight hinges on whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should remain in power. Let's go now to NPR's Deborah Amos, who's covering the talks. Deborah's on the line. Hi, Deborah.

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Europe
3:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Anti-Government Protests In Ukraine Turn Deadly

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:12 am

New laws to curb protests are in effect in Ukraine but anti-government demonstrators remain on the streets of the capital Kiev. For more on the protests that have turned deadly, Renee Montagne talks to David Stern, a reporter for the BBC.

It's All Politics
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Finding Common Interests, Obama And The Pope Set A Date

Pope Francis waves to faithful during the Angelus prayer from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sunday. President Obama will meet with the pope for the first time in March.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 6:32 pm

President Obama plans to meet this spring with Pope Francis.

On Tuesday, a White House spokesman announced the president will visit the Vatican as part of European trip in March. The president is said to be looking forward to talking with the pope about their "shared commitment to fighting poverty" and income inequality.

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Middle East
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Report Claims 'Systematic Torture And Killing' By Syrian Regime

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

A prominent team of war crimes prosecutors has released a harrowing report, saying it's reviewed what it calls clear evidence of systematic torture and killing by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The report is based on tens of thousands of carefully catalogued government photographs that show the bodies of some 11,000 Syrian detainees.

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Africa
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

In Kenya, A Fraught Return To The Site Of A Massacre

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In Nairobi, four men are on trial for helping the terrorists who stormed Westgate Mall in September. More than 70 people were killed in that attack. Today, the judge and lawyers on both sides left the confines of their courtroom and took a field trip to the mall.

As NPR's Gregory Warner reports, they went looking for the truth of what happened that day. But they also went looking for closure.

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Asia
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

State Of Emergency Raises New Questions In Bangkok

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

To Thailand now, where the government has declared a 60-day state of emergency ahead of next month's snap elections. The move comes after weeks of anti-government protests and it gives authorities the power to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge and ban public gatherings of more than five people.

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Middle East
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Table's Laid And Guests Are Ready: Syria Peace Talks Set To Begin

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Syrian peace conference begins tomorrow following a tumultuous 24 hours. Yesterday, at the last minute, the UN withdrew Iran's invitation after the Syrian opposition threatened to boycott the meeting. The aim of the talks: to end a three-year war that has claimed the lives of over 100,000 people.

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Thai Government Declares State Of Emergency

An anti-government supporter displays her donations for the cause during a street rally in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday. Thailand has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and its surrounding areas to cope with anti-government protests that have stirred up violent attacks.
Wally Santana AP

Thailand's government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in Bangkok and surrounding areas amid massive protests that have rocked the country since last November.

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Om My: Chinese Buddha Booted Over Booty

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:30 pm

It seemed like a good idea at the time: A restaurateur in the Chinese city of Jinan wanted to advertise a dish so good that the Buddha himself scaled walls for a taste, so the owner put up giant sculptures of naked Buddhas climbing over the restaurant.

The South China Morning Post has the background:

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Japanese Government Defends Dolphin Hunt As Killing Goes On

Fishermen in wetsuits trap dolphins in a cove off Taiji, western Japan, on Monday.
Adrian Mylne Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 1:09 pm

His nation's annual dolphin hunt "is a form of traditional fishing in our country," Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga says in response to criticism of the practice from Caroline Kennedy, the new U.S. ambassador in Tokyo.

"We will explain Japan's position to the American side," the chief Cabinet secretary adds, according to The Associated Press.

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