Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 12:57 pm
Low oil prices are forcing Venezuela to cut a generous subsidy program to Cuba and a dozen other Caribbean nations.
Venezuela is Latin America's largest oil producer, and its economy depends heavily on oil exports. It's been been hit hard by the tumbling oil prices.
"Venezuela is in desperate straits. The oil sector has been deteriorating, and now with the slumping oil prices, they needed cash desperately," says Michael Shifter, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C.-based group that studies the region.
Saudi-led airstrikes intensified against Houthi rebels in Yemen. International aid agencies say one strike hit a camp for displaced people and refugees in the north of the country, killing at least 29 people and wounding many others.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says the strike hit the Al Mazraq refugee camp in an area controlled by the Houthis. The aid agency says at least 34 people were taken to a nearby hospital, and an additional 29 people were dead on arrival.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 6:48 pm
A badly abused Peruvian bear named Cholita is coming to a sanctuary in Colorado. Animal Defenders International announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expedited the request and she will be on her way next month.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 4:29 pm
"An epidemic is one of the few catastrophes that could set the world back drastically in the next few decades," Bill Gates warns in an essay he wrote for the March 18 edition of TheNew England Journal of Medicine.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 3:20 pm
A Bangladeshi blogger has been hacked to death in the country's capital, Dhaka, and police have arrested two students at an Islamic seminary in connection with the slaying. Washiqur Rahman's killing comes a month after a deadly attack on another blogger in the capital by Islamists.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 9:59 am
Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET.
Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week with 150 passengers on board, received treatment for suicidal tendencies for several years before he became a pilot, a German prosecutor says.
Christoph Kumpa, a spokesman for Duesseldorf investigators, says Lubitz "had been in treatment of a psychotherapist because of what is documented as being suicidal at that time."
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 9:33 am
With Tuesday's deadline for an international deal on Iran's nuclear program approaching, foreign ministers from Iran and six world powers are trying to hash out an agreement. The debate currently centers on where Iran's nuclear fuel should be stored, and how — and when — economic sanctions should be lifted.
Other details, such as rules controlling enrichment, the length of the deal and how it would be enforced, also remain unsettled.
Saudi Arabia shares an 1,100-mile border with Yemen, a country quickly falling into anarchy. The Saudis have led airstrikes against rebel Houthi forces, but analysts say ground forces might not be far behind.
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Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 12:26 am
Update at 10:50 p.m.:
NPR's Peter Kenyon, covering the talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, reports:
"A major compromise that could be part of a deal wold involve Iran agreeing to ship much of its stockpile of nuclear fuel out of the country, presumably to Russia. But Sunday evening, Iranian media quote Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying, 'Sending uranium stockpile out of the country is not [on] the agenda.'"
Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 11:59 am
The Arab League has agreed in principle to establish its own military force designed to combat the threat from Islamist extremists in the region, as the 22-member grouping said that Saudi-led airstrikes against Yemeni Shiite insurgents would continue until the rebels "withdraw and surrender their weapons."
Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 8:33 am
Afghanistan's leaders were in Washington last week asking for more assistance from the U.S. They got what they wanted: President Obama announced he would postpone the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops this year. Those forces are needed to help Afghanistan troops battle the Taliban as the spring fighting season heats up.
President Ashraf Ghani was accompanied on this trip by Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of the Afghan government. They were bitter rivals in Afghanistan's presidential election last year and are now sharing power in a unity government.
Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 8:33 am
Singapore has been called the 20th century's most successful development story.
"I don't think any other economy," says Linda Lim, an economist at the University of Michigan, "even the other Asian tigers, have that a good a statistical record of rapid growth, full employment, with very good social indicators — life expectancy, education, housing, etc. — in the first 20 years," she says.