World News

The Two-Way
8:21 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Costa Concordia Captain Defends Himself In First Testimony

Francesco Schettino.
Giacomo Aprili AP

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 1:02 pm

For the first time, the captain of the doomed Costa Concordia took the stand to defend himself in an Italian courtroom on Tuesday.

Francesco Schettino said he didn't change the route of the cruise liner to impress a Moldovan dancer he was having an affair with.

Instead, The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Iraq, Kurds Agree On Deal Over Oil Exports, Budget

Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari announced Tuesday that the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan region have started implementing a deal under which Baghdad resumes funding Kurdish civil servant salaries in return for a share of Kurdish oil exports.
Ali Abbas EPA /LANDOV

Iraq's government and Kurdish regional authorities have announced a deal that could end a dispute between them over oil exports and the budget.

Under the deal, announced by Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, the Kurds will release 300,000 barrels per day of oil from Kirkuk. Another 250,000 barrels per day would be exported from the semiautonomous Kurdistan Region through Turkey.

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Al-Shabab Takes Responsibility For Killing Dozens In Kenya

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 11:56 am

Militants opened fire on workers at a quarry in northeast Kenya early Tuesday, leaving at least 36 of them dead.

Reuters reports the attack happened near the border with Somalia, where just a week earlier al-Shabab militants hijacked a bus and killed 28 people. The wire service reports:

" 'The militia separated the Muslims, then ordered the non-Muslims to lie down where they shot them on the head at close range,' Hassan Duba, an elder at a nearby village, said.

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The Two-Way
4:46 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Wife, Son Of Islamic State Leader Reportedly Detained In Lebanon

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 11:52 am

Lebanese officials say they have detained the wife and son of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called Islamic State.

According to the BBC, the two, who were said to be traveling with forged documents, were detained 10 days ago near the Syrian border.

The BBC adds:

"The al-Safir newspaper reported that Baghdadi's wife was being questioned at the Lebanese defence ministry. ...

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Middle East
3:31 am
Tue December 2, 2014

In Israel, A Clash Over What The Nation Is And Who It's For

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 5:44 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Goats and Soda
1:37 am
Tue December 2, 2014

If Everybody Had An Ocean, Could We Surf Our Way To Mental Health?

They're not just surfing for fun. Youngsters in Cape Town's Waves for Change are facing mental health problems. With the help of a surfing mentor and a counselor, they can learn how to cope.
Anders Kelto NPR

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 7:50 am

Lwandile Mntanywa is zipping up his wet suit. The tall, soft-spoken high school junior comes to Cape Town's Monwabisi Beach almost every day after school and starts running when he sees the water. "I can see the waves are cooking, I will run fast as I can," says the 18-year-old.

Before he began surfing, he was running as fast as he could — in the wrong direction.

Mntanywa grew up in a shack just up the road. For him, childhood meant dealing with a terrible secret. His dad was physically and emotionally abusing his mom — usually while drunk.

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The Two-Way
5:44 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

U.K. Security Experts Worried About Terrorist Attack Around Christmas

The Express newspaper reported that U.K. officials have intelligence suggesting al-Qaida has been planning a high-profile attack on five commercial flights sometime before Christmas.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 6:59 pm

Counterterrorism officials in the U.S. and the United Kingdom have been quietly discussing an outright ban on hand-carried luggage aboard airplanes for weeks now in the wake of intelligence reports that suggest al-Qaida may be planning to target planes around Europe before the Christmas holidays.

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The Two-Way
4:01 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Son Of Ex-Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin Says 'Guardian' Obituary Had Errors

Ugandan President Idi Amin, on March 8, 1977.
Horst Faas AP

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 6:09 am

The son of former Ugandan leader Idi Amin has written to The Guardian listing what he says are inaccuracies in the British newspaper's 2003 obituary of the late dictator.

Parts of the letter were published in a column by Chris Elliott, the newspaper's readers' editor, or ombudsman.

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Afghanistan
4:01 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Lots Of Theories But Few Answers To Explain Surge In Afghan Violence

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 4:28 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Middle East
4:01 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Aid Group Uses Successful Syrian Refugee To Inspire Others In Turkish Camp

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 4:28 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Two-Way
3:59 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

North Korean Government Thought To Be Behind Sony Pictures Hack

James Franco, left, as Dave, and Seth Rogen as Aaron, in a scene from Columbia Pictures' The Interview. The movie imagines a plot to kill Kim Jong-un, and has angered the North Korean government. It's believed to have led to a cyberattack on Sony Pictures.
Ed Araquel AP

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 12:57 am

A recent hack of Sony Pictures resulted in a leak of at least five of the company's movies and the disabling of its corporate networks and email. The attack began last Monday, when screens at Sony displayed the words "Hacked By #GOP," as well as images of a skull. (#GOP reportedly stands for Guardians of Peace.) According to NBC News, an accompanying message "threatened to release 'secrets and top secrets' of the company."

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Parallels
3:01 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Legal Pot In The U.S. May Be Undercutting Mexican Marijuana

Nabor, a small-scale marijuana grower in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinoloa, checks his plants. As legal pot increasingly becomes available in the U.S., Americans appear to be buying more that is grown domestically. Prices for marijuana from Mexico have fallen sharply.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 3:57 am

Made-in-America marijuana is on a roll. More than half the states have now voted to permit pot for recreational or medical use, most recently Oregon and Alaska. That number also includes the District of Columbia. As a result, Americans appear to be buying more domestic marijuana, which in turn is undercutting growers and cartels in Mexico.

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Energy
2:35 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Low Oil Prices Accelerate Trouble For Venezuela

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 4:28 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Middle East
2:35 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

American Couple Detained In Qatar Remains In Limbo

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 4:28 pm

Melissa Block talks to Eric Volz, family representative for Matthew and Grace Huang, the American couple cleared by a Qatari appeals court in the death of their adopted daughter. Volz says the couple were shattered when after heading to the Doha Airport they were told they couldn't leave the country and they were being brought up on new charges.

Goats and Soda
2:35 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Your Odds Of Surviving Cancer Depend Very Much On Where You Live

Brazil's Christ the Redeemer statue is lit up in pink as part of a campaign for breast cancer awareness. The country's survival rate for the disease is improving.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 5:18 pm

In the United States, 9 out of 10 kids diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia will live. In Jordan, the survival rate is 16 percent.

And while cervical cancer patients have a five-year survival rate of over 70 percent in countries like Mauritius and Norway, the rate in Libya is under 40 percent.

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Parallels
2:07 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

In China, One Woman's Challenge To The Legal System

Chinese customs officials, like the ones shown here in August at the Lukou International Airport in Nanjing, have broad powers to confiscate items. One woman who had copies of her father's memoir seized has sued the government.
Xie Mingming Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 12:55 am

This year, significant legal reforms have tried to make China's judiciary more accountable, and make it easier for citizens to sue the government.

But those changes may not take effect soon enough to help Chinese citizens who are punished without being told exactly what they did wrong.

One Chinese woman is suing the government for what she says is exactly this predicament.

The case will go to trial even as China is taking unprecedented steps to reform its legal system.

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Goats and Soda
6:45 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Mr. Right Won't Get Lost, Knows How To Pack Bags In A Trunk

A couple from Namibia's Twe tribe outside their home. Tribe members took part in a study that examined the relationship between navigation skills and mating success.
Layne Vashro/University of Utah

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 12:32 pm

Men seem to have an uncanny knack for loading a half-dozen suitcases and knapsacks into even the smallest compact car, turning the bags like puzzle pieces to arrive at the most efficient fit.

Many men also can get behind the wheel and, even if they get a little lost, manage to steer the car in the right general direction.

Now anthropologists have shown in a new study that, as humans evolved, men with the best spatial skills and navigational aptitude could travel great distances, have children with multiple mates and thus pass on those skills to future generations.

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Asia
3:06 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Defiant Hong Kong Protesters Try To Blockade Government Headquarters

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 5:24 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
3:03 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Santa's Black-Faced Helpers Are Under Fire In The Netherlands

People line the road to greet Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus, and his "Swarte Piet" (Black Pete) sidekicks in Amsterdam on Nov. 17, 2013. In the past few years, Black Pete has come under fire. Some say it's a beloved tradition that should remain; others say it is a racist stereotype.
Peter Dejong AP

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 4:49 pm

For an American, watching a Sinterklaas parade, like the one I recently went to in Amsterdam, can be a bit of a shock. Because dancing around the dear old Dutch Santa are his helpers, known as Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete.

And Black Pete is played by scores of white people dressed up in black face ... and wearing Afro wigs.

In the past few years, Black Pete has come under fire. A beloved tradition for some, others say he is a racist stereotype. And the increasingly rancorous debate over Black Pete has gripped the Netherlands.

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Europe
3:03 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Haunting Sounds At Night, Kids' Puppet Show Clock By Day

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 7:49 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, in the radio business, we think a lot about sound and what it means. Sound is not always what it seems, as NPR's Corey Flintoff reminds us from Moscow.

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NPR Story
3:03 am
Mon December 1, 2014

After Acquittal, Qatar Detains U.S. Couple In Daughter's Death

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 9:41 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
2:03 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

Protesters In Moscow Demand Explanation For Health Care Cuts

At least 5,000 Russians marched on a frosty Sunday afternoon in Moscow to protest plans to lay off thousands of doctors and close hospitals against the backdrop of a flagging economy.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 4:43 pm

In the numbing cold, several thousand demonstrators marched in Moscow on Sunday, protesting plans to make drastic cuts in the city's health care system. It was the second protest in the past month over a pocketbook issue that affects most Russian consumers — especially as people feel the effects of a weakening economy.

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Hong Kong Police Push Back Pro-Democracy Protesters

Pro-democracy protesters set up a new roadblock close to the chief executive office in Hong Kong late Sunday.
Tyrone Siu Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 12:38 pm

In Hong Kong, thousands of pro-democracy protesters wearing hard hats and masks clashed with police as they attempted to storm the office of the territory's leader, who they have repeatedly demanded step down.

Chanting "Surround government headquarters!" and "Open the road!" students marched toward buildings in Admiralty, next to Hong Kong's central business district, according to Reuters.

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Parallels
10:52 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Uruguay Tries To Tame A 'Monster' Called Cannabis

Outgoing Uruguay President Jose Mujica's face illustrates a T-shirt supporting his new law legalizing marijuana. Uruguay's citizens are voting for Mujica's replacement on Sunday, and the expected winner is a candidate from his party.
Matilde Campodonico AP

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 10:52 am

To gauge international interest in Uruguay's legal cannabis market, spend just a few minutes at a small marijuana shop called Urugrow in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo.

In a period of about 10 minutes, owner Juan Manuel Varela gets a call from Brazil. A man from Canada shows up to see what the market would be for his company, which sells child-safe packaging for marijuana products. Shortly after, two American travelers stop by looking to score weed.

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Kabul's Police Chief Steps Down Amid Stepped-Up Taliban Attacks

Afghan security forces inspect the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday — one of several in recent days that appears to signal a major upsurge in Taliban violence in the city.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 12:35 pm

Kabul's police chief is stepping down after a series of deadly militant attacks on foreigners that have shaken the capital in recent days.

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Police In Cairo Disperse Anti-Mubarak Protests

Anti-Mubarak protesters shout slogans against the government and military on Saturday, after murder charges against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were dismissed.
Ambr Abdallah Dalsh Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 12:24 pm

At least two people were reportedly killed in Cairo's Tahrir Square and 15 others wounded as police sought to disperse a rally protesting a court's decision to drop murder charges against former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak.

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Asia
6:07 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Workers Brave Militant Attacks To Vaccinate For Polio

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 10:44 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Africa
6:07 am
Sun November 30, 2014

In Liberia, Ebola Shifts From Cities To Villages

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 10:44 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Europe
6:07 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Shetland Oil Money Can't Unravel Islanders' Knitting Lifestyle

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 10:44 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

With their zigzags and star patterns, Fair Isle sweaters are easy to spot in just about any major store. The style originated in the Shetland Islands in northern Scotland where knitting is a way of life. NPR's Ari Shapiro paid a visit.

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Europe
6:07 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Syrian Refugees Find Little Comfort In Greece

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 10:44 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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