World News

Latin America
9:35 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Under Government Pressure, Mexican Vigilantes Vow To Fight On

Civilian militia members stand guard in the town of Nueva Italia on Monday. Since a government crackdown last weekend, militia groups say they have laid down their weapons against drug traffickers.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 5:20 pm

After a week of fighting between civilian militias, drug traffickers and federal forces, there is a tense calm in the western Mexico state of Michoacan.

It's been the site of clashes between civilian militias defending themselves from ruthless drug traffickers, and federal forces trying to regain control.

For now, businesses are slowly reopening, school will restart on Monday, and the militias who took up arms have put down their weapons. It's unclear how long this fragile peace will last.

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NPR Story
6:01 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Nigeria's New Anti-Gay Law A Harsh Reminder Of Global Attitudes

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 9:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. This week, it came out that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan quietly signed into law one of the most repressive anti-gay measures in the world. The law punishes violators with up to 14 years in prison. The development got us thinking about just how difficult it is to be homosexual in so many different parts of the world. To hear more about this, we've reached Jonathan Cooper, the chief executive of the U.K.-based gay rights organization Human Dignity Trust. Thanks for joining us.

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Movies
6:01 am
Sat January 18, 2014

'Lunch' Gets Boxed Out: India's Oscar Pick Controversy

Through a delivery accident, Saajan Fernandes (Irrfhan Khan) begins a correspondence (and love affair) with a despondent housewife in The Lunchbox.
Courtesy of Sony Classics

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:58 pm

The nominations for the Oscars were announced this week, and while many of the big contenders, such as 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street, weren't a surprise, there were some controversies in different categories. Top among the film-world controversies was India's submission for best foreign language film, The Good Road, a drama about a truck driver in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

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Parallels
3:27 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Three Years After Uprisings, Arab States Take Different Paths

Supporters of Tunisia's secular Popular Front on Tuesday celebrate the third anniversary of the ouster of dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The country is on the verge of approving a new constitution that was negotiated by Islamist and secular political parties.
Anis Mili Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 7:57 am

Here's a snapshot of the Arab world on the third anniversary of its uprisings: Tunisians celebrated in the streets this month. Egyptians voted on a constitution that highlighted their bitter divisions. Beleaguered Syrians prayed that peace talks will bring an end to their nightmarish civil war.

The revolutionary fervor that gripped Arab nations in early 2011 has long since dissipated. All those that experienced uprisings have struggled to remake themselves and the prevailing mood across much of the region has been disappointment or worse.

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Afghanistan
2:42 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Restaurant Owner Loved The Patrons He Died Trying To Protect

Kamal Hamade, the owner of the Taverna du Liban, had taken many steps to make his restaurant secure, and it was one of the few that Western agencies allowed their personnel to frequent.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:04 am

Taverna du Liban was a welcome respite from the pressures of living in a third-world war zone.

The cozy, Kabul restaurant with its Middle Eastern dΓ©cor served up a tasty variety of Lebanese dishes and the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten, courtesy of the Lebanese owner, Kamal Hamade, who baked the cakes himself.

But the appeal of Taverna β€” where I ate nearly every week when I lived in Afghanistan β€” was about much more than the food. It was about friendship.

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The Two-Way
2:05 am
Sat January 18, 2014

IMF, U.N. Staff Among 21 Killed In Kabul Restaurant Attack

Afghanistan security forces help an injured man from the scene of the attack, where at least 21 β€” mostly foreigners β€” were killed.
Massoud Hossaini AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 11:19 am

A suicide attack at a Kabul restaurant popular with foreign nationals killed at least 21 people on Friday, including the country director for the International Monetary Fund and four United Nations employees.

The attacker exploded a bomb at the restaurant gates, clearing the way for two gunmen to enter and start shooting indiscriminately, reports NPR's Sean Carberry. Afghan security forces killed the gunmen in a shootout.

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It's All Politics
4:01 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Congress Vows To Step Up To Surveillance Policy Challenge

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., after President Obama's speech.
Charles Dharapak AP

If there was a consensus emanating from Congress Friday after President Obama's NSA reform speech, it was β€” not surprisingly β€” that Congress itself has a major role to play in the ultimate fix.

Whether from strong NSA supporters or agency critics, the reactions sounded similar: Congress intends to do much of the steering in the drive to overhaul the NSA's gathering of certain non-public information, especially consumer phone records, in the nation's counterterrorism efforts.

Even so, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of politics in some of the reaction.

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Middle East
3:28 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Foreign Fighters Flood Both Sides In Syrian War

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:20 pm

When peace talks open in Switzerland, one common concern between the West and Syria is expected to be the threat of Islamist extremists and the rise of al-Qaida-linked militias. Thousands of Sunni militants from around the world have joined the rebel groups in Syria, but there are other groups of militant foreign fighters who support the Syrian regime. Iraqi Shiites are being recruited in the thousands to bolster Syria's armed forces. Recruiting billboards and social media help portray the fight as an existential battle between Sunnis and Muslims.

Latin America
3:28 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

A Newsprint Shortage Hobbles Venezuelan Media

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Last year, Venezuelans suffered from a shortage of toilet paper. Well, now thanks to government bureaucracy, another kind of paper is in low supply, newsprint. As John Otis reports, that's forced some Venezuelan newspapers to trim their size or, worse, stop printing all together.

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Africa
2:20 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Flying Doctors Nigeria Began As Female Pilot's Dream

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 10:47 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Pope Benedict Reportedly Defrocked Hundreds Of Priests For Abuse

Pope Benedict XVI, seen here in London in 2010, defrocked nearly 400 priests from 2011-2012 for abusing children, according to a document from the Holy See that was obtained by the AP.
Peter Nicholls AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:13 pm

In a period of just over two years, Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests for molesting children, according to the AP, which says it obtained a document representing a rare collection of such data.

As of Friday afternoon, NPR hasn't independently confirmed the AP's information, not having seen the document. Here's a bit of context from NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome:

"If confirmed, the number of nearly 400 marks a sharp increase over the 170 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of defrocked priests.

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All Tech Considered
11:38 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Analysts: Credit Card Hacking Goes Much Further Than Target

Hackers use credit card scanning machines as part of their sophisticated campaign to steal credit card information and sell it.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:23 pm

The holiday season data breach at Target that hit more than 70 million consumers was part of a wide and highly skilled international hacking campaign that's "almost certainly" based in Russia. That's according to a report prepared for federal and private investigators by Dallas-based cybersecurity firm iSight Partners.

And the fraudsters are so skilled that sources say at least a handful of other retailers have been compromised.

"The intrusion operators displayed innovation and a high degree of skill," the iSight report says.

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Asia
10:47 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Do You Have What It Takes To Get A Chinese Driver's License?

China's driver's license test

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 10:44 am

To get a driver's license in China, everyone must take a written test; 90 percent is considered passing. The test consists of 100 questions drawn from a pool of nearly 1,000.

The test is particularly tough for foreigners, owing to the volume of memorization and sometimes sketchy translations. (I failed three times before I finally passed.)

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Asia
10:42 am
Fri January 17, 2014

How I Flunked China's Driving Test ... Three Times

Drivers step out of their vehicles for a better view while stuck in traffic along Beijing's Second Ring Road on a "Car Free Day" on Sept. 21, 2010. For foreigners trying to drive in car-crazy China, the headaches begin with the written test.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:39 pm

Recently, I decided to apply for a driver's license in China. Since I already have one from the U.S., the main thing I had to do was pass a computerized test on the rules of the road here. I figured it would be a breeze.

Driving and car ownership have taken off in China. Last year, the country added nearly 18 million drivers. There is so much demand for licenses that I had to wait a month for the first available testing date.

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Africa
10:09 am
Fri January 17, 2014

New Law Targets Gay People In Nigeria

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:56 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin. And this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, during his life he was revered as a towering figure in the world of letters and reviled as an anti-Semite and misogynist. And the division around his legacy continues after his death last week at the age of 79. So we wanted to take a closer look at the work and legacy of the late playwright Amiri Baraka. That's coming up later.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Fri January 17, 2014

India Unveils Handgun For Women After Much-Publicized Rapes

Indians participated in a candlelight vigil last month to mark the anniversary of the death of a young woman who was gang raped and murdered in New Delhi. Indian media dubbed the woman "Nirbhaya," or fearless. Now, after other high-profile rapes in the country, India has unveiled a handgun for women.
Tsering Topgyal AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:43 pm

There's been a steady stream of stories over the past year about the rapes of women in India. Now, Indian officials have unveiled a gun they say women can use to protect themselves.

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TED Radio Hour
7:36 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Can Grandmothers Change The World?

James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Disruptive Leadership.

About Bunker Roy's TEDTalk

Bunker Roy shares stories from a school in India that equips rural women for leadership by training them to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors.

About Bunker Roy

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The Two-Way
6:28 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Japanese Soldier Who Fought On For 29 Years After WWII Dies

Hiroo Onoda, who wouldn't surrender for nearly three decades and continued to battle with villagers in the Philippines, in March 1974 after he was convinced to give up.
Kyodo /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:14 am

Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese intelligence officer who for 29 years after the end of World War II continued to hide, fight and kill in the jungles of the Philippines because he did not believe the war was over, has died.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun says Onoda died Thursday in a Tokyo hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia. He was 91. The newspaper sums up the story of Onoda's post-war years this way:

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Middle East
4:30 am
Fri January 17, 2014

U.S. Tries To Limit Iran's Role At Syrian Peace Talks

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

World powers will be gathering in Switzerland next week to look for ways to end Syria's brutal civil war. At this late date, though, representatives of the Syrian opposition are still deciding if they will come. For months now, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been cajoling opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to come to the Geneva conference, but the U.S. would allow Iran only a limited role on the sidelines, although Iran is a major player in the Syrian conflict.

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Africa
2:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

'Lost Boy' Who Survived Civil War Avoids More Bloodshed

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Next, we'll hear from a man who was driven from his country, and who returned only to be driven away again. The country is South Sudan, formerly a part of Sudan. It became independent in 2011, part of the resolution to a decades-old conflict.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Europe
2:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Catalonia Pushes For Independence From Spain

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Many in the region of Catalonia in Spain are pushing to secede from the country, partly for cultural and partly for economic reasons. Naturally, the government of Spain opposes that. But yesterday, the regional parliament pressed the bid for independence a step further.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Lauren Frayer reports.

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Middle East
4:48 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Palestinian Leaders Defied Villagers' Fury In Protecting Israelis

Palestinians (front and left) try to prevent fellow Palestinians from the village of Qusra from attacking a group of Israeli settlers after they sparked clashes upon entering the village near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on Jan. 7.
Jaafar Ashtiyeh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:19 am

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, incidents between Jewish settlers and Palestinians happen almost every day. Olive trees and grapevines are destroyed, tires are slashed, mosques are defaced. It's not just property destruction. Violence has cost lives on both sides.

Figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, show that settlers are responsible for the vast majority of incidents, which have nearly quadrupled since 2006, when OCHA began keeping track.

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Parallels
1:48 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

ln A Global Economy, Why's It So Expensive To Transfer My Money?

NPR's Ari Shapiro, who recently moved to London and set up a bank account, reports that it can still be an expensive and time consuming process to transfer money internationally. Here, people pass by a branch of Lloyds Bank in London, on Sept. 17.
Sang Tan AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:39 am

When relocating to a new country, it's important to establish routines and traditions. My ritual here in London is spending an hour on the phone with the bank every day.

It's a strange thing about 2014 β€” we've got one collective foot planted squarely in the 21st century, while the other is stuck in back in the 19-something-or-others.

My email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts don't care whether I'm in Dublin or Dubai. I can jog along the Seine in Paris to the same music on Spotify that I listen to when I'm running along the Willamette River in Portland.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

In London, The Case Of The Purloined Water Lily

One of the world's rarest flowers has been stolen, Britain's Kew Gardens announced this week. The water lily Nymphaea thermarum is seen here in 2010.
Andrew McRobb AP

An exceptionally rare flower that is virtually extinct has been stolen from London's Kew Gardens, in a crime that experts say could be the work of an obsessed collector. British newspapers say that stealing the precious Nymphaea thermarum water lily "is like an old master theft."

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The Two-Way
10:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Trial Starts For Suspects In Ex-Lebanese Leader's Slaying

Back row from left, Judge Walid Akoum, Judge Janet Nosworthy, Presiding Judge David Re, Judge Micheline Braidy and Judge Nicola Lettier await the start of a trial at the courtroom of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in Leidschendam, Netherlands, on Thursday.
Toussaint Kluiters AP

The trial of four men accused of killing Rafik Hariri and 22 others began Thursday in Leidschendam, Netherlands, on Thursday nearly nine years after the former Lebanese prime minister was assassinated by a massive car bomb in Beirut.

Speaking outside the court, Hariri's son, Saad Hariri, who has also served as a prime minister, said his presence and those of family members is "proof that our stance, since the first moment, and every moment, was and will continue to be: seeking justice, not revenge, punishment and not vengeance."

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Law
10:22 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Paul Lo, From Hmong Refugee To California Judge

Paul Lo spent part of his childhood in a refugee camp in Thailand. Now he has been appointed as a judge on the Merced County Superior Court in California. That reportedly makes him the first Hmong-American judge in U.S. history. Host Michel Martin speaks with Lo about his unusual path to the bench.

Digital Life
10:22 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Teju Cole Writes A Story A Tweet At A Time

Courtesy of Teju Cole

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:09 pm

Teju Cole's novel Open City may have won him critical acclaim and many fans, but that doesn't mean he can stop thinking about how to connect with his readers. "I actually do have to work hard for whatever attention my work gets," Cole tells NPR's Michel Martin.

And he is using unconventional methods to get that attention.

After a recent, "much needed break from the hectic environment that Twitter sometimes can be," his 120,000-plus followers noticed some activity on his feed.

It was a retweet that started:

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Egyptian Voters Said To Overwhelmingly Back New Constitution

Ballots are seen at a polling station in Cairo on Wednesday, the second day of voting in a referendum on a new constitution.
Mohammed Bendari APA /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:27 am

Egyptians voted overwhelmingly to approve a new constitution, official Egyptian media reported Thursday, giving a boost to the country's military-backed government.

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The Two-Way
9:16 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Photos May Show Marines Burning Iraqis' Bodies

TMZ.com

The U.S. Marine Corps "is attempting to determine the authenticity of photos published by TMZ.com that the entertainment website says show Marines appearing to burn bodies of dead Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah in 2004," The Associated Press reports.

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Vatican Comes Under U.N. Scrutiny Over Priest Abuse Scandal

A light fog engulfs St. Peter's Basilica's dome at the Vatican on Saturday. The Vatican came in for tough public scrutiny over its handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal at a U.N. hearing in Geneva on Thursday.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:42 am

The Vatican came in for tough public scrutiny over its handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal at a United Nations hearing Thursday in Geneva.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child took church officials to task during what The Associated Press described as a "grilling" that insisted the Holy See "take all appropriate measures to keep children out of harm."

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