World News

The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Using Sound To Levitate Objects And Move Them Midair

An image shows particles levitating in space between four sets of speakers. A Japanese team says they have used the system to manipulate items in mid-air.
Yoichi Ochiai

Researchers in Tokyo have put a new twist on the use of sound to suspend objects in air. They've used ultrasonic standing waves to trap pieces of wood, metal, and water – and even move them around.

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Asia
2:41 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Lure Of China's Gray Economy Reaches Rich And Poor

Chinese 100 yuan bank notes being counted at a bank in Huaibei, in eastern China's Anhui province, in 2013. Undeclared income — sometimes the proceeds of corruption, often just of unclear provenance — is estimated to make up a staggering 12 percent of China's GDP.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 6:27 pm

The income gap is growing dramatically in China and the rich are getting exponentially richer — the richest 10 percent of China's population are more than three times wealthier than the official figures.

Much of that undeclared wealth is what Chinese people call "gray income," including proceeds from corruption and other ethically "gray" areas of the economy.

Living on the margins of the "gray economy" are people like migrant laborer Wang Haichuan. He rents a room far below street level in a dark, former air-raid shelter inhabited by other migrants.

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Middle East
2:27 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Egypt Targets Journalists In Crackdown On Muslim Brotherhood

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:18 pm

Egypt's government has been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that backed recently deposed president Mohammed Morsi. Last week, the government designated the brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

World
2:27 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Berlin Clinic Aims To Make Genital Cutting Survivors Feel Whole

The Desert Flower Center, created by Somali model Waris Dirie, opened in Berlin in September. The medical center provides victims of female genital cutting with reconstructive surgery, counseling and other treatment.
Stephanie Pilick DPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 6:46 pm

At a recent sewing class held in Berlin at Mama Afrika, which helps immigrants adjust to life in Germany, most of the African and Middle Eastern students feign ignorance when founder Hadja Kaba asks them about female genital mutilation.

Turning to one young woman wearing a veil she asks, "Have you been cut?"

"Yes," the woman answers, holding up the cloth she is sewing.

Kaba tries again. "No, not the cloth — down there!"

The veiled woman shakes her head and turns back to her fabric.

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

California High Court OKs Law License For Undocumented Immigrant

Sergio Garcia speaks at The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles news conference in LA in August.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 11:44 am

California's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that an undocumented immigrant from Mexico should receive a license to practice law in accordance with a new state law.

The ruling in favor of Sergio Garcia, 36, comes after California lawmakers passed a bill in October authorizing qualified applicants into the state bar, regardless of their immigration status. Garcia's case was widely seen as a test of the viability of the new law.

The Associated Press says:

"The decision means Garcia can begin practicing law despite his immigration status.

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Parallels
10:46 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Expected Flow Of Bulgarians, Romanians Raises Hackles In Europe

Keith Vaz, a British member of Parliament and chairman of the home affairs select committee (left), greets arrivals at Luton Airport, including Victor Spirescu (right) on Wednesday. The first Romanians and Bulgarians with unrestricted access to the U.K. labor market have begun to arrive despite last-ditch efforts to prevent a feared wave of fresh immigration.
Jennifer Cockerell PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 12:53 pm

Over the New Year's holiday, Bulgarians and Romanians became free to move across the European Union in search of jobs as the bloc's last labor restrictions were lifted. As we've previously told you, the prospect of a flood of workers from two of the EU's newest and poorest members has prompted fears of "poverty migrants" — especially in Britain and Germany.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Warring South Sudan Factions Arrive In Ethiopia For Peace Talks

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 12:14 pm

Delegates representing the warring factions in South Sudan's conflict arrived Thursday for peace talks in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

NPR's Gregory Warner, who has been reporting on the fighting in the world's newest country, tells our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Michael Schumacher Remains In Coma On Eve Of 45th Birthday

Michael Schumacher in April 2012.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Race car legend Michael Schumacher "remains in a critical but stable condition on Thursday, four days after his skiing accident in the French Alps," Sky Sports reports.

The German driver turns 45 on Friday.

His family has posted a message to those who have shown their concern for his health:

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The Two-Way
7:38 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Accident Or Not? Palestinian Diplomat's Death Is A Mystery

The scene outside the residence of Palestinian diplomat Jamal al-Jamal in Prague. An explosion there Wednesday killed the 56-year-old ambassador.
Filip Singer EPA/LANDOV

Was the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic killed by accident or are the circumstances of his death on Wednesday more nefarious?

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The Two-Way
4:59 am
Thu January 2, 2014

VIDEO: Stranded Passengers Flown To Safety In Antarctic

Help arrives: an image from video taken as a helicopter landed Thursday on an ice floe in the Antarctic. The copter then carried passengers from a stranded ship to another vessel waiting nearby in open waters.
Intrepid Science

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 6:51 am

After more than a week aboard a ship stuck in ice off Antarctica, 52 scientists and paying passengers from the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy are either aboard or headed to an Australian icebreaker that will now take them to warmer waters.

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NPR Story
3:22 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Saudi Arabia To Give Military Aid To Lebanon

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 9:29 am

Lebanon has announced Saudi Arabia will give it $3 billion to buy weapons. To explain the significance of this gift, Renee Montagne talks to Aram Nerguizian, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Africa
3:22 am
Thu January 2, 2014

South Sudan Peace Talks Begin, Fighting Persists

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:52 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Our colleague Gregory Warner was reporting in South Sudan recently and he described something ominous. As he put it, people are starting to ask who their neighbors are. It suggested that a violent political struggle in Africa's youngest country could erupt into a civil war fueled by tribal differences. Today, South Sudan's warring factions will meet for the first time in neighboring Ethiopia. This comes as fighting still rages. Here again, NPR's Gregory Warner.

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Parallels
8:38 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Portugal's Baby Bust Is A Stark Sign Of Hard Times

Nurse Carina Araujo gives care to a child in the neonatal intensive care unit at Maternidade Doutor Alfredo da Costa Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 6. Portugal's birthrate has dropped 14 percent since the economic crisis hit.
The Washington Post The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 3:11 pm

In Lisbon, the waiting area of Portugal's biggest maternity hospital is empty. You can hear the hum of soda machines across the hall. There's just one expectant father, pacing the room.

Mario Carvalho, 40, has a toddler son and now awaits the birth of his baby girl.

"Today, I hope!" he says with a nervous smile.

The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. But in Portugal, it's an increasingly rare one. Since the economic crisis hit, the country's birthrate has dropped 14 percent, to less than 1.3 babies per woman — one of the lowest in the world.

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All Tech Considered
6:43 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

More Than 300 Sharks In Australia Are Now On Twitter

A shark warning is displayed near Gracetown, Western Australia, in November. An Australian man was killed by a shark near the area that month, sparking a catch-and-kill order.
Rebecca Le May EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:35 am

Sharks in Western Australia are now tweeting out where they are — in a way.

Government researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that monitor where the animals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed. The tweet notes the shark's size, breed and approximate location.

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Health Worsens

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's condition has taken a turn for the worse, the hospital treating him said Wednesday. Sharon, 85, has been in a coma since 2006 when a stroke incapacitated him.
Oded Balilty AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 5:04 am

The condition of Israeli former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon deteriorated Wednesday, according to the hospital treating him.

The 85-year-old Sharon has been in a coma since 2006, when a massive stroke incapacitated him. The New York Times reports that his condition began to worsen about a month ago:

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Shots - Health News
2:02 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Simple, Cheap Health Remedies Cut Child Mortality In Ethiopia

Almaz Acha sits with her baby Alentse at her home in the rural community of Sadoye, in southern Ethiopia. Families in rural communities, like this one, have benefited from Ethiopia's health extension program.
Julien Behal PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 10:48 am

Poor countries are starting to realize something that richer ones sometimes forget: Basic, inexpensive measures can have dramatic impacts on the health of a country. And they can save thousands of lives.

Take, for instance, the situation in Ethiopia.

The country used to have one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world.

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Latin America
1:01 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Brazil's Social Media Boom Sparks Calls For New Privacy Laws

Social media is booming in Brazil, which has become a major market for both Facebook and Twitter. But Brazilian law is still in flux, and legislation is only just being created to deal with the rise of social media.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 9:59 am

The use of social media is exploding in Brazil. It's the third largest market for Facebook and the fifth largest for Twitter.

The controversial women-only app Lulu recently launched here and quickly became the top downloaded app in the country, making Brazil Lulu's biggest market.

"I think it is cool because it's a social network for what all women throughout history have always done — talk about the guys we like, the guys we think are handsome," says 20-year-old Marcela, as she taps away at the Lulu app on her iPhone.

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World
4:36 am
Wed January 1, 2014

New Year's Celebrations Move Around The Globe

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 9:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

So how did you ring in the New Year this year: among friends with a pop of champagne and a kiss? Or did you join with the millions of celebrants in cities all around the world, who gathered in public places, to bring in 2014 with a bang. In London, a spectacular fireworks display kicked off with Big Ben chiming in the New Year.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD AND BIG BEN)

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Media
1:04 am
Wed January 1, 2014

In Troubled Magazine World, 'La Hulotte' Is One Rare Bird

Pierre Deom has been writing and illustrating La Hulotte since 1972. He released his 100th issue (lower right) in November.
Francois Nascimbeni AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 9:42 am

The journalism world may be in crisis, but one magazine in France has been steadily gaining subscribers for 40 years. It's a nature journal called La Hulotte, and twice a year it focuses on an animal or plant indigenous to the French countryside. The magazine published its 100th issue in November. It has more than 150,000 subscribers in many countries and is doing terrific financially.

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The Salt
1:04 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Malawian Farmers Say Adapt To Climate Change Or Die

Villages in the Lower Shire valley of Malawi, like this one named Jasi, rely heavily on subsistence farming and steady rainfall, and are struggling to produce steady harvests.
Jennifer Ludden/NPR

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 9:42 am

Rain is so important in Malawi's agriculture-based economy that there are names for different kinds of it, from the brief bursts of early fall to heavier downpours called mvula yodzalira, literally "planting rain." For generations, rainfall patterns here in the southeast part of Africa have been predictable, reliable. But not now.

In the village of Jasi, in the hot, flat valley of Malawi's Lower Shire, farmer Pensulo Melo says 2010 was a disaster.

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Parallels
4:56 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Japan's State Secrets Law: Hailed By U.S., Denounced By Japanese

A November demonstration against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Designated Secrets Bill drew thousands of protesters. The Japanese Parliament has since passed the law, under which people convicted of leaking classified information will face five to 10 years in prison.
Franck Robichon European Pressphoto Agency/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:31 pm

Earlier in December, the normally sedate Japanese Parliament disintegrated into chaos. Opposition party members screamed, pounded the speaker's desk and flapped papers in his face — but all in vain.

In a shocking display of brute force, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party, railroaded into law a sweeping, vague and hastily drafted secrets protection bill.

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World
2:57 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Ringing In The New Year, Trapped By Antarctic Ice

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 4:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is how you celebrate New Year's Eve in Antarctica.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Five, four, three, two, one, happy New Year.

CORNISH: That is, if you are among the 70 passengers and crew of the Akademik Shokalskiy. The scientific research vessel was halfway through a month-long Australian-Antarctic expedition when, on Christmas Day, it made a call for help. It was trapped in packed sea ice so dense that twice icebreakers have tried and failed to get through.

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Europe
2:52 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Berlin's Frenzied Fireworks Have Locals Leaving, Hiding On New Year's

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 4:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

New Year's Eve in Berlin is a big draw for tourists from around the world. Revelers pack the streets around the Brandenburg Gate and greet the stroke of midnight with music, champagne and mulled wine. But for many residents of the German capital, the holiday can be a frightening and often dangerous experience. As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, thousands of people armed with fireworks transform the city's streets into what feels like a war zone.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Middle East
2:48 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

In Syria, Conflict In Cyberspace Complements Ground War

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 4:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For Syrians who remain in their country, you might think that computer security would be a low priority, but with a civil war raging, so, too, is an electronic war between groups allied with President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces. Anti-Assad groups use cyberspace to recruit fighters and coordinate with allies.

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Middle East
2:47 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Of 2.3 Million Syrians Displaced By Civil War, 45 Found Home In U.S.

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 4:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. And we begin this hour with a number, 45. It's for our series Number of the Year where we explore the biggest stories of 2013 through numbers. What's 45? It's how many Syrians were accepted as refugees into the United States this year, a tiny number compared to the some 2.3 million people who've been displaced by the fighting in Syria.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Fighting Intensifies In South Sudan Despite Calls For Cease-Fire

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 9:38 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Both sides in the conflict in South Sudan agreed to meet tomorrow in Ethiopia to discuss a cease-fire. It's hoped that a speedy end to the power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his ousted deputy Riek Machar can avert an all-out ethnic civil war. But even as both sides prepare to negotiate, a fierce battle was underway for control of the strategic city of Bor. NPR's Gregory Warner reports.

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Parallels
2:13 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

In Russia, A Soviet-Era Movie To Ring In The New Year

Zhenya drinks heavily with his friends at a Russian bathhouse in The Irony of Fate, a Soviet-era film that Russians still watch on New Year's Day.
Via Mosfilm

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:19 pm

Every year on New Year's Eve, at least one TV channel in Russia will show The Irony of Fate, a three-hour movie that was made for TV in 1975.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve: Dubai Puts On A Record-Setting Fireworks Show

Fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai on Jan. 1, 2014, to celebrate the new year. Dubai's glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands.
Karim Sahib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 12:38 pm

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Middle East
1:10 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Malala Yousafzai's Hope Is Stronger Than Ever

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 6:45 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Law
10:29 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Deported Parents Struggle To Regain Custody

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 10:32 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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