Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 11:46 am
When it comes to Syria's rebels, the conventional wisdom in Washington has been that there are countless factions with a range of agendas and it's difficult, if not impossible, to know exactly who they are.
But ask researchers who've spent two years digging into social media and YouTube videos and they offer a remarkably detailed picture of rebel brigades, their ideologies and their arsenal of weapons in the fight against President Bashar Assad's regime.
The arguments for and against taking military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad for its alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians were laid out Monday on Morning Edition.
Making the case for a "legitimate, necessary and proportional response" was Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
The World Health Organization says the Syrian civil war is currently the worst ongoing humanitarian crisis on earth.
Aid groups have been scrambling to provide shelter, food, water and health care to the huge numbers of people who've been uprooted by the fighting. The big question now is whether U.S. military action could spark another wave of refugees and make the situation worse.
Humanitarian groups are stockpiling supplies and readying a new refugee camp in Jordan. The conflict in the region is already the largest ongoing humanitarian crisis in the world with millions of Syrians displaced from their homes.
Oh, the sport of wrestling was given a reprieve by an International Olympic Committee. The question here is which sports will be part of the 2020 and 2024 Summer Games, and we're delighted to tell you that wrestling beat out squash as well as a combined bid by baseball and softball for inclusion. It's a happy outcome for wrestling, but there are questions about whether the selection process served the goal of breathing new life into the games. NPR's Mike Pesca is in Bueonos Aires where IOC members are meeting. He has this report.
Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 5:25 am
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The New York City Opera may be forced to cancel the rest of its current season and all of its next season, if it is not able to raise $20 million by the end of the year. It has been known as the People's Opera since it debuted 70 years ago. Its mission: Making opera more accessible and affordable. City Opera, as it's called, has experienced what it calls a cash crisis for some years. And now, it's started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money it needs to survive.
It's 8 a.m. on a recent day at Forward Operating Base Nolay, a small Marine outpost in Taliban-infested Sangin District of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. The Marines are in the process of caffeinating and preparing for the day.
Suddenly, explosions and gunfire ring out. The Marines don't run for their weapons or bunkers for that matter. They don't even flinch.
"We can sit here and we can have a cup of coffee when there's booms going on, we're not concerned about it," says Lt. Col. Jonathan Loney.
Diana Nyad's successful swim from Cuba to Key West on Monday was made all the sweeter because she had tried — and failed — four times before.
She learned you should "never, ever give up," but she also learned some practical lessons to help beat the elements in those earlier attempts. Out of failure, she innovated. And out of innovation, she succeeded.
For Prince Andrew, a stroll in the garden of Buckingham Palace turned into a confrontation with police, after officers ordered the prince to show ID. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is the son of Queen Elizabeth II; Buckingham is her most famous residence.
"We are grateful to the duke for his understanding and have apologized for any inconvenience caused," Scotland Yard says.
Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 11:16 am
Wrestling, which was bounced from the Olympics' permanent roster of sports earlier this year, has been given a reprieve: It will be part of the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. In a vote held Sunday, the International Olympic Committee chose it over squash and a combined bid from baseball and softball.
Wrestling was cut from the list of 25 core Summer Olympic sports in February. As NPR's Mike Pesca reported, the cut came as a shock.
Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 3:05 pm
We're following several stories regarding Syria Sunday, including new comments from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. There are also reports that an Islamist group with ties to al-Qaida has seized a town with a large Christian population. Elsewhere, officials in the U.S. and its allies are debating how to respond to the conflict that began in 2011, as President Obama's administration tries to shore up support for military action.
We'll update this post with news as it emerges today.
Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 8:46 am
French sports fans are known for their love of soccer. But according to Le Figaro, the country's "second sport" is hunting. The newspaper cites the National Federation of Hunters, which says that among all European countries, France has the most hunters.
In Egypt, the interim government is trying to wipe out every trace of the Islamist legacy during their rule, even replacing the constitution they had adopted late last year. To that end, the military-backed interim president last week appointed a 50-member committee to help draft a new constitution. That committee, which includes only one of ousted President Mohamed Morsi's allies, meets for the first time today Sunday in Cairo. Critics in Egypt say the new constitution is likely to be just as controversial as the last one.
Syria is also on the mind of pope Francis. Last night, the pope made a somber appeal to the United States to reject any military strikes against Syria. The Vatican estimates some 100,000 people gathered to pray and meditate during a four-hour long peace vigil in St. Peter's Square in Rome.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
This coming week will be vital to the White House's effort to win support for a military strike on Syria. On Tuesday night, President Obama will lay out his case in an effort to shift public opinion in favor of a strike. The Senate is set to vote on the president's resolution this week and the House is expected to follow thereafter.
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
When he was just 27 years old, Benjamin Ferencz helped prosecute Nazi leaders in the Nuremburg war crimes trial after World War II. In the years since, the Harvard-educated lawyer has continued to focus on issues of international criminal justice.
In China, the Internet isn't the free-for-all that it is in the United States. China's communist government censors what's published and some of what's shared online. But some citizens are working around government censors by using agreed-upon "public" code.
The International Olympic Committee chose Tokyo over Istanbul and Madrid to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Summer Games in 2020. This will be a repeat for Tokyo, which hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964.
Ivo Daalder, who was U.S. ambassador to NATO during the 2011 military intervention in Libya, says the United States should conduct military strikes against Syria, even if it can't get the backing of the United Nations. He argues that Syrian President Bashar Assad would interpret inaction as an invitation to use chemical weapons in the future. He also says that despite asking for congressional approval for military action, this is ultimately President Obama's call. "This is a lonely place for presidents to be. It will be up to him to make that decision."
As we said earlier, 11 G-20 member nations signed a resolution yesterday supporting a strong international response to the use of chemical weapons. Nine, including Russia, China and Germany, did not sign. They're calling instead for a diplomatic response.
Today, European Union foreign ministers endorsed a clear and strong response in Syria, but they urged the U.S. to hold off until the U.N. inspectors report the findings of evidence they collected near Damascus.
Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 3:51 pm
It will be Tokyo, not Istanbul or Madrid, who hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee and its president, Jacques Rogge, announced in Buenos Aires Saturday. Rival city Madrid was eliminated in the first round of voting. We have updated this post with the latest news.
Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 3:44 pm
Pope Francis is leading a mass prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square Saturday night, building on his calls to avoid violence in the escalating conflict over Syria. Tens of thousands of people have come to the Vatican on what the pontiff has declared a day of fasting and prayer in the name of peace.
Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 11:19 am
America's most powerful European allies agree that Syria should be held responsible for what the U.S. calls a chemical weapons attack on Syrian citizens on Aug. 21. Despite Secretary of State John Kerry's request to support military strikes, members of the European Union believe diplomacy should be the priority.
Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 11:22 am
In Australia's just-concluded national vote, conservative Tony Abbott has won enough support to become the country's next prime minister and end six years of Labor rule. That's the analysis from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which reports that voters' main issues were the economy and repeal of carbon and mining taxes.