World News

Parallels
9:25 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Next Door To Syria, Iraq Slowly Boils

Mourners carry the coffin of a car bomb victim during the funeral in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, Iraq, last week. Violence is on the rise in Iraq, but it is receiving little international attention.
AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 10:56 am

With the current focus on Syria it's easy to miss that things are getting worse again in Iraq. Since the spring, the country has been pounded by waves of attacks on civilians and security forces by extremists with links to al-Qaida. Three car bombs in the Iraqi city of Baquba killed 10 people Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Thu September 12, 2013

UPDATED: U.S. Rejects Assad's Timetable For A Chemical Weapons Deal

In Washington, D.C., this week, there have been demonstrations both in favor of and against a military strike on targets in Syria. Outside the White House on Monday, supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad waved a Syrian flag with his face on it.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:44 pm

Thirty days after his regime signs the international Chemical Weapons Convention that bans their use he will start handing over data about Syria's stockpile, President Bashar Assad told a Russian TV channel Thursday.

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Russian Plan 'Is Just A Lie,' Syrian Rebel General Says

A Free Syrian Army fighter in eastern Syria on Wednesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 8:13 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris

As Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to sit down with his Russian counterpart Thursday to discuss whether the Assad regime's chemical weapons can be handed over to international monitors, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army was telling NPR that "the Russian initiative is just a lie."

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Business
3:26 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mexico's Tax Overhaul Has Middle Class Crying Foul

Mexico's president has unveiled a major shakeup of the country's tax system. His administration says it's aimed at capturing more of Mexico's paltry tax collection. Critics say it's unfairly targeting the middle class. Among the items slated for taxing: dog food and private school tuition.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Analyst Criticized For Syrian-Rebel Advocacy Connections

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:26 am

During the run-up to possible military action in Syria, the name of an unknown researcher was catapulted into the spotlight. Elizabeth O'Bagy was on NPR, Fox and quoted by Senator John McCain during a hearing. It turns out, O'Bagy is not exactly who she said she was, and her story reveals a lot about how Washington works during times of high drama.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Russia's Putin Adds Another Voice To Debate On Syria

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:04 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin has written an op-ed piece for Thursday's New York Times. He's calling on the U.S. to forgo military strikes on Syria. For Russia's view of the Syrian conflict, Renee Montagne talks to Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Backers Of Israel Press For Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 8:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, those who favor U.S. military intervention in Syria include backers of Israel. One of them is Republican campaign contributor Sheldon Adelson. Another is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

NPR's David Welna reports on their lobbying efforts.

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Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Rebels Were 'Eager' To See U.S. Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:21 am

Steve Inskeep talks to General Salim Idriss, commander of the Free Syrian Army. They discuss Syrian opposition reaction to President Obama's address to the nation this week, the Russian diplomatic initiative and what assistance the general is hoping to receive from the United States.

World
4:24 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

What's Driving Russia's Tactical Change On Syria?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to avoid a strike by the U.S.
Michael Klimentyev/Ria Novosti Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:14 pm

For months, Russia has been playing a defensive game on Syria, blocking U.N. resolutions that could have led to the ouster of its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Russia is now on the offense, running with a plan that could avert U.S.-led strikes against Syria by having Syria place its chemical weapons under international control.

So why the change in tactics?

There are several different strands in Russian thinking on the issue.

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Satellite Image Suggests North Korea Is Restarting Reactor

This is a DigitalGlobe image of the 5-megawatt (electric) reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon facility, Aug. 31, with steam seen coming from the electrical power generation building.
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 4:46 pm

North Korea appears to be in the process of restarting a nuclear reactor used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, five years after shutting the facility down as part of international disarmament efforts.

New satellite imagery appears to reveal that the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, which experts believe can produce enough plutonium for one to two bombs a year, shows signs of being operational.

Analysts Nick Hansen and Jeffrey Lewis, writing for the website 38 North, say the satellites show:

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The U.S. Response To Syria
3:13 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Can The U.N. Security Council Produce A Syria Solution?

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:59 pm

Robert Siegel talks with David Hanney about prospects for a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria's chemical weapons. Lord Hanney represented Britain in the United Nations during the first Iraq war, when the UN Security Council voted unanimously to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

The U.S. Response To Syria
3:13 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Kerry's Syria Switch May Not Have Been Offhanded After All

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

This week's diplomacy over Syria was widely described as improvisational. John Kerry made a comment that his own aides were at pains to describe as rhetorical. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pounced on it opportunistically. Well, today there's some revisionist reporting on that score, reporting that Kerry and Lavrov were actually building on a year's worth of U.S.-Russia conversations.

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The Two-Way
1:51 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

From Anonymous To Media Star To Unemployed In A Week

A screen grab of Elizabeth O'Bagy's appearance on Fox News on Sept. 5. She has been on many news programs in recent days commenting on the Syrian war. She was fired on Wednesday for falsely claiming to have a Ph.D., according to her employer, the Institute for the Study of War.
Fox News

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 2:06 pm

If you're following the Syrian debate, there's a good chance you've come across Elizabeth O'Bagy, an analyst on the Syrian war, who went from obscure think tank analyst to media darling to unemployed in roughly a week.

Here's how she did it.

O'Bagy, 26, was a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington. Her specialty, the Syrian rebels, received only periodic flickers of attention.

Then came the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria, followed by President Obama's declared intent to carry out a military strike in Syria.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Vatican's Secretary Of State Says Celibacy Is An Open Question

Pietro Parolin in 2009.
Hoang Dinh Nam AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 2:33 pm

The Vatican's new secretary of state made some comments in an interview with a Venezuelan newspaper earlier this week that have surprised many.

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, whom Pope Francis appointed on Aug. 31, said the issue of priest celibacy is open to discussion.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Discovery Of Massive Aquifers Could Be Game Changer For Kenya

Members of the El Molo tribe are pictured in the village of Komote, on the shores of Lake Turkana, northern Kenya, last year.
Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 2:07 pm

Satellite imagery and seismic data have identified two huge underground aquifers in Kenya's drought-prone north, a discovery that could be "a game changer" for the country, NPR's Gregory Warner reports.

The aquifers, located hundreds of feet underground in the Turkana region that borders Ethiopia and South Sudan, contain billions of gallons of water, according to UNESCO, which confirmed the existence of the subterranean lakes discovered with the help of a French company using technology originally designed to reveal oil deposits.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

U.S. Troops Oppose Striking Syria, Online Survey Suggests

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps listen to President Obama during his visit to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in August.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

An online survey of 750 active-duty U.S. troops suggests that opposition to striking Syria is "more intense" among military personnel than among the American public.

Military Times, a publication and newssite owned by Gannett Co. (not the federal government) reports that:

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The Salt
11:25 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Wasted Food Around The World Takes Heavy Toll On Environment

A farmer carries a bag of rice in China's Jiangxi province in July 2013.
Zhou Ke Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 2:07 pm

It's one of the great paradoxes of our time: Hundreds of millions of people go hungry, and yet we waste a whopping 1.43 billion tons of food — one third of what we produce. Food waste is a problem in rich countries and poor countries alike, and it's happening throughout the supply chain — from the farm to the truck to the warehouse to the store to your refrigerator.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Chinese Premier Says Foreign Companies To Get 'Equal Treatment'

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right) listens to Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during a meeting last month.
How Hwee Young AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 1:25 pm

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has pledged to treat foreign multinational companies on a par with the country's own state-owned enterprises, but he warned that an economic rebound remains fragile.

Li, speaking at a business forum in the northeastern city of Dalian on Wednesday, cautioned that the global economic outlook was a "complex situation" and outlined a series of steps designed to keep the country on a moderate but sustainable growth path.

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Parallels
10:06 am
Wed September 11, 2013

On Anniversary Of Benghazi Attack, Libya Still Struggles

People gather at the site of a car bombing in Benghazi, Libya, on Wednesday — one year to the date after an attack on the U.S. consulate in the city killed the ambassador and three other Americans.
Mohammed el-Shaiky AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 11:33 am

The deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, which took place a year ago Wednesday, symbolized the violence, chaos and struggles that have defined Libya since the ousting of dictator Moammar Gadhafi two years ago.

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Parallels
9:21 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Lessons From Libya On How To Destroy Chemical Weapons

President George W. Bush receives a tour of nuclear material surrendered by Libya and flown to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a U.S. facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in 2004.
Tim Sloan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 12:50 pm

When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, one of the broader goals was to send a strong deterrent message to other dictators who might have weapons of mass destruction (even if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein didn't).

Recent events in Syria show that President Bashar Assad didn't heed the warning. But Libya's Moammar Gadhafi did.

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Kerry's Meeting With Russian Is Next Key Moment In Syria Crisis

Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday as he testified before the House Armed Services Committee.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 7:00 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: Jean Cochran rounds up the latest news about the crisis in Syria

Now that President Obama has made his case to the nation for holding Syrian President Bashar Assad responsible for a chemical weapons attack last month near Damascus, the next key moment in the quickly evolving crisis appears to be Thursday's meeting in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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Middle East
2:55 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Will Military Threat Keep Diplomacy Working In Syria?

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:54 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

President Obama told the nation last night that with modest effort and risk, they can stop children from being gassed in Syria.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I believe we should act. That's what makes America different. That's what makes us exceptional.

INSKEEP: The president also said America should wait to see if a diplomatic effort works out.

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Middle East
2:55 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Diplomatic Solution In Syria Is Rife With Complications

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:54 am

Diplomats continue to consider a Russian plan to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international control. If nations can agree on the details, the plan could avert a U.S. strike against Syrian targets. But accounting for and destroying Syria's chemical arsenal is a complicated undertaking.

Middle East
2:55 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Syrian Refugees In Turkey Want U.S. Strikes, Turks Are Wary

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:54 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Americans have choices about how involved they want to be in Syria's civil war. Syrians have no choice, and the same is true of Syria's neighbors.

People along Turkey's border with Syria deal with errant mortar fire, refugees and lost trade. And we're going next to a Turkish village along that dividing line.

Here's NPR's Peter Kenyon.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Ceylanpinar is one of those small Turkish villages smack on the border, and it has the scars to show for it.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAIN)

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Middle East
2:55 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Obama Puts Military Strike In Syria On Hold

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:54 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

President Obama's push for a military strike on Syria is on hold, at least for now. The administration is exploring a possible diplomatic alternative that calls for Syria to surrender its stockpile of chemical weapons. That could provide a face-saving out for the president, who appeared unlikely to win Congressional approval this week for a strike.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
4:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Sen. Casey: Military Force Should Still Be An Option In Syria

Audie Cornish talks with Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, about the latest developments on U.S.-Syria policy.

The U.S. Response To Syria
4:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Getting Rid Of Syria's Chemical Weapons Would Be Difficult

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

How feasible is the task of taking control of Syria's chemical arsenal? Could the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the body that implements the Chemical Weapons Convention, do it with confidence?

We're going to ask Amy Smithson, who is senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Welcome to the program.

AMY SMITHSON: It's a pleasure to be with you.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
4:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

White House Shifts Syria Proposal From Strike To Weapons Surrender

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
4:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

What Are Russia's Motives In Syria Negotiations?

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Is the Russian proposal to have Syria's chemical weapons placed under international control sincere? And if so, what's in it for Russia and can the Russians be trusted to help rid Syria of chemical weapons? Joining us, is Strobe Talbott, a Russia hand and former deputy secretary of state. He joins us from the Brookings Institution, of which he is the president. Welcome to the program once again.

STROBE TALBOTT: Thanks, Robert.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
4:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Senate Waits On Possible Diplomatic Solution In Syria

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 8:14 pm

The U.S. and its allies await details of Russia's proposal to place Syria's chemical weapons arsenal under UN supervision. Meanwhile, senior Obama administration officials are continuing to press for congressional approval of a potential military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons in August.

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