World News

Middle East
2:36 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Obama Tries To Build International Support For Syria Strike

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 3:27 pm

The crisis in Syria dominated President Obama's visit to Sweden on Wednesday, as he continued to push for Congressional approval of his plan to launch a military strike against Syrian government forces, in response to their use of chemical weapons against their own people.. "My credibility is not on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line," Obama told a news conference in Stockholm. "And America and Congress' credibility is on the line." The President travels to the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

The Two-Way
11:16 am
Wed September 4, 2013

As Pentagon Adds Bombing Options, Kerry Warns Assad

As Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, "Code Pink" protesters behind him held up "bloody hands" to express their opposition to the prospect of U.S. military strikes on Syria.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 11:24 am

"We are not asking America to go to war," Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee early Wednesday afternoon, as he and other top administration officials continued to push Congress to support President Obama's call for military strikes aimed at the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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Parallels
11:14 am
Wed September 4, 2013

'We Are Next': Greek Jews Fear Rise Of Far-Right Party

Mois Yussuroum, a 94-year-old retired dentist, fought the Nazis as part of the Greek resistance during World War II. "Of the 650 Greek Jews who fought in the resistance, I'm the only one still alive," he says.
Joanna Kakissis/NPR

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:22 pm

No one has ever doubted Mois Yussuroum's patriotism. As part of the Greek resistance during World War II, he fought Benito Mussolini's fascist army and then the Nazis.

"The other resistance fighters didn't know I was Jewish," he says, since he used the name "Yiorgos Gazis" in case he was captured. "But my superiors did know, and they gave me many responsibilities, including making me a garrison commander."

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Parallels
10:40 am
Wed September 4, 2013

U.S. Competitiveness Up, Ranking Fifth, Survey Says

As the economy continues its recovery, the World Economic Forum's latest survey said U.S. global competitiveness is up after four years of decline.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 12:44 pm

U.S. competitiveness among global economies suffered after the 2008 global economic crisis. Four years after the crisis, the U.S. slipped in the World Economic Forum's annual competitiveness ranking. This year it's back up a bit: The U.S. rose to fifth position overall from seventh last year, in the forum's latest survey, which was released Wednesday.

Here's what the survey says about the U.S., the world's largest economy:

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Beauty Shop
10:03 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Who Are The Smartest People On Twitter?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, Sheila Bridges stood out for many reasons in her chosen field of interior design. Her celebrity client list, being African-American, but then she began to stand out in a way she did not want - she started losing her hair. We'll talk about how that changed her life and her focus. She talks about that in her new memoir "The Bald Mermaid." And we'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.

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Parallels
8:56 am
Wed September 4, 2013

In Damascus, Anxiety, School Shopping And Soldiers Everywhere

Syrian boys walk on the rubble of a building in Damascus that was hit by what activists said was shelling by government forces. The threat of a possible U.S. strike has added to the sense of unease in the Syrian capital.
Bassam Khabieh Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 11:29 am

The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified for safety reasons.

A threatened U.S. military strike against Syria, now on hold, has left much of Damascus in limbo, filled with unease and uncertainty.

Since President Obama said that the Syrian government must be punished for allegedly using chemical weapons against its civilians, the capital has turned into one huge military barracks.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Wed September 4, 2013

'I Always Reserve The Right' To Act, Obama Says Of Syria

President Obama during his news conference Wednesday in Stockholm.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 10:08 am

Although he says he did not ask Congress to authorize the use of force against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime "as a symbolic gesture," President Obama reiterated Wednesday that "I always reserve the right and responsibility to act on behalf of America's national security."

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The Two-Way
5:39 am
Wed September 4, 2013

In Europe, Obama Will Seek Support For Syria Strike

President Obama as he emerged from Air Force One early Wednesday in Stockholm.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 9:49 am

President Obama landed in Sweden on Wednesday — the start of a European trip that will take him to Russia for a summit of world leaders at which he'll try to build support for his plan to strike targets inside Syria.

As The Washington Post says, it's a "high-stakes trip ... that could show whether the United States has broad international backing for action."

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Middle East
2:46 am
Wed September 4, 2013

How Concern For Israel's Security Enters Into Syria Plan

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 8:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Israel and the U.S. conducted a defense missile test over the Mediterranean Sea yesterday, not - the Pentagon quickly said - related to a possible U.S. strike on Syria.

Still, the joint test raised questions about American-Israeli coordination on Syria, and how Israel security factors into the administration's plans. Of course, Israel's biggest worry, by far, involves another country in the region, Iran, and the possibility it will get a nuclear bomb.

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Europe
2:46 am
Wed September 4, 2013

French Parliament To Debate U.S.-Led Strikes In Syria

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:42 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Francois Hollande, the president of France, says his country will join in any U.S.-led strikes in Syria. The French parliament is set to take up that issue today. Unlike Britain, which ruled out military action, and the U.S. Congress where President Obama still has to win the votes, it seems like parliament probably should provide very little trouble for Hollande. His party dominates there.

So let's go to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley. She's in Paris, and she's following this story. Hi, Eleanor.

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NPR Story
2:40 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Congress Should Examine Fine Print When Voting On Syria

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And as Congress prepares to vote on authorizing force, Yale Law Professor Stephen L. Carter has some advice.

STEPHEN L. CARTER: The one thing I would strongly recommend is that members of Congress actually read the resolution before deciding whether to vote for it or not.

MONTAGNE: He says it's hard to approve of a president waging war while still limiting the power the president is given.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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NPR Story
2:40 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Obama Considers Training Options For Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:42 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama has promised limited military action against Syria. He says missile strikes are not about regime change and there will be no boots on the ground. But even as the Congress debates the president's plans for action, the White House is looking at broader options.

NPR's Tom Bowman reports the president may call on the U.S. military to help build up the Syrian opposition.

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It's All Politics
4:52 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

What If Congress Votes 'No' On Syria?

President Obama attends a White House meeting on Syria Tuesday with congressional leaders.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 5:30 pm

With Republican House leaders lining up behind President Obama's planned U.S. military strike on Syria, the chances for congressional authorization seemed higher on Tuesday than they did over the weekend.

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The Two-Way
4:10 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

5 Years After Being Covered With Water, Chinese Village Emerges

A July photo shows houses that have emerged from Tangjiashan Barrier Lake in Xuanping Township, in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Liu Huawei Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 4:11 pm

It's been a long time since the people who lived in rural Xuanping saw their little town, which was flooded by a powerful earthquake in 2008. But thanks to a steep drop in water levels, parts of their village in China's Sichuan Province are visible again, from homes and businesses to its school.

The village's ghostly return began in July, when water levels fell from 712 meters to 703 meters above sea level — a difference of nearly 30 feet, as news site China Daily Asia reported.

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World
3:04 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

A Look Back At A Predicted 'Clash Of Civilizations'

It was 20 years ago that Samuel Huntington's essay on what he termed "the clash of civilizations" was first published in the journal Foreign Affairs. The essay predicted the next frontier of global conflict would occur along cultural cleavages — most prominently between the Islamic world and the West. Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose and Robert Siegel discuss how perceptions of the essay have changed over time.

The Picture Show
1:37 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

The Beauty Of Bricks In Burkina Faso

Photos excerpted from Karaba Brick Quarry, Burkina Faso
David Pace

Before spending time in Burkina Faso in western Africa, photographer David Pace had his own preconceptions:

"There's really nothing there," he says he thought. "It's like the worst tourist destination ever."

And, of course, he adds, "all of my original conceptions were totally wrong."

It may be true that Burkina Faso isn't a tourist destination, but that's exactly why Pace ended up loving it — because "as photographer," he says, "it's incredible."

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Mexico Summons U.S. Ambassador, Seeking Answers To Spying Claims

New reports allege that the NSA spied on Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, seen here walking with President Barack Obama in June, when he was a candidate for office. Mexico and Brazil have demanded a response to charges of U.S. spying on their internal affairs.
Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

Allegations that U.S. agents spied on Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto when he was a candidate during last year's campaign have led Mexico to summon U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne and demanded "a thorough investigation."

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Parallels
10:50 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Thai Fishing Sector, Among World's Largest, Cited For Abuses

Migrant workers from Myanmar return to a trawler after unloading fish following a fishing trip in the Gulf of Thailand in Samut Sakhon province Tuesday. A new report details "deceptive and coercive" labor practices in the Thai fishing sector, which relies heavily on workers from Cambodia and Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Sakchai Lalit AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 2:20 pm

If you eat fish on a regular basis, chances are some of it is coming from Thailand. The Asian country is the world's No. 3 exporter of seafood (after China and Norway), and the U.S. is its top destination.

The Thai fishing industry has grown dramatically, and it is now coming under increased scrutiny. A new report details "deceptive and coercive labor practices, and even forced labor and human trafficking within" the Thai fishing sector.

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Tue September 3, 2013

'Death Ray II'? London Building Reportedly Roasts Cars

A man reacts to a shaft of intense sunlight reflected from the glass windows of the new "Walkie Talkie" tower in central London on Aug. 30.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:17 pm

A skyscraper under construction "melted my Jag," reads the headline from London's City A.M.

"Beam of light from Walkie Talkie skyscraper 'melts man's Jaguar,' " says London's Metro.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Boehner, Pelosi Unite Behind President On Syria

President Obama met with more than a dozen lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, at the White House on Tuesday to press his case for a military strike in Syria.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:30 pm

President Obama's call for Congress to give him the go-ahead to strike targets in Syria has put House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the same side of an important issue for one of the few times in recent years.

Calling Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons "a barbarous act," Boehner emerged from a meeting at the White House to say he supports Obama's request.

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Economy
9:57 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Syria: The Money Effect

The uncertain future of American military action in Syria is causing ripple effects in the world market. Host Michel Martin speaks with economic reporter Sudeep Reddy of The Wall Street Journal, about the relationship between the Syrian conflict and oil.

World
9:57 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Washington Group Aiding Syrian Opposition

While President Obama is trying to convince members of Congress that action is needed in Syria, one Washington-based group is already aiding opposition forces. Host Michel Martin talks with Dan Layman of the Syrian Opposition Group about their efforts to fund the Free Syrian Army.

The Two-Way
7:27 am
Tue September 3, 2013

McCain Says Right Strikes Can Hurt Assad's Capabilities

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., met with President Obama on Sunday at the White House.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:18 am

By "taking out Bashar Assad's delivery capabilities of chemical weapons" the U.S. can make it much harder for the Syrian leader to wage war against his people and perhaps level the fighting field or turn it in favor of Assad's opponents, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Tuesday on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Tue September 3, 2013

'The Worm' Returns To North Korea; Rodman Visits Again

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman at Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday, before his flight to Pyongyang, North Korea.
Petar Kujundzic Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 6:48 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: Anthony Kuhn reports on Dennis Rodman's latest visit to North Korea

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is visiting North Korea again, six months after spending time there with dictator Kim Jong Un — an "awesome" man, in Rodman's opinion.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing that:

"Rodman was spotted transiting the Beijing airport en route to Pyongyang, sporting his characteristic lip and nose rings, plus green hair.

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The Two-Way
4:50 am
Tue September 3, 2013

2 Million Syrians Are Now Refugees And More Are 'On The Way'

Syrian-Kurdish children sit on a bed at the Quru Gusik refugee camp in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on Aug. 22. Faced with brutal violence and soaring prices, thousands of Syrian Kurds have poured into Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. UNICEF has reported that over one million Syrian children live as refugees in other countries.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:08 am

"The number of Syrians forced to seek shelter abroad since civil war began in March 2011 passed the 2 million mark on Tuesday with no sign of the outflow ending soon," the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports. Most are in neighboring nations.

About 1 million of the refugees, as we've previously reported, are children.

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Middle East
3:15 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Iran Weighs Heavily In Debate Over Syria

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:54 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

As we've heard, some of the debate over Syria is actually a debate about Syria's ally, Iran. We want to know what Iranian leaders are thinking as the United States contemplates involvement in Syria. And so we've called Scott Peterson, in Istanbul. He's a Christian Science Monitor reporter who's well-known for his coverage of Iran, and author of a book called "Let the Swords Encircle Me," which is about Iran.

Mr. Peterson, welcome to the program.

SCOTT PETERSON: Thank you.

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Sports
3:15 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Nyad Finishes Swimming Goal 35 Years After She First Tried

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:54 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The swimmer Diana Nyad has finally accomplished what no other athlete has ever done. She swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage and she did it at the age of 64. As Nyad emerged from the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, he tongue swollen from swallowing sea water, she had messages for the crowd that greeted her.

DIANA NYAD: One is we should never ever give up. Two is you're never too old to chase your dreams.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Latin America
12:58 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Pena Nieto Encourages Mexicans To Embrace Change

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto presents his first annual report to the nation during a ceremony before the Congress at his presidential residence in Mexico City on Monday.
Omar Torres AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 5:23 pm

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto says his nation is undergoing a major change — one his country should not fear. Pena Nieto gave an upbeat assessment of his nine-month-old administration in his first State of the Union address on Monday.

Despite his positive review of Mexico's condition, the new president is dealing with chaotic protests in the capital, intractable levels of violence and a less favorable economic outlook than predicted.

He campaigned on the promise of creating a modern and prosperous Mexico. And according to his appraisal, he's done just that.

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The Salt
2:50 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Tlacoyos: A Mexican Grilled Snack That Tempted The Conquistadors

Tlacoyos can be filled with beans, potatoes, mushrooms or cheese and are often topped with grilled cactus, onions, cilantro, and salsa.
Jasmine Garsd for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 12:10 pm

For the last in a summer series of grilled food from around the world, we head to Mexico, where a small doughy treat is found everywhere from street corner grills to high-end restaurants. It's called a tlacoyo (pronounced tla-COY-yo) and although it may sound novel, it's an ancient food that's older than Hernan Cortes.

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Syria's Bashar Assad: Show Me The Evidence

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:11 am

A defiant Syrian President Bashar Assad said Monday that the international community has not produced evidence to substantiate claims that his regime used chemical weapons in a deadly attack last month.

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