Let's turn now to the Middle East. In the Gaza Strip, it makes for good news that sewage is no longer flooding the streets. The sewage was one byproduct of an ongoing power shortage that seems to be easing, although just slightly. Hospitals and government offices should soon get electricity for more than the few hours a day, which has been the norm for weeks now.
NPR's Emily Harris reports that people expect, though, that they will still be cooking on open fires until Palestinian leaders mend a political split.
An Afghan man rides a horse at sunset on Nadir Khan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan. Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape the Taliban-controlled country, only to return after 12 years living in England.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
Auliya Atrafi in his office in Nad Ali, next to a selection of the books he had shipped from England. His library is one of his prized possessions, and he shipped them because he's unlikely to find these books in his native Afghanistan.
In 2000, Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. He spent 12 years in England getting educated and becoming a documentary filmmaker.
Last year, he gave up life in the West and returned home to southern Helmand province. Now, he's the father of twins and he's working in a rural government office while trying to readjust to life in a conservative society that he finds dysfunctional.
If American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979.
Credit John Swart / AP
Reporters look over the limited edition 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra after its unveiling Feb. 6, 1992, in Chicago. This was part of the third generation of Mustangs that were produced from 1979 to 1993.
Credit Sam Varnhagen / AP
The 2010 Ford Mustang, part of the fifth generation of Mustangs lasting from 2005 to 2014.
Seen here is a new 1976 Ford Mustang, part of the second generation of Mustangs that lasted from 1974 to 1978.
The 2002 Ford Mustang GT Convertible is shown in a handout photo from the Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich. The fourth generation of Mustangs lasted from 1994 to 2004.
The 2015 Ford Mustang was revealed Thursday at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona and its hometown of Dearborn. It goes on sale next fall in North America and will arrive later in Europe and Asia.
Ford introduced the Mustang, billed as a "low-priced, four-passenger sports car" in April 1964. Its sporty look and peppy performances gave it strong appeal to youthful car buyers. The first generation of Mustangs lasted until 1973.
Just about every Mustang owner has a story about how their love affair with the car began.
Laura Slider's story began the day a red Mustang appeared in the driveway across the street.
"I've wanted one ever since I was 15," she says. "It was owned by a very cute boy that I liked. And then we rode in it and it was very fast and sporty and fun and pretty, and I thought, I want one someday."
Now, decades later, she has one. And, yes, it's red.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:44 pm
The editor-in-chief of The Guardian, which has turned leaks from Edward Snowden into a seemingly endless series of exposes concerning U.S. electronic surveillance activities, says the newspaper has published just 1 percent of what it's received from the former NSA contractor.
In testimony before Britain's Parliament, Alan Rusbridger told lawmakers that about 58,000 files obtained from Snowden, or "about 1 percent," had been used by the paper for its stories. However, he added: "I would not expect us to be publishing a huge amount more."
The U.S. and other major powers have been holding historic negotiations with Iran to try to curb that country's nuclear program. But Washington still has many other concerns about Iranian behavior. And while some diplomats may hope to build on the nuclear talks to push Iran to play a more constructive role in the region, experts remain skeptical.
Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says there are a couple of ways to look at the negotiations with Iran.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:30 am
Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday:
Federal investigators in New York announced late Tuesday that they had removed the rail employees union, the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, as a participant in the investigation. According to The Associated Press, investigators cited a breach of confidentiality after Anthony Bottalico, leader of the union, spoke to the media concerning comments train engineer William Rockefeller had made about what happened moments before Sunday's derailment.
A former star dancer with Russia's Bolshoi ballet was sentenced today to six years in a penal colony for ordering an attack on the ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin, an attack that left him nearly blind. Also sentenced were the man who admitted he threw sulfuric acid on Filin and the accused driver of the getaway car. It's a story that's exposed a deeply troubling side of the legendary ballet company. Andrew Roth is following the story for the New York Times. He joins me now from Moscow. Andrew, welcome to the program.
Americans see U.S. power in the world declining. That is the key finding of a survey by the Pew Research Center. It also finds that most Americans think the U.S. should be engaged in the global economy, but ought to concentrate on solving domestic problems. Michael Dimock is here to talk about this poll. He's the director of the Pew Research Center. Good to see you again.
MICHAEL DIMOCK: Hi, Robert.
SIEGEL: And first, how many Americans say the U.S. role is declining and how significant a number is that?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Vice President Joe Biden is in Tokyo today. He's there to reemphasize American support for Japan as it tangles with China over contested air space. China unnerved its neighbors late last month by declaring an air identification defense zone. The zone covers disputed islands in the East China Sea. NPR's Frank Langfitt has more from Shanghai on what's behind China's latest move.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:18 pm
Video has emerged of the dramatic rescue in May of a cook aboard a sunken Nigerian tugboat. The man survived at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for three days by breathing from an ever-dwindling pocket of trapped air and sipping on Coca-Cola.
Divers from a South African team expecting to find only bodies were stunned to locate Harrison Okene alive inside the sunken vessel on May 23. The video of the rescue was posted on YouTube on Monday and has quickly gone viral.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 8:17 am
Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was not poisoned, French investigators have concluded.
After the results of the long-running investigation started to leak, Arafat's wife, Suha Arafat, told reporters in London that French scientists had ruled out the possibility that Arafat was poisoned with polonium-210.
Case settled? Not quite. This piece of news just means that the three teams tasked with the investigation have come to three different conclusions:
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:24 pm
An uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly been dismissed from a key post as the vice chairman of the country's National Defense Commission, an assessment by South Korea's intelligence service says.
In addition, two close aides of Jang Song Thaek were reportedly executed for corruption.
Jang, who is married to the sister of late leader Kim Jong Il, is said to have been fired last month. But, according to The Associated Press, purges against Jang have been reported in the past only to find him later back in power, apparently rehabilitated.
The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Credit Peter Kenyon / NPR
The grass- and weed-strewn interior of the Church of St. John the Baptist — housed inside the Stoudios monastery — has gone to seed. An ambitious restoration project is due to begin next year, when it will open to the public as a mosque, according to the government.
Credit David Cannon / Getty Images
Recent remarks by a Turkish official have rekindled talk that the Hagia Sophia may be reconverted into a mosque. The most famous Byzantine structure in Istanbul, it was built as a Greek Orthodox church in the fifth century, became a mosque in the 15th century, and has been a museum since 1935. Other Christian sites are already being converted into mosques.
A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.
It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood run from tear gas during clashes with riot police near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on Nov. 22.
Credit Twitter via Al Arabiya News
Egypt's Mohamed Yousef won a gold medal at the kung fu championships in Russia in October. He then put on a yellow T-shirt with a four-finger salute to express solidarity with protesters opposing Egypt's military-backed government. Egyptian sports officials have suspended him and barred him from tournaments for a year.
Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.
But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.
That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.
A young Afghan balloon seller runs toward a customer in Kabul on April 2. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are the most-corrupt countries, according to the annual Corruption Perception Index released Tuesday.
Although she's little-remembered today, personal finance columnist Sylvia Porter was one of the best-known and most admired women in 1950s America. A nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, she also wrote books, appeared on TV shows such as Meet the Press and advised presidents. Her monthly column in the Ladies Home Journal broke ground by encouraging women to control their own finances.