Forests cover about half of Russia's land mass, an environmental resource that President Vladimir Putin calls "the powerful green lungs of the planet."
But Putin himself acknowledges that Russia, the world's biggest exporter of logs, is having its timber stolen at an unprecedented rate.
The demand for high-value timber is fueling organized crime, government corruption and illegal logging in the Russian Far East. The hardwood cut in the endless forests often ends up as flooring and furniture in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.
Wildfires are burning to the north, south and west of Sydney, Australia, and smoke "has been rolling in for days," correspondent Stuart Cohen said Tuesday on Morning Edition.
While the fires are mostly in sparsely populated areas, Sydney is blanketed — "you can smell smoke inside buildings" and health authorities are expecting a surge in cases of people with respiratory problems, Cohen added.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 11:44 am
The fallout from revelations about the National Security Agency's spying activities continues: A key European Parliament committee approved new rules strengthening online privacy and outlawing the kind of surveillance the U.S. has been conducting.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says the legislation could also have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies. Here's what she told our Newscast unit:
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 12:03 pm
Greek officials who are trying to determine the origin of a young blond girl found living in a Roma settlement last week have received thousands of calls since releasing her photo. Some callers offer information; others say the girl may be their child. The head of a charity that's now caring for the girl says about 10 missing-children cases are being reviewed.
On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Philip Reeves discusses the Amnesty International report on U.S. drone strikes
Two reports released on the eve of a White House visit by Pakistan's prime minister allege that the U.S. has "violated international law with top-secret targeted-killing operations that claimed dozens of civilian lives in Yemen and Pakistan," as McClatchy Newspapers writes.
What is God? It's one of the eternal questions, and it's front-page news in Malaysia.
A recent court order said the word Allah can only be used by Muslims – and not by members of the country's other faiths. But Malaysian Prime Minister Najik Razak said Tuesday that Christians in the states of Sabah and Sarawak can continue to refer to God as Allah.
The editors of The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things, are carefully unambitious about the aim of the book: "we thought it might be fun to collect our various observations, fascinations, annoyances, and inspirations in one easy-to-use, attractive volume." On the surface, it seems like a cheeky gift book, a pseudo-serious encyclopedia that juxtaposes cellulite with the Latvian artist Vija Celmins, Clueless with Clytemnestra, the porno Deep Throat and the Native American politician Ada Deer.
Voters across Israel choose new mayors and city councilors in local elections Tuesday. In one small town, a handful of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are defying the norms of their community by running for office.
On a recent day, children mob two women in skirts, stockings and purple T-shirts in a neighborhood park in El'ad, or Forever God. The women are candidates for town council. As part of their get-the-word-out campaign, they're blowing up balloons for kids.
And let's cross the Pacific, from Seattle to China for our last word in business today. The last word: Things aren't always cheaper in China. Take a cup of coffee, for example.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Chinese state-run media are accusing Starbucks, Starbucks - that symbol of America - of charging more for coffee in China than in other markets. According to a report, a small latte - that's a tall latte in Starbucks-speak - sells for about $4.50 in Beijing. Compare that to $3.43 for the same latte in Brooklyn.
Sydney, Australia, is suffering under a blanket of smoke and officials are sounding air quality alerts because of vast wildfires in the area. And it's still early in the fire season. Steve Inskeep talks to Stuart Cohen for the latest.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's talk about the latest employment numbers and what they mean. The economy, we're told by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, gained 148,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.2 percent. We're getting these numbers a couple of weeks late because of the government shutdown. NPR's Chris Arnold has been following the economy and the shutdown. He's on the line. Hi, Chris.
When the 2006 secretive military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay began, only one courtroom sketch artist was allowed in. Her name is Janet Hamlin.
The Associated Press sent her there. Since then, Hamlin has created a rare visual record of the human drama unfolding in Guantanamo's courtrooms. Those images are now collected in a book, Sketching Guantanamo.
One year ago the Michigan apple harvest, hurt by a late winter warm-up and a spring freeze, was almost nonexistent at 3 million bushels. This fall, the crop is projected to yield a record-setting 30 million bushels, but now there's concern that not enough pickers will be in the orchards.
Sunday was supposed to be a day of joy in Egypt at the Church of the Virgin Mary in suburban Cairo. There were four weddings scheduled. But after a drive-by shooting ripped through the celebrations, there were four burials today instead. At least 18 other people were wounded in the attack. It was the latest act of violence in a country experiencing divisions and great crisis. From Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.