World

Asia
5:10 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Air Quality Worries Dampen Chinese New Year Fireworks

Fireworks explode in a Shanghai street on Thursday, the eve of the Lunar New Year. Setting off firecrackers is meant to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. But many Chinese say they won't buy firecrackers this year, owing to growing worries about air quality.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 1:56 pm

People in China rang in the Year of the Horse overnight with the traditional barrage of fireworks, but Lunar New Year's celebrations in some cities were quieter than usual. After severe pollution choked much of eastern China last year, many people swore off the ancient tradition so they could protect their lungs and the environment.

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Asia
5:06 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Job Vacant After Karachi's Top Counter-Terrorism Cop Is Killed

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:58 am

An intense debate is underway in Pakistan over what to do about a surge of deadly Taliban attacks. The city's chief counterterrosim officer was killed a few weeks ago. Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam Khan was and remains a legendary figure.

Movie Interviews
5:04 am
Fri January 31, 2014

'Return To Homs' Follows Cycle Of Syrian Demonstrations

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:58 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. We have an intensely personal look now at the Syrian city of Homs. It's in the news. Negotiators are trying to arrange delivery of humanitarian aid.

INSKEEP: Residents have suffered years of house to house combat. Entire neighborhoods are wrecked on this battlefield of Syria's civil war.

GREENE: That ruined city looks different in the memory of Orwa Nyrabia.

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Latin America
4:27 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Michoacan Vigilante Groups Collaborate With Mexican Government

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:58 am

The Mexican government has a new plan to control heavily armed vigilante groups fighting back against drug cartels. The government announced this week it is making the militias a legitimate part of the country's security forces and will allow them to help police the countryside.

The Salt
3:18 am
Fri January 31, 2014

For A Twist On The Lunar New Year Dumpling, Add Green Tea

Ying Compestine's green tea-steamed shrimp dumplings.
Lucy Schaeffer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 2:32 pm

Friday is New Year's for the millions of people around the world who celebrate the Lunar New Year. This year is the Year of the Horse.

On Morning Edition, Ying Compestine, a cookbook and children's book author, talks about her favorite dish for the holiday: steamed dumplings infused with green tea. They appear in her most recent book, Cooking with an Asian Accent.

The New Year holidays of Compestine's youth were very austere. She came to the U.S. as a grad student in the 1980s, but she grew up in Maoist China.

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Shots - Health News
6:37 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Russia's Love Affair With Vodka Lures Many To An Early Grave

Shoppers check out vodka in a street kiosk in Moscow in 2008.
Alexander Nemenov/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:48 am

Vodka is our enemy, the Russian proverb goes, so we'll utterly consume it. This embrace of the enemy has a lot to do with the country's abysmal life expectancy rates, with one quarter of Russian men dying before age 55. But when the drinkers start cutting back, death rates drop almost immediately, a study finds.

"High mortality absolutely is caused by hazardous alcohol consumption," says Dr. David Zaridze of the Russian Cancer Research Center of Moscow, who with his colleagues tracked Russian drinking habits for a decade.

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Middle East
6:32 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Syrian Opposition Group Treads New Territory In Geneva

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 8:00 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The first round of the Syria peace talks is set to adjourn tomorrow. The opposition delegation is expecting to leave Geneva without progress toward its top goal: a transitional government that ends the tenure of President Bashar al-Assad. The opposition began these talks with a reputation as a fractious and ineffective group.

And NPR's Peter Kenyon reports the delegates have been surprised and pleased to see messages of support beginning to come from inside Syria.

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Middle East
6:32 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Is The U.S. Leaving A Leadership Void In The Middle East?

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 8:00 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. In this part of the program, we're going to address a question that keeps bubbling up in news stories and commentary from the Middle East. It's a question President Obama addressed indirectly in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In a world of complex threats, our security, our leadership, depends on all elements of our power, including strong and principled diplomacy.

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Parallels
4:57 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Report: Syrian Government Has Demolished Entire Neighborhoods

The complete demolition of the Masha' al-Arb'een neighborhood in the Syrian city of Hama. The group Human Rights Watch says the Syrian government army destroyed at least seven neighborhoods since the middle of 2012 because they were opposition strongholds.
DigitalGlobe

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 5:58 pm

As the Syrian government and opposition forces try to make peace in Geneva, the group Human Rights Watch has issued a new report that accuses the regime of demolishing entire neighborhoods that were considered opposition strongholds.

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Parallels
4:28 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Scarlett Johansson's Middle East Flap ... Over Soda

Scarlett Johansson recently became SodaStream's spokeswoman and appeared at an event at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Jan. 10 in New York City. The actress soon found herself engulfed in controversy because of her affiliation with a company that has a factory in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Mike Coppola Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SodaStream

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:55 am

When celebrities get drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, wittingly or not, controversy is sure to follow.

American actress Scarlett Johansson is the latest to discover this ironclad law of Middle East politics. And the issue is soda.

Johansson has for the past eight years been the celebrity representative for Oxfam International, the global aid organization.

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Music
2:53 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

'Spirit Of Family' Unites Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Darren Phillip Jones

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:58 am

For fans of world music, South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo needs no introduction.

The group has been singing a capella together for 50 years, brought together by Joseph Shabalala, a young farmhand turned factory worker from the town of Ladysmith. He had a dream of tight vocal harmonies and messages of peace.

That dream developed, and the band came to the attention of Paul Simon, who had it record "Homeless" on his album Graceland. It introduced the group to the world.

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Shots - Health News
12:29 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Access To Toilets And Books Improves Life For Kids Across The Globe

Palestinian girls read the Koran at a camp in Gaza City, June 2012. In poor countries, boys are 20 percent more likely than girls to enroll in school, UNICEF says.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

The world is in the midst of a porcelain revolution.

Nearly 2 billion people have gained access to clean toilets, or at least a decent outhouse, since 1990, the nonprofit UNICEF reports Thursday.

That rise in sanitation has led to big health improvements, the agency says, because contaminated drinking water is still a major cause of disease and death for children.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

U.S.: Syria Behind Schedule On Dismantling Chemical Stockpile

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 1:05 pm

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says the U.S. is "concerned" that Syria is behind schedule in removing its chemical stockpiles.

Hagel, speaking during a visit to Poland, says Syria "is behind in delivering these chemical weapons precursor materials on time with the schedule that was agreed to."

White House spokesman Jay Carney, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, added: "It is the Assad regime's responsibility to transport those chemicals to facilitate removal. We expect them to meet their obligation to do so."

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Africa
11:41 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Egypt: 'A Very Divided Nation Right Now'

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 2:37 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Today, we want to focus on events in Egypt, which as you probably know, has seen some of the region's most dramatic change since the beginning of the Arab Spring when longtime President Hosni Mubarak agreed to relinquish power.

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Oh Toronto! New Accusation For Mayor And New Charge For Bieber

There was quite a commotion Wednesday night in Toronto when pop star Justin Bieber (center) arrived at a police station to be charged in connection with the alleged assault on a limo driver.
Alex Urosevic Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 10:18 am

Before we start this post, we'll point to one from earlier this week:

Rather Than Joking About Justin Bieber, Watch This Video

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Racing's Michael Schumacher Being Brought Out Of Coma

Michael Schumacher in April 2012.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 2:13 pm

The sedation that put race car legend Michael Schumacher into a medically induced coma after he suffered a serious head injury while skiing in France last month is gradually being reduced "to allow the start of the waking up process," the German driver's manager said Thursday.

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Afghanistan
4:48 am
Thu January 30, 2014

During Speech, Obama Softens Tone On Afghan Pullout

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Obama's State of the Union speech acknowledged the obvious about Afghanistan. The U.S. wants to keep troops in the country after this year but says it won't do that unless President Hamid Karzai signs a new security agreement, so Americans made themselves dependent on Karzai, who has repeatedly put off signing as he prepares to leave office. This week, President Obama said only that the U.S. could still keep troops there if someone signs.

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Africa
4:48 am
Thu January 30, 2014

U.S. Maintains Humanitarian Assistance To South Sudan

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The effort to restore peace in South Sudan included the person we'll hear from next. She's a White House official just returned from peace talks. The problem here involves a feud between the two top politicians in South Sudan. An estimated 10,000 people have died in vicious fighting that broke out six weeks ago. The carnage is all the more shocking, given that the country celebrated its independence in 2011. The United States played a big role in the creation of South Sudan, and has just helped to broker a ceasefire.

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Europe
4:48 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Ukraine Activists Charge Police Beat And Even Kill Protesters

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

Ukraine's parliament tried last night to defuse the country's protests. The parliament offered amnesty for demonstrators who are in jail, but only if the demonstrators who are still free agree to leave buildings they're occupying. Opposition leaders said no. They want unconditional amnesty for those arrested. More important, they want the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych. His government is accused of using both arrests and brutality.

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The Edge
3:31 am
Thu January 30, 2014

'Mariachi Olympic Prince' Takes Glamour To Sochi Ski Slopes

Mexican-born Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, a German prince, plans to ski in style for the Winter Olympics.
Courtesy of Alex Jorio

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 8:38 am

In Sochi, Russia, Hubertus Von Hohenlohe will compete in his sixth Winter Olympics. The 55-year-old downhill skier and German prince won't be skiing under the flag of his royal heritage, however. He'll be with the team of his birthplace, Mexico.

In honor of his Querido Mexico (beloved homeland), Hohenlohe says he will race down the Russian slopes decked out in a state-of-the-art mariachi ski suit.

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