It really wasn't that many years ago, the 1990s, when a power struggle waged by warlords in Afghanistan ended up bringing the Taliban to power in that country. Journalist Mujib Mashal was just a boy when the Taliban marched into Kabul. And in the January issue of Harpers he writes about one of the more memorable characters in that repressive regime: The Minister of Intelligence.
Human rights officials say the Syrian civil war is creating Europe's biggest refugee crisis in decades, but that countries across the continent are doing little about it.
Most European nations are refusing to take in Syrian refugees, choosing instead to send money to the United Nations and other international agencies. The few EU countries like Germany that are welcoming Syrians only offer refuge to a few thousand out of the more than 2 million Syrians who have fled their homeland.
But the cool reception isn't stopping Syrians from risking their lives to get to Europe.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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Now to Brazil and reports of beheadings, murder, and rape at a prison in the north of the country. The United Nations has called for an investigation after a graphic video surfaced from inside the jail.
For the first time in two millennia, wild horses are once again galloping free in western Spain, countering what happened when the Romans moved there and domesticated the animals.
Four-dozen Retuerta horses have been released into the wild in western Spain over the past two years as part of a project by Rewilding Europe, a nonprofit group that seeks to turn the loss of rural farming life into an opportunity to boost biodiversity.
A new study of volcanic rocks suggests that an ancient mural may indeed depict an erupting volcano, adding new weight to a theory that this image is a contender for the world's oldest known landscape painting or map.
As we just heard from Peter, one of the most talked about figures in Turkish politics is the Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gulen. He's said to wield great influence in Turkey, especially among police and prosecutors. This, despite his self-imposed exile. He lives in a compound in the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania. Fethullah Gulen doesn't grant a lot of interviews. His aides cite his poor health. But he occasionally does receive an inquiring journalist.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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In Turkey, a widespread corruption scandal appears to be forcing an odd alliance. On one side is the prime minister, a conservative Muslim. On the other are members of the secular military establishment. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, Turkey's leader has done the political equivalent of a 180. He's defending generals who were imprisoned on his watch, while denouncing his own prosecutors.
The relationship between the world's biggest two democracies is under strain over an incident involving a low-ranking diplomat. U.S. prosecutors are preparing to indict a government representative from India. She's accused of lying on a visa application for her housekeeper. That indictment and the diplomat's treatment by American authorities have ignited a furious response in India. And the Indian government is retaliating.
Reports from the Syrian city of Raqqa are dire. In the north-central provincial capital, "the atmosphere has gone from bad to worse," says one activist with a rare link to the Internet. He reports the city is "completely paralyzed," the hospital is abandoned, and there are bodies in the central square. There is no power or water for a city of more than half a million people. Even the critical bread ovens are shut.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:09 pm
German Chancellor Angela Merkel accepted an invitation Wednesday from President Obama to visit the U.S., just months after relations between the two allies hit a low following revelations the U.S. was spying on Merkel and other world leaders.
Obama made the invitation during a conversation Wednesday with the German chancellor. Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, said the visit would occur in the next few months.
For five years, a multibillion-dollar expansion has been underway on the Panama Canal so that ships three times the current size can pass through the vital waterway. The new, wider canal will alter global trade routes and dramatically increase revenue for Panama's government, primarily from toll charges.
The expansion is more than two-thirds done, but now a funding dispute between the builders and the canal operators threatens to bring construction to a halt.