World

Parallels
3:25 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Facing Big Changes, Anxious Afghans Hope For The Best In 2014

Women walk along on the street in Kabul, Afghanistan, last week. The country faces many changes next year, including a presidential election and the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces. There are also concerns that advances made by women over the past decade could be in jeopardy.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 9:27 am

To many Afghans, 2014 is more than a year — it's a sword of Damocles hanging over the fragile nation. It's the year the country will elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai and the U.S.-led military mission will end. Many fear that will open the door to chaos.

But on a chilly winter day in Kabul, it's still business as usual in the city center.

In a stationary market, you can still buy calendars for this year — the year 1392. Afghanistan uses the Persian solar calendar, and in March the year 1393 begins.

Read more
Planet Money
4:51 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

The Tragic Number That Got Us All Talking About Our Clothing

A Bangladeshi worker participates in a protest outside a garment factory in Dhaka.
A.M. Ahad AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:31 pm

1,134 is the official government death toll of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. The building, which collapsed in April, was home to five garment factories.

Read more
Parallels
4:50 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Syria's War Creates A Demand For Artificial Legs

A staff member at the clinic in southern Turkey works on a prosthetic leg that will be given to a victim of Syria's civil war.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 8:53 am

In a clinic in southern Turkey, Mohammed Ibrahim helps 23-year-old Syrian Mustapha Abu Bakr take his first steps since he lost his legs, holding on to a set of bars for balance.

"He can't express his feelings," Ibrahim says. "It's a new thing completely for him."

Ibrahim explains that patients who have lost a leg below the knee can walk out of the clinic without crutches after a day of practice. For double amputees like Abu Bakr, who was injured in Syria's civil war, the adjustment takes more time.

Read more
Parallels
4:36 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Venezualan Flights Are Dirt Cheap ... If You Can Get A Ticket

At the official rate, 1 U.S. dollar is worth 6.3 Venezuelan bolivars. But in a country with runaway inflation, the black market rate is about 60 bolivars to the dollar. This has made airfares extremely cheap for those using currency acquired on the black market.
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:35 pm

Reporter John Otis was looking for a flight to Venezuela. That may sound like a simple task, but air travel to and from that Latin American country turns out to be extremely complicated these days. Here's his story.

A direct flight from my home in Bogotá, Colombia, to Caracas, Venezuela, takes about 90 minutes. But when I tried to buy a ticket recently, none were available. I was offered a flight with an overnight stop in Miami, but that would have cost $5,000.

Read more
Middle East
4:36 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

In Gas-Rich And Fast-Growing Qatar, A Focus On Food Security

The Gulf nation of Qatar has nearly depleted its groundwater, and will increasingly need to import food. Some farms still operates on ground water, but in the long haul, Qatar is counting on desalination and using money to import food.

The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Thai Government Says It Won't Postpone Parliamentary Elections

Anti-government protesters flee from tear gas sprayed by police in Bangkok on Thursday.
Kyodo /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 4:04 pm

Thailand's government has rejected a call from the country's Election Commission to delay a February vote to choose a new parliament, as protesters opposed to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra increasingly resort to violence to disrupt the polls.

Anti-government demonstrations have been going on for weeks as "yellow shirt" protesters — most drawn from the ranks of Thailand's urban middle class — have sought to oust Yingluck, whose government was elected in a 2011 landslide, mostly with support from the country's poorer, rural farming communities.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:45 am
Thu December 26, 2013

American Kidnapped By Al-Qaida In Pakistan Seen In Video

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 12:41 pm

An American development worker and Peace Corps veteran who was kidnapped more than two years ago from his home in Pakistan by men claiming to be affiliated with al-Qaida, asks President Obama in a newly released video "to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release."

Warren Weinstein, 72, is also heard saying he feels "totally abandoned and forgotten."

According to The Associated Press:

Read more
Africa
10:21 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Revealing The Sometimes Ugly Truth Of Nigeria

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 7:16 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Read more
The Two-Way
9:18 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Greenpeace Activists Start Getting Visas To Leave Russia

In St. Petersburg on Thursday, Greenpeace International activist Anthony Perrett, a British citizen, showed the Russian transit visa that's now in his passport.
Olga Maltseva AFP/Getty Images

The next step has been taken in what some observers say is Russian President Vladimir Putin's bid to burnish his country's reputation before February's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi:

Read more
The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Japan's Abe May Have Hoped To Anger Others With Shrine Visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, follows a Shinto priest during his visit to the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on Thursday.
Franck Robichon EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:01 am

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe surely knew that his visit Thursday to a Shinto shrine honoring Japan's dead from World War II would be followed by protests from China and South Korea.

Read more
Business
4:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

The Secret Protectionism Buried Inside NAFTA

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now NPR's Zoe Chase, from our Planet Money Team, reminds us about one industry that played a big role in NAFTA's passage: men's underwear.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Now you're used to the labels: made in Mexico, made in China, made in Bangladesh. But back in the '80s, when they were first talking about NAFTA, about half of American clothing was made in America, by people like this.

BERTHA MARR: Graduated from the eighth grade, then went straight on in to working at Fruit of the Loom.

Read more
Business
4:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Wave Of Illegal Immigrants Gains Speed After NAFTA

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

The North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, turns 20 next week. Hailed as a boon for regional trade, it had some undesirable effects. It hastened a trend away from small farmers, and speeded illegal immigration to the U.S.

Business
4:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Frustrated Documentary Maker Opens Cafe In West Bank

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 8:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, economic growth has been slowing this year. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed an ambitious plan to lure large-scale foreign investment. But details of his plan remain under wraps. Small businesses make up the vast majority of companies in the West Bank.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Emily Harris has this profiles of one new one.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Before opening a cafe, Palestinian Tariq el-Ayyan worked on documentary films.

Read more
Business
4:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Pacific Northwest Suffers After China Bans Shellfish Imports

A geoduck farm near Totten Inlet, Washington.
KBCS/Bellvue/Seattle/Flickr

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:23 am

China has closed its doors to all shellfish imports from an area that stretches from northern California to Alaska. The state of Washington says it's losing as much as $600,000 a week.

Among the shellfish not being harvested is the geoduck, a long-necked clam that can fetch up to $150 per pound in China. It's a major export for the Pacific Northwest.

Read more
Author Interviews
4:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Shavit's 'My Promised Land Examines Israel's Complexities

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 8:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Recently my colleague Steve Inskeep heard an Israeli journalist give a talk. The journalist said that people in Israel had over the past few decades forgotten their nation's narrative.

ARI SHAVIT: We've lost this basic understanding that we are the ultimate victims of the 20th century. We are the ultimate victims of Europe. And Israel, with all its flaws, is a remarkable project of life-saving of a nation that was facing extinction and took its own fate in its own hands and tried to save itself and in many ways succeeded.

Read more
The Salt
3:18 am
Thu December 26, 2013

More People Have More To Eat, But It's Not All Good News

The Brazilian agricultural sector exported for a value of $94,590 million in 2011. One of its largest exports is soybeans, like these in Cascavel, Parana.
Werner Rudhart DPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:03 am

Among the things to celebrate this holiday season is the fact that there are fewer hungry people in the world. Just how many? Well, since 1965, researchers in Europe have been tracking the world's food supply and where it's going.

The good news is: The percentage of the world's population getting what the researchers say is a sufficient diet has grown from 30 percent to 61 percent.

Read more
World
4:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Christmas Messages From Around The World

Leaders and notable figures across the world offered up Christmas messages Wednesday. We hear holiday greetings from Pope Francis, President Obama and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Parallels
4:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Instead Of Sending Students Abroad, Qatar Imports U.S. Colleges

A man walks along a pathway at the Texas A&M University campus in Doha, Qatar.
Osama Faisal AP

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 10:53 pm

In Qatar's rapid race to modernity, the emirate has created a distinctive approach to educating its young: It has effectively imported a host of American universities.

Dr. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, a member of Qatar's ruling family, sits on the Supreme Education Council and owns a few independent schools. For her own children, she wanted a top-flight college education. Her sons were educated in Britain.

Read more
Middle East
4:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Turkish Leaders Resign In Anti-Graft Probe, Erdogan Claims Conspiracy

Three government ministers in Turkey have resigned in a corruption scandal. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the anti-graft investigation as part of an international conspiracy. For more on the political developments, Robert Siegel speaks with Turkish columnist and television commentator Astli Aydintasbas.

Africa
4:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Clashes Continue In South Sudan Despite Calls For Cease-Fire

South Sudanese troops have retaken the flashpoint town of Bor, north of the capital Juba.
James Akena Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:41 am

It was a somber Christmas day in South Sudan. Despite an appeal for a Christmas cease-fire from the African Union, government soldiers and rebels clashed in an oil-rich part of the country.

At a church in the capital of Juba, President Salva Kiir called for peace and unity. Even the leader's choice of clothing — traditional robes instead of army fatigues — seemed to signal that he wants to move past the violence.

Read more

Pages