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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twenty people were referred to criminal court in Egypt today, among them three Al-Jazeera English journalists who have been in prison since Dec. 29. The charges are chilling.
Egyptian authorities say Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy was running a terrorist cell out of a swank hotel in the upscale district of Zamalek. He was aided by four foreigners, according to the charges.
It took four years in a prison cell for Palestinian Abdel Hamid el-Rajoub to decide to work as an Israeli informant. Not that he ever planned it that way. Rajoub is in his 60s now. He grew up in a Palestinian village near Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He says he was 19, an emotional young man, when he got involved in fighting Israel.
"It was my right," he says, "to fight Israel and the occupation."
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
The ongoing Syrian peace talks in Geneva have raised hopes for humanitarian relief in cities, towns, and villages across the country that are under siege by government or rebel forces. And no place is more in need than the central city of Homs, whose residents were among the first to rise up against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 10:46 am
Saying Edward Snowden has "contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order" by exposing U.S. surveillance practices and forcing a new debate over security and privacy, two Norwegian politicians nominated the former intelligence contractor for the Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday.
If he were to win the award, Snowden, who gave a trove of classified documents to media outlets last summer, would join the ranks of popular Nobel Peace laureates such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.
Neanderthals died out long ago, but their genes live on in us. Scientists studying human chromosomes say they've discovered a surprising amount of Neanderthal DNA in our genes. And these aren't just random fragments; they help shape what we look like today, including our hair and skin.
These genes crept into our DNA tens of thousands of years ago, during occasional sexual encounters between Neanderthals and human ancestors who lived in Europe at the time. They show up today in their descendants, people of European and Asian descent.
Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 4:32 pm
I bought Francisco Lima his first taste of freedom in decades.
It was 2004, and Brazil was starting to confront one of its most distressing problems: slavery. I was in northern Pará state, in the Amazon, observing a special police unit that raided slaveholding farms and firms and liberated workers like the 74-year-old Lima.
A Hong Kong real estate tycoon made headlines two years ago when he offered a $65 million bounty to the man who could win his daughter's heart and marry her. In an open letter today, the daughter says she hopes he can accept that she is indeed a lesbian.
Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 11:10 am
You think 21st century foodies will go to great lengths for a culinary thrill? (Lion meat, anyone?) Turns out, they've got nothing on 18th century English royals.
Frogs, puffins, boar's head and larks and other songbirds were all fair game for the dinner table of England's King George II, judging by a chronicle of daily meals served to his majesty and his wife, Queen Caroline.
Some other news now. One if the longest-term inmates of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp has had a parole hearing yesterday. He's a man from Yemen, allegedly a former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden. Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald was among the reporters allowed to see a portion of parole hearing on a video screen.
CAROL ROSENBERG: We saw Abdul Malik Wahab al Rahabi, a man who arrived on the day that Guantanamo Prison opened, sitting at a table while his advocates made an argument that he should be allowed to someday go home.
A heart-rending moment came towards the end of President Obama's State of the Union Address last night, when he spoke of an Army Ranger who was grievously wounded in Afghanistan. Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg was on his 10th combat tour when he was hit by a massive roadside bomb. He spent months in a coma and endured many surgeries, but was able to be in the audience between his father and First Lady Michele Obama for the president's speech.
Scientists have reconstructed the genetic code of a strain of bacteria that caused one of the most deadly pandemics in history nearly 1,500 years ago.
They did it by finding the skeletons of people killed by the plague and extracting DNA from traces of blood inside their teeth.
This plague struck in the year 541, under the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian, so it's usually called the Justinian plague. The emperor actually got sick himself but recovered. He was one of the lucky ones.