Bangladesh's parliamentary election Sunday proved to be among the most violent vote in the country's short history. At least 18 people were killed, including an election officer who was beaten to death, and scores of polling stations firebombed, according to local media reports.
Switching gears now. Unemployment for young people is another one of those contentious political issues as well as a burden for people living through it. Overall, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is just over 7 percent, but for younger workers it's much higher. For some young workers or would-be workers in sub-groups like black teens, unemployment is at depression levels. But what you might not know is that youth unemployment is a global concern.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, high unemployment in the U.S. is an ongoing political issue - one reason lawmakers right now are starting to talk about extending long-term unemployment benefits. But younger workers have been particularly hard hit during the world-wide economic slowdown. We're going to take a look how youth unemployment around the world is affecting political discussions. That's in just a few minutes.
One of the challenges of writing about China is the country moves fast — sometimes faster than the publishing business. Take Enigma of China, the latest detective novel by Chinese-American author Qiu Xiaolong.
In one scene, Qiu's main character, Inspector Chen, sits in a Shanghai restaurant scanning a hotel where government agents are holding a corrupt official in secret detention.
Recently, Qiu took me on a tour of the book's real-life settings, including the site of that eatery.
In Syria, militias linked to al-Qaida have taken the lead in the fight against the Assad government. In Iraq, they've caused a wave of violence including bombings against civilians and attacks on government forces.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has commissioned a series of polls to see who Afghans favor in the April election. But between security challenges and "social desirability" biases, it can be difficult to impossible to get a clear read of the Afghan people.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. Secretary of State John Kerry spent much of last week in the Mideast, where he tried to push Israeli and Palestinian leaders towards a peace agreement. Yesterday he flew to Saudi Arabia and Jordan to update the monarchs of those countries on the progress of the talks. But as NPR's Emily Harris reports, if there has indeed been progress, it remains under wraps.
Here's the name of a government office that caught our attention: The Vice Ministry for the Supreme Social Happiness of the People. This is a newly created office in Venezuela, where government bureaucracy sure seems to be growing. John Otis tells us more.
On the train, in the park, on the famed medieval Plaza Mayor — the Spanish capital of Madrid is famous for its street performers.
And with more than a quarter of Spaniards out of work, more people than ever before have been crisscrossing the city with their violins and voices, for extra cash. People squeeze giant accordions onto the metro, and roll amplifiers on carts across cobblestones.
The street performers are a tourist attraction. But Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, says the clamor has reached its limit.
"Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck."
That message, signed "3301," appeared on the underground message board known as 4chan two years ago. It was mysterious, cryptic and sparked a global Internet mystery that has yet to be answered to this day.
Sao Paulo holds the title of the biggest city in Latin America, with an estimated 22 million people in its metropolitan area. But when it comes to local, organic food, the pickings are pretty slim: The city has just 20 organic farmers' markets.
That's according to Dr. Zeev Rotstein, the head of the Chaim Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv where Sharon is being treated.
At a news conference this weekend, Rotstein said Sharon's condition was still critical, and that his organs weren't functioning. But, he added, doctors had stabilized the former leader's blood pressure and pulse.