Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:39 am
When relocating to a new country, it's important to establish routines and traditions. My ritual here in London is spending an hour on the phone with the bank every day.
It's a strange thing about 2014 — we've got one collective foot planted squarely in the 21st century, while the other is stuck in back in the 19-something-or-others.
My email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts don't care whether I'm in Dublin or Dubai. I can jog along the Seine in Paris to the same music on Spotify that I listen to when I'm running along the Willamette River in Portland.
An exceptionally rare flower that is virtually extinct has been stolen from London's Kew Gardens, in a crime that experts say could be the work of an obsessed collector. British newspapers say that stealing the precious Nymphaea thermarum water lily "is like an old master theft."
The trial of four men accused of killing Rafik Hariri and 22 others began Thursday in Leidschendam, Netherlands, on Thursday nearly nine years after the former Lebanese prime minister was assassinated by a massive car bomb in Beirut.
Speaking outside the court, Hariri's son, Saad Hariri, who has also served as a prime minister, said his presence and those of family members is "proof that our stance, since the first moment, and every moment, was and will continue to be: seeking justice, not revenge, punishment and not vengeance."
Paul Lo spent part of his childhood in a refugee camp in Thailand. Now he has been appointed as a judge on the Merced County Superior Court in California. That reportedly makes him the first Hmong-American judge in U.S. history. Host Michel Martin speaks with Lo about his unusual path to the bench.
Teju Cole's novel Open City may have won him critical acclaim and many fans, but that doesn't mean he can stop thinking about how to connect with his readers. "I actually do have to work hard for whatever attention my work gets," Cole tells NPR's Michel Martin.
And he is using unconventional methods to get that attention.
After a recent, "much needed break from the hectic environment that Twitter sometimes can be," his 120,000-plus followers noticed some activity on his feed.
The U.S. Marine Corps "is attempting to determine the authenticity of photos published by TMZ.com that the entertainment website says show Marines appearing to burn bodies of dead Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah in 2004," The Associated Press reports.
Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:18 pm
Liquor companies like to make drinkers think their favorite spirits always have been and always will be attached to a very particular place — Kentucky bourbon, Irish whiskey, Russian vodka.
But like many other industries, the liquor business has gone global, and a small number of players increasingly dominate the industry worldwide. The distilling may still be local, but ownership is definitely international.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
The warring parties in Syria are one week away from a peace conference. Rebels have been fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Rebels have also been fighting rebels. Syria's political opposition is fractured over attending the peace conference at all, raising the prospect that Assad may come out on top.
It was one of the most stunning disasters of the last decade. The day after Christmas 2004, the Asian Tsunami killed nearly a quarter of a million people. Most of them, more than 175,000, died in the Indonesia's Aceh Province.
In the two years following that utter devastation, reporter Michael Sullivan spent time with several people, tracking, for MORNING EDITION, their recovery from the disaster. And he returned again, a few weeks ago.
When German farmers and activists descended upon Chancellor Angela Merkel's office building Wednesday morning, they brought along some special guests — 17 pigs. The stunt was the latest European backlash against a proposed free trade deal with the U.S. that could lift restrictions on American meat sold in Europe.
Under the watchful eye of German police officers, the pigs munched happily on straw strewn across the pavement to keep the herd from running amok.
The prime minster of Thailand says she plans to go ahead with next month's elections, despite opposition protests that have blocked much of the center of Bangkok. The anti-government demonstrators want the current, caretaker prime minister to step down, to be replaced with an unelected "people's council". The political turmoil is also impacting the local economy.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:44 pm
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Human rights advocates in Nigeria are reporting that dozens of gay men have been arrested under a new law that makes homosexual clubs or associations illegal. That law also criminalizes same-sex marriage. Gay men who have been arrested have reportedly been tortured into giving up the names of others. Michelle Faul with the Associated Press has been writing about this and she joins us now from Lagos.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:50 pm
Despite a $7 billion effort to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan, poppy cultivation there is at its highest level since the U.S. invasion more than a decade ago, sparking corruption, criminal gangs and providing the insurgency with hard cash, says John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.
In testimony before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, he warns Wednesday that Afghanistan could degenerate into a narco-criminal state.
Centuries before the U.S. was colonized, the British were handing down estates and titles from father to son. Never from mother to daughter.
Then came the royal pregnancy last year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, had a boy, George. But before the prince was born and his sex known, Parliament changed British law so a first-born girl could inherit the throne. And a group of female aristocrats began fighting to apply the principle more broadly.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:50 pm
Several donor nations have each pledged tens of millions of dollars for civilians affected by Syria's civil war.
The pledges, including $500 million from Kuwait and $380 million from the U.S., came Wednesday at the start of a conference in Kuwait City to raise money for the humanitarian suffering caused by the more than two years of fighting. The U.N. wants $6.5 billion for the effort to assist Syrian refugees. It's the largest-ever appeal for a single crisis.