Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. For those who believes selfies are a force of evil, here's confirmation. Darth Vader just posted on Instagram a photo of his face - that is, his iconic black helmet - with the tag GPOM for Gratuitous Portrait Of Myself. The selfie launched the Star Wars Instagram account - a marketing effort by Disney - two full years before the next sequel. It's a pretty good shot, though we have to say a little on the dark side. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am
You love lists. We love lists. Everyone loves lists. And in the past five years, NPR has brought you more than 80 year-end book lists — the best book club books, the best cookbooks, the best gift books, the best guilty pleasures. We listed. You clicked. Everyone was happy.
Let's turn now to the Middle East. In the Gaza Strip, it makes for good news that sewage is no longer flooding the streets. The sewage was one byproduct of an ongoing power shortage that seems to be easing, although just slightly. Hospitals and government offices should soon get electricity for more than the few hours a day, which has been the norm for weeks now.
NPR's Emily Harris reports that people expect, though, that they will still be cooking on open fires until Palestinian leaders mend a political split.
Bangladesh is the cheapest place in the world to make a T-shirt. But this month, the minimum wage there will rise from $39 a month to $68 a month. That's got some factory owners nervous about whether Western retailers there will pull out. Our Planet Money team examines the future of the garment industry in Bangladesh.
Thousands of protesters in Ukraine continue to occupy Kiev's Maidan square and to prevent the government from functioning after President Victor Yanukovich refused to allow the country to strengthen trade ties with the European Union. Ukraine is under intense Russian pressure to continue aligning itself with a customs union comprising countries of the former Soviet Union.
The nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers will face its first test this weekend. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are due to make a long-delayed visit to a nuclear site in Iran where plutonium could be produced.
A nuclear reactor and associated production plant in Arak are a special concern because plutonium can be used in a nuclear bomb. Under last month's accord, Iran promised to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities.
Officials on both sides say they are committed to the nuclear deal, but keeping it on track will be a challenge.
In 2000, Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. He spent 12 years in England getting educated and becoming a documentary filmmaker.
Last year, he gave up life in the West and returned home to southern Helmand province. Now, he's the father of twins and he's working in a rural government office while trying to readjust to life in a conservative society that he finds dysfunctional.
Just about every Mustang owner has a story about how their love affair with the car began.
Laura Slider's story began the day a red Mustang appeared in the driveway across the street.
"I've wanted one ever since I was 15," she says. "It was owned by a very cute boy that I liked. And then we rode in it and it was very fast and sporty and fun and pretty, and I thought, I want one someday."
Now, decades later, she has one. And, yes, it's red.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:44 pm
The editor-in-chief of The Guardian, which has turned leaks from Edward Snowden into a seemingly endless series of exposes concerning U.S. electronic surveillance activities, says the newspaper has published just 1 percent of what it's received from the former NSA contractor.
In testimony before Britain's Parliament, Alan Rusbridger told lawmakers that about 58,000 files obtained from Snowden, or "about 1 percent," had been used by the paper for its stories. However, he added: "I would not expect us to be publishing a huge amount more."
The U.S. and other major powers have been holding historic negotiations with Iran to try to curb that country's nuclear program. But Washington still has many other concerns about Iranian behavior. And while some diplomats may hope to build on the nuclear talks to push Iran to play a more constructive role in the region, experts remain skeptical.
Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says there are a couple of ways to look at the negotiations with Iran.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:30 am
Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday:
Federal investigators in New York announced late Tuesday that they had removed the rail employees union, the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, as a participant in the investigation. According to The Associated Press, investigators cited a breach of confidentiality after Anthony Bottalico, leader of the union, spoke to the media concerning comments train engineer William Rockefeller had made about what happened moments before Sunday's derailment.
A former star dancer with Russia's Bolshoi ballet was sentenced today to six years in a penal colony for ordering an attack on the ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin, an attack that left him nearly blind. Also sentenced were the man who admitted he threw sulfuric acid on Filin and the accused driver of the getaway car. It's a story that's exposed a deeply troubling side of the legendary ballet company. Andrew Roth is following the story for the New York Times. He joins me now from Moscow. Andrew, welcome to the program.
Americans see U.S. power in the world declining. That is the key finding of a survey by the Pew Research Center. It also finds that most Americans think the U.S. should be engaged in the global economy, but ought to concentrate on solving domestic problems. Michael Dimock is here to talk about this poll. He's the director of the Pew Research Center. Good to see you again.
MICHAEL DIMOCK: Hi, Robert.
SIEGEL: And first, how many Americans say the U.S. role is declining and how significant a number is that?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Vice President Joe Biden is in Tokyo today. He's there to reemphasize American support for Japan as it tangles with China over contested air space. China unnerved its neighbors late last month by declaring an air identification defense zone. The zone covers disputed islands in the East China Sea. NPR's Frank Langfitt has more from Shanghai on what's behind China's latest move.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:18 pm
Video has emerged of the dramatic rescue in May of a cook aboard a sunken Nigerian tugboat. The man survived at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for three days by breathing from an ever-dwindling pocket of trapped air and sipping on Coca-Cola.
Divers from a South African team expecting to find only bodies were stunned to locate Harrison Okene alive inside the sunken vessel on May 23. The video of the rescue was posted on YouTube on Monday and has quickly gone viral.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 8:17 am
Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was not poisoned, French investigators have concluded.
After the results of the long-running investigation started to leak, Arafat's wife, Suha Arafat, told reporters in London that French scientists had ruled out the possibility that Arafat was poisoned with polonium-210.
Case settled? Not quite. This piece of news just means that the three teams tasked with the investigation have come to three different conclusions: