World

The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Chinese Paper Makes Unprecedented Plea For Reporter's Release

A woman reads the New Express newspaper with Wednesday's headline: "Please Release Him."
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:55 pm

"Please Release Him."

That was the simple but startling front-page headline on Wednesday in New Express, a cutting-edge newspaper based in China's southern city of Guangzhou. "Him" is Chen Yongzhou, one of the paper's investigative journalists who New Express says was taken away by police after reporting "problems with the accounts" at Zoomlion Heavy Industries."

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Parallels
12:14 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

5 Things To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Activities

Massive government surveillance of Americans' phone and Internet activity is drawing protests from civil liberties groups, but major legal obstacles stand in the way of any full-blown court hearing on the practice. Among them: government claims that national security secrets will be revealed if the cases are allowed to proceed.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 1:47 pm

It's hard to keep track of all the leaks by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Iran Minister: Man Who Survived Hanging Shouldn't Be Executed

A blindfolded man convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping and the slaying of two policemen awaits execution in Tehran in 2011.
Mohammad Hadi Khosravi AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 4:23 pm

Iran's justice minister says a convicted drug smuggler who survived an attempted execution by hanging earlier this month shouldn't go back to the gallows.

As we reported last week, the 37-year-old man, identified as Alireza M, was found alive in the morgue by his family following a 12-minute hanging. After the incident, an Iranian judge reportedly said Alireza would hang again once he had recovered from the botched execution.

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U.S.
11:49 am
Wed October 23, 2013

What Latinos Want From Immigration Reform

President Obama recently announced that he would be turning his attention to immigration reform. But what's a realistic expectation, and what are immigrant communities really hoping for? Host Michel Martin talks with Fernando Espuelas of Univision, and Eduardo De Souza, a soccer coach at Longwood University.

The Two-Way
11:10 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Norwegian Town's Bright Idea Is A Shining Example Of Ingenuity

People gathered on a spot in front of the town hall of Rjukan, Norway, last week, where mirrors have focused sunlight.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 2:22 pm

Archimedes would be proud of the town of Rjukan, Norway. So would Sam Eyde.

Rjukan, home to about 3,500 residents and situated about 70 miles west of the capital, Oslo, has installed a trio of giant mountaintop mirrors to focus light into the valley town's square during the cold (and dark) winter months.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Wed October 23, 2013

'Bishop Of Bling' Suspended By Pope Francis

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.
Fredrik Von Erichsen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 12:17 pm

  • NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome

The "bishop of bling" has been suspended by Pope Francis while the Roman Catholic Church investigates allegations of overspending on renovations at the German cleric's residence and offices.

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Crisis Averted For Now In Australia's Fight Against Fires

"A high-risk gamble by firefighters" has paid off in Australia, says The Sydney Morning Herald.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Top Stories: White House Aide Fired Over Tweets; Facebook Tightens Rules

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 8:46 am

Good morning, here are our early stories:

-- Fired White House Aide Admits He Was Twitter Troll.

-- Facebook Removes Beheading Video, Says It Will Tighten Rules.

And here are more early headlines:

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Parallels
7:53 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Headlines From Around The World

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang talks during a joint news conference with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday.
Peng Sun AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 1:18 pm

We begin with an agreement between the world's most populous and second-most populous countries.

India and China signed an agreement in Beijing on Wednesday on border defense following a military standoff earlier this year in an area they both claim.

Here's more from the official Chinese Xinhua news agency:

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NPR Story
5:19 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Why Is Saudi Arabia Bickering With The U.S.?

Secretary of State John Kerry, shown in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in June, has acknowledged the recent tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, two countries that are normally close allies.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:19 pm

Over the past few weeks, Saudi Arabia has been sending unmistakable diplomatic signals that it is upset with the U.S. and its policies toward Syria and Iran.

The Saudis have canceled a speech at the United Nations and rejected a prestigious seat on the Security Council. They have called in European diplomats in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, so the intelligence chief could tell them he was cutting cooperation with the U.S.

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World
5:19 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Cuba Announces Plans To Change Currency System

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 6:47 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Cuba, President Raul Castro is continuing his uphill effort to revive the economy and overhaul the socialist system he inherited from his brother, Fidel.

Nick Miroff reports from Havana, his latest move is to scrap a dual currency system that made little sense to locals or visitors.

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Shots - Health News
3:12 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Haitian Cholera Strain Spreads To Mexico

A nurse treats a cholera patient at the Juan Pablo Pina Hospital in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, in August. Health officials say that the strain of cholera circulating in the country— the same one that first appeared in Haiti three years ago — has also caused outbreaks in Cuba and now Mexico.
Erika Santelices AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 1:21 pm

A South Asian strain of cholera that was introduced into Haiti three years ago this month has now spread to this continent's mainland.

Mexico is the fourth Western Hemisphere country to experience the cholera outbreak. It's a disease that's very hard to stamp out once it gets into an area with poor water and sanitation.

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Parallels
3:12 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Desperate Chinese Villagers Turn To Self-Immolation

Relatives of He Mengqing walk in front of his house, which the local government has slated for demolition. The rice farmer from Chenzhou in China's Hunan province rejected a government offer of compensation for his land; he set himself on fire when officials came for him.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:07 am

In order to turn China into an urban nation, local governments have demolished tens of millions of homes over the past decade. Homeowners have often fought back, blocking heavy machinery and battling officials.

In recent years, resistance has taken a disturbing turn: Since 2009, at least 53 people across China have lit themselves on fire to protest the destruction of their homes, according to human rights and news reports.

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The Two-Way
6:26 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Company To Offer $75,000 Balloon Rides To 'Near Space'

If you can't afford a trip into orbit as a space tourist aboard a cramped Russian Soyuz capsule (about $35 million) or a reservation on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipOne (price tag: $250,000), World View Enterprises just might have the ticket: a leisurely high-altitude balloon ride for a less-than-stratospheric $75,000.

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Sony Explains Why Its PlayStation 4 Costs $1,845 In Brazil

Sony announced U.S. and European prices for its new PlayStation 4 at a news conference this summer. The game system will cost some $1,845 in Brazil, angering fans.
Eric Thayer Getty Images

Sony's new PlayStation 4 won't be on store shelves until next month, but the gaming console has already raised eyebrows in Brazil, after reports that it would cost 3,999 Brazilian real — or about $1,845 at today's exchange rate.

The company says the steep cost isn't a case of price gouging, but instead a sign of Brazil's heavy taxes and fees on imported electronics.

The game system will be released in the United States on Nov. 15 and in countries including Brazil later that month. Large retailers in the U.S. will offer the PS4 at a base price of around $400.

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World Cafe
5:46 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Don Was On World Cafe

Don Was.
Courtesy of the artist

This week's Sense of Place focus on Detroit calls for a resurrection of the very first installment of a World Cafe series called Producer Profiles. This archived session from 1992 features Don Was. In the profile, Was discusses the work he's done with a number of artists, including Bonnie Raitt (Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw).

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Parallels
5:25 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Paris' Traffic-Cutting Gamble Charms Pedestrians, Irks Drivers

Parisians and tourists sit at a cafe along the Seine River. The mayor of Paris recently closed down a major highway along the river to open it up for pedestrians.
Christophe Morin Landov

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:51 pm

In a daring gamble, the mayor of Paris recently shut off a major vehicle thoroughfare through the city, the highway along the Seine River.

The move is part of his plan to reduce traffic in the city. The new space delighted Parisians and tourists this summer, but many wonder if it'll be such a hot idea during the cold winter months.

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Planet Money
5:14 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

The Most And Least Lucrative College Majors, In 2 Graphs

Highest and Lowest
Quoctrung Bui

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:12 am

Your college major has a bigger effect on your income than where you go to college.

We reported on this story last month, and ran a graph of the most and least lucrative college majors.

But the graph, based on research out of Georgetown, was limited to people who had only a bachelor's degree. People with graduate degrees were excluded from the data.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

IRS Delays Start Of Tax Season Because Of Shutdown

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:59 pm

If you were one of those Americans who just can't wait to file your taxes because you're owed a handsome refund, the Internal Revenue Service has news for you: You're going to have to wait.

The IRS said today that the 16-day federal shutdown means it will delay the start of the 2014 filing season by one to two weeks. The shutdown delayed the updating and testing of some of the IRS' systems.

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Asia
4:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

China Fights Choking Smog With New Regulations

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:13 pm

China's central and local governments are releasing a slew of new regulations aimed at cutting severe air pollution and mitigating its deadly effect on citizens. The seriousness of the problem is obvious in China's northeast, where smog in one city this week cut visibility down to a few yards, and particulate matter soared to 60 times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization.

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