In rebel-held parts of Syria, a clash of ideologies is playing out. Powerful Islamist brigades are competing with pro-democracy civilians to shape Syria's future.
One battlefront is in the courts. In many areas in northern Syria, Islamists have set up religious courts that deliver rulings under Shariah, or Islamic law — a fundamental change in Syria's civil legal system.
This is evident on a recent day in a courtroom in the northern Syrian city of Azaz.
The U.S. and other countries have hesitated to help arm the rebel groups in Syria, mainly arguing that they don't want those weapons falling into the wrong hands. After nearly two years of fighting in Syria, the number of rebel groups has spiraled into the hundreds. Now, France and Britain are calling for an emergency European Union meeting to end the arms embargo from allied nations to Syria's rebel groups.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Argentina's Dirty War in the late 1970s and early 1980s was a dark time for both the country and the Roman Catholic Church. Thousands were kidnapped or killed by the military junta in a campaign to crush leftist opposition to the government.
Melissa Block speaks with John Connaughton, a 36-year-old American seminarian studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, about what it's like to witness the transition of popes firsthand.
Saint Francis of Assisi is the namesake of the new pope, Francis. To learn about the life of Saint Francis and his legacy in the Catholic Church, Melissa Block talks with with Father Jeremy Harrington. He's guardian of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.
Convicted murderer Gary Haugen has spent more than 30 years in prison; he's been on death row since 2007. And if he had his way, he would schedule his execution tomorrow. But in an unusual case, the Oregon Supreme Court must decide whether Haugen, who has waived his right to appeal, can die — or if Gov. John Kitzhaber's reprieve of Haugen should stand.
It was a short comment stuck in the middle of a 13-second item in a 10 a.m. hourly newscast. The editor said the purpose was to give a break to the intensive coverage of the search for a new Roman Catholic pope, who had not yet been selected, by giving attention to another of the world's great religions, Hinduism.
Many Hindus, however, were neither appreciative nor amused.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 10:43 am
In the buildup to the climax of Brad Anderson's The Call, a character discovers what the film's villain has been doing with all the teenage girls he's been kidnapping and killing. It's a grisly revelation, and it's played for shock value — both for the audience and for the character making the discovery.
There's only one problem: Early in the film, the body of one of these girls is recovered. So the details of the killer's M.O. shouldn't come as any shock whatsoever to the character that discovers his lair.
There are some funny bits and characters around the edges of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but its core is empty of humor. In fact, this purported satire of Las Vegas magicians is a three-void circus: the script, the central character and the main performance.
The committee-written screenplay begins with the premise that, 20 years after the illusion-busting Penn and Teller set up in Vegas, there could still be a market for a pair of old-school tricksters who call themselves Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton.
Once known as the most beautiful avenue in the world, the Champs Elysees is changing. Some Parisians fear it's starting to look like any American shopping mall as high rents and global chains steadily alter its appearance.
"We just try to keep a sort of diversity on the Champs Elysees, with the cinemas, with restaurants, with cafes and shops," says Deputy Mayor Lynn Cohen-Solal. "We don't think the laws of the natural market, the free market, make for a good Champs Elysees."
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 4:55 pm
My recent post on use of the world "elderly" struck a nerve among many in the over-60 set. Three of the responses were particularly eloquent and with very different views. One offers a French lesson from Quebec, another sees answers in her old pottery and the third is from a certain cantankerous Morning Edition sports commentator and prolific author who says we should all grow up.
There's always the temptation of heading to an Irish pub, grabbing a pint of Guinness and chowing down on some cabbage and potatoes when March 17 rolls around.
However, there's much more to Irish cuisine than that, says Rachel Allen, a well-known TV chef in Ireland who is appreciated for her simple, doable recipes that champion the country's fresh produce, meats and seafood.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 5:19 pm
As you probably know, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on Big Sugary Drinks Over 16 Ounces was supposed to go into effect this week. But a judge invalidated the ban on Monday, a move applauded by restaurant owners, theater owners, and anyone who likes nothing more on a hot summer day than a refreshing bathtub full of ice-cold Coca-Cola.
For his uncompromising and serious music, the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival was eager to present Charles Lloyd. He could bring any group he wanted, they told him. Lloyd said yes, and that he would bring Sangam, an East-West trio with one CD and few performances on the schedule. It was a coup!
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 3:24 pm
As the sun rose over Latin America this morning, we're getting a clearer picture of how Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — was viewed in his home of Argentina and what the first pope from the New World could mean for the continent.
We've read through dozens of news outlets from the region to bring you highlights: