President Hamid Karzai concluded a visit to the U.S. last week with a meeting and news conference with President Obama, where they announced an accelerated troop withdrawal. In Kabul, the reaction varies. Even though most people in the city seem more focused on shoveling out from the latest snowstorm, some are watching the news.
Following Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to the White House last week, host Rachel Martin talks with Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. Khalilzad says Karzai achieved some of his objectives, notably an accelerated timeline for Afghan forces to take the lead in security operations.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has renewed an effort to enact gun control measures. And some lawmakers who previously opposed additional gun laws have reversed position due to the shooting in Connecticut. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, who recently announced that he would support new gun control after long opposing such measures.
Host Rachel Martin talks with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal says success in Afghanistan will be defined not by the United States, but by Afghans themselves.
The uprising in Syria is hardly the peaceful protest movement it was when it first started, nearly two years ago. But still, Syrian activists bent on building a democratic society are doing their part to keep the dream alive, even though many of them are now in exile. (This story initially aired on Jan. 8, 2013 on All Things Considered.)
Washington Post book critic Ron Charles was surprised and gratified to find himself on the shortlist of a literary website's award for "Hatchet Job of the Year." The award goes to the harshest, funniest, most trenchant book review of 2012.
Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 1:16 pm
An Egyptian court overturned a life sentence against ousted President Hosni Mubarak and ordered a retrial for the former autocrat.
The decision to retry the strongman who was serving a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of protesters came as no surprise. When the judge overseeing the original case made his ruling last June, he criticized the prosecution for failing to produce concrete evidence against the leadership.
Roya Hakakian's most recent book is Assassins of the Turquoise Palace.
Adolescence is a universally grave hour. Mine was made graver by a revolution in 1979 in my beloved birth country of Iran. The mutiny I felt within had an echo in the world without. On the streets, martial law was in effect. Tehran was burning, bleeding.
A popular American belief holds that the act of writing can somehow save the writer. But having written a couple of books and countless essays, I disagree. What saved me was not writing, but reading.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 8:54 am
He was 14 when he co-authored RSS and later helped found the company that would become the social media website Reddit. Internet activist Aaron Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, authorities said Saturday. He was 26.
Update at 7:42 p.m.: Swartz To Be Remembered For 'Technological Virtuosity':
Actress Ann Dowd won huge praise from critics for her role in the indie movie Compliance. But when it came time to start campaigning for nominations ahead of awards season, Magnolia Pictures — the studio that produced the film — told her they didn't have the budget to lobby the Academy for a best supporting actress award for her.
So Dowd did something exceedingly rare in Hollywood: She started her own campaign.
President Obama spoke about Jeanne Manford in a speech he gave at the annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in 2009. Her son, Morty, was an important figure in New York City's gay community during the turbulent 1970s.
"Soon after the protests at Stonewall 40 years ago, the phone rang in the home of a soft-spoken elementary school teacher named Jeanne Manford," he said. A police officer told her Morty had been arrested.
Tens of thousands of people have downloaded two apps from the Google Play Store that are sparking accusations of racism.
The "Make me Asian" and "Make me Indian" apps allow Android smartphone users to take a picture and superimpose characteristics the developer thinks relate to those ethnic groups. An online petition is urging Google to remove the apps from its store.
The Make me Asian app manipulates pictures to give the subject yellow-tinged skin, narrow eyes, a conical rice-paddy hat and a Fu Manchu mustache taken from a fictional Chinese villain.
As a boy, Christopher Owens was raised by a single mother, a follower of the nomadic religious cult Children of God. They skipped across continents — no telephones, no TV, no outside books — just their tight-knit community of hippie expatriates.
The Children of God taught Owens and the other kids in the cult to sing and play guitar on the street for spare change. That's partially how they supported themselves. It's also how Owens found a way out.
He turned his busking into a one-way ticket to Texas when he was 16.
In 2007, David Goldhill's father, in good overall health, checked into the hospital with a minor case of pneumonia. Within a few days, he developed sepsis, then a wave of secondary infections. A few weeks after entering the hospital and the day after his 83rd birthday, he died.
Some of the worst winter weather in decades is making life even more difficult for the residents of the al-Marj refugee camp. Some Syrians who fled violence and shelling say after living in such harsh conditions, they wish they could go back.
Credit Susannah George / NPR
Oula's sons play in her family's tent at the al-Marj refugee camp in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. A small gas stove in the center of the tent keeps the family warm and boils water for tea.
Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 3:32 pm
Lebanon has had some of the worst winter weather in decades. First, record rainfalls flooded the low-lying part of the country, then ice and show bent trees and blocked roads. The frigid conditions are making it even harsher for Syrian refugees trying to take shelter from the violence in their home country.
The al-Marj refugee camp sits wedged between snow-covered vineyards, a community center and an unfinished warehouse in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, just a 10-minute drive from the Syrian border.
Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 3:15 pm
It was a long road to the Supreme Court. On the way, Justice Sonia Sotomayor faced a diabetes diagnosis, her father's death to alcoholism and her cousin's overdose. For Sotomayor, life began in the Bronx, in tenement housing in a community of Puerto Rican immigrants. She gave NPR exclusive access to a huge suitcase brimming with family photos and tells her story in this multimedia experience.
It's not clear whether a French intelligence agent is dead or alive after a botched rescue attempt in Somalia on Saturday morning. As the AP reports:
"France says the agent, code-name Denis Allex, was killed in the raid, along with a French commando and 17 Islamist militants. But the militant group al-Shabab, which held Allex for more than three years, says it still has Allex and claims to have captured a French soldier."