World

Parallels
4:48 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Amid Fighting In Donetsk, On Edge And Seeking Safety Underground

A woman sits inside a bomb shelter in Donetsk on Wednesday. Some local residents have lived in bomb shelters and basements for more than a month, looking for cover from artillery strikes.
Alexander Ermochenko Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 5:00 pm

As war rages in eastern Ukraine, European Union foreign ministers are preparing to meet Thursday to consider drastic new sanctions against Russia.

The EU and the United States say Moscow's troops and weapons are directly involved in an offensive by anti-government militias in Ukraine's eastern provinces.

The offensive is the latest phase in a war that has racked the region since last April — and it's grinding hard on the civilians who are caught in the middle.

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World
4:36 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Israeli Soldiers Killed In Renewed Fighting With Hezbollah

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 5:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
4:36 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Jordan Tests Coalition Against ISIS With Offer To Negotiate

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 5:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
3:34 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Jordan Considers Handing Over Prisoner For Hostage Pilot

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:11 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
2:51 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Where Is All That Excess Oil Going?

Tankers are berthed beside the Fawley oil refinery on Jan. 7, in Southampton, England. With low oil prices, some traders are buying oil and storing it in tankers, hoping the price will rise soon so they can sell it at a profit.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 5:00 pm

There's a term traders use when the price of a commodity like oil has fallen because of oversupply but seems guaranteed to rise again.

It's a market that's "in contango," says Brenda Shaffer, an energy specialist at Georgetown University. "It almost sounds like a sort of great oil dance or something."

And Shaffer says that some oil speculators see an oil market that is in contango in a major way.

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Live, From Iceland: It's A Hamburger

An exhibit called "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland" now has a webcam devoted to it. The burger was purchased in 2009.
Bus Hostel Reykjavik

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:29 pm

They call it "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland." Purchased more than five years ago, it has been displayed in the Na­tional Mu­seum of Ice­land. Now a webcam has been devoted to the hamburger (with a side of fries), among the last sold by the American company in the country.

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Goats and Soda
1:43 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

India Grows, Russia Shrinks: Mapping Countries By Population

Can you find Australia and Canada? The cartogram, made by Reddit user TeaDranks, scales each country's geographic area by its population. (Click through to see the high-resolution map.)
TeaDranks via Imgur

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:32 pm

World maps distort. It's inherent in their design.

Take a spherical object (the Earth) and try to represent it on a flat plane (paper). Some parts of the sphere are going to get distorted. (On most maps, Canada and Russia get puffed up, while countries along the equator get shrunk.)

Every now and then, though, you stumble across a map that enlightens.

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Parallels
12:34 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

China Continues To Push The (Fake) Envelope

Some fake Apple stores like this one in Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan province, were so authentic-looking that even some of their employees didn't know they were fake.
Stephen Shaver UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 5:00 pm

Nobody does fake like China. In 2011, a fake Apple store popped up in the southwestern city of Kunming. It looked so authentic, even some employees thought it was real.

This year, three farmers in central China set up a fake local government.

This month, police shut down a fake bank in the eastern city of Nanjing, where depositors reportedly lost nearly $33 million.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed January 28, 2015

2 Israeli Soldiers Killed In Attack Near Lebanese Border

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:00 pm

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded during an attack near the Lebanese border on Wednesday.

Hezbollah, a long time Israeli rival in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the attack and Israel told the United Nations that it would take necessary steps to defend itself.

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Goats and Soda
9:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mr. Taxi Driver, You Are GOING TOO FAST!!!!

One of five stickers pasted in Kenyan passenger vans as part of a Georgetown University study to promote safe driving.
Courtesy of Georgetown University

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:17 pm

The worst traffic accident I've ever seen happened on a highway in Kenya.

A friend and I were returning to Nairobi from Lake Naivasha when the cars in front of us came to a halt. I pulled onto the shoulder and spotted a 15-passenger van — a matatu in local speak — on its side, split open like a coconut. Another matatu was sideways in a ditch, its front end smashed inward. People were stopping, getting out of their vehicles and rushing to help.

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The Two-Way
8:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Smithsonian In Talks Over London Outpost — Its First Overseas

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium at sunset at the Olympic Park in London. The Smithsonian Institution is working to establish its first international museum outpost in London as that city redevelops its Olympic park.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:56 pm

Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET

Along with Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London may soon be home to a Smithsonian outpost.

The institution's Board of Regents has authorized museum officials to explore the Smithsonian's first international gallery outpost. Its home: near the site of London's Olympic Park.

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Europe
4:20 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Fighting Intensifies In Eastern Ukraine

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 7:09 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
4:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

New Anti-Austerity Party Gathers Support In Spain

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 5:04 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
2:26 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Singing The Blues, A U.S. Envoy Hopes To Boost Ties With Ecuador

Adam Namm (left) is the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador and a member of Samay Blues Band. He performs regularly with the group and says its a way to breakaway from traditional diplomacy.
Alejandro Reinoso for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 11:31 am

Shortly before taking the stage at a bar in Quito, Ecuador's capital, the local band Samay Blues plugs in for a sound check.

Among the audience are a number of Americans. That's because the word is out: U.S. Ambassador Adam Namm will be sitting in on keyboards.

"I'm glad to get out of the office once in a while," Namm tells a patron. "Thanks for coming."

In a region where many left-wing leaders are hostile to the United States, Namm has found a novel way to reach out to his host country.

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Parallels
2:24 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Tiger Skins And Rhino Horns: Can A Trade Deal Halt The Trafficking?

Coleen Schaefer (left) and Doni Sprague display a tiger pelt that was confiscated and is being stored at the National Wildlife Property Repository on the outskirts of Denver. Some 1.5 million items are being held at the facility. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is still under negotiation, would punish wildlife trafficking.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:36 pm

If you want a sobering look at the scale of wildlife trafficking, just visit the National Wildlife Property Repository on the outskirts of Denver. In the middle of a national refuge is a cavernous warehouse stuffed with the remains of 1.5 million animals, whole and in parts.

They range from taxidermied polar bears to tiny sea horses turned into key chains. An area devoted to elephants is framed by a pair of enormous tusks.

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Parallels
2:21 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Group Urges Swedes To Evade Subway Fares, And Even Insures Against Fines

Christian Tengblad (right) and his fellow fare dodger are part of the group Planka.nu.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:45 am

Every city that has public transportation struggles with fare jumpers — people who sneak onto the subway or the bus without buying a ticket. In Sweden, fare-dodging is a brazen movement in which the group's members don't try to hide what they're doing.

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Goats and Soda
5:12 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

For Dollars Donated To Vaccine Campaigns, Norway Wears The Crown

A Pakistani polio vaccination worker gives a dose to a child in Islamabad during a 2014 campaign.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

GAVI asked and the world gave.

GAVI is the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. At a conference in Berlin today, the nonprofit group asked for help in meeting its goals of vaccinating 300 million children in low income countries against potentially fatal diseases.

The response was extraordinary: a total of $7.5 billion pledged to cover GAVI's 2016-2020 efforts.

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Code Switch
5:03 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Miss Colombia Wins Pageant; Miss Jamaica Wins Twitter?

Miss Universe contestants congratulate fifth-place-finisher, Kaci Fennell of Jamaica. Many pageant watchers on social media argued that Fennell should have won.
Wilfredo Lee AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:25 am

After Miss Colombia's Paulina Vega won the Miss Universe pageant on Sunday, she was greeted with a scepter, tiara and a kiss from the first runner-up, Miss U.S.A. But even as Vega took her first steps as Miss Universe, something that was happening elsewhere on stage caught a lot of attention.

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Parallels
4:57 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Pakistanis View Obama's India Visit With A Touch Of Irritation

President Eisenhower and Pakistani President Mohammed Ayub Khan ride through the streets of Karachi in 1959. This wouldn't happen today.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 5:59 pm

A black and white photograph captures a scene that could never happen today.

It shows an American president riding through the streets of a city in Pakistan in a gleaming horse-drawn carriage, as if he's the Queen of England.

The city is Karachi, in the days when American visitors were not obliged by the presence of Islamist militants to conceal themselves behind blast-proof walls, sandbags and razor wire.

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Goats and Soda
4:37 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

How Did Obama Play In India? We Ask 4 Villagers To Weigh In

Simpson, 25, worries that India will be "enslaved in debt" because of the U.S. megaloans.
Wilbur Sargunaraj for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 5:53 pm

What do the villagers of India think of the Obama visit? To find out, our intrepid village correspondent (and creator of the "Village Way" video for Goats and Soda) interviewed four residents of villages in the rural parts of Tamil Nadu, a state in South India.

Meet the villagers:

Simpson: The 25-year-old came back to his native village of Ayartharmam after earning a bachelor's degree in theology and religious studies. Simpson speaks English and is passionate about his rural home. He loves sports and reading.

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Middle East
3:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

How A Single Town In Syria Became A Symbol Of The War Against ISIS

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 10:43 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
3:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

What Will New King Mean For Women In Saudi Arabia?

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 5:30 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
3:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Even At $30 A Barrel, Saudis Are Still Making Money On Oil

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 5:11 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Asia
3:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

The Mysterious Life Of India's First Lady

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:28 am

This week President Obama traveled to India with his wife Michelle to meet with the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. But Mr. Modi's wife was nowhere to be seen. In fact she has never appeared in public with her husband and Mr. Modi only admitted her existence last year. Melissa Block talks with Annie Gowen of the Washington Post, who has interviewed Mrs. Modi.

Europe
3:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Public Inquiry Into Death Of Former KGB Agent Litvinenko Starts

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 3:37 pm

Tuesday is the first day of a public inquiry into the death of former KGB agent and whistleblower Alexander Litvinenko. He was poisoned in London in 2006 with Polonium 210, a rare radioactive isotope. On his deathbed, Litvinenko claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible for the murder. Alan Cowell of the New York Times talks to Robert Siegel.

Asia
3:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Obama Makes Guest Appearance On Modi's Radio Show

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

World
3:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

After India, Obama Takes Saudi Arabia Detour

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 5:11 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
3:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Sweden's Gotland A Crucial Square In Europe's Military Chess Board

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
3:27 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

On Holocaust Day, Argentina's Jews Despair Over Deaths, Old And New

Holocaust survivors light candles during a ceremony at the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building for Holocaust Victims Memory Day in Buenos Aires, the site of a deadly bombing two decades ago.
Alejandro Pagni AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 5:30 pm

In more normal times, the annual Holocaust remembrance ceremony would have drawn the Jewish community to a somber ceremony at Argentina's Foreign Ministry. But a large part of the community decided to boycott the event Tuesday and hold its own on the site of a deadly bombing two decades ago.

The speakers, including the treasurer of the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations, Mario Comisarenco, wanted to make clear why.

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History
2:40 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

A Holocaust Survivor, Spared From Gas Chamber By Twist Of Fate

Jack Mandelbaum, a Holocaust survivor from the Polish city of Gdynia, poses in front of a photograph showing him as a youth.
Tobias Schwarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:20 pm

Seventy years ago, Soviet soldiers liberated Auschwitz, the most notorious of Nazi concentration camps.

Some 300 Holocaust survivors were at Auschwitz on Tuesday, along with several European presidents and other government officials, to honor at least 1.1 million people who were murdered, 1 million of whom were Jewish.

Among those killed there were Jack Mandelbaum's mother and brother. The Polish-born Mandelbaum survived, spared at the last minute by an officer of the dreaded SS who yanked the teen away from his family and sent him instead to a forced labor camp.

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