World

4 Questions Answered On The Syria Talks In Munich

1 hour ago

Syrian peace talks are taking place amid a new urgency. The four-year-old civil war could be on the verge of yet another humanitarian disaster.

Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting the Russian foreign minister as the two countries are increasingly at odds – essentially backing opposite sides in the war.

A UN-brokered peace process is going nowhere.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Melissa Melby, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Delaware, was pleased to hear a pre-med undergraduate excitedly describe participating in a brief medical outreach program to an impoverished Central American community. That is, until the student proudly recounted how she had performed a pelvic exam on a patients at the local clinic.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode To Endure

About Zainab Salbi's TED Talk

Humanitarian Zainab Salbi explains how life continues in the midst of war — and how the ones who "keep life going" are women.

About Zainab Salbi

How To Operate On A Patient Who Might Explode

7 hours ago

In the summer of 2014, a 23-year-old pregnant woman entered the military hospital at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan with a cut on her left cheek. The wound had been stitched up elsewhere, but she still wasn't quite right.

She said she'd been hit in the face by a ricochet back in her home village. What hit her exactly, she couldn't say for sure. She was upset, though, because the vision was bad in her left eye, even though there had been no apparent trauma to it.

The push by Syrian government forces and their allies has put around 300,000 civilians in the northern city of Aleppo at risk of being placed under siege and cut off from food and humanitarian supplies, according to the U.N.

Since the start of last week, the offensive has displaced some 51,000 civilians from what was Syria's biggest city before the start of the war, the United Nations says.

A fire and a riot broke out in a prison in the city of Monterrey in northern Mexico on Wednesday night, killing at least 52 people and putting 12 in the hospital, says Jaime Rodriguez Calderón, the governor of Nuevo León state.

The riot at the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey began with a dispute between two groups around 11:30 p.m. local time, Rodriguez said at a Thursday morning news conference. The prison was brought back under control at 1:30 a.m., Nuevo León state officials said earlier today.

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Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Global markets, for the moment, seem to be tanking, and we have David Wessel on the line. He's director at the Hutchins Center at the Brookings Institution and a contributing correspondent to the Wall Street Journal. Hey, David.

Saying a maritime force will contribute "critical information and surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance has ordered ships to the Aegean Sea, a focal point for smuggling migrants and refugees from Turkey to Greece.

The mission will include both naval ships and aircraft and will start "without any delay," Stoltenberg said.

Further unraveling a project that's been a sign of cooperation, North Korea has ordered all South Koreans to leave a jointly run industrial complex, after South Korea announced it would suspend work there in retaliation for Pyongyang's recent missile launch and nuclear test.

North Korea was also freezing all assets related to the Kaesong Industrial Complex and cutting two communications hotlines between the neighboring countries.

From Seoul, reporter Haeryun Kang tells our Newscast unit:

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

We've been talking with a Sunni Muslim who lives in Shiite-dominated Iran. He's a member of one of the two great sects of Islam, which are increasingly seen in conflict. His story suggests just how perilous that conflict could be.

Last month, a crowd in Tehran attacked the embassy of Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia. They were protesting Saudi Arabia's execution of a Saudi Shiite cleric who had criticized the Saudi government.

In a far-reaching ruling, India has prohibited telecom service providers from charging different prices to consumers to access content on the Internet — a blow to Facebook and its aggressive bid to offer a free but stripped-down version of the Internet aimed at India's poor.

Some airlines are just airlines.

But others mean a lot more than that to the people they serve.

Pakistan's national carrier was long a source of patriotic pride, a symbol of unity in a divided country. Now that airline is in big trouble.

On Feb. 10, 2015, Summer Hamad remembers sitting in her family room in Raleigh, N.C. It was late, a kind of humdrum night when the phone rang. It was her oldest daughter.

"Mom," she said, her voice cracking. "Deah's dead."

Hamad's face turned white. She had just seen Deah Barakat, a 23-year-old with an electric smile and calming presence, at a community fundraiser not too long before. She remembers pointing at him, jokingly telling her 19-year-old daughter, Marjan, that he's cute. "He's taken, Mom," she responded.

Attention, Harry Potter fans.

This is not a drill.

A new Harry Potter book will be published this summer.

The book, called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, picks up the story of Harry, Ron and Hermione where the epilogue left off, according to author J.K. Rowling's website, Pottermore. The book is the script of a play by the same name opening this summer in London.

Aedes aegypti is the dog of the mosquito world. It acts as if it's man's best friend.

"It's been with us for a long time, probably for at least 5,000 years when we started keeping water next to our homes [ideal for laying eggs] and it's adapted to people," says Marten Edwards, an entomologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. "It loves us. It loves our cities. It loves our blood. It functions very well with us."

There's just one problem. This mosquito makes us sick.

For years, Thai police have been trying to track down a master passport forger known only as "The Doctor."

All they had was a rough description: "a bald Iranian in his 40s," Thailand's The Nation reported.

The publication says '"The Doctor' had kept himself away from the public eye and contacted customers only via 4-5 agents," so his face and name remained a mystery.

Humans have long turned to the dog for its nose, especially in its ability to hunt, track missing people and search for drugs.

But there is a new challenge: Bomb-detecting dogs have to now learn to find the increasingly common improvised explosive devices (IED) that can be assembled from ingredients that are not dangerous by themselves.

"So we're now asking dogs not just to find a needle in a haystack, now the problem is more like saying to the dog 'we need you to find any sharp object in the haystack,' " says Clive Wynne, a professor at Arizona State University.

In 1530, at Hampton Court Palace, King Henry VIII and his advisers penned a letter to Rome. In it, for the first time, Henry threatened to break with the Vatican and split off from the Catholic Church.

Four years later, in the 1534 Act of Supremacy, Henry carried through on that threat — and the Church of England was born.

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Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Talking to some Hong Kong residents, you might think their territory was under siege. Their press is censoring itself. Its judiciary is required to be "patriotic." Even their mother tongue, Cantonese, is under assault, some believe, from Mandarin speakers to the north.

Now add academic freedom to that list, as pro-democracy and pro-Beijing camps have rushed to take sides in an ongoing battle over leadership of the territory's oldest institution of higher learning, the University of Hong Kong.

Remember the story scooting around the Internet earlier this week about a man in India who was reportedly killed by a meteorite? If you need a refresher, we wrote a post about it, creatively titled, "Did A Meteorite Kill A Bus Driver In India?"

Well, it turns out the answer is probably not.

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