Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 10:41 am
Jordan's King Abdullah says his country stands ready to respond to any threat from a spillover of the civil war in neighboring Syria, a day after the U.S. announced it would leave fighter jets and Patriot missiles in his country after joint military exercises end this week.
"If the world does not help as it should, and if the matter becomes a danger to our country, we are able at any moment to take the measures to protect the country and the interest of our people," Abdullah said, speaking to graduating military cadets.
Hasan Rowhani's stunning presidential election victory in Iran has opened the door for improved relations with the West, but the U.S. and Israel remain cautious about making progress on their key demand — dismantling Iran's nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the international community "must not give in to wishful thinking or temptation and loosen the pressure on Iran for it to stop its nuclear program."
The conflict in Syria may be first and foremost a civil war, pitting the Shiite-dominated regime of President Bashar Assad against mostly Sunni insurgents. But the region's turbulent geopolitics have turned it into a proxy fight that has drawn in the rest of the region as well as the U.S and other global powers.
We've started hearing from some of the Internet companies implicated in the NSA data collection scandal. On Friday, Facebook and Microsoft disclosed for the first time that last year they received thousands of requests from the government to hand over information about their users. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency is still on the defensive. The agency's head spoke on Capitol Hill last week in an effort to reassure lawmakers that the NSA is not spying on Americans.
Ambassador Crocker is watching what's happening in Iraq with a careful eye. So are the many Iraqis who fled the country several years ago, when sectarian tensions there escalated to something close to civil war. Haider al-Jumaili was one of them. He is a mechanical engineer but he lost his job after the U.S. invasion and found work as an interpreter for U.S. organizations. Eventually, the sectarian violence started to overwhelm him.
HAIDER AL-JUMAILI: I left my country because of these two words: The Sunnis and the Shias.
Google scientists have been testing a way to link computers to the internet in rural, war torn or disaster areas where high speed internet does not exist. We hear from Steven Levy, a senior writer with Wired magazine who was embedded with the Google team.
Colorado is often the site of devastating forest fires, but the city of Colorado Springs has been hit particularly hard as of late. In the span of just one year, more than 800 homes have been destroyed from wildfires in and around the city. This time last year, it was the Waldo Canyon fire, and now it's the Black Forest fire. NPR's Kirk Siegler spent the week in Colorado Springs and sent this report.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
President Obama leaves tonight on a quick trip to Europe. He'll attend a G8 summit of industrialized nations in Northern Ireland. He'll also pay a visit to Germany, where his plans include a public speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate.
NPR's Scott Horsley will be traveling with the president. He joins us now. Hi, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Rachel.
Like a lot of Northern Ireland, County Fermanagh, where the G8 Summit is being held has been hit hard by the recession in recent years. A lot of businesses there have had to close their doors. But before world leaders started pouring in for the G8 Summit, county officials decided to give their town a bit of a facelift. With money from a government grant, they put fake storefronts on some of the shuttered businesses. Imagine big stickers plastered to store windows to make them look like thriving stores; a real butcher shop or a busy cafe.
Steven's father had been diagnosed with cancer. The doctors didn't think he would make it. Pale and bald, he didn't look himself. Steven wanted to take a picture, made a video, just in case. Dad refused. "I got so mad," Steven remembers. "I regret not just coming up to him and saying, 'Dad, five minutes.' "
Steven's dad died on June 12, 2011. "The only time I can hear his voice is on our answering machine for two seconds," Steven says. "Hi, Heinz family, leave a message."
Each week,Weekend Edition Sundayhost Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Ryan Crocker is a long-time U.S. diplomat who served as ambassador in six Muslim countries. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush.
Born into a military family, Crocker says he was drawn to the foreign service because he grew up overseas and spent time traveling in the Middle East.
My dad was a mild-mannered guy. Never bragged. Hated sports. Mom won the arguments. He was an avocado farmer near Santa Barbara, but being dad was his No. 1 job.
He read me bedtime stories, never missed a piano recital or a family dinner. And he played it safe: Dad's idea of adventure was driving his Ford Taurus to town without the wiper fluid filled to the top.
The Supreme Court may rule on gay marriage this week. Advocates both for and against are glad the issue didn't reach the court any sooner.
They didn't want a repeat of the abortion issue. With its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the high court stepped in and guaranteed a right to abortion but also triggered a backlash that has lasted for 40 years.
With same-sex marriage, by contrast, legislators and voters in nearly every state had the chance to make their feelings known before the Supreme Court weighs in.
So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.
Rivers don't follow political boundaries — they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.
So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?
It's hard to go unnoticed in New York City, with everyone checking out the latest fashions and hairstyles. As the weather warms, some women who are shedding those winter layers are finding themselves the object of more cat calls, whistles and roving eyes than they'd like.
Artist Tatayana Fazlalizadeh is not going to take it anymore.
Under the cover of darkness, wearing a black knit hit, black leather jacket and black Chuck Taylors, Fazlalizadeh is nearly invisible. She's scouring Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, for a blank canvas.
Rebecca Solnit begins her new memoir, The Faraway Nearby, with a question: "What's your story?"
"It's all in the telling," she says. "Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of the world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice."
The White House is taking its first tentative steps toward arming Syrian rebels. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic, about the U.S.' ongoing struggle to determine when is the right time to intercede. They also discuss moderate candidate Hasan Rowhani's victory in the Iranian presidential election.
Google has launched — quite literally — a new idea to bring the Internet to some of the world's remotest places.
The tech giant's engineering hothouse, Google X, is testing the use of 12-mile-high helium balloons to get coverage in areas where it's impractical to put in conventional infrastructure.
Google said Saturday that it has 30 of the balloons, or "high-altitude platforms" (HAPS), flying over New Zealand as part of something called Project Loon. They will hover at about twice the altitude of a passenger jet.
Now that President Obama's administration says it's prepared to arm Syria's rebels, this raises a question relatively few people can answer: Who exactly are these guys?
The rebels have been fighting President Bashar Assad's regime for about two years, and more than 90,000 people have died in Syria's civil war. But in the U.S. and elsewhere, the rebels have not established a clear identity.
Here are five things worth knowing about the rebels:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Iranian interior minister has announced on state TV that Hasan Rowhani has won that country's presidential election. Mr. Rowhani reportedly won 53 percent of the vote. He's considered a moderate on Iran's political spectrum. Karim Sadjadpour is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and joins us. Thanks very much for being with us.
Turkish riot police backed by armored vehicles sealed off Istanbul's Taksim Square, firing tear gas and water cannons to dislodge protesters after two weeks of anti-government demonstrations.
The police moved into the square hours after an ultimatum issued by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that security forces "know how to clear" the area. Erdogan had given the demonstrators until Sunday, but police made their move late Saturday.
Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 12:08 pm
Facebook and Microsoft Corp. say the government has given them permission to reveal orders they've received to hand over user data, but that they are still prevented from giving anything other than very broad figures.
Facebook says it received 9,000 to 10,000 requests during the last six months of 2012, while Microsoft says it got 6,000 to 7,000 requests, affecting as many as 32,000 accounts.