Parallels
7:51 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Headlines From Around The World

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 2:16 pm

We begin with more revelations about the National Security Agency's spying program — this time from France.

Le Monde reported that the NSA monitored 70.3 million French phone records during a 30-day period. The article was co-authored by Glenn Greenwald. He's the American journalist who has broken many of the stories on the agency's spying programs around the world — stories made possible by the leak of documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The French Foreign Ministry has summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest the reported spying.

It's the latest revelation about the NSA's spying program that has strained relations with allies such as Brazil. But Monday's story comes at a particularly embarrassing time for the U.S., as it coincides with Secretary of State John Kerry's arrival in Paris.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, political and religious figures are condemning the attack outside a Coptic Christian church that killed four people, including two girls, ages 8 and 12.

Al-Ahram reports that a man randomly fired 15 rounds at a wedding ceremony outside the church in Cairo's Warraq neighborhood on Sunday.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi called the attack a "cowardly criminal act." The attack was also condemned by the grand imam of the influential Al-Azhar mosque and the Salafist Nour Party.

But Al-Ahram reported that a Christian rights group blamed the government for the attack, saying it hadn't done enough to protect the community, which makes up about 10 percent of Egypt's population. Attacks against Christians have risen following the July coup that ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Now to Zimbabwe, where the government-owned Herald reports that Western sanctions, which it calls illegal, are hurting the country's industry.

The Industrial Development Corp. has had more than $20 million frozen in the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the newspaper reported. Here's more:

"The Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company, one of the IDC subsidiaries, still has US$5 million frozen to date as the US applies its Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, its sanctions law.

"The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe also lost over US$30 million in revenue to OFAC."

The newspaper estimated that Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by some 40 percent over the past 13 years and blamed "the West's illegal sanctions regime."

The U.S. imposed sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's government in 2003 following his crackdown on opposition groups in the country.

And, finally, to Mexico, where 7 out of 10 people say the national soccer team doesn't deserve to play in next year's World Cup in Brazil, according to a poll by El Universal newspaper.

The national team has suffered embarrassing losses and failed to qualify directly for Brazil. The team takes on New Zealand in a playoff next month.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.