World

Parallels
11:13 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Chinese Red Guards Apologize, Reopening A Dark Chapter

Red Guards — high school and university students — wave copies of Chairman Mao Zedong's Little Red Book during a parade in June 1966 in Beijing's streets at the beginning of China's Cultural Revolution. More than 1 million people are believed to have died during the decade-long upheaval.
Jean Vincent AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 8:00 pm

For most of the past half century, China has avoided a full accounting for one of the darkest chapters of its recent history: the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976.

During that time, Chairman Mao Zedong's shock troops — Communist youth known as Red Guards — persecuted, tortured or even killed millions of Chinese, supposed "class enemies."

Now, some Red Guards have issued public apologies to their victims, a rare example of the ruling party allowing public discussion of its historic mistakes.

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The Two-Way
9:58 am
Tue February 4, 2014

'Secret Contacts' Reported Between Afghan President, Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 11:17 am

It's a question that's been vexing American diplomats for months:

Why won't Afghan President Hamid Karzai sign a security agreement with the U.S. — a deal that President Obama and his aides say needs Karzai's signature if any American troops are going to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year?

As Sean Carberry, NPR's Kabul correspondent, has said:

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Africa
5:16 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Violence Reigns In Central African Republic Despite Peace Steps

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's the kind of international crisis that is numbingly familiar: a coup, followed by a steep descent into sectarian bloodshed and revenge killings. This is what's happening now in the Central African Republic.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The coup happened last year. It was led by a rebel group call Seleka, drawn from the minority Muslim community in this largely Christian country. After the coup, many of the Muslim rebels targeted Christian neighborhoods, plundering and killing. And then came a moment of hope.

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NPR Story
4:59 am
Tue February 4, 2014

After 400 Years, Mount Sinabung Erupts

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The eruption of an Indonesian volcano has claimed its first fatalities. It happened in recent days. Mount Sinabung has been erupting for about three months after 400 years of quiet. Nobody knows how bad this could get, but already the volcano is sending scalding ash a mile into the sky and it killed 14 people last weekend. Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Otto is on the line in Jakarta. Welcome to the program, sir.

BEN OTTO: Hi. Thanks for having me.

INSKEEP: What does the erupting volcano look like?

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Afghanistan
4:38 am
Tue February 4, 2014

An Afghan Success Story: Fewer Child Deaths

A young girl receives a polio vaccine at the Isteqlal hospital in Kabul on Sept.19, 2011.
Adek Berry AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

One of the most dramatic changes in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban is the increase in average life expectancy from 45 to 62 years. That gain is almost entirely a function of reductions in child mortality due to the spread of basic health services.

Yet Afghanistan still has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, and there could be significant backsliding as the international community reduces aid after NATO troops withdraw at the end of this year.

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Parallels
3:03 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Istanbul's Mega-Projects: Bigger Is Better, Or A 'Crazy Canal'?

The pillars for the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, commonly known as the "Third Bridge" rise from the Anatolian and European sides of the Bosphorus, above the fishing harbor of Poyrazkoy. When completed, the bridge will be over two kilometers in length, making it the longest combination railway/highway bridge in the world.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

Istanbul has long been a city of historical layers and sharp contrasts: ancient monuments share the skyline none too comfortably with modern skyscrapers, and charming cobbled streets run alongside massive highway traffic snarls.

Those contrasts have multiplied under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his love of giant building projects hasn't abated after more than a decade in power.

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All Tech Considered
4:52 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Wikipedia Archiving Voices So You'll Always Know How Celebs Sound

Actress Emma Thompson is one of the first to have an audio snippet of her voice included in her Wikipedia biography.
Joe Scarnici Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:30 pm

What's in a voice? To the folks at Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, a voice means a lot. They've begun a project to archive the voices of famous people.

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The Two-Way
3:42 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Hacker Group Sues German Government Over NSA Spying

Revelations made by Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency, have strained diplomatic relations, prompted congressional hearings, and shed light on some aspects of

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Parallels
1:14 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Did London Get An Economic Boost From The 2012 Olympics?

This cable car line in London, shown on Jan. 27, was built in time for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in the city. It is taking 35 percent fewer visitors than predicted.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 2:33 pm

Ronald Reagan once joked that the game Trivial Pursuit had a special economists' edition: It came with 100 questions and 3,000 answers. Economists are notorious for being unable to agree on anything. So it's striking that on the finances of the Olympics, they almost all agree.

"Investing in the Olympics is not worth the investment," says Andy Zimbalist of Smith College.

"You build all these facilities that are perfect for the Olympics, that are not really as desirable once the circus leaves town," says Allen Sanderson of the University of Chicago.

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

As Search Ends, Toll Rises To 27 In Quebec Seniors' Home Fire

Jan. 23: Ice covers the remains of a home for seniors in L'Isle-Verte, Quebec. A fire there killed at least 27 people. Authorities fear another five people also died.
Remi Senechal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:27 pm

Twenty-seven bodies have been recovered from the ruins of a home for senior citizens in L'Isle-Verte, Quebec, and authorities believe that bone fragments found in the burned-out building will help them identify five more victims.

The search is over at the site, which was consumed by a fire on Jan. 23. It took 10 days to search the wreckage because water used to fight the flames had frozen. In some spots, ice was more than a foot thick.

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