World

The Two-Way
2:26 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

Australian PM Calls September Elections

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses the media in Canberra after calling Sunday for a general election in September.
AFP/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called elections for Sept. 7, setting the stage for a parliamentary contest that he says will determine the future of the country's economy.

Rudd's challenge comes just six weeks after he wrested control of the Labor Party from Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He faces stiff competition from conservative opponent Tony Abbott.

But as The Associated Press reports:

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National Security
11:33 am
Sun August 4, 2013

Snowden Case Illustrates Decline In U.S.-Russia Relations

President Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Northern Ireland in June.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 6:38 pm

U.S.-Russia relations hit a new low this week, when Moscow ignored U.S. requests and gave temporary asylum to a man who leaked classified documents on U.S. government surveillance programs.

Many in Congress are complaining that the Edward Snowden case is just the latest example of how the Kremlin is thumbing its nose at the White House.

The Obama administration famously reset relations with Russia when Dmitry Medvedev was president. But now that Russian President Vladimir Putin is back in the Kremlin, it seems to be having a more difficult time.

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The Two-Way
9:14 am
Sun August 4, 2013

State Department Extends Closure Of Embassies

An American flag flies over the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Lior Mizrahi Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 4:46 pm

Update At 4:40 p.m. ET:

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki says Sunday that the embassy and consulate closures will be extended:

In a statement, Psaki says the decision was taken "out of an abundance of caution" and the it was "not an indication of a new threat stream, merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution ... to protect our employees."

The statement says:

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Sun August 4, 2013

Iran's New President: U.S. Wants 'Excuse' To Confront Tehran

Iran's new President Hassan Rowhani sits next to the national flag on his first official day in office in Tehran on Saturday.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 11:42 am

Hassan Rouhani, Iran's newly elected president, is being sworn-in on Sunday, succeeding the controversial Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose focus on the country's nuclear program proved a constant source of tension with the West.

Rouhani, 64, is viewed as a moderate and has pledged greater openness on the country's nuclear program. However, the former chief nuclear negotiator for Tehran appeared late Saturday to be reading from the same script as his predecessor:

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National Security
7:03 am
Sun August 4, 2013

U.S. Embassies In The Muslim World Closed Sunday

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 11:39 am

The Department of State has issued a travel alert over the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston speaks with Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin about the threat of more attacks.

Africa
7:03 am
Sun August 4, 2013

Activists Fight Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In Uganda, local activists have been fighting a bill that might be one of the most punitive and anti-gay measures in the world. It's actually called the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and that's just one vote away from becoming law.

NPR's Gregory Warner is in Kampala. Welcome to the program, Greg.

GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: Thanks, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, it's Gay Pride Week in many countries around the world. How is it being marked in Uganda, especially in light of this pending legislation?

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Middle East
7:03 am
Sun August 4, 2013

Musharraf's Return Fuels Chaos In Pakistan

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 11:39 am

The former president will be charged with the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed at a rally in 2007. Host Rachel Martin talks to Hameed Gul, former director general of the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, about the political deterioration in Pakistan.

Asia
7:03 am
Sun August 4, 2013

When Comedians Cross Borders

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Comedy is something we tend to think of as universal. If a joke's funny, it's just funny, right? Not really. Turns out humor can be really culturally specific. And today, we're going to look at what happens when comedians try to cross over from one cultural to another. Our next guest has some experience with that. His name is Ryan Ha. He's a Chinese-American who lives in Beijing. And he is the CEO of something called Comedy Club China. He's joined us in our studios this morning. Hey, Ryan. Thanks for coming in.

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Afghanistan
3:58 am
Sun August 4, 2013

Regimental Combat Team 7 Rolls Up Its Flag In Afghanistan

Regimental Combat Team 7 cases its flag during their mission's closing ceremony in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 2:42 pm

At the peak of fighting in Afghanistan's Helmand Province, there were 20,000 Marines battling the Taliban. Now there are 8,000 — and more are heading home every month.

Among the latest to pack up was Regimental Combat Team 7.

At their mission's recent closing ceremony, several hundred Marines gathered in the scorching desert heat at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province. Their tan, pixelated fatigues blended in amidst the vast expanse of sand-colored tents and buildings of the largest Marine base in Afghanistan.

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Music
5:36 pm
Sat August 3, 2013

The Biggest Thing Out Of Thailand: An Elephant Orchestra

Thai Elephant Orchestra co-founder David Sulzer (bottom center, in red) poses with the animals and their mahouts, or keepers.
Jerry Alexander Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 3:01 pm

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