World

Middle East
6:46 am
Sat November 2, 2013

A Conquered Foe Returns To War-Torn Syria: Polio

A health worker administers polio vaccine as part of a UNICEF-supported campaign in Damascus. Aid agencies sometimes have to negotiate with rebel groups and work in dangerous situations to immunize vulnerable children.
Omar Sanadiki AP

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 8:11 pm

In a refugee camp in eastern Lebanon, aid workers put sandbags around plastic tents to keep winter rains from flooding dirt floors. For weeks now, the threat for Syrian refugees was the coming cold. Now refugees have a bigger fear: polio.

A childhood disease that causes paralysis and sometimes death, polio can spread rapidly, especially with the huge movement of people fleeing the war.

Some 4,000 Syrians still cross into neighboring countries every day, at least half of them children.

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The Salt
5:35 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Mash Donalds? Iranians Copy American Fast-Food Brands

Is that Subway? Middle East analyst Holly Dagres is on a hunt for fast-food lookalikes in Tehran.
Holly Dagres

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 2:37 pm

Iran may not love America politically, but Iranians love American food — especially fast food.

With no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, though, it's rather hard to find a McDonald's or a Pizza Hut. But if you wander through the streets of Tehran, you might find a Pizza Hat or a Mash Donald's.

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Middle East
5:51 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Iraqi Foreign Minister: We Need American Help

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:49 pm

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki will meet with President Obama Friday, and is expected to ask for more and stronger military aid. Iraq is suffering increased sectarian fighting, and a resurgent Al-Qaida presence. Robert Siegel talks with Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, about what the leadership in Baghdad is asking for, and whether they're doing enough to merit assistance.

Asia
5:51 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Pakistani Taliban Leader Believed Dead In U.S. Drone Strike

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:49 pm

The leader of the Pakistani Taliban is reported to have been killed by a U.S. drone strike. Hakimullah Mehsud's group is believed responsible for attacks across Pakistan. He is also implicated in the attack that killed seven CIA employees at a CIA base in Afghanistan in late 2009. Mehsud has been reported to have been killed before, but sources are confident this time.

Parallels
4:40 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

In A Church Built On Tradition, The Pope Likes Spontaneity

A young man gives a Catholic skullcap to Pope Francis as he greets the crowd before his general audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Oct. 16.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 8:36 pm

In the seven months since he was elected, Pope Francis has shaken up the Catholic world and beyond with off-the-cuff homilies, phone calls to ordinary folk and unscripted interviews. His Twitter followers now exceed 10 million. Described by the Vatican as "conversational," the new papal style is drawing praise from large numbers of Catholics and nonbelievers alike.

But it's also making some conservative Catholics deeply uncomfortable.

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The Two-Way
3:34 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Pakistani Taliban Chief Killed In U.S. Drone Strike

Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud (left) with his commander Wali-ur Rehman in South Waziristan, in October 2009.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 7:01 pm

The head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike, U.S. and Taliban officials tell NPR and other news organizations.

"We confirm with great sorrow that our esteemed leader was martyred in a drone attack," a senior Taliban commander was quoted by Reuters as saying.

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Parallels
3:04 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

How One Kenyan Tribe Produces The World's Best Runners

Runners train in Ngong, Kenya, in 2012. The country has produced the world's best distance runners for decades, and most belong to the Kalenjin people.
Michael Steele Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 8:35 pm

Kenyan Wilson Kipsang won this year's Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds — an average of 4:42 per mile. It was easily the fastest marathon time ever recorded, an incredible feat for another powerful Kenyan runner.

But perhaps equally remarkable was that his fellow Kenyans also came in second, third, fourth and fifth place in this major international race. On the women's side, Kenyans placed first, second and fourth.

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The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Germany Offers Third Gender Option On Birth Certificates

Germany will allow parents to choose a third indeterminate option for newborn babies, under a new law that takes effect Friday.
Deshakalyan Chowdhury AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:14 pm

A German law takes effect today that establishes a third gender option for parents filling out birth certificates for newborn babies. They can choose "indeterminate" if the child shows both male and female characteristics.

The parents will make that choice by leaving the boxes for male and female genders blank. The new law is meant to avoid the need to label an intersex baby as male or female before the child is old enough to decide.

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The Salt
1:29 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

A Spice Buyer On Why Pepper Is Dirty, And How It Gets Clean

Pepper is the spice most commonly contaminated with salmonella and other pathogens.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 10:40 am

This week's news that the Food and Drug Administration found that 12 percent of spices imported to the U.S. are contaminated was a little disheartening.

As the FDA reported, all kinds of nasty stuff hitch a ride with spices into the country — from insects to animal excrement to pathogens. The agency looked closely at pepper and sesame seeds, but says this is an issue with lots of other spices, too.

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Parallels
11:28 am
Fri November 1, 2013

London Wants To Be A Center Of Islamic Finance. Why?

London's Shard building was built with Islamic financing.
Karen Prinsloo EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 1:56 pm

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced this week that he wanted London to become "one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world."

Cameron said Britain will issue sukuk, or Islamic bonds, valued at $320 million as early as next year.

But what does all that mean? We take a look:

What are Islamic bonds?

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