World

Europe
4:38 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Report: Illegally Cut Russian Timber Ends Up As U.S. Floors

A report from the U.S.-based NGO Environmental Investigation Agency tracks illegally cut timber from the Russian Far East — a region famous as the habitat of the Amur, or Siberian, tiger — to China, from whence it is sold to a major flooring company in the United States. It's based on an uncover investigation carried out by the group, a follow-up to one that was reported in The New Yorker five years ago.

The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Cuba To Phase Out Two-Peso Currency System

A woman displays Cuban pesos, or CUP (right) and the more valuable convertible pesos, or CUC (left), in Havana Tuesday. Raul Castro's government announced that it will begin unifying the two currencies.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:09 pm

Cuba will end the two-currency system it has used for nearly 20 years. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has used either American currency or a peso that's pegged to the dollar alongside its national peso.

The monetary unification will phase out a system that has become a symbol of exclusivity and foreign wealth. Many products that are imported into the country can be bought only with the dollar-based convertible peso. But most Cubans are paid in the standard peso, which is worth just a fraction of the other currency.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Nuclear Plant Starts Up On India's Tsunami-Vulnerable Coast

An Indian Coast Guard plane flies over hundreds of anti-nuclear activists during a protest last year. The Kundankulam Nuclear Power, still under construction, can be seen in the distance.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 2:34 pm

A controversial nuclear power plant situated on a stretch of India's southeastern coast that was hit hard by the 2004 Asian tsunami has begun supplying the grid with electricity, officials say.

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, a joint project with Russia located at the country's southern extremity in Tamil Nadu state, was connected to the grid on Tuesday, The Indian Express reports.

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The Salt
12:44 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Chocolate Fashions Make For A Truly Sweet Little Black Dress

Breakfast of chocolate at Tiffany's? Ten pounds of the dark, sweet stuff were used to craft this Audrey Hepburn-inspired dress and matching handbag, created by master chocolatier Mark Tilling of Squires Kitchen.
Photo: Paul Winch-Furness Courtesy of Salon du Chocolat

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 12:51 pm

If you find yourself sauntering down the runway wearing 40 pounds of chocolate, don't sweat it. Seriously — you might find yourself dripping on the audience.

So warns Fiona Bitmead, one of 10 models who showed off edible chocolate creations Friday night at the Salon du Chocolat in London. Five handlers helped her get dressed.

"[I] had to worry about a dress melting on me!" she says. "I can't say I've ever wanted to eat the dresses I've worn down the catwalk before."

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Parallels
12:19 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

In Russia's Vast Far East, Timber Thieves Thrive

The Chinese border town of Suifenhe is a port of entry for almost all of the hardwood coming from the Russian Far East. Russia is the world's largest exporter of timber, but illegal logging is a growing problem.
Courtesty of EIA

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 8:11 am

Forests cover about half of Russia's land mass, an environmental resource that President Vladimir Putin calls "the powerful green lungs of the planet."

But Putin himself acknowledges that Russia, the world's biggest exporter of logs, is having its timber stolen at an unprecedented rate.

The demand for high-value timber is fueling organized crime, government corruption and illegal logging in the Russian Far East. The hardwood cut in the endless forests often ends up as flooring and furniture in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

As Smoke Blankets Sydney, Australians Brace For Worse Days

A general view of play as the Sydney skyline is shrouded in smoke during the Ryobi Cup match between the South Australian Redbacks and the Western Australia Warriors at Drummoyne Oval in Australia.
Mark Metcalfe Getty Images

Wildfires are burning to the north, south and west of Sydney, Australia, and smoke "has been rolling in for days," correspondent Stuart Cohen said Tuesday on Morning Edition.

While the fires are mostly in sparsely populated areas, Sydney is blanketed — "you can smell smoke inside buildings" and health authorities are expecting a surge in cases of people with respiratory problems, Cohen added.

Things may get worse.

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Parallels
11:38 am
Tue October 22, 2013

European Parliament Joins List Of Those Upset With The NSA

U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin (in red tie) leaves the Foreign Ministry in Paris after being summoned Monday following reports that the National Security Agency spied on French citizens.
Thibault Camus AP

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 11:44 am

The fallout from revelations about the National Security Agency's spying activities continues: A key European Parliament committee approved new rules strengthening online privacy and outlawing the kind of surveillance the U.S. has been conducting.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says the legislation could also have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies. Here's what she told our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
10:26 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Roma Couple Charged With Abducting Girl; Missing-Child Tips Pour In

A woman takes a call at the Greek charity The Smile of the Child, which is caring for a girl who police say was abducted by a Roma couple. Officials are trying to find her biological parents.
Thanassis Stavrakis AP

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 12:03 pm

Greek officials who are trying to determine the origin of a young blond girl found living in a Roma settlement last week have received thousands of calls since releasing her photo. Some callers offer information; others say the girl may be their child. The head of a charity that's now caring for the girl says about 10 missing-children cases are being reviewed.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Tue October 22, 2013

U.S. Drone Strikes Violate International Law, Reports Allege

Last month, protesters in Multan, Pakistan, expressed their anger about U.S. drone strikes.
S.S. Mirza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 12:07 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Philip Reeves discusses the Amnesty International report on U.S. drone strikes

Two reports released on the eve of a White House visit by Pakistan's prime minister allege that the U.S. has "violated international law with top-secret targeted-killing operations that claimed dozens of civilian lives in Yemen and Pakistan," as McClatchy Newspapers writes.

In one of the reports, Amnesty International says that:

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Parallels
8:01 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Headlines From Around The World

A firefighter hoses down the flames in a backburn at Faulconbridge in Australia's Blue Mountains on Tuesday. The inferno is one of the stories making headlines around the world.
William West AFP/Getty Images

What is God? It's one of the eternal questions, and it's front-page news in Malaysia.

A recent court order said the word Allah can only be used by Muslims – and not by members of the country's other faiths. But Malaysian Prime Minister Najik Razak said Tuesday that Christians in the states of Sabah and Sarawak can continue to refer to God as Allah.

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