World

Latin America
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's New Middle Class: A Better Life, Not An Easy One

Roberto de Carvalho (left), who maintains a truck fleet in Recife, Brazil, is shown here with his daughter Sandra, 22, wife Enilda and daughter Susana, 16. The family makes just enough to belong the rapidly expanding ranks of the country's middle class, though they still can't afford a house or even a car.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Tens of millions of Brazilians have risen out of poverty over the past decade in one of the world's great economic success stories. The reasons are many: strong overall economic growth, fueled by exports. A rise in the minimum wage. A more educated workforce. And big government spending programs, including direct payments to extremely poor families.

But becoming middle class in Brazil means a better life, not an easy one. The new, lowest rung of the middle class is what in the U.S. would be called the working poor, with monthly incomes of between $500 and $2,000.

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Iran Frees Political Prisoners

Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh smiles at her house in Tehran on Wednesday, after being freed from prison.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:17 pm

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was among several political prisoners released by Tehran on Wednesday, just days ahead of a visit by Iran's newly elected moderate president to the United Nations in New York.

Sotoudeh, who had been held since 2010, was one of eight women and three men released, according to the BBC. Reformist politician Mohsen Aminzadeh was also among the prisoners freed.

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

VIDEO: You Will Smile At This Dancing Queen And Her Good Luck

Ellie Cole, in the "dancing queen" video that's made her famous.
YouTube.com

Building on our first feel-good story of the day — "$64,000 Raised So Far For Homeless Man Who Turned In $42,000" — here's another:

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The Two-Way
2:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Russia Says It Will Implicate Syria's Rebels In Chemical Attack

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow will provide the U.N. Security Council evidence implicated Syrian rebels in a chemical attack.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 2:58 pm

Russia's top diplomat says his nation will give the U.N. Security Council evidence that implicates Syria's rebel forces in the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus, the BBC reports.

Word of what Syrian President Bashar Assad's strongest ally on the Security Council plans comes from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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Asia
11:06 am
Wed September 18, 2013

China's Debate: Must The Party Follow The Constitution?

A police officer blocks photos from being taken outside Zhongnanhai, the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China, in Beijing last year.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Several weeks back, officials with the East China University of Political Science and Law met one of its professors, Zhang Xuezhong, at his favorite hangout, a coffeehouse in Shanghai.

Sitting in a private room, they told him he was suspended from teaching for articles he had posted on the Internet. In them, Zhang had argued that China's government needs to build a real rule of law — one to which even the party is accountable — as well as a system of checks and balances.

One way to start, he says, is to live up to the promises made in China's 1982 constitution.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Several Deaths Reported After Train Hits Bus In Ottawa

Officials monitor the scene of a crash between a passenger train en route to Toronto and a double-decker bus at a crossing in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on Wednesday.
Stephen Morrison EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 12:23 pm

A passenger train hit a passenger bus at a railroad crossing around 8:48 a.m ET Wednesday in Canada's capital city and there were fatalities.

Canadian Broadcasting reported initially that "Ottawa fire officials say preliminary figures show 5 dead in bus-train collision. #ViaRail tweets nobody seriously hurt on train."

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World
6:46 am
Wed September 18, 2013

New Zealand Men Give New Meaning To The Words: Beer Tap

With the sponsorship of a brewery, the men rigged a friend's home so that beer flowed from all the taps.

World
6:43 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Why Lilly Collins Is The 'Most Dangerous Celebrity'

Fantasy film star Lily Collins seems harmless but beware of looking for more about the starlet on the Internet. According to antivirus software company McAfee, she is the Most Dangerous Celebrity. Plugging Collins' name into a search engine has a 14 percent chance of turning up a computer virus.

Latin America
4:27 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's President Postpones U.S. Visit Over Spying Concerns

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A secret surveillance court has issued a very rare public defense of the U.S. program that collects massive data on phone calls. The court wrote that this program which stores numbers and call times but not content, we're told, does not violate privacy rights.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The American Civil Liberties Union countered that it is folly to trust privacy decisions to a secret court.

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Middle East
5:34 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Evidence In UN Syria Report Makes Regime Most Likely Suspect

UN inspectors have concluded that it was in fact a chemical weapons attack that occurred outside Damascus, Syria on August 23rd. The report does not assign blame for the attack. But according to Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director for Human Rights Watch, a careful read of the evidence laid out in the UN report shows the Syrian regime is most likely behind the attack. He talks with Robert Siegel about the UN findings and what they imply.

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