World

Middle East
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Russia Defends Syria Amid Chemical Weapons Allegations

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The latest reports of chemical weapon attacks in Syria set off a tense debate in the United Nation Security Council. It met this afternoon in an urgent session. The U.N. has long been divided over how to deal with Syria. The United States and its partners are calling for a full investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons, but Russia is casting doubts on the allegations and is defending the Syrian government's position.

NPR's Michele Kelemen has our story.

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Middle East
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Syrian Government Accused Again Of Using Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Anti-government activists in Syria are accusing President Bashar al-Assad's forces of deploying a chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of the capital, Damascus. The government denied the attack, but the allegations have prompted the United Nations to call an emergency meeting. Melissa Block talks to Washington Post reporter Loveday Morris for more.

Parallels
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Israeli Politician Stirs Up The Religious-Secular Debate

Ruth Calderon, a religious scholar, recently became a member of Israeli's parliament and has been a leading voice on issues that often divide the country's religious and secular communities.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 8:19 am

When Ruth Calderon is nervous, she does her nails.

"It helps," she grins. "Did you ever try? It puts you together. If you really are nervous you do bright red."

Calderon, 51, is a scholar and teacher of Jewish religious texts. She is also a novice Israeli politician, part of the new Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party that unexpectedly took 19 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last January.

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Parallels
2:36 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Panning For Gold In South Sudan, A Gram At A Time

South Sudanese pan for gold in Nanakanak, in the eastern part of the impoverished country. Tens of thousands of informal miners are looking for gold, and the government is trying to attract international mining companies to carry out the search on an industrial scale.
Hannah McNeish AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 7:08 pm

Digging a trench under the punishing midday sun, Thomas Lokinga stops only when he needs to wipe the sweat from his face. He is determined to find a nugget of gold amid the hard-baked ground in Nanakanak, in the eastern part of South Sudan, the world's newest nation.

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The Two-Way
9:51 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Release Mubarak, Egyptian Court Orders

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sits in the dock during a June 8 court hearing in Cairo.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:57 am

An Egyptian court has ordered that former President Hosni Mubarak be released from custody while he awaits a retrial on charges related to the killing of protesters during the 2011 protests that led to the toppling of his government, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Cairo.

Peter adds that even though that case and others related to corruption charges are still active, Mubarak's release would "likely spark anxiety that the military-backed government now in charge is returning Egypt to the authoritarian state it was in before the Arab Spring."

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Middle East
8:54 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Syrian Government Accused In Gas Attacks On Civilians

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Parallels
7:30 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Japan Projects A More Assertive Image To The World

A Japanese tank fires during an annual training exercise at the foot of Mount Fuji in on Tuesday.
Toshifumi Kitamura AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 2:22 pm

Japan's military held large-scale exercises at the foot of Mount Fuji on Tuesday as Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera cited "deepening uncertainties" in the region as justification for expanding the role of Japan's armed forces at home and abroad.

Onodera said Japan's military would increasingly be called upon to participate in international peacekeeping operations and bilateral activities with allies.

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Wed August 21, 2013

New Reports Of Chemical Weapons In Syria; Many May Be Dead

Free Syrian Army fighters man an anti-aircraft gun on the back of a truck in Deir al-Zor on Tuesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:14 am

(We most recently updated this post at 9:10 a.m. ET.)

"Two Syrian pro-opposition groups are claiming that dozens of people were killed Wednesday in a poisonous gas attack near Damascus," NPR's Jean Cochran reported earlier this morning on our Newscast. The groups are blaming the attack on government forces, she said.

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National Security
5:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Britain Tried To Stop NSA Material From Being Published

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Middle East
5:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Egypt's Political Crisis Is Creating Economic Trouble

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The crisis in Egypt has been devastating for that country's economy, and especially for businesses in Cairo. Shops that usually stay open late into the night are closing early because of a curfew imposed by the military. Many foreign companies have stopped operations altogether. For the time being, economists say that Egypt can avoid collapse with the help of a multi-billion dollar aid package from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries.

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