World

Europe
4:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

World's Top Diplomats Examine Security Concerns

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:43 am

Many of the world's top diplomats met over the weekend along with defense officials for an annual security conference in Munich, Germany. Top of the agenda were two countries in particular: Ukraine and Iran.

The Edge
2:25 am
Mon February 3, 2014

The Games Are A Great Party, But Not A Great Investment

Graffiti covers a vent adjacent to the Athens Olympic Stadium in this photo from Feb. 18, 2012. Expenditures on the 2004 Athens Summer Games contributed to the country's debt load, which sparked the current economic crisis.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:02 pm

NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro, in London, and Joanna Kakissis, in Athens, teamed up for this joint look at Olympics economics.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi are just a few days away. Russia has spent $50 billion on everything from construction to security, making these the most expensive games in history.

Countries often justify the Olympic-sized price tag by saying the investment pays off in increased business and tourism.

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Parallels
12:05 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Race Toward Afghan Election Starts, With Skepticism In The Lead

A campaign banner is posted in Kabul, Afghanistan, for presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday.
Omar Sobhani Reuters/Landov

With the campaign for Afghanistan's April 5 presidential election officially underway, three questions are commonly asked around Kabul: Do you think the presidential election will be held on April 5? Will the election be held at all this year? Who do you think will win?

Right now, 11 men are vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai, who is term-limited. If the election goes well, it would mark the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan's history.

The Issue Of Timing

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Ukraine Protests Set To Widen As President Ends Sick Leave

Opposition supporters take part in a rally in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, in Ukraine, on Sunday.
Sergei Chuzavkov AP

Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych says he will return to work on Monday after a brief sick leave, likely setting the stage for a new round of anti-government unrest.

As many as 30,000 protesters gathered in the capital, Kiev, on Sunday, renewing calls for Yanukovych to step down.

The president had announced his sick leave on Thursday, prompting concern that, as The Associated Press writes, "he may have been taking himself out of action in preparation for declaring a state of emergency."

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Thai Election Largely Peaceful, Despite Fears Of Violence

Protesters demanding the right to vote argue with security and election officials at a district office in Bangkok on Sunday after anti-government protesters shut down the station.
Damir Sagolj Reuters/Landov

Fears of election-day violence in Thailand went largely unrealized on Sunday as efforts by anti-government protesters to block voting stations fell short of their goal of disrupting the parliamentary polls.

A few hundred polling stations in the capital were shut down by protesters, but the vast majority of them across the country remained open.

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Asia
8:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Violence Gives Way To Calmer Thai Elections

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 1:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Voters went to the polls in Thailand today in a snap election called by the ruling party. The elections seem to have gone off fairly peacefully, but they were proceeded by violent clashes between government supporters, known as Red Shirts, and protesters backing the opposition. Last night, at least seven people were injured in Bangkok by gunfire and grenades. Reporter Michael Sullivan is with us now from Bangkok to tell us more. Hi, Michael.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN: Hi, Rachel.

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Middle East
8:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Homs Is Birthplace Of Syrian Protest

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 1:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That was NPR's Steve Inskeep reporting last summer. And that piece he referenced still feels very far off to the people of Homs. The city has now been under siege for nearly 600 days. In that time, tens of thousands of people have fled or been displaced from their homes.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul is the president of the Syrian-American Medical Society. He's originally from Homs. He described what the situation is like now.

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Middle East
8:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Ancient Syrian City A Wasteland Of Modern Violence

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 1:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Talks in Geneva have ended without any concrete action on Syria. In fact, even without a concrete promise from the Assad government that it will show up for another round of talks next week. The two sides had lengthy discussions about sending aid into the Syrian city of Homs, Syria's third-largest city. But they couldn't agree on passage for an aid convoy. And that means hundreds are still stranded without food or medicine.

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Strange News
8:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

After Crushing Bad Luck, A Free Bungee Jump

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 1:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Middle East
6:53 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Despite Scars Of War, Karachi Holds Onto Its Chutzpah

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 1:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. When you hear us say Karachi, Pakistan, you might assume we're going to bring you're a story about terrorism or a bombing or a kidnapping - and you would often be right. It is the most violent city in all of Pakistan. But NPR's Philip Reeves found that isn't all there is to the city. In fact, there's often a gap between Karachi's reputation and the reality of the place, as he explains in this letter from Pakistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISE)

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