Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Back in 2008, eyes rolled at the news a license plate in the United Arab Emirates went for $14 million at auction. It wasn't gold-plated, but the plate had a very flashy number - one. This week, a charity auction in the Emirates sold a cell phone contract for an astonishing price. Its unique number, seven sevens, push the price up to over $2 million. Of course it did include 12 free hours of calls a month.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
OK. As Michele mentioned, Russia is tightening its control over Crimea. One sign of that: flights to other parts of Ukraine were cut off yesterday. The only flights available now are to Moscow.
Russian troops and pro-Russia militias are also taking over military installations. There is this referendum this weekend on whether Crimeans want to join Russia, but Moscow is sending a pretty clear message ahead of that.
Migrants sit in a boat during a rescue operation by the Italian navy off the coast of Sicily on Nov. 28. Italy is looking to revamp the way it handles the hundreds of thousands of migrants who arrive annually.
Undocumented migrants are held at Ponte Galeria, a detention camp near Rome. Human rights groups have criticized conditions in Italy's detention camps.
With mild weather ahead, southern Europe is once again bracing for new boatloads of would-be migrants and asylum seekers from North Africa.
Italy has borne the brunt of this migrant flow for two decades, and it has responded with one of Europe's most repressive laws on illegal immigration.
But now the Italian parliament is trying to scrap a law that has made migrants vulnerable to exploitation and human rights abuses. The existing law has also produced detention camps where undocumented migrants are held in harsh conditions.
A specimen of<em> Platydemus manokwari </em>collected in a greenhouse at Caen in Normandy. You can see its white pharynx protruding from the underside, ingesting soft tissues of a specimen of the Mediterranean snail.
Credit Pierre Gros/PeerJ
France's famed mollusk appetizer could be endangered by an unwelcome worm arrival, scientists worry.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 6:06 pm
Oh, no, not the escargot!
A vicious little worm with an appetite for snails has made its European debut. And that has some scientists worried about the future of France's famed mollusk appetizer.
The New Guinea flatworm (Platydemus manokwari) is the lone worm on the Global Invasive Species Database's list of 100 of the world's most dangerous invaders. And last November, it was discovered in a greenhouse in Caen, Normandy.
Three years ago today, a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed thousands of people. It also triggered the meltdown of reactors at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The cleanup is ongoing and has been problematic, with power failures and leaks of contaminated water. And the technical difficulties involved in closing the facility are compounded by serious labor issues.
This week, Pope Francis marks the first anniversary of his papacy. In his first 12 months, Francis has achieved the rank of a global pop star. His message of humility and proximity to the poor has won admiration from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He's attracting bigger crowds than his predecessor and, as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, he is now the focus of a new fan magazine.
When Jonette Øyen bought her first electric car, it turned heads. "Now nobody turns around!" she says with a laugh.
Sometime in April, Norway is expected to become the first country where one in every 100 cars is purely electric. One percent may not sound like a huge figure, but in the U.S., the equivalent number would be something close to .07 percent.