Solomon "Sully" Omar performs with the Afghan metal band District Unknown at the third annual Sound Central Festival in Kabul earlier this month.
Credit Sultan Faizy/NPR
The 23-year-old, Colorado-born Omar (shown here performing an acoustic set with a member of District Unknown) says he was pleasantly surprised by the vibrant music scene he found when he landed in Kabul last year.
When 23-year-old Solomon "Sully" Omar felt the music scene in his native Denver wasn't giving him what he was looking for, he made a radical move. He headed for Kabul, capital of the war-torn country his parents had fled decades ago.
"I came here to continue my education and at the same time see what's in the music scene here and bring some of the skills and abilities that I have to the music scene," says Omar.
A Wal-Mart store in Paramount, Calif. The company announced it would conduct its own inspections at Bangladeshi factories that produce its goods rather than joining an agreement with other Western retailers.
Wal-Mart says it has drafted its own plan for improving safety at garment factories in Bangladesh rather than join other Western retailers in a legally binding agreement to pay for improved conditions for workers in the South Asian country.
Online activist Ali Abdulemam (right) is greeted in Manama, Bahrain, on Feb. 23, 2011, shortly after anti-government protests began. Wanted by the government, he went into hiding the following month. He escaped from Bahrain after two years underground and made his first public appearance Wednesday in Oslo, Norway.
The Arab world was aflame in March 2011. Longtime rulers in Tunisia and Egypt had been toppled. NATO was poised to attack Libyan government forces. The Syrian uprising was just beginning. And on the small island nation of Bahrain, the government was cracking down on pro-democracy protesters.
Across Bahrain, protest leaders were rounded up and some were quickly tried, convicted and sentenced to prison. The writing was on the wall for the leaders of the movement, including Ali Abdulemam.
This image provided by the Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad and released May 2 shows soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad standing amid dead bodies at Bayda village, in the mountains outside the coastal city of Banias, Syria.
In the stodgy world of global oil, we don't hear the term revolution tossed around very often. But oil analysts are watching dramatic change take place on the supply side of the industry. Things like where the oil is coming from and who is buying it.
Fahim Hashemi, 33, built a conglomerate from scratch. He owns a TV channel, an airline and supplies the Afghan National Army with boots and fuel. He got his start early in the war as a translator to U.S. and British forces.
Following a factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 people, Wal-Mart has declined to join a multi-company factory safety accord to try to prevent future disasters. Instead, the world's largest retailer announced its own set of inspection and safety measures.
A construction crew in search of gravel to use as road filler used its backhoes to level one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids.
"It's a feeling of incredible disbelief because of the ignorance and the insensitivity ... they were using this for road fill," Jaime Awe, the head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, said of the destruction at the 2,300-year-old Nohmul pyramid, located in the Orange Walk/Corozal area.
"It's like being punched in the stomach. It's just so horrendous," Awe said Monday of the destruction thought to have occurred last week.
Etrat Kazemi (center) registers her candidacy for the upcoming presidential election in Tehran, Iran, last week. More than 700 people have registered to run in the June 14 election.
Credit Behrouz Mehri / AFP/Getty Images
Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (center) waves as he registers his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election at the interior ministry in Tehran, May 11. Rafsanjani has been isolated since massive street protests in 2009 after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Credit Behrouz Mehri / AFP/Getty Images
Ahmadinejad (center right) has endorsed top adviser Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei (center left) for president.
Nearly 700 presidential hopefuls have thrown their names into the ring for Iran's June 14 presidential elections. But two last-minute entrants have altered the shape of the already-chaotic race: a former president once dismissed as a has-been and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator.
The webpage Google.ps used to read "Google: Palestinian Territories." On May 1, the company quietly changed that regional search page to say "Google: Palestine."
Google didn't announce the name change, but it didn't have to. In a place where small gestures can carry great symbolism, Palestinians noticed right away.
"Everybody knows about it and they screenshot [and] post on Facebook: 'Yay Google, thank you,' " says Mohammad Kumboz, a 22-year-old graphic designer and computer programmer who lives in the Gaza Strip.
In northern lakefront vacation spots such as Ochre Beach, Manitoba and Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota, ice happens even in May. But what happened this past weekend was like something out of a science fiction movie.
(SOUNDBITE OF WIND)
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
This is the sound from a video recorded as constant strong winds pushed huge sheets of ice off a lake and onto the shore. Fingers of ice creeped farther inland and farther. It's as if the ice is alive.
And now to Russia, where a U.S. Embassy employee has been ordered to leave the country, this after Russian authorities nabbed him in a highly publicized arrest. They charge the American as a CIA agent who was caught trying to recruit a Russian spy.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
For years, we've understood the global oil landscape in fairly simple terms: Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries were the big producers of oil, the United States and its allies were the big oil buyers. But a report today from the International Energy Agency shows a different picture. Turns out the U.S. has become a star oil producer, as NPR's Tom Gjelten reports.
Mike Watson (left), CEO of Kenya's Lewa Conservancy, and conservationist Ian Craig identify the carcass of a 4-year-old black rhino named Arthur, whom poachers had killed the night before. The well-armed, well-informed poachers very likely used night vision goggles and a silencer on an AK-47.
Credit Gregory Warner / NPR
Game rangers report for duty at a community conservancy in northern Kenya. The flourishing safari economy in Kenya generates more than $1 billion a year and nearly 500,000 jobs.
Credit Gregory Warner / NPR
Mzee Kinyanjui is one of the first and longest-serving rangers to work for Lewa Conservancy. Now retired, he is often called upon for advice and guidance by the security department for his forensic skills.
It says a lot about the state of the war against poachers in Africa that the Lewa Conservancy, a private sanctuary in Kenya with 12 percent of the country's rhinos, recently appointed a CEO who has never studied zoology or biology. Instead, Mike Watson is an ex-captain in the British army.
His training has already come in handy. Take, for instance, a visit to a crime scene earlier this year: a rhino carcass splayed out in the mud.
After living underground in the United States — figuratively speaking — some undocumented immigrants deported to the Mexican border city of Tijuana are living in holes. These migrants have dug bunkers along Tijuana's sewage canal to protect themselves from police who routinely burn down their makeshift homes.
The ongoing conflict between North Korea and South Korea is the legacy of the Korean War, which can help explain relations between the two countries. In a new book, historian Victor Davis Hanson discusses how the strategies of U.S. Gen. Matthew Ridgway helped to turn around what appeared to be "a lost war."
Hanson, author of The Savior Generals, tells NPR's Neal Conan that although the three-year war "ended right where it began," it did allow for South Korea to flourish as a democracy.
Last week's guilty verdict makes former dictator Gen. Efrain Rios Montt the first head of state to be convicted of genocide by a national court in the country where the crimes took place. American University law professor Diane Orentlicher examines the significance of Montt's conviction.
Chai Lorlam is a 9-year-old, 50-pound boxer in northeastern Thailand. The young fighters go through intense training for fights that are held for the benefit of gamblers who often wage large sums on the outcome. Chai is shown here at a recent match.
Credit Morgan Hartley for NPR
The fights attract large crowds from surrounding villages that bet heavily on boxers from their areas. This places tremendous pressure on the young fighters.
Credit Morgan Hartley for NPR
Chai (center) is shown at breakfast after his morning training with other fighters. He spends most of his day at the gym.
Under the fluorescent lights of the boxing ring, the boy can barely see out beyond the elastic ropes that surround the fighting stage. The crowd and the festival that press in around him are shadowy outlines. But the boy can hear them.
"Chai Lorlam, 9 years old, 22.9 kilograms [just under 50 pounds]," the announcer says.
If you live in France, you might be paying more, soon, for smartphones and tablets, like the iPad. If the government moves ahead with a new tax proposal, the move could worsen an already tense climate between the Socialist government in France and some technology giants.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly Cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem on Monday. He's facing criticism for spending $127,000 of public money to outfit an El Al jet with a double bed plus a wall around it so he and his wife could rest well (and privately) on a flight to London last month.
Maria Carlotta Santa Maria is a single mother in Mexico and is the sole wage earner in her household. Women like her are becoming more common there, and the stigma once associated with having children out of wedlock is fading.
On her daily route delivering laundry in her working-class neighborhood in southern Mexico City, Maria Carlotta Santa Maria, or Mari, as she is known, seems to know everyone: the mailman, the woman on the corner selling salty nuts, and her favorite greetings are for the guys at the corner gas station.
Mari is the kind of person that can make this inhospitable and overwhelming megacity seem almost small and friendly. But as a single mother, she says raising her 10-year-old daughter Jimena alone hasn't been easy.
Four retailers who represent the largest purchasers of clothes produced in Bangladesh announced Monday that they have will help finance safety upgrades at apparel factories in the South Asia country after the collapse of a garment complex killed more than 1,000 workers.
The news comes as the death toll in the April 24 collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza near Dhaka rose to at least 1,127, according to officials.
It's been three weeks since a factory collapsed in Bangladesh's garment sector, killing more than 1,000 people. Today, several major retailers that buy clothing made in the country signed onto an ambitious safety plan meant to prevent future tragedies. The agreement is being applauded by worker advocates around the world.
To tell us what's in it, we're joined by NPR's Jim Zarroli. And Jim, give us the details. What does the agreement say, and what does it actually commit retailers to do?
Zhang Ming lost her 5-year-old daughter, her parents and her home in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. She now operates a stall selling food and drinks, and she and her husband have another daughter. But life is difficult. "We are facing the problem of how to survive, so we don't have time to think of anything else. If you have too much free time, you think about things too much."
Zhang Ming lost her 5-year-old daughter, her parents and her home in the powerful earthquake that hit Sichuan provincefive years ago. She now operates a stall selling soft drinks, homemade tofu, popsicles and souvenirs. She and her husband had another child, a daughter who is now 4.