A European police agency this week made what should've been a startling announcement that hundreds of professional soccer matches around the world may have been rigged by gamblers in recent years. But the news was greeted inside the sport less as a shock than as confirmation of a rampant problem. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us now as he does most Fridays. Hi, Stefan.
STEFAN FATSIS, BYLINE: Hey, Robert.
SIEGEL: And first, tell us about this investigation.
Iran's unpredictable president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is nearing the end of his final term in office and he has apparently decided to go out with a bang. The president has dragged a long-simmering feud with one of Iran's most powerful political families out into the open. It features hidden camera videos and allegations of corruption and it has prompted an urgent call for calm from the country's Supreme Leader. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul on what looks to be an unexpectedly lively campaign season in Iran.
An unmanned drone armed with Hellfire missiles is shown over southern Afghanistan. A Hellfire missile fired from a drone was used in 2011 to kill an American in Yemen who the Obama administration says was an al-Qaida leader. Another American died in that attack, and a 16-year-old American was killed in a separate drone strike.
Credit Dorothea Lange / Getty Images
Members of the Japanese-American Mochida family await relocation to an internment camp, in Hayward, Calif., during World War II. In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt used an executive order to authorize the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry. In 1988, the U.S. government formally apologized.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 12:00 pm
The controversy over President Obama's targeted-killings-by-drone policy is a reminder that the default position of presidents in times of crisis is generally to side with national security over civil liberties.
We want to go live now to the nation of Tunisia, where tens of thousands of people turned out today for the funeral of an assassinated opposition leader. Political tensions turned violent as young men clashed with police. The scene was a reminder of the precariousness of the situation in Tunisia - two years after the Arab Spring revolution began there. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley was at the funeral and joins me on the line. And Eleanor, what was the scene at this funeral? What did you see?
"Police and mourners clashed at the mass funeral on Friday of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid, whose assassination has plunged Tunisia deeper into political crisis," Reuters writes.
According to the wire service, "braving chilly rain, at least 50,000 people turned out to honor Belaid in his home district of Jebel al-Jaloud in the capital, chanting anti-Islamist and anti-government slogans."
As the Africa Cup of Nations reaches fever pitch, allegations of unfair officiating are drowning out the trumpet-like vuvuzelas blasting in South Africa. Host Michel Martin speaks with Nigerian soccer journalist Osasu Obayiuwana for a look ahead to the final between Nigeria's Super Eagles and Burkina Faso's Stallions.
Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 2:37 pm
About 3,000 years ago, give or take a couple of decades, the Chinese people began celebrating the beginning of their calendar year with a joyful festival they called Lunar New Year. They cleaned their homes, welcomed relatives, bought or made new clothes and set off firecrackers. And there was feasting and special offerings made to the Kitchen God for about two weeks.
Roopa, the pseudonym for a gang rape victim in rural India, is shown at her home in the state of Haryana. Police were reluctant to investigate initially and the community has ostracized her. But her family has stood by her as she presses the case.
Credit Julie McCarthy / NPR
Savita Berwal, who heads a women's group in the Indian state of Haryana, says gang rape is common and is becoming more violent in the area.
Credit Julie McCarthy / NPR
Shishpal Beniwal, who heads one of the unelected all-male councils in Haryana state that set social mores, says that in cases of gang rape, "we usually find that both sides are to blame. It's never one-sided."
It began as an innocent Sunday outing to see the movie The Life of Pi. By the time the night was over, it had become a grisly gang rape that shocked the world.
Five men went on trial this week, charged with the rape and killing of a 23-year-old woman who died of the injuries she suffered when she was attacked on a bus as it moved through the streets of Delhi — an assault that ignited public outrage over the violence against women in the Indian capital.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified before a Senate committee Thursday about the September attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Panetta was questioned about whether the U.S. response was fast enough and about why the U.S. military had not been better prepared for the possibility of an attack.
There was another U.S. drone strike in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday. At least three people were killed when missiles struck a compound in North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan. The strike comes as Washington debates the use of drones and not long after Ambassador Sherry Rehman said the use of drones was a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and international law. Throughout Pakistan, popular reaction to the drone strikes continues to be vociferously negative. Robert Siegel talks to Jackie Northam.
In a tiny village in Brittany, France, the mayor is also the local Catholic priest. As a mayor, Elie Geffray will soon be officiating over same-sex unions even though the Catholic Church opposes gay marriage and adoption. He notes that France is a secular democracy and that allows Muslims, Catholics, Protestants and atheists to live together. And says he believes the Catholic Church made a mistake by getting involved in the gay marriage debate.
Movies are big business in China, and 2012 was another record year: Theaters raked in about $2.7 billion, pushing China past Japan to become the world's second-largest market.
Those blistering sales were expected; China's ultimate box-office champ, however, was not.
Hollywood blockbusters usually do well in China. And last year, competition was stiff, including a new installment of Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible franchise, as well as Skyfall, the latest James Bond flick.
Lee, the American wife of "Crazy English" founder Li Yang, leaves court after a session for her divorce trial in Beijing last March. Earlier this month, she was granted a divorce, as well as a restraining order against Li.
Credit Courtesy of Kim Lee
This was one of the photos American Kim Lee posted online after her Chinese husband, a famous English teacher, beat her. Her decision to go public marks a milestone in the fight against domestic abuse in China.
Li Yang teaches English to several thousand students attending a class at a stadium in Guangzhou, China, in 2004. His "Crazy English" technique — based on learning through shouting — draws huge crowds. In interviews, he has admitted physically attacking his wife.
The faces of American Kim Lee and her Chinese husband, Li Yang, both in their 40s, once graced the covers of books that sold in the millions. He was China's most famous English teacher, the "Crazy English" guru of China, who pioneered his own style of English teaching: pedagogy through shouted language, yelling to halls of thousands of students.
His methods were given official recognition after he was employed by the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee to teach Olympic volunteers.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 8:16 pm
Germany was the world's most future-oriented country in 2012, followed by Switzerland and Japan, according to the "Future Orientation Index." Researchers found that in Germany and 10 nations last year, more people used Google to search for "2013" than for "2011."
The 11 countries represent a gain over 2011, when only seven countries had as many searches for the upcoming year as for the prior one.
Let's get a glimpse of the troops now fighting Islamist insurgents in Somalia. Forces from multiple African nations have been battling a group called al-Shabaab for years. They're being closely watched now because the international community is considering how to intervene in future months and years against an insurgency in Mali. NPR's Gregory Warner is traveling with a force in Somalia. Gregory, welcome back to the program.
GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: Thanks, Steve.
INSKEEP: So where are you, and what have you been doing?
In exchange for multibillion-euro bailouts, Greece was required to sell state-owned assets. But the sweeping privatization process is behind schedule. In addition, European governments are nervous that Chinese, Russian and Arab companies are lining up to take advantage of the Greek fire sale.
John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to be the next CIA director, worked closely with Saudi Arabia to set up a secret U.S. drone base there, The New York Times reported. Brennan's confirmation hearing is Thursday.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 4:50 am
The Obama administration says lethal airstrikes, delivered stealthily by drones, have been a major success in its counterterrorism efforts. But the administration has been much less successful in keeping secret the details of the often controversial drone program.
The details of a secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia, used to launch targeted killings and surveillance missions into Yemen, were revealed Wednesday in several American media outlets. Audie Cornish speaks with Karen DeYoung, national security correspondent for The Washington Post, who authored one of the articles on the program
fifteen-year-old Malala Yousefzai relaxes. The Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban on Oct. 9 2012 has made her first video statement since she was nearly killed, released Monday, saying she is recovering.
Credit Lawrence Jackson / AP
Essie Mae Washington-Williams is the biracial daughter of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C. She passed away February 4, 2013.
Finally today I want to talk about - and I want you to hear - the voices of two women: one who is really at the beginning of her life, one whose life has just come to its end. One I had the privilege to meet. One I have not — at least not yet. But they are both women who stand for something.
The U.S. and the international community have pledged $16 billion to support Afghan security forces after NATO troops complete their drawdown at the end of 2014. That money covers the cost of troops and equipment.
But just what equipment will be provided? Afghan military officials want big-ticket planes, tanks and other conventional weapons.
The U.S., however, says the Afghans need to get their strategic priorities in order, and focus less on prestige hardware and more on weaponry and equipment suitable for counterinsurgency warfare.
Thousands of Tunisians are protesting in the streets after the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, a critic of the moderate Islamist group that dominates the country's government. Steve Inskeep talks with Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution's Doha Center.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's still hard to believe that Japan and China could ever go to war over a few specks of land in the East China Sea, but here's a reminder of how easily war could come. Japan has disclosed that one of its navy ships was recently targeted by the radar off a Chinese navy ship. That form of radar is used for targeting weapons.
Investigators in Ireland have been pursuing an excruciating question: It is how women came to be stuck in a modern day workhouse. That's a kind of forced labor camp we associate with some earlier age, yet these Irish facilities persisted almost until the end of the 20th century.
NPR's Philip Reeves reports on what an investigative panel calls secrecy, silence and shame.
In Egypt, tensions have risen in recent weeks as government security forces have clashed with street protestors. For more, Robert Siegel talks with Abdul Mawgoud Dardery about the political situation in Egypt. He's a member of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A Somali court on Tuesday handed down one year sentences to a woman who claimed she was raped and to a journalist who interviewed her about the alleged sexual abuse. The Mogadishu judges decided the woman had lied. The journalist was accused of insulting the government, even though he never published anything from the interview. Rights groups have decried the case as politically motivated because the woman had accused security forces of the assault.
Now to Mali, where the French are winding down their mission. As they do, librarians and scholars in the city of Timbuktu are breathing a sigh of relief. Timbuktu is home to an untold number of manuscripts and antiquities from Qurans to texts on medicine and mathematics, invaluable to Islamic history. But recently, Malian rebels and Islamic militants set the city's largest library on fire as they fled town. As it turns out, the scholars were one step ahead of the vandals. Only a very small percentage of the items were destroyed.