The Syrian army says it will apply a 48-hour truce to the city of Aleppo, in the north of the country, after days of intense fighting with rebel forces.

The truce comes into effect at 1 a.m. local time on Thursday, according to the Syrian state news wire SANA.

The Taliban threatened to kill me for playing sports

18 hours ago

On a sweltering afternoon, I sat kneeling by a low windowsill, chin cupped in my hand, staring out over the wide river plain behind our house. My mother had put me in a new dress, constellations of beads and silk threads embroidered all over the heavy fabric. From outside, I could hear rippling laughter as a group of boys played, running and kicking up clouds of dry dirt that blotted out my view of the serrated horizon.

The Bush Administration now offers grants for Americans to study languages such as Arabic. We travel to Cairo where language schools are full of American students. Also, a conversation with self-described language fanatic Elizabeth Little. And a journey through the linguistic politics - and just plain silliness - of the Eurovision Song Contest.

In this edition of The World in Words, linguist Derek Bickerton talks about his lifelong love of creoles and his attempt to create a new language on a desert island. Also former speechwriter Gregory Levey on how he nearly got an Israeli prime minister to channel Seinfeld.
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In this edition of The World in Words: Russian. What names like Putin, Stalin and Medvedev mean. Also, outgoing President Putin likes to quote Russian poetry - as much as seems to enjoy coarse street language. We end with the confessions of a hopelessly unqualified Israeli government speechwriter.
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Languages are dying out faster than ever, and no-one seems to know quite what to do about it. But that's not stopping a Chilean teen from teaching himself Selk'nam, previous considered a dead language. It's not stopping two American linguists whose attempts to document endangered languages is the subject of a new movie. And it's not stopping Gullah-Geechee speakers from the southeastern United States from enlisting federal support in their bid to ensure the suvival of their language.

On the debut podcast of The World in Words, the power of language: Spain tries, and fails, to set words to its national anthem. South Africa's anthem has words but they're in so many different languages that very few people understand them. And the pseudo-language of Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA sounds harmless, unless you're Danish.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Panama City is bustling with construction. At least half-a-dozen cranes dot its picturesque, oceanfront skyline, teeming with glass towers.

At one site, real estate broker Kent Davis steps into a construction elevator in a nearly completed 30-floor apartment building. Seventy percent of the apartments have already been sold.

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Correction: U.S. Global AIDS Program PEPFAR

19 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Al Masirah/Ameen AlShami

On July 3, 2015, Ibrahim Abdulkareem's home was hit by a Saudi airstrike, with his family inside. “It was 1:30 in the morning,” Ibrahim writes in Arabic, “we were sleeping.”

Ibrahim, the father of two, awoke to the sound of his wife screaming. She was pinned under the rubble of their collapsed walls. His son appeared to be OK. But his young daughter was completely buried in plaster and stone. EMTs arrived and they dug her out. The girl, her brother and their mother were rushed to area hospitals.

Let's say a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure.

In ordinary circumstances, her medical team will monitor her condition. If there's a threat to the fetus, the doctor might want to bring on labor early. In the end, mother and baby are usually fine.

But what if she's living in a war zone?

First of all, she might not know she has the condition. Sometimes a pregnant woman with high blood pressure shows no symptoms. And amid the chaos of combat, regular checkups may be hard to arrange.

Zimbabwe says it is putting some of the wild animals in its reserves up for sale because of the severe drought that has hit the country.

That's according to a statement from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (known as ZimParks) that was carried by Reuters and CNN.