World

Parallels
9:57 am
Mon January 6, 2014

In Fast-Changing China, Reality Can Overtake Fiction

Qiu Xiaolong in his ancestral house during a visit from his home in St. Louis.
Frank Langfitt/NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 8:03 pm

One of the challenges of writing about China is the country moves fast — sometimes faster than the publishing business. Take Enigma of China, the latest detective novel by Chinese-American author Qiu Xiaolong.

In one scene, Qiu's main character, Inspector Chen, sits in a Shanghai restaurant scanning a hotel where government agents are holding a corrupt official in secret detention.

Recently, Qiu took me on a tour of the book's real-life settings, including the site of that eatery.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Mon January 6, 2014

German Chancellor Merkel Fractures Hip In Skiing Accident

German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the recording of her annual New Year's speech at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 30.
David Gannon AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 9:00 am

German Chancellor Angela Merkel fractured a hip during a cross-country skiing accident in the Swiss Alps, her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Monday.

He says the injury will confine the German leader to a bed for about three weeks, so Merkel has cancelled some meetings.

From Berlin, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson sent this report for our Newscast unit:

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Europe
6:26 am
Mon January 6, 2014

23 Years Later, Message In A Bottle Answered

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

When she was 10 years old, Zoe Averianov tossed a bottle into the North Sea with a letter talking about her love of the flute and hamsters. Now 33, she's hard back from a Dutch couple who found her bottle.

Afghanistan
5:42 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Will Afghan Polling Data Help Alleviate Election Fraud?

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has commissioned a series of polls to see who Afghans favor in the April election. But between security challenges and "social desirability" biases, it can be difficult to impossible to get a clear read of the Afghan people.

Middle East
5:39 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Kerry Leaves Jerusalem Without Much Progress On Peace Deal

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. Secretary of State John Kerry spent much of last week in the Mideast, where he tried to push Israeli and Palestinian leaders towards a peace agreement. Yesterday he flew to Saudi Arabia and Jordan to update the monarchs of those countries on the progress of the talks. But as NPR's Emily Harris reports, if there has indeed been progress, it remains under wraps.

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Latin America
5:28 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Venezuela's Department Of Happiness Criticized

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Here's the name of a government office that caught our attention: The Vice Ministry for the Supreme Social Happiness of the People. This is a newly created office in Venezuela, where government bureaucracy sure seems to be growing. John Otis tells us more.

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Middle East
4:17 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Al-Qaida Extremists Fight For Influence In Iraq, Syria

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

In Syria, militias linked to al-Qaida have taken the lead in the fight against the Assad government. In Iraq, they've caused a wave of violence including bombings against civilians and attacks on government forces.

The Salt
2:06 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Amazon Locavore: Meet The Man Putting Brazilian Food On The Map

Brazilian chef Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this year.
Cassio Vasconcellos AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

He was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this past year.

Now Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, is putting a new kind of Brazilian food on the map.

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Europe
2:02 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Madrid's Street Performers Now Must Audition To Hold Out A Hat

Street musician Valentino Juanino, right, plays his bagpipe at the Conde Duque Cultural Center last month after taking a quality test to obtain official permission to perform in the streets of Madrid.
Paul White AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

On the train, in the park, on the famed medieval Plaza Mayor — the Spanish capital of Madrid is famous for its street performers.

And with more than a quarter of Spaniards out of work, more people than ever before have been crisscrossing the city with their violins and voices, for extra cash. People squeeze giant accordions onto the metro, and roll amplifiers on carts across cobblestones.

The street performers are a tourist attraction. But Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, says the clamor has reached its limit.

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The Salt
1:32 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

In Sao Paulo, Organic Markets Are Beginning To Take Off

As demand for organic food in Brazil rises, organic produce is getting more affordable.
Paula Moura for NPR

Sao Paulo holds the title of the biggest city in Latin America, with an estimated 22 million people in its metropolitan area. But when it comes to local, organic food, the pickings are pretty slim: The city has just 20 organic farmers' markets.

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