World

In the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on Tuesday, President Obama celebrated the dynamism of the fast-growing country.

He also met with dissidents and encouraged the government to improve its human rights record.

Like a growing number of American tourists, Obama seems to be enjoying himself in Vietnam.

The president snacked on noodles in Hanoi's Old Quarter on Monday night but admited he didn't hazard a dash across the busy streets, buzzing with motorbikes.

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Carlos Barria/Reuters  

For years after US forces left Vietnam, following a conflict that had killed millions in Southeast Asia, the two countries didn't speak.

Diplomatic relations were finally restored in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, but on Monday President Barack Obama went a step further: During a visit to Hanoi, he announced he was lifting the embargo on US companies selling arms to Vietnam, 41 years after the fall of Saigon.

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Noor Khamis/Reuters

In East Africa’s most prosperous economy, the average city resident pays up to 16 bribes per month, according to Transparency International. Locals have dubbed Kenya “ya kitu kidogo” — the land of the “little something” — a kind of homeland of the bribe. And on the streets of Eastleigh, Nairobi, the victims of those bribes point their finger at one perpetrator.

“If you look at the police who are meant to protect them,” says local activist Abdullahi Mohamed, “they just arrest them to extort cash.”

At London's annual Chelsea Flower Show, the flora is fit for a queen: shaped in her likeness and crafted in honor of her 90th birthday. The new princess has her own chrysanthemum too.

But this year's event, which opens Tuesday, kicks off with a warning from the Royal Horticultural Society: Britain has a "lost generation of gardeners."

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Ozan Kose

“The greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime.”

That's how the United Nations is describing the current global situation. It says 125 million people around the world are currently in need of some form of humanitarian help.

But how do you actually deliver that help on such a huge international scale? That is what they are trying to figure out at the World Humanitarian Summit, which started in Istanbul on Monday. 

South Africa will allow domestic trade of rhino horns again, after a seven-year ban. International trade of the horns is still barred.

The Supreme Court of Appeal rejected the government's bid to keep the domestic moratorium in place, National Geographic reports.

South Africa is "home to the world's largest rhino population, and nearly all of the world's 20,000 white rhinos," National Geographic adds.

The head of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, came out swinging at the opening ceremony of the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday. The meeting of health officials from nearly 200 countries is usually a low-key, bureaucratic affair. Chan, however, opened the assembly by basically saying that the world is facing unprecedented global health challenges right now and is ill-equipped to deal with future threats.

"For infectious diseases, you cannot trust the past when planning for the future," she warned.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

People in India know the Sundarbans as a beautiful and dangerous patchwork of mangrove islands covering nearly 4,000 square miles extending into Bangladesh. It is also home to a variety of rare and endangered species and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Now, this watery landscape is getting international attention for a different reason.

Some of these islands are disappearing, swallowed up by rising tides. Tens of thousands of people who live in the Sundarbans have lost their homes in recent decades.

A left-leaning, Green Party-backed candidate has won Austria's presidential election, edging out an anti-immigrant populist by just 0.6 percent of the vote.

Alexander Van der Bellen, a retired economics professor, had 50.3 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press. His rival, Norbert Hofer of the far-right Freedom Party, had 49.7 percent.

A mere 31,000 votes — out of more than 4.6 million — separated the two candidates.

Joanna Kakissis, reporting for NPR from Vienna, described der Bellen as a 72-year-old, chain-smoking economist.

It's 9 a.m. in central Vietnam's Quang Tri province, and several dozen grade-schoolers sit cross-legged on the floor as their teacher holds up pictures, asking the kids to identify them.

"Bombi!" several shout in unison, when shown a small cluster munition used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War, more than 40 years before any of these children were born. "M79!" they blurt as he flashes another, a picture of a rocket-propelled grenade.

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