Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is guilty of "aiding and abetting" forces in Sierra Leone that committed war crimes and other atrocities during a war that lasted more than a decade and left more than 50,000 people dead, the Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled today.
Taylor, the first head of state since just after World War II to be judged by an international tribunal, "knew that his support" would assist and encourage fighters who were committing war crimes, the tribunal ruled. In return, he received so-called blood diamonds from Sierra Leone.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
For the president, next week is being billed as the official launch of his re-election campaign. Mr. Obama will be holding rallies in the swing states of Ohio and Virginia. But it would be hard to tell a difference from this week, when Mr. Obama made a tour of college campuses in three other battleground states.
The Netherlands Energy Co. is running an ad promoting its free beer taps. The ad contains a warning for Netherlands women: Prevent your husbands from traveling to Ukraine to see this summer's European soccer championship. The ad says the men might be seduced by beautiful Ukrainian women, so better that they stay home and drink beer.
NPR's business news starts with a cage-free promise.
Burger King announced yesterday, that by 2017, all of its eggs and pork will come from animals not penned-up in cages and crates. Burger King is the first major U.S. fast food chain to put a firm deadline on such a promise. The move is seen as part of an industry-wide shift to consider animal concerns.
One food industry analyst says it proves quote, "that consumers are willing to pay a little bit more for fairness."
Britain is a nation in shock, following Wednesday's announcement that its economy has slipped back into recession. It's the second time since the 2008 financial crisis, and it's raising new questions about the government's unpopular austerity measures.
Young corn plants grow next to the Guardian Energy ethanol plant in Janesville, Minn. Five years ago, the U.S. government projected that in 2012, ethanol production would use up 30 percent of the nation's corn supply. Last year, it used 40 percent.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
A 45-cent-per-gallon government subsidy for ethanol producers ended earlier this year, but there's still a mandate that forces refineries to blend ethanol with gasoline. Before the mandate, refineries used about half as much ethanol as they do today.
Five years ago, ethanol was seen as the next big thing to wean the U.S. off foreign oil. Then some studies on the corn-based fuel cast doubt on its environmental benefits, and auto companies turned their attention to hybrids and electric cars. The hype died off, but the ethanol industry is alive and well, driving a big change in America's corn consumption.
Rising up out of the corn fields outside Lake Odessa, Mich., is the ethanol refinery for Carbon Green Bioenergy. The company's CEO, Mitch Miller, says a lot of refineries were popping up when this one was built in 2006.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's follow up on the controversy over the American use of drones in Pakistan. Over the past few years, no issue has done quite as much to inflame public sentiment and stir anti-American feelings in Pakistan as drone strikes.
Pakistan faces even more political uncertainty. The country's supreme court today found the prime minister guilty of contempt of court. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had resisted demands by the court that he press authorities in Switzerland to pursue money laundering charges there against his boss, the president of Pakistan. NPR's Julie McCarthy has been following this story. She was at the court in Islamabad.
Renee Montagne talks to Pakistani peace activist Mossarat Qadeem about how women can help moderate extremism in Pakistan. Qadeem works with mothers of young men who are at risk for joining the Taliban. She helps reintegrate young men through job training and education programs.
In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, thousands of African immigrants, many of them small-scale clothing traders from Nigeria, have come seeking business opportunities. One of the Nigerian traders, who goes by his "designer name" of Niceguy, is shown here in the city's Little Africa neighborhood.
Credit Nina Porzucki for NPR
The Little Africa neighborhood in Guangzhou is dominated by African immigrants who run the shops and stalls, but many customers are Chinese.
Credit Nina Porzucki for NPR
A trader who goes by the name Fortunato — he says it's his "designer name" — stands outside one of the clothing shops in the Little Africa section of Guangzhou. He's been living in the Chinese city for five years.
China and Africa have become major trading partners in recent years. Chinese companies have made a big push into Africa seeking raw materials like oil. And enterprising Africans now travel to China to buy cheap goods at the source and ship them home. Today, the city of Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, is home to some 10,000 Africans, the largest such community in China. The city's Little Africa neighborhood is a world unto itself, with restaurants specializing in African food to money changers who deal in the Nigerian currency.
A sign stands in front of a bank-owned home in Las Vegas. Housing counselors say the $25 billion mortgage settlement between major banks and the states has yet to make an impact in communities around the U.S.
Earlier this month, a judge approved a settlement between five major banks and nearly all of the state attorneys general. The banks admitted to taking shortcuts — or "robo-signing" documents — as they pushed through some foreclosures.
Most of the $25 billion settlement is supposed to go toward reducing mortgage payments for some troubled homeowners. But lots of other programs have promised to help struggling homeowners in the past, and results have been disappointing.
Keith Ballard, right, of the Vancouver Canucks is tripped by Colin Fraser of the Los Angeles Kings for a penalty during game in Los Angeles on April 18. Researchers studying hockey penalties found that teams wearing black jerseys were far more likely to draw penalties than teams wearing other colored or white jerseys.
Hockey teams wearing darker-colored jerseys are more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls than teams wearing white jerseys, according to new research. Teams wearing black jerseys in particular get penalized the most, according to an analysis that may offer a window into the hidden psychological dynamics of the ongoing NHL playoffs.
Security professionals in both the U.S. government and in private industry have long feared the prospect of a cyberwar with China or Russia, two states capable of launching destructive attacks on the computer networks that control critical assets such as the power grid or the financial system.
Now they face a new cyberthreat: Iran.
"[The Iranians] have all the resources and the capabilities necessary to be a major player in terms of cyberwarfare," says Jeffrey Carr, an expert on cyberconflict who has consulted for the U.S. Department of Defense.
It's dinnertime at a bustling Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Little Africa neighborhood of Guangzhou, in southern China. Chinese schoolgirls nibble on fries, a grandmother feeds her grandson, and Kelvin Njubigbo stares at a single wing on his tray. His foot, wrapped in a gauze bandage, juts out from the table.
"Everything is risk in life," repeats Njubigbo. "It's all risk from the beginning to the last."
A majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled Wednesday that they will uphold at least part of Arizona's controversial immigration law. Four provisions of the law were blocked by a federal appeals court last year, and while even some of the court's conservatives expressed skepticism about some of those provisions, a majority seemed willing to unblock the so-called "show me your papers" provisions.
Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 5:52 pm
The Republican primaries were certainly fun while they lasted, especially for political journalists and junkies for whom the intramural fighting generated no shortage of interesting and sometimes bizarre story lines.
But President Obama's campaign aides were all but certain from the start that they would be running against Mitt Romney. That was one of the few areas of agreement between the former Massachusetts governor's campaign and the Obama people.
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks to the press during a visit to camp Andalusia for internally displaced people from southern Sudan, some 30 kms south of the capital Khartoum.
Over the past year and a half, the world has seen crisis after crisis. Today, NPR's Michele Kelemen spoke to António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, mostly about the crisis in Sudan.
But at one point during their talk, Guterres rattled off the crises they've dealt with since the beginning of 2011: The Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria, Yemen, both a famine and conflict in the Horn of Africa, Mali and now Syria is flaring up again.
Los Angeles police form a line to keep a crowd from entering a building on April 30, 1992. Twenty years after the L.A. riots, most civil rights and community groups give the LAPD high marks for progress.
Credit Jonathan Nourok / AFP/Getty Images
LAPD Chief Daryl Gates (right) and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley respond to the rioting that began on April 30, 1992, after four police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King.
Credit Nick Ut / AP
Former LAPD Chief William Bratton is credited with setting the first substantive department reforms in motion during his seven-year tenure.
It's been 20 years since Los Angeles erupted in riots following the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King. There have been many changes in the city since those days of fire, looting and public discord, but perhaps the biggest changes can be seen in L.A.'s police department.
On a drive around the heart of South Central L.A., there are still plenty of weed-filled lots where businesses that burned down in the riots used to stand. There's also still a lot of crime.
Members of the Syrian opposition walk with a U.N. observer during a visit by monitors to the restive city of Homs, Syria, on April 21. Opposition activists say observers appear to help bring calm if they stay in an area. Two monitors have been deployed in Homs for the past several days.
Credit SANA via AP
A U.N. observer (left) speaks with Syrian citizens during their visit to the pro-Syrian regime neighborhoods, in Homs province, central Syria, on April 23.
Syrians walk in an alley damaged by Syrian army shelling in the Bab Sbaa neighborhood in Homs province, central Syria, on April 21.
The U.N.-brokered cease-fire in Syria keeps unraveling. Syrian government troops were supposed to pull their tanks and soldiers out of cities and towns, while rebels were supposed to lay down their arms.
Yet hundreds of people have died in recent days, according to activists. And in some areas, visits by U.N. observers have been followed by intense violence.
Newt Gingrich has experienced a long slide since March 6, when he won Georgia's Republican primary. It was his second and final victory of the campaign season, but Gingrich fought to stay in the race through a Southern strategy that never caught on.
On Wednesday, a source close to the Gingrich campaign told NPR that he would officially suspend his campaign next week, and was likely to formally endorse Mitt Romney.
Hikers arrive at the post office in Caratunk, Maine, in 2011. Some of the rural post offices the U.S. Postal Service may close are relied on by Appalachian Trail hikers for supply drops on their trip from Georgia to Maine.
The U.S. Postal Service is so much a part of this country, it's in the Constitution. And yet with so much written communication now delivered via email, text messages and the Internet, the Postal Service is steadily losing business and operating in the red.
Most people wouldn't think of Washington, D.C., as one of R&B's great cities. Despite the fact that soul music greats Marvin Gaye and Roberta Flack grew up in D.C. neighborhoods, the city never had the equivalent of Detroit's Berry Gordy and Motown, or Memphis' Willie Mitchell and Hi Records. But in the early 1970s, D.C. did have producer Robert Williams and his Red, Black and Green Productions. A new compilation album called Eccentric Soul: A Red Black Green Production revisits Williams' influence on the sound of R&B in D.C.