Europe

Obama To Prince Charles: We'll Never Be Royals

Mar 19, 2015

President Obama may be having some postcode envy.

As members of the press corps poured into the Oval Office in the White House to get pictures of Obama and Prince Charles, Obama whispered to Charles, "I think it's fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the royal family."

He went on: "They like them much better than they like their own politicians."

Prince Charles, laughing, gave the only polite answer he could in return: "I don't believe that."

Karl-Ludwig Poggemann / Creative Commons

Go for a drive through Sweden and you’ll find some of the safest roads in the world. But that hasn’t stopped the small country from rolling out a plan to make its roads even safer. The goal of Sweden's Vision Zero Initiative is to eliminate the number of national road deaths and injuries.

Meanwhile, much of the United States is still trying to figure out what to do about a lot of its traffic and infrastructural issues. In Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed making changes like widening I-95. But some question whether that’s really the best way to improve traffic flow along the congested interstate.

This hour, we talk with the Vision Zero Initiative's project manager to find out how Sweden is improving its road systems, and find out what we can learn from its approach to traffic safety. We also hear the story of one man's proposal to build a skating lane in Edmonton, Alberta. Dread your work commute? Why not strap on your blades and skate there? 

While Paris worries about mystery drones, a Dutch town is confronting an aerial threat of its own: owl attacks.

Who Killed the King?

Feb 24, 2015
Chion Wolf / WNPR

One of the things you will learn this hour is how close New Haven came to being a possession of Spain. Even if you think you know the story of the New Haven Regicides, the men who fled to the New World rather than face punishment, by which I mean death, for their complicity in the execution of Charles I, we probably have some surprises for you.  

By we, I mean Lord Charles Spencer, who joins me in studio to talk about his new history, Killers of the King. Spencer writes a very brisk and compelling style of history. To put it another way, if you like "Game of Thrones," it's a pretty easy leap from there to this story. 

British fighter jets scrambled from their base on Wednesday after two Russian long-range bombers skirted the coast of Cornwall, in the southwest of England. The incident comes one day after British Foreign Secretary Michael Fallon warned about Russia's intentions in Europe.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

A century ago, in April 1915, an event began that’s come to be known as the Armenian Genocide. One scholar believes that massacre should remind us of the long-term implications of events playing out in our own time. 

It’s thought that up to 1.5 million people may have been massacred or expelled from their homes in the Ottoman Empire during the worst atrocity of World War I. For almost a century, Turkey has denied the enormity of the event, but that may be changing. 

Thomas de Waal works for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Recently, he returned to Turkey with a group American Armenians -- descendants of those who fled the genocide in the early 20th century. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have resulted in a cease-fire which is set to begin Sunday. But there's still a long ways to go before a lasting peace can exist between the two countries.

Former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman doesn't think the cease-fire will hold. He told CNN that the U.S. should send weapons to Ukrainian fighters to help counter Russian-backed troops and President Vladamir Putin.

"I think if we give them the weapons to defend themselves, it actually raises the prospects that the cease-fire will hold because it creates a little more balance on the ground and creates a bit of a disincentive for Putin and the separatists to keep moving through eastern Ukraine," said Lieberman.

A new cease-fire is set to begin Sunday in eastern Ukraine, in a deal after 16 hours of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. The leaders of France and Germany helped broker the deal, which calls for a buffer zone free of heavy weapons. News of the temporary peace emerged along with a new international aid plan for Ukraine.

As has been the case in Ukraine's nearly yearlong conflict with separatists, the new arrangement established by Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko leaves some important issues unresolved.

Karl-Ludwig Poggemann / Creative Commons

Go for a drive through Sweden and you’ll find some of the safest roads in the world. But that hasn’t stopped the small country from rolling out a plan to make its roads even safer. The goal of Sweden's Vision Zero Initiative is to eliminate the number of national road deaths and injuries.

Meanwhile, much of the United States is still trying to figure out what to do about a lot of its traffic and infrastructural issues. In Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed making changes like widening I-95. But some question whether that’s really the best way to improve traffic flow along the congested interstate.

This hour, we talk with the Vision Zero Initiative's project manager to find out how Sweden is improving its road systems, and find out what we can learn from its approach to traffic safety. We also hear the story of one man's proposal to build a skating lane in Edmonton, Alberta. Dread your work commute? Why not strap on your blades and skate there? 

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

A main leader of Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine reportedly says the separatists have launched an attack on the port city of Mariupol, where rocket fire killed at least 15 people in an open-air market and residential area.

"Today an offensive was launched on Mariupol. This will be the best possible monument to all our dead," Alexander Zakharchenko was quoted as saying by Russia's RIA news agency.

During a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama warned Congress that if it passed further sanctions against Iran, he would veto them.

The two leaders, speaking to the press after a series of bilateral meetings, stood shoulder to shoulder on all the issues that came before them. Cameron said that on Iran, he had been calling U.S. senators to tell them he didn't think new sanctions would work against Iran.

Overnight, police in France, Belgium and Germany arrested more than two dozen people suspected of having ties to terrorism.

In Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that police moved in at dawn and arrested about a dozen people, who police said were tied to Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, who attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and Amedy Coulibaly, who attacked a kosher market in eastern Paris.

"These people are said to have been in their entourage," Eleanor told our Newscast unit. "They may have helped them to obtain cars, guns or may have been drivers."

Al-Qaida in Yemen has taken responsibility for the attack on a satirical magazine in Paris that left 12 people dead.

In a YouTube video, Nasr al-Ansi, a top commander of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, said the attack was in vengeance for the Prophet Muhammad.

In a graphic released on Twitter by the group, they say the leadership of AQAP planned and financed the operation against Charlie Hebdo, which printed cartoon depictions of the prophet, despite threats.

Sozialfotografie [►] StR / Flickr Creative Commons

Less than a week after the deadly shootings at the headquarters of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, political cartoonists in the U.S. are still processing what happened to their colleagues.

Two Connecticut-based cartoonists spoke on WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show about reactions they get to their work. Matt Davies, staff cartoonist for Newsday, and Dan Perkins, syndicated cartoonist better known as Tom Tomorrow, called some of the feedback "nasty" and "frightening."

The staff of Charlie Hebdo said the past few days have been hard, but they are "happy" to have put out a magazine under the most intense of situations.

After the shooting, Renald Luzier, the cartoonist known as Luz, said they knew they had to start working.

"We didn't know how we were going to start," he said. "I didn't know if it was going to be possible for me to draw, quite honestly."

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET. White House Backs Down:

"We should have sent someone with a higher profile," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a briefing Monday.

The admission came a day after criticism surfaced over the fact that the United States was not represented by a high-ranking official at a unity rally in Paris. The British, German, Israeli and Palestinian leaders all had been present.

Earnest said, however, that President Obama would have liked to have been present, but the security situation would have been impossible.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

Authorities in France are trying to determine the whereabouts of a 26-year-old woman who is believed to be linked with one of three assailants killed during multiple attacks around Paris.

(This post was last updated at 6:50 p.m. ET.)

A nationwide manhunt for the suspects of France's deadliest terrorist attack in more than 50 years ended in a hail of gunfire on Friday.

After hours of tension in two separate standoffs that shut down parts of the Paris metro area, the two main suspects in the attack on a satirical magazine and a man who took hostages at a kosher grocery are dead, President François Hollande said in a speech to the nation.

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was convicted eight months ago of federal terrorism-related charges in New York, has been sentenced to life in prison.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

The bells of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris tolled, public transport was halted and many in France stood in the rain today for a minute of silence observed on behalf of the eight journalists and two others killed in a deadly attack at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

French authorities are still on the hunt for two brothers suspected in an attack against the headquarters of a satirical magazine in Paris that left 12 people dead.

The two chief suspects, named as Said and Chérif Kouachi, 34 and 32, remain at large. Investigators believe Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen in 2011 to receive weapons training with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports, citing U.S. officials who've been briefed on the case.

French police have taken an 18-year-old suspect identified as Mourad Hamyd into custody after he surrendered to authorities, according to multiple French news outlets. Hamyd had been sought in relation to a murderous attack on a satirical magazine's Paris office Wednesday, but it's not certain whether he was involved.

This much is certain: Charlie Hebdo will live another day.

The magazine, which was the target of a deadly attack Wednesday, will be kept going through financial and editorial backing from some of France's largest media groups.

Updated at 10 p.m. ET.

At least 12 people were killed during a shooting at the headquarters of the satirical Charlie Hebdo weekly in Paris, police say. Two key suspects remain at large (see our latest post for updates).

Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine that was the target of a deadly attack today, is part of a long tradition of French satire dating to the days before the French Revolution.

The left-wing magazine is known for its biting takedowns. Its past targets include the political right wing, capitalism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

A snap general election in Greece next month has triggered uncertainty among investors and government across Europe.

The election came about when the Greek Parliament rejected the presidential candidate nominated by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The radical left Syriza party is leading in opinion polls, and its leader opposes the deep budget cuts and austerity measures that have been instituted in Greece as a condition of financial bailouts.

The U.S. Justice Department has announced a settlement with French company Alstom that marks the largest-ever criminal fine levied in the U.S. over foreign bribery laws. Some of the conspiracy took place in Connecticut. 

Denmark, together with Greenland, today will claim around 350,000 square miles of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean, in an area around the North Pole that is slightly larger than the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined.

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum / Quinnipiac University

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University is launching a digital database with about 1,500 articles and illustrations related to Ireland and the Great Famine.

The airspace over London has been severely restricted because of a "computer failure," Eurocontrol, the European flight safety body, said on Friday.

NPR's Ari Shapiro tells us many flights are expected to be grounded for more than three hours.

"The U.K.'s National Air Traffic Control Center experienced a mid-afternoon power failure," Ari reports. "That forced Heathrow and other airports in the London area to stop all air traffic in and out. Heathrow is Europe's busiest airport, so this will have ripples all across the continent."

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