Two snapshots: The first from the publication American Bazaar, right after the German World Cup win. "In the city of Leipzig, a solitary car scuttled along, with the flag attached to the roof. Waving the flag has yet to catch on. Jan Hoffman, who works in Frankfurt, was in New York when 9/11 happened. 'I had never seen so many flags in my life. Here, there are hardly any, although we won football's greatest tournament.
It’s been nine years since Eunice Ramirez served in Iraq, but she still suffers from war wounds: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, respiratory problems, and frequent crying triggered by her memories.
Israel said Tuesday it is expanding its operations against Hamas "and other terrorist organizations" in the Gaza Strip amid an escalation of violence that saw a barrage of rockets fired from the enclave toward Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other parts of the country.
Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 11:58 am
Extremist Sunni group ISIS has announced a plan to rule the territory it has carved out of Iraq and Syria in recent months, in a declaration that touches on public services, salaries and compensation for damages from the violence.
The plan was unveiled as Iraq's central Shiite government tries to retake the city of Tikrit, in its first major operation against the insurgents.
President Barack Obama said the U.S. is prepared to take targeted military actions in Iraq if they would help fight a growing threat from extremist militants. He also said the U.S. is ready to send as many as 300 military advisers to Iraq.
In an attempt to stop the juggernaut advance of the Sunni extremist group ISIS, Iraq's central government says the fight for the country's largest oil refinery is far from over. A military official says 40 militants have been killed.
"Iraqi government officials say an elite special operations force is holding off ISIS militants at the Beiji refinery 160 miles north of the capital," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Erbil. "But local police report ISIS is tightening a grip on the facility."
This post was updated at 9:40 p.m. ET to reflect the Obama administration's pressure on the Iraqi government.
A week ago, it would have been difficult to find anyone in the U.S. arguing for renewed U.S. military action in Iraq. Now there's a furious debate about what the U.S. should, or shouldn't, do in the latest Iraqi crisis.
The drama seemed to erupt out of nowhere as Islamist extremists captured Mosul, one of the country's largest and most important cities, and kept pushing south toward the capital Baghdad.
Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 11:35 am
The extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is tightening control of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, attacking the strategic city of Baqouba, less than 40 miles from Baghdad. The U.S. is sending up to 275 military personnel to bolster its embassy in the capital; President Obama is also reportedly weighing airstrikes.
Throughout the U.S. occupation of Iraq, there was concern about what would happen to the country when combat forces left. Over the last year, militant extremists have slowly taken over the country and now President Barack Obama is weighing his options. "We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces," Obama said on Friday.
An 89-year-old World War II veteran, reported missing by his U.K. nursing home, has been found at the D-Day commemorations in France.
Bernard Jordan, who served in the Royal Navy during WWII, is a resident at The Pines nursing home in Hove, Sussex, reports the BBC. He had previously attended the 50th and 60th memorial services in Normandy.
This hour, we feature three international voices with Connecticut connections. We begin with a local professor, who recently returned from serving as an elections monitor in Ukraine. He tells us about his experience and talks about what lies ahead for the country and its people.
We also talk with a Nigerian-American artist, who has found a way to create beautiful prints using just his fingers and an iPad. We learn as well the story of a Polish hero, and find out what a top Polish official in America thinks of Ukraine’s chances for success.
NPR's Tom Bowman received a list of the prisoners being released from a Pentagon official. According to documents leaked to the organization WikiLeaks, all five prisoners were high-ranking Taliban officials. Some were considered high-risk and "likely to post a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies."
(This post was last updated Sunday at 5:50 a.m. ET. on Sunday)
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the final remaining captured American soldier from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been released by the Afghan Taliban after almost five years of being held captive, the White House said on Saturday.
In exchange for Bergdahl's release, the U.S. will transfer five detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison to Qatar.
Militants in Ukraine shot down a military helicopter near the eastern city of Slovyansk Wednesday, killing 14 soldiers that included an Army general. The incident comes days after Ukraine stepped up its operations against pro-Russian rebels this week.
From Kiev, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports for our Newscast unit:
A day ahead of a big foreign policy speech at West Point tomorrow, President Obama is making public his plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan.
Obama is largely taking the recommendation of his generals and plans to leave 9,800 troops in Afghanistan for one year beyond the withdrawal of combat forces in December. By the end of 2015, that number will be halved with troops consolidated in the Kabul area, and their primary mission will not be combat but counter-terrorism.
Pro-Russian rebels who had taken over an international airport in Donetsk have been pushed back, Ukraine's government says. Violent clashes erupted Monday and Tuesday; at least 35 people have died.
From Kiev, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports for our Newscast unit:
"The battle for Donetsk airport appears to symbolize the government's tougher stance on the pro-Russian insurgents in the east. Using fighter jets and helicopter gunships, the military says it has retaken control of the airport, though rebels dispute that claim.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin started vilifying the U.S., and state-controlled media took his cue, Michael McFaul was portrayed as one of the American villains. McFaul was the American ambassador to Russia from January 2012 to February of this year. He planned to leave just after the Sochi Olympics, which ended up coinciding with the Ukrainian Parliament voting to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, leading to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
In addition to the physical objects Corporal Elenhof carries on his person, he also says he brings with him a sense of hospitality. "You know, just working every day with a foreign culture," he said, "definitely that culture rubs off on you. In Afghan culture, hospitality is a huge part of it. I'm definitely going to be carrying home a lot of that."
Urging the release of separatists detained during Friday's unrest that left dozens dead, more than 100 pro-Russia activists surrounded a police station in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa Sunday.
Update at 4:30 p.m. ET: More Activists Released
Police in Odessa say 67 pro-Russia activists were freed Sunday.
CNN quotes the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's website:
Inspired by Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War book The Things They Carried, journalist Jake Warga set out to document some of the physical objects and emotional memories carried by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Jake recently joins us to talk about the series, The Things They Carry: U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan, which will begin airing as part of our Coming Home Project on WNPR.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:52 am
About a dozen archaeologists in downtown Columbia, S.C., are focused on a 165-acre sliver of land that was a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. Last summer, the property was sold, and the group is trying to recover artifacts before a developer builds condos and shops there.
"We're out here to salvage what we can in advance of that development," says Chester DePratter, a University of South Carolina archaeologist. Time is running out: DePratter and his team have a permit to excavate until April 30.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 6:38 pm
For decades the National Guard has fought hard against the stereotype that it was the place to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, or that it's a place to get college money rather than combat duty.
Guard leaders thought that after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq they had finally earned some respect. So it was a body blow when the Army's top officer, Gen. Ray Odierno, unveiled his plan on Capitol Hill to take all of the National Guard's Apache helicopters and move them to the regular Army.
It's been 20 years since the Rwandan genocide, in which political ideology and ethnic hatred gave license to thousands of Hutus to kill Tutsi families. But ethnic ideology may not have unleashed the genocide if the international community had not stepped back and allowed it to happen.
One notorious episode of abandonment changed forever the role of the United Nations peacekeeper. Early in the morning of April 7, 1994, thousands of Tutsis began arriving at a school on the outskirts of the capital, Kigali, seeking the protection of Belgian soldiers stationed there for the U.N.
The 369th Infantry Regiment served 191 days under enemy fire in Europe. They returned home one of the most decorated American units of World War I.
"The French called them the 'Men of Bronze' out of respect, and the Germans called them the 'Harlem Hellfighters' out of fear," explains Max Brooks, author of The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel about the first African-American infantry unit to fight in World War I.