Many people were surprised by the news of a new relationship between the United States and Cuba. It was especially surprising for WNPR's Morning Edition host Diane Orson. When the news broke, she was returning from Cuba, and landed back in the United States. She shares her story and we hear the music of the Sarah LeMieux Quintet, who will brings us on an imaginary visit to a Paris nightclub.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 7:38 pm
Native-born Americans are making up a smaller percentage of those living in some areas of the U.S. as immigration moves to become the key factor in population growth within the next quarter-century, according to a new analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts that examined county-level census data.
Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:56 pm
American Alan Gross, who spent five years in a Cuban prison before his release today as a humanitarian gesture, said "it's good to be home," and that he hoped the U.S. and Cuba move past their "mutually belligerent" policies.
"Two wrongs never made a right," Gross said in Washington shortly after he returned to the U.S. aboard a government plane.
Gross appeared frail but cheerful. Some of his front teeth were missing.
Gross thanked President Obama and his national security team for working toward his freedom.
Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:41 pm
Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET
President Obama announced today the most significant change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in more than 50 years, paving the way for the normalization of relations and the opening of a U.S. Embassy in Havana.
Obama said "we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries."
Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:21 pm
(This post was last updated at 2:07 p.m. ET.)
Taliban militants stormed a school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, leaving scores of students dead.
Quoting Pakistani officials, multiple media outlets say the death toll is at least 140, including at least 80 students in grades 1 through 10.
A little before 8 p.m. local time, police announced that the operation had ended after the gunmen were killed. Security personnel, police official Abdullah Khan told the AFP, were now in the process of sweeping the rest of the building.
Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:51 pm
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.
Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 2:37 pm
U.N. talks on global warming are wrapping up in Peru, but a divide between rich and poor countries and how to divvy up targets to reduce greenhouse gases is a key sticking point that has remained unresolved.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has acknowledged that the issue is "hard fought and ... complex," but he says it is crucial that the targets be agreed on before next year's summit in Paris. The talks in Peru end today.
Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 7:57 am
CIA Director John Brennan defended his agency's actions after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and said while it is "unknowable" whether the CIA's interrogation techniques against terrorism suspects provided useful information, the agency did not mislead the Bush White House about its activities.
The United States of America has always been imperfect. In some ways, it was designed that way. Despite the fact that their faces are on money and engraved into the side of a mountain, the "Founding Fathers" were actually humans with all of the flaws and fallacies that accompany the species. Many, if not all of them, knew that too.
At what point in history did America start thinking of itself the "greatest country in the world"?
I was born to a world of bamboo huts, food rations, and dirt roads. My family was in Beldangi 2, a refugee camp in Nepal. We were floating there, in a kind of limbo, unsure of who we were and what our future held.
Refugee resettlement is arguably one of our country’s noblest examples of foreign policy. It gives forcibly displaced people from around the world a chance to escape danger and rebuild a life for themselves in a safe environment.
Refugees run from war and persecution, often losing or leaving behind family and loved ones in the process. Many refugees then spend months and sometimes years in rundown, makeshift refugee camps. Less than 1% of all refugees get the chance to leave a camp and resettle in the U.S. or a handful of other countries who accept them.
Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 11:17 am
Alarmed over rising threats in the Middle East and North Africa, the Gulf Cooperation Council is set to launch an unprecedented joint military command, according to regional officials and military analysts.
"At the moment, we are witnessing a new spirit," says Abdulaziz Sager, head of the Gulf Research Center, a think tank that focuses on the GCC, a six-member group of Arab monarchies.
Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 12:31 pm
The USA Luge team is preparing for its first World Cup competition of the season. Members spoke by conference call from Austria with reporters Tuesday, including WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley.
Rep. Joe Courtney from Connecticut's second congressional district was the only member of the delegation to vote in favor of arming and training Syrian rebels in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told a Connecticut audience on Monday that she’s hopeful of meaningful cooperation with Senate Republicans as the Obama administration shapes its foreign policy.
Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 2:41 pm
Soccer's governing body says it has lodged a criminal complaint against individuals in connection with the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, days after clearing the winning bids of corruption.
"In particular there seem to be grounds for suspicion that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place, which merit examination by the criminal prosecution authorities," FIFA said in a statement.
Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 8:00 pm
Preserved human parts — including an infant's head, a baby's foot and an adult heart — stolen from a medical museum in Thailand last month were discovered over the weekend in three boxes labeled as toys that were being shipped to Las Vegas.
Workers at DHL discovered five body parts when they X-rayed the boxes, then alerted the Thai police. They identified the man who shipped the boxes as Ryan McPherson, a 31-year-old American tourist, and questioned him and another American, Daniel Tanner, 33, about the packages.
Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 2:17 pm
President Obama departed the venue of the annual G20 summit in Australia today, declaring it had been a "strong week for American leadership."
The gathering wrapped up by promising to fight climate change and work toward boosting economic growth even as leaders made it clear that new sanctions would be imposed on Russia if Moscow doesn't back down in Eastern Ukraine.
A new agreement between China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions will send strong signals to the global community, according to a Wesleyan professor who has studied climate change for the Obama administration.
Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 6:41 pm
On Wednesday, the U.S. will begin offering Chinese tourists and business people multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years. The change, announced by President Obama in Beijing, is designed to help the American economy and build goodwill in China. China's Foreign Ministry says it will reciprocate.
The first impression most Chinese have of the U.S. government comes when they apply for a visa. For years, they've dreaded the process.
Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 4:41 pm
A quarter-century after the Berlin Wall that split East and West Germany came down, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said its destruction shows that dreams can come true and "nothing has to stay as it is."
The Wall was built in 1961, closing off access to West Germany to stop people from the communist East from fleeing. The roughly finished concrete and barbed-wire structure became a potent Cold War symbol of what former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once described as an "Iron Curtain" dividing Europe.
Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:33 pm
When the international press corps descend on the Catalan capital Barcelona, as they are this weekend to cover the region's symbolic independence vote, Catalan President Artur Mas often holds a news conference. Here's how he usually begins:
"I'll try to answer your questions in whatever language you ask them," Mas says. "Catalan, Spanish, French, English — I'll try my best in Italian too," he says, and settles in for up to two hours, until all questions are exhausted.
As elections are held across the U.S., raising the volume on what needs fixing in America, many Americans choose to work on helping citizens in other countries. Whether paid, or unpaid, we wonder what inspires work that says we are living now in a global village.