"I actually think we're going to solve this thing."

That's what President Obama said in a news conference just before he left a United Nations summit on climate change.

"Climate change is a massive problem," Obama said. "It is a generational problem. It's a problem that by definition is just about the hardest thing for a political system to absorb, because the effects are gradual, they're diffused. And yet despite all that ... I'm optimistic. I think we're going to solve it."

Leaders from around the world are converging on Paris for the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference. The two-week event is designed to allow countries the chance to come to an agreement on stifling climate change.

Below are 10 questions and answers that should better prepare you for the conference and what to expect during and after its completion.

Click the audio link at the top of this page to listen to "Heating Up," NPR's special on climate change, hosted by Ari Shapiro. Share it, download it, take it with you.

Saying his country will not apologize for downing a Russian warplane, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu struck a defiant note after meeting with his NATO allies.

The Associated Press reports that Davutoglu said his country was simply defending its airspace last week when two of its F-16s fired at a Russian Sukhoi SU-24.

Nearly 150 world leaders are gathered near Paris for what is being billed as a last-chance summit to avoid catastrophic climate change.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that this is the biggest diplomatic meeting in France since 1948. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

One of two crew members survived the shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkey on Tuesday, Russian officials say, and was rescued by a Syrian commando unit in an operation that ended early Wednesday.

President Obama and French President François Hollande promised to increase cooperation and expand attacks against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

During a joint press conference with Hollande at the White House, Obama said that the United States and France "owe our freedom to each other."

After the Paris attacks, Obama said, "our hearts broke too."

"In that stadium, concert hall, restaurants and cafes we see our own," Obama said. "Today we stand with you."

Updated 9:55 p.m. ET: American Victim Identified

The family of Anita Datar, an international development worker, has confirmed she was the American who died in Friday's terrorist attack on a hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali.

The U.S. State Department released this statement on the family's behalf:


Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy is calling for the U.S. to demand higher security from its European partners around the visa waiver program.

China's President Xi Jinping has condemned the Islamic State for killing a Chinese man held hostage by the extremist group. But in keeping with China's long-standing policy of not intervening in distant conflicts, he did not specify what action, if any, China might take.

The number of international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities jumped last year — in a big way. It's up 10 percent, to roughly 975,000, according to a new report by the Institute of International Education and backed by the State Department.

In 2014-15, China was still the largest source of students with 31 percent of the total. India was in second place with nearly 14 percent. And Indian students were a big reason for the overall jump.

The Islamic State's claim of responsibility for a trio of major attacks, including the assault on Paris, has led to a rapid reassessment of the extremist group and its aspirations.

Until a couple of weeks ago, ISIS appeared focused on building its self-declared caliphate, or Islamic empire, in its core areas of Syria and Iraq. But it now says it was behind attacks in France, Egypt and Lebanon that killed nearly 400 people in a two-week span.

Basic questions — like the group's goals or whether it's getting stronger or weaker — are being examined anew.

A huge and violent police operation in the Saint-Denis suburb of Paris is over. At least two people are dead and eight people were arrested, in an operation that authorities say stopped a terrorist cell that could have attacked again.

According to François Molins, chief prosecutor of France, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who police believe orchestrated the attacks on Paris, may have been in one of the apartments targeted by the raid.

Dominic Chavez / World Bank

More than two dozen U.S. governors are publicly opposing the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the wake of attacks in Paris last week.

But in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy said the state will continue to welcome refugees who undergo a rigorous security screening. 

On the final day of national mourning, Paris is still trying to regain a sense of normalcy, after a series of coordinated terrorist attacks Friday left 129 people dead.

It's hard, NPR's David Greene reports. For example, he met 23-year-old Anne Sophie Pratta, who was making her way back to her apartment Monday night.

She said when she got on the train, everyone was looking at each other.

Plane Crash Was A 'Terrorist Act,' Russian Officials Say

Nov 17, 2015

The Russian government has determined it was a bomb that brought down a Russian plane over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board.

"One can unequivocally say that it was a terrorist act," Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia's Federal Security Service, said at a meeting chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bortnikov said that "traces of foreign explosives" were found on the wreckage.

Christiaan Triebert / Creative Commons

The Paris bombings and shootings are the latest in a string of attacks by the Islamic State. Mourners around the world have gathered to show support for the victims and world leaders are responding politically and militarily. This hour, national security expert and Connecticut native Scott Bates discusses what the appropriate response should be.

We also hear from a University of Connecticut student responding to racist graffiti on his friend Mahmoud's door.

Friday's attacks in Paris have cast a shadow over the Group of 20 summit, which opened Sunday in Antalya, in southern Turkey. Leaders of 20 major economies agreed to step up the battle against ISIS and to ease the wider conflict in Syria.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Aerospace professionals from across the globe are in Groton this week, as local supply chain companies get an opportunity to network with overseas counterparts and with big U.S. defense companies. 

NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Atlas Obscura considers itself a "friendly tour-guide to the world's most wondrous places" -- a number of which can be found right here in Connecticut. 

Updated on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 3 a.m. ET.

The USS Lassen has sailed within 12 nautical miles of the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The Pentagon says the guided missile destroyer passed by the Subi Reef on Tuesday morning local time, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

The move, which the Obama administration has billed as exercising the right to freely navigate international waters, is being characterized as a challenge to China's claim of control over the area.

Updated at 7:24 p.m. ET

The death toll continues to climb from the massive earthquake that rocked northeast Afghanistan near its border with Pakistan. More than 260 people are confirmed dead across the region with the majority of the reported casualties in Pakistan.

The epicenter of the magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck a remote area of Afghanistan but could be felt across the region as far north as Tajikistan and as far south as India.

Thursday was one of the most important days of Hillary Clinton's political career. The Democratic presidential candidate faced grilling for more than eight hours over the 2012 terror attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The questions from the 12 House Select Committee members — seven Republicans and five Democrats — split mostly along partisan lines.

In his first known international trip since civil war began in Syria, President Bashar Assad has just returned from a quick visit in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Assad reportedly briefed Putin on Syria's current and future military operations.

Assad's trip was kept secret until after Tuesday's meeting — and after the Syrian leader's safe return home.

When you think of daily life in the developing world, what do you see?

Do you see the fierceness of a buffalo race in the jungles of Bali? Children climbing up a clay minaret in Burkina Faso? Families laid out like jewels across rooftops in India, searching for a respite in the summer heat?

Today marks 90 days since the United Nations Security Council endorsed the landmark nuclear accord agreed between Iran and six world powers (the U.S., Britain, France, Germany China and Russia.)

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will unfold in a series of steps that include nuclear cutbacks made by Iran and sanctions relief offered by the other countries. The phase that begins now is of special interest to nuclear non-proliferation experts.

The U.S. Army / Creative Commons

A new memoir from British Middle East expert Emma Sky provides an insider’s account of the Iraq war. This hour, we talk to Sky about her book called The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq.

Secretary of State John Kerry stepped before a packed auditorium Thursday. He was at Indiana University for the opening of a school of international studies.

"I have managed to completely forget that when running for president in 2004, I was crushed in Indiana," he quipped.

Kerry was welcomed Thursday as he promoted the Obama administration's recent international agreements, like deals on Pacific trade and Iran's nuclear program.

Pete Souza / White House

Senior administration officials say President Barack Obama will keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017.

Iran's Guardian Council on Wednesday approved the deal intended to control Iran's nuclear program. The approval is a final step before implementation, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

The 12-member group of senior clerics' OK followed passage by Iran's Parliament on Tuesday.

Iran's Parliament voted Tuesday to support the implementation of the nuclear deal struck by world powers in Vienna in July.