National & International News

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Authorities have pulled more than 2,800 dead pigs out of Shanghai's main source of tap water — the Huangpu River. And they're still counting, according to reports on Monday.

The discovery has raised fears of drinking water contamination in China's most populous city, although state media reports that officials have run tests and determined that so far there's nothing to fear.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

The stage is now set for the opening act of one of the more spectacular and intriguing theatrical dramas on the planet: the election of a pope.

In Rome, TV camera crews have set up their positions on big platforms overlooking St. Peter's Square and the Vatican, where the secretive process will begin Tuesday.

Warren, Ohio, is in mourning after the deaths of six teenagers who died Sunday when the SUV they were in ran off a highway, flipped over a guardrail and landed in a small pond.

"It's going to be a rough week, a rough rest of the school year," said Michael Notar, Warren school superintendent, as NBC News reports.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai claims the U.S. is holding talks outside Afghanistan with the Afghan Taliban.

The allegations come as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continues his first visit to the nation as Pentagon Chief – and after a deadly explosion in Kabul on Saturday that the Taliban called a message to the new defense secretary.

Karzai made his claims in a nationally broadcast address just hours before he was to meet with Hagel, reports NPR's David Welna, who is traveling with Hagel.

With a stroke of her pen, Queen Elizabeth II is giving royal support to equal rights.

Her majesty is expected to sign a new charter for the Commonwealth on Monday. The charter declares the core values for the 54 member states, most of which were once under British rule. It's getting attention for statements on gender equality and what it may imply for gay rights.

A soft-spoken, clean-shaven, 31-year-old aid worker hopes to determine, in part, the future of Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

Venezuela's elections commission announced Saturday that voters will go to the polls on April 14 to choose a successor to President Hugo Chavez, who died this week after a battle with cancer.

The nation's constitution mandated that an election be called within 30 days of Chavez's death on March 5, but the scheduled date falls outside of that window. Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's vice president, was sworn in as interim leader on Friday.

The Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has been secretive, keeping to itself and refusing to meet Western journalists. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the Obama administration and was thought to be made up mostly of foreign fighters, working alongside Syrian rebels.

But lately, members are starting to open up as more Syrians join the group and they make more gains on the ground in the fight against the Syrian government.

Ex-skater and former US Speedskating President Andy Gabel faces a second accusation of sexual misconduct, as first reported by member station WUWM in Milwaukee.

Former skater Nikki Meyer told the NPR affiliate that she was assaulted by Gabel in the 1990s when she was 15 and he was 26.

A bomb exploded near the Defense Ministry in Kabul on Saturday morning as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was visiting in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility, calling it a message to the new Pentagon chief.

Update At 10:49 a.m. ET: Hagel Not Surprised

Hagel was nowhere near the attack, but the AP reports he heard the blast:

Noma, the Danish eatery that has won fans with its innovative approach to Nordic cuisine, and won Restaurant magazine's "World's Best Restaurant" title the past three years, is getting some unwelcome press, after dozens of people who ate at the Copenhagen restaurant fell sick.

Update: Monday, March 11

A French mother was in court Wednesday for what she says was a simple birthday celebration but what the government alleges is a clear provocation, an allusion to terrorism.

The BBC reports that Bouchra Bagour, 35, has been charged with "glorifying crime" after she sent her three-year-old son — named Jihad — to school wearing a T-shirt that read "I am a bomb" and "Born on 11 September."

The BBC adds:

Update at 7:04 p.m. ET. All Votes Counted:

With all the votes in, Kenya's election commission says Uhuru Kenyatta appears to have won with the slimmest of margins. Kenyatta got 50.03 percent of the vote, the AP reports.

Reuters adds:

"Kenyatta, who faces international charges of crimes against humanity, secured 6,173,433 votes out of a total of 12,338,667 ballots cast, indicating that he had secured the more than 50 percent of votes needed for a first round win."

A week after a sweeping and controversial education bill was adopted by the Alabama Legislature, the measure is on hold, with a circuit judge and the state's supreme court reviewing separate lawsuits filed over it. Democrats say Republicans broke the rules when they inserted school choice language into a bill that was originally meant to give school districts flexibility in meeting standards.

For the first time, the Bulgarian National Assembly is expressing "regret" for deporting more than 11,000 Jews to German death camps.

The declaration passed today is truly bitter sweet, because while it calls the deportations a "criminal act," it also praises Bulgarian citizens and politicians for saving more than 48,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

The BBC explains:

The Syrian civil war keeps getting more complicated, and the seizure of 21 United Nations peacekeepers has again raised concern that the fighting could spread turmoil in the region.

The rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's regime are a mixed lot that include secular fighters calling for democracy, as well as Muslim fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law.

A rebel faction calling itself the Martyrs of Yarmouk Brigade says it seized the peacekeepers on Wednesday.

South Dakota on Friday became what's "believed to be the first state to pass a law that specifically allows teachers to carry firearms," as The New York Times writes.

During a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, John Brennan was sworn in as the director of the Central Intelligence Office by Vice President Joe Biden.

According to the White House, Brennan took his oath by putting his hand "on an original draft of the Constitution, dating from 1787, which has George Washington's personal handwriting and annotations on it."

The AP reports that with Brennan, President Obama's national security team is set for a second term.

The last portion of the Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge, which once connected the West Virginia towns of Nitro and St. Albans, was demolished this morning. Hundreds of people gathered to view the controlled explosion Friday morning.

Presidents and dignitaries from around the globe are gathered in Caracas this morning to pay their final respects to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

CBS News reports:

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 gun attack that left six people dead and 13 others (including Giffords) wounded, is this year's recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden who is now in U.S. custody, pleaded not guilty this morning to a charge of conspiracy to kill Americans.

On Morning Edition moments ago, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston said it isn't known yet whether he may face additional charges.

Abu Ghaith, 48, appeared in a Manhattan federal court. As Dina reported for us Thursday:

Two Braddock police officers have been suspended after getting into a fight at their police station.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman said the fight started around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The officers weren't injured in the "very short" altercation according to the mayor.

The unidentified officers have been suspended without pay.

Authorities say the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office will investigate.

Fetterman said the fight ended when the men realized they were behaving inappropriately and when another officer in the room broke up the fight.

Times were different in 1996 when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, former President Bill Clinton writes in today's Washington Post.

A woman killed by a 550-pound male lion at a conservancy near Fresno, Calif., earlier this week may have been caught by surprise after the animal escaped its cage, investigators say.

According to a preliminary autopsy, Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old intern for Cat Haven, was killed Wednesday when the lion snapped her neck.

North Korea responded to new U.N. sanctions aimed at starving its nuclear program by vowing to cut a Cold War-style hotline and scrap a nonaggression pact with the South.

State-run media said North Korea "abrogates all agreements on nonaggression reached between the North and the South ... and also notifies the South side that it will immediately cut off the North-South hotline."

There were 236,000 jobs added to payrolls in February — many more than expected — and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped by two-tenths of a point, to 7.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

(Updated at 7 p.m. ET.)

More than 150 years after they died when their ship sank during a storm, two Union sailors from the Civil War were buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

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