News From NPR

Parallels
7:41 am
Sat July 20, 2013

The Spanish Aristocrat Who Works For North Korea

Spanish aristocrat Alejandro Cao de Benos is believed to be the only foreigner working for the North Korean government. He divides his time between North Korea and Europe, where he organizes university conferences on North Korean ideology. He's shown here with a North Korean military officer in Panmunjon, on the border with South Korea.
Courtesy of Alejandro Cao de Benos

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:51 pm

The sun-soaked Spanish Riviera isn't where you'd expect to find a faithful foot soldier of North Korea. But that's exactly what Alejandro Cao de Benos calls himself.

Cao de Benos, 38, is believed to be the only Westerner ever employed by the North Korean government. He's a Spanish aristocrat, born to a family of landed gentry in northeast Spain, where he agreed to meet NPR for an interview one recent afternoon.

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Politics
7:03 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Detroit's Comeback Story Proved Too Good To Be True

Former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, right, and former Gov. John Engler shake hands with Marian and Mike Ilitch during groundbreaking ceremonies at the site of the new Tigers stadium in Oct. 1997. At the time, Archer and Detroit were basking in favorable news coverage.
CARLOS OSORIO AP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 7:16 pm

Detroit was supposed to be a showplace of the urban renaissance.

A little more than a decade ago, Detroit was widely touted as one of the great comeback stories in the country. It was a common theme in the mid-to-late-1990s, with a generation of successful mayors leading their cities back from the brink — which, in cases such as New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland, included near-collapses into bankruptcy.

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Shots - Health News
6:44 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Polio Eradication Suffers A Setback As Somali Outbreak Worsens

A Yemeni child receives a polio vaccine in the capital city of Sanaa. The Yemen government launched an immunization campaign last month in response to the polio outbreak in neighboring Somalia.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Somalia hadn't had a case of polio for nearly six years. But in the past few months, the virus has come back. Now the East African country has the worst polio outbreak anywhere in the world.

Twenty new cases of polio were reported this week in Somalia by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. That brings the total number of cases in the Horn of Africa to 73. The rest of the world combined has tallied only 59 cases so far this year.

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It's All Politics
6:03 am
Sat July 20, 2013

5 Memorable Nicknames And The Politicians They Stuck To

Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States.
AP

The race for governor in Virginia is attracting national attention for several reasons. It pits a former Democratic National Committee chairman against a conservative attorney general who helped lead the charge against President Obama's health care law. It's also one of the few high-profile statewide races happening this year, which means it will be closely watched for insights into the national mood ahead of the congressional midterm elections of 2014.

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The Salt
4:58 am
Sat July 20, 2013

From Ramen To Rotini: Following The Noodles Of The Silk Road

In Turkey, bits of meat are wrapped in squares of pasta to make manti.
thebittenworld Flickr

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 7:22 pm

Popular lore has it that the Italian merchant Marco Polo was responsible for introducing the noodle to China. This legend appeals to Italians, but if you ask the Chinese, they may beg to differ.

In her latest book, On the Noodle Road, author Jen Lin-Liu chronicles a six-month journey along the historic Silk Road from eastern China, through central Asia, Turkey, Iran and eventually arriving in Italy, in search of the true origin of the noodle.

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