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The Two-Way
2:06 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

North Korea Replaces Hard-Line Defense Chief

Demoted Defense Chief Kim Kyok Sik (right) with the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in a 2007 file photo released by Korean Central News Agency.
AP

North Korea's hard-line army general, who is believed to have been responsible for attacks on South Korea in 2010 that killed 50 people, has been replaced by a relative unknown.

The move has analysts reading the tea leaves. The consensus is that the reshuffle at the top of the People's Armed Forces is part of a larger effort by leader Kim Jong Un to consolidate power over the military.

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Parallels
2:05 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Vietnam's Appetite For Rhino Horn Drives Poaching In Africa

A Vietnamese rhino horn user displays her horn, which was a gift from her well-to-do sister. Last year, rhino horn sold for up to $1,400 an ounce in Vietnam, about the price of gold these days.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 4:42 pm

Africa is facing a growing epidemic: the slaughter of rhinos.

So far this year, South Africa has lost more than 290 rhinos — an average of at least two a day. That puts the country on track to set yet another record after poachers killed 668 rhinos in 2012.

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Parallels
2:05 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Five Years After A Quake, Chinese Cite Shoddy Reconstruction

The wife of Li Yiqian, Yang Liming, sits in their house, which is plastered with pictures of China's leaders, an attempt to help prevent local authorities from demolishing it. Her husband has been sentenced to three years in prison for organizing a crowd to create a disturbance; she believes it's for his work in helping dispossessed villagers petition.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 4:42 pm

Five years after the massive Wenchuan quake in China's Sichuan province left about 90,000 dead and missing, allegations are surfacing that corruption and official wrongdoing have plagued the five-year-long quake reconstruction effort.

The official press is full of praise for how "all Chinese have a reason to be proud of what the concerted efforts of the entire nation achieved in creating a new life for the survivors."

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Parallels
2:04 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Welcome to 'Parallels,' NPR's International News Blog

NASA

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 9:39 am

Here's the paradox with international news.

In our wired and rapidly shrinking world, there is no distant war, no isolated economic crisis and no social trend that observes national borders.

When a building collapses in Bangladesh, photos of the dead and grieving appear instantly. When a battle takes place in Syria, YouTube videos surface in real time. You can even get tweets from North Korea.

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World Cafe
1:58 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Next: Laura Stevenson

Laura Stevenson.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 8:18 pm

  • Hear Two New Songs By Laura Stevenson

Laura Stevenson describes herself as an "unfunny Woody Allen," which is another way of saying that her work channels her obsessions with death and doubt. On her third album, Wheel, she finds a way to make it all sound downright jaunty.

Stevenson came to her more folk leanings from roots in punk, as well as a musical family; her grandfather, choral director Harry Simeone, was responsible for "Little Drummer Boy." Listen to two songs from Wheel on this page.

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