Writer Paul Theroux can't shake Africa. Almost 50 years ago, he lived in the small central African nation of Malawi. Theroux was there for four years teaching English as a Peace Corps volunteer, and some of the most visceral details have stayed with him.
Egyptians are getting ready for an historic vote, their first real presidential election since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted during the Arab Spring. Twelve candidates are in the running. One them, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, is already dividing voters ahead of Wednesday's vote. Many consider Shafiq a corrupt holdover from the old regime.
But as NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Cairo, he is gaining widespread support from Egyptians fed up with the growing insecurity in their country.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. World leaders are gathered in Chicago for a two-day NATO summit, which starts this morning. The summit agenda centers on Afghanistan, specifically figuring out how to meet a 2014 withdrawal deadline while shoring up Afghanistan's security forces. We'll hear a view from the White House in a moment. But we begin with this report from NPR's Jackie Northam in Chicago.
And when Egyptians head to the polls this week, many will be looking to celebrate the end of military rule, which began some 50 years ago. Observers warn that it won't be easy to send a deeply entrenched military back to its barracks, and they point to Turkey's experience as an example.
So as we just heard, this NATO summit will be crucial when it comes to working out who's going to put up the money needed to support and train Afghan security forces in the years to come. The White House is leading the charge, so next we go to Ben Rhodes, White House spokesman on national security issues. Ben Rhodes, thanks so much for joining us.