This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
We begin this hour with our weekly look at technology, All Tech Considered. And we'll start with how President Obama's speech on Friday about NSA surveillance is playing in Silicon Valley. Among other things, the president called for new limits on the program under which the NSA sweeps up stored Internet communications.
And now to Ukraine where the crisis is intensifying. Today, there were more clashes between protesters and police in the capital city, Kiev. This after a massive protest turned violent yesterday, when more than 100,000 people turned out to denounce a new law that limits public protests. The protests have shaken Ukraine for two months, as the opposition claims President Viktor Yanukovych is turning increasingly autocratic and aligning his country with Russia.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 7:44 pm
The long-anticipated Syrian peace conference is again in turmoil. The U.N. secretary-general's surprise decision to invite Iran to attend the conference prompted a boycott threat from Syria's exiled opposition. At issue is the fact that Iran has not publicly committed to the framework for the conference or pledged to withdraw its troops and allied militias from Syria. Under pressure from the opposition groups and the U.S., the U.N. has since withdrawn its invitation to Iran.
NPR producer Sultan Faizy's car — parked right outside the NPR office in Kabul — was recently targeted by the police. Police say the policy is meant to prevent militants from stealing cars for use in bomb attacks.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
Afghans change a tire on the side of a street in Kabul's 10th District, where police have been puncturing tires at night to prevent car theft.
Credit Sultan Faizy / NPR
Men change the flat tires on the car of an NPR guest in Kabul.
In Kabul, car theft isn't a big problem, but it is a big concern. Security officials fear that militants could use stolen vehicles as car bombs. So the police have turned to a rather controversial tactic to deter thieves.
On a recent evening, a guest left our office only to discover two of his car tires had been punctured. Moments later, my producer discovered two of his tires had been punctured. Both cars were parked on the side of the street in front of our office.
Travelers at Wellington Airport in New Zealand may have felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins on a quest through Middle Earth when a giant eagle descended from the ceiling during a strong 6.3-magnitude quake that shook North Island on Monday.
The eagle — a sculpture, actually — was one of two giant birds used to promote The Hobbit films, which were shot in New Zealand. The bird was shaken off its perch in the terminal and crashed to the floor.
No one was seriously hurt at the airport or anywhere else on the island, where damage from the earthquake was reportedly minimal.