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NOEL KING, HOST:

The United States is pulling its forces out of northern Syria. And the Syrian government is moving back in.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Federal prosecutors say two businessmen had a motive for making illegal contributions to U.S. political campaigns. The two men sought to remove an American diplomat in Ukraine, according to an indictment unsealed on Thursday.

The two men, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, were associates of President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. They also have business interests in Ukraine.

Looking back at more than 25 years in public service, Susan Rice — former U.N. ambassador for the United States and national security adviser to President Barack Obama — describes much of her career as a balancing act.

Sometimes, that meant toeing the line between her personal and professional life.

As China celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party's rule, China's ambassador to the U.S. says that it's thanks to that very system that his country has climbed the ranks of global leadership.

"We have had our own setbacks over the years," Cui Tiankai tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "But generally speaking, as a whole, we have gradually found a path for China's development that works for China."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Wednesday unveiled a package of anti-poverty proposals to give more people — including undocumented immigrants — access to federal benefits such as Medicaid.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says his country will not succumb to economic pressure by the Trump administration.

"We are resisting an unprovoked aggression by the United States," Zarif told NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview in New York City on Sunday. "I can assure you that the United States will not be able to bring us to our knees through pressure."

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The actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has a childhood memory: In his family's living room in London, there sat a book called Our Man in Damascus.

It's a non-fiction account of an Israeli spy who infiltrated Israel's enemy, Syria, in the 1960s. Eli Cohen was publicly executed, but not before he obtained vital military secrets.

Sacha Baron Cohen now plays Eli Cohen in The Spy, a Netflix series that dramatizes that true story.

When former defense secretary Jim Mattis is asked about his relationship with President Trump, he has an answer ready.

"I don't discuss sitting presidents," Mattis tells NPR in an interview. "I believe that you owe a period of quiet."

In a new short story by Edwidge Danticat, a mother and daughter need to have a hard talk. So they go out to dinner — which the daughter finds ironic. "The daughter thinks, why do people wait until they're in a public place with a mouth full of food to reveal the most horrible news," Danticat says. "And a lot of us do that! You're like, let's go out to dinner, I have some news for you."

Is Iran anywhere near collapse?

Amir Mohebbian doesn't think so. The conservative Iranian political thinker and news editor said so in Tehran, even though U.S. economic sanctions have blocked most of the oil exports on which Iran relies. "The situation in the economy is not good," he said, "but not so bad that [it will] kill us."

At a cancer treatment center in Iran's capital of Tehran, a doctor's fight to treat her cancer patients has become harder. As U.S. sanctions sink in, the flow of medicine and medical supplies in Iran appears to have slowed — and the reasons are difficult to pin down.

Dr. Mastaneh Sanei, an oncologist at the Roshana Cancer Center, says she's treating patients without the benefits of consistently functioning equipment and a reliable supply of drugs.

With the right treatment, she says, "you may not cure these patients, but they have the chance to prolong survival."

The United States is trying again to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program.

A senior U.S. official tells NPR that U.S. diplomats are communicating with the reclusive regime. They are passing messages through North Korea's mission to the United Nations in New York.

The novelist and poet Sinan Antoon grew up in Baghdad, Iraq — a city that's known many years of sorrow.

He was born to an Iraqi father and an American mother, and lived there until 1991. That was the year of the first U.S. invasion of Iraq, when he hid in the basement of a restaurant as U.S. bombs fell.

Antoon later moved to New York. But after the United States bombed Baghdad again in 2003, and took over Iraq, Antoon went back to make a documentary film.

Facebook says that by next year people on apps like Whatsapp and Messenger will be able to basically text payments. This news comes as regulators are asking if the tech giant is already too powerful.

With climate activists cheering on the Green New Deal, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is borrowing a different allusion from American history.

"We've called for ... an investment commensurate with John F. Kennedy's moonshot," O'Rourke told NPR. "We're going to invest in the technologies that will allow us to lead the world on this. It should be happening right here in the United States."

China and the United States are locked in a trade fight, a technology race and competing world military strategies. Leaders of these countries seem to be pulling the world's two largest economies apart.

These tensions are especially felt by those living with a foot in each country. The NPR special series A Foot In Two Worlds reveals the stories of people affected because of their ties to both nations. Reports from both the U.S. and China show how deeply and broadly the two nations are connected and what's at stake as they reshape their relations.

You might know it best as the time machine in 1985's Back to the Future: The DeLorean was an unmistakable sports car with doors that flapped open like wings. Now, a new film starring Alec Baldwin explores the past of its automaker, who designed for the future.

John DeLorean rose through the ranks at General Motors, recasting Pontiac from a sleepy brand into one known for American muscle cars. He was forced out of GM and founded the DeLorean Motor Co.

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has a plan to change immigration policy in the U.S. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary wants to address immigrant detention, family reunification and the immigration court system.

In stark contrast to current policy, he also wants to decriminalize crossing the border illegally, a plan he outlined in a Medium post in April.

China, known as the world's biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.

So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?

President Xi Jinping hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over the weekend, promoting his signature foreign policy of building massive infrastructure and trade links across several continents.

Social scientist Arthur Brooks says you should really think twice before calling someone a liar.

"When you're talking to somebody else, you're not positioned to say that that person is a pathological liar," he says. "What you know, or what you believe, is that person is saying something is untrue — and that's what you should take on."

Brooks' new book is called Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. It aims to guide people on different sides of the political divide to have constructive conversations.

Preet Bharara was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York until he was fired by President Trump in 2017. His new book, Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law, hitting shelves Tuesday, explores the justice system through his experiences.

Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks juggle the chaotic life of raising a family while also fronting the Grammy Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band. The band's latest album, Signs, released on Feb. 15, explores that balancing act while also transforming grief and confusion into art.

At the beginning of Esi Edugyan's new book Washington Black, it seems the narrator is not going anywhere.

It's the 1830s, and the narrator, a boy named George Washington Black, is enslaved on the British-controlled island of Barbados. He seems likely to be worked to death in sugar cane fields — until he's carried away.

He's made into an assistant of a visiting white man, and they become friends. Sort of.

"Any true friendship between them is impossible because of the power imbalance – it's just too great," Edugyan says in an interview.

China's ambassador to the United States says his country is "ready to make a deal" to end a trade war with the United States — if they could find a trustworthy partner in Washington.

Cui Tiankai accused the United States of shifting positions and passing up opportunities for agreement. The United States has been escalating tariffs on imports from China, and China he responded with taxes on U.S. goods.

Writer Anand Giridharadas has a dark view of American philanthropy.

He has been writing about people who say they're changing the world for the better — except that despite their best efforts, it's not working.

Tim Cook, who has led Apple since 2011, spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep in a wide-ranging interview on Monday as the company kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The contradictions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are always on display, but rarely as starkly as this week, when the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem and the militant group Hamas and others planned a protest at the same time that turned deadly.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

As the U.S. Embassy to Israel officially moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday, "I think the move is going to permit the parties to focus on issues that are, first of all, important. And second of all, solvable," U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tells NPR's Morning Edition. "What the president did when he made this decision was to remove from the Palestinians the right to veto the recognition by the United States and other countries of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

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