The Chinese border town of Suifenhe is a port of entry for almost all of the hardwood coming from the Russian Far East. Russia is the world's largest exporter of timber, but illegal logging is a growing problem.
Credit Smityuk Yuri / ITAR-TASS /Landov
Siberian tigers at a wildlife park in Primorsky Krai in Russia's Far East. Illegal logging in the region is seen as a threat to the habitat of the tigers, whose numbers are dwindling number.
Forests cover about half of Russia's land mass, an environmental resource that President Vladimir Putin calls "the powerful green lungs of the planet."
But Putin himself acknowledges that Russia, the world's biggest exporter of logs, is having its timber stolen at an unprecedented rate.
The demand for high-value timber is fueling organized crime, government corruption and illegal logging in the Russian Far East. The hardwood cut in the endless forests often ends up as flooring and furniture in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.
The fallout from revelations about the National Security Agency's spying activities continues: A key European Parliament committee approved new rules strengthening online privacy and outlawing the kind of surveillance the U.S. has been conducting.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says the legislation could also have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies. Here's what she told our Newscast unit:
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 12:19 pm
Wildfires are burning to the north, south and west of Sydney, Australia, and smoke "has been rolling in for days," correspondent Stuart Cohen said Tuesday on Morning Edition.
While the fires are mostly in sparsely populated areas, Sydney is blanketed — "you can smell smoke inside buildings" and health authorities are expecting a surge in cases of people with respiratory problems, Cohen added.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 12:46 pm
Michael Landsberry, the 45-year-old middle school math teacher and Afghan War veteran who was killed Monday trying to talk down a student shooter at a Nevada middle school, is being remembered as a hero.
Witnesses at Sparks Middle School in the city of Sparks, near Reno, described how Landsberry approached the armed 13-year-old boy and tried to get him to surrender a semi-automatic pistol he had used to shoot two fellow students. The boy then turned the weapon on Landsberry, fatally shooting him, before using the pistol to take his own life.
On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Philip Reeves discusses the Amnesty International report on U.S. drone strikes
Two reports released on the eve of a White House visit by Pakistan's prime minister allege that the U.S. has "violated international law with top-secret targeted-killing operations that claimed dozens of civilian lives in Yemen and Pakistan," as McClatchy Newspapers writes.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 12:03 pm
Greek officials who are trying to determine the origin of a young blond girl found living in a Roma settlement last week have received thousands of calls since releasing her photo. Some callers offer information; others say the girl may be their child. The head of a charity that's now caring for the girl says about 10 missing-children cases are being reviewed.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:44 pm
People aren't exempted from new regulations because they're old and crotchety, even if that's what it sounds like when we say they're "grandfathered in."
The term "grandfathered" has become part of the language. It's an easy way to describe individuals or companies who get to keep operating under an existing set of expectations when new rules are put in place.
What is God? It's one of the eternal questions, and it's front-page news in Malaysia.
A recent court order said the word Allah can only be used by Muslims – and not by members of the country's other faiths. But Malaysian Prime Minister Najik Razak said Tuesday that Christians in the states of Sabah and Sarawak can continue to refer to God as Allah.
Walk around any city in Colombia and you'll find vendors selling counterfeit soccer jerseys. That came in handy for Bogota's Independiente Santa Fe team. They showed up for an away game in the wrong color, so a team official bought knockoffs from vendors.
You how it is with deer hunting, you have to get the right gear. You think about the time and place. You might build a deer stand, a kind of treehouse to shoot from high ground. Or you can do like a man in Indiana, Pennsylvania. He spotted a deer in the Wal-Mart parking lot and he shot it right there. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says he got six months' probation, even though it was, in all fairness, the first day of hunting season when he opened fire.
Candidates for town council Michal Chernovitsky (left) and Adina Ruhamkin campaign in a park in El'ad, or Forever God, a small religious community in Israel. They could be the first women on El'ad's council, and the first ultra-Orthodox women to win public office in Israel.
Voters across Israel choose new mayors and city councilors in local elections Tuesday. In one small town, a handful of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are defying the norms of their community by running for office.
On a recent day, children mob two women in skirts, stockings and purple T-shirts in a neighborhood park in El'ad, or Forever God. The women are candidates for town council. As part of their get-the-word-out campaign, they're blowing up balloons for kids.