This week in The New York Times Magazine, Adam Davidson writes about the surprising diversity of Syria's economy. Economic reforms opened up the economy to foreign investors and a growing class of entrepreneurs. But according to Ayham Kamel, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, the reforms undercut Syria's rural poor. We asked him to elaborate in the following post.
In The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die In Battle, Michael Stephenson describes how soldiers fight and die, how those who have lived deal with the experience of combat, and what it reveals about warfare and human nature.
He acknowledges it's a sensitive subject, but he argues it's an important one. Understanding how soldiers die, Stephenson tells NPR's Neal Conan, "is central to an understanding of what combat is. And I think we have to engage with it."
Countries around the world expelled Syrian diplomats today, explaining that the representatives of a country that slaughters its own people are not welcome. United Nations observers confirmed the massacre of over 100 men, women and children, many of them children, in the village of Houla last Friday. U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus today to demand that his government abide by a cease-fire agreement that now lies in bloody taters.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In another dramatic turn in Egypt, the first free democratic presidential election in the nation's history set up a run-off vote next month between two divisive candidates: Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik the last prime minister under former President Hosni Mubarak. Between them, the two top candidates received just under 50 percent of the votes.
It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. Cathy May(ph) in Bigelow, Arkansas heard our conversation about possible compensation for organ donors and wrote: I'm donating a kidney to a friend this coming August. While I don't care to be paid for donating, I would love to be reimbursed from my loss of salary while recovering from the process. It's a great honor to help another person, but it comes at a cost for me.
Yesterday, a short piece in a Japan-based foreign affairs magazine caused a lot of surprise: U.S. Special Forces have parachuted into North Korea "to spy on Pyongyang's extensive network of underground military facilities," The Diplomat reported.