Refugees warm their hands at a refugee camp in Harmanli, Bulgaria, on Nov. 27. More Syrians are turning up in Europe. Many are trying to get to northern Europe, believing that is the best place to start a new life.
Credit STR/Italy / Reuters /Landov
A boatload of refugees, including Syrians, is picked up by an Italian coast guard rescue boat off the coast of Sicily on Sept. 20.
The 27-year-old Syrian, who once smuggled arms for Syrian rebels, is now waiting in Istanbul for a human smuggler to get him to Europe. He says his name is Mohammed. He does not offer a second name. He will go by air, he says, the safest route. He has paid a smuggler more than $8,000, and he's sure he will get to Austria.
In the past week, he connected seven friends with smugglers.
"I know that most of them made it," he says, with a tight smile. He is traveling light. Everything he owns is in a backpack.
"I am leaving Syria under a lot of pressure," he explains.
An unmarked New York State Police SUV pulls over a motorist for distracted driving. Troopers are using a fleet of the tall vehicles to crack down on texting while driving.
Credit Jim Fitzgerald / AP
New York State Trooper Clayton Howell checks a screen that displays driving records inside his patrol SUV. The vehicle allows him to see whether passing drivers are on their phones. "It's a bird's-eye view," he says.
Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it illegal to text while driving. Six others forbid new drivers from texting behind the wheel.
But that doesn't stop drivers from doing it — and enforcing those laws can be difficult.
On a highway north of New York City, state Trooper Clayton Howell is in an unmarked SUV. He's looking for drivers who are texting or using hand-held phones, which is banned in New York, along with 11 other states.
In Mexico, lawmakers are debating one of the touchiest subjects in the country today, whether to open up the nation's state oil monopoly to foreign investors. Ever since the oil industry was nationalized back in the 1930s, Mexico's control of this precious resource has been a symbol of national pride. But with oil prices rising and revenues down, the president has made modernizing the oil company Pemex his number one priority.
As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, not everyone is happy about it.
Mohsin Ikram drives a 1954 Austin-Healey across Pakistan. As the head of Pakistan's Vintage and Classic Car Club, he's doing it mostly because he loves the open road. But he also sees it as a statement against the turmoil that has made parts of the country no-go zones.
France has sent troops to the Central African Republic after violence there flared between Muslim and Christian militias amid reports that the death toll from fighting had reached 280.
The Associated Press reports:
"[Mostly] Muslim armed fighters who have ruled the country since March hunted door-to-door for their enemies. Bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital [Bangui] too dangerous for many to collect the corpses."
Congressional budget committee leaders are working to pull together a budget deal by the end of next week. Republic Congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray are reportedly discussing how to increase revenue without raising taxes.
A main provision of the agreement would be a partial easing of the next two spending sequesters. It was only in October that a deadlock over federal spending led to the first government shutdown in 17 years.
In this photo released Nov. 27, 2013, by International Atomic Energy Agency, a team of IAEA experts check out water storage tanks at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan. (Greg Webb/IAEA)
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are praising Japan for making progress to stabilize the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami nearly three years ago.
This week, the IAEA inspectors wrapped up a 10-day inspection of the plant, where the decommissioning process started a few weeks ago.
Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson gets the latest from BBC Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes.