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Auntie Anne's Pretzels In Beijing: Why The Chinese Didn't Bite

It's the entrepreneurs' dream: tapping into China's market of 1.3 billion people. That dream fueled the efforts of two Chinese-American MBAs to take the soft-pretzel franchise — a staple of U.S. shopping malls — to China. Cultural and financial barriers, however, led to a far more challenging reality.
NPR

West's Allure Dulls Monkhood's Luster For Some Buddhists

Since the Dalai Lama's exile from Tibet in 1958, reincarnated high lamas have been born in, or exposed to, the West at an increasing rate. Journalist Tim McGirk wrote about the effects of that exposure in this month's issue of The Believer.
NPR

Chinese 'Pingpong Diplomacy' Player Dies

Zhuang Zedong's gift to an American table tennis player paved the way for President Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China. Zhuang was 73.
NPR

Will Syria Become An Islamist State?

Syria has generally followed the "middle way" in Islam, but ultra-conservative Islamists have been on the rise throughout the region. Syrians are debating what role Islam might play if President Bashar Assad's regime is toppled.
NPR

Islamists Make Sufi Shrines A Target In North Africa

Sufi Islam is a small sect that is not politically active. And yet Sufi shrines have been repeatedly targeted by radical groups during upheavals in North Africa and elsewhere.
NPR

Bloomingdale's Lays Out Welcome Mat To Chinese Shoppers

Decades ago, Bloomingdale's sold goods from China to intrigued American buyers. Today, to mark the beginning of the Lunar New Year, the store is doing the opposite: selling goods that cater to the interests of affluent visitors from Asia.
NPR

Knights Of Malta Celebrates 900th Anniversary At Vatican

Pilgrims and tourists who visit the Vatican Saturday will have a special treat, as the Knights of Malta march in procession to the tomb of St. Peter. The last of the great chivalrous orders is celebrating the 900th anniversary of its official recognition by Pope Paschal II.
NPR

British Outrage Grows As Horsemeat Pops Up In More Foods

Food retailers are poring over piles of beef-based foods for hints of horse contamination. Aside from health concerns, why do Brits have so much beef with horsemeat?
NPR

Afghanistan, Pakistan Seek A Fatwa Against Suicide Attacks

The Afghan and Pakistani governments have agreed to convene a conference of Muslim religious leaders to issue an Islamic decree banning suicide bombings. But they have yet to agree on the details, such as which leaders should attend.

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