In Russia, New Year's reigns supreme as the food holiday, even though Christmas returned with the end of the Soviet Union. Russian immigrants in the United States continue the tradition, which demands a nightlong feast of herring, caviar, pickles, salami, and — well, that's just for starters.
During the Iraq War, the U.S. military employed tens of thousands of Iraqis, many of whom were branded traitors. Now, the U.S. troops are gone. But some of those Iraqis have been left behind — in danger and desperately awaiting American visas so they and their families can leave.
The funeral of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is expected to begin Tuesday night, East Coast time. NPR's Anthony Kuhn is watching events from South Korea, and speaks to host Robert Siegel from the capital, Seoul.
Arab League observers arrived in Syria Monday, prompting a tentative calm between anti-government protestors and security forces. But many Syrians are skeptical that the monitors can permanently quell the unrest.
Wednesday's service is shrouded in mystery. Nations around the world will be watching for any clues about the country's future. Meanwhile, the heir to Kim Jong Il's leadership post showed a rare bit of emotion earlier today.
Four Arab leaders have been driven from power this year, but only one is facing trial. Democracy activists say prosecution is necessary to establish the primacy of the rule of law. But some pragmatists say the threat of prosecution encourages dictators to cling to power rather than consider exile.
As North Korea prepares for the funeral of leader Kim Jong Il, attention is being focused on the country his son, heir apparent Kim Jong Un, will inherit. Like almost everything to do with North Korea, the picture of how the country's economy works is cloudy.
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