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After more than a year's worth of appalling news about atrocities in Syria as President Bashar Assad's regime cracks down on dissent, now there's this:

"New crises have caused enormous suffering for children and continue in 2012. In Syria, children were victims of killing and maiming, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence, by the Syrian Armed Forces, the intelligence forces, and the Shabbiha militia.

New strains are emerging between China and its old ally, North Korea, six months after the death of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The recent North Korean hijacking of Chinese fishing boats has shaken those ties considerably, leading to public pressure on China to stand up to North Korea.

Fishing boats returning to their home port in China don't normally make the news. But they did last month, because three boats — and 28 fishermen — had been detained for almost two weeks in North Korea.

NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep is taking a Revolutionary Road Trip across North Africa to see how the countries that staged revolutions last year are remaking themselves. Steve and his team are traveling some 2,000 miles from Tunisia's ancient city of Carthage, across the deserts of Libya and on to Egypt's megacity of Cairo. Near the Libyan coastal city of Misrata, he looks at violence that took place after the revolution.

Without question, drones have become the U.S. weapon of choice in the fight against terrorism. Counterterrorism officials say they've come to rely on the pilotless aircraft for their surveillance capability and what officials say is precision targeting. That reliance has led to greater use in the past couple of years, especially in Pakistan and Yemen.

John Bellinger, a State Department legal adviser during the George W. Bush administration, says there are increasing concerns about the frequency of drone attacks.

A rash of kidnappings in Lebanon over the weekend, coupled with deadly cross-border attacks by the Syrian army, are all worrying signs that Syria's troubles are continuing to spill over into its smaller and weaker neighbor.

In the most recent incidents, a Sunni sheik known to support the Syrian uprising was abducted. In retaliation, several Alawites aligned with the Syrian government were taken. Days before that, the Syrian army shot several people on Lebanese territory.

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Financial markets were also underwhelmed today by the EU's plan to bail out Spanish banks. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, initial relief in the markets faded quickly.

A day after getting approval for a financial rescue he vowed Spain would never need, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said it was his idea all along.

"No one pressured me into this. I pushed for it myself, because I wanted a line of credit," Rajoy said. He refused to call it a "bailout." He called it a "victory" instead.

Most Spaniards don't buy that. In a poll published Sunday, 78 percent of respondents said they have "little or no" faith in Rajoy and his ruling conservatives. That's just six months after they won elections in a landslide.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to take a second look at how its 2008 decision on the rights of detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is being carried out.

Who's Who In The Battle For Syria

Jun 11, 2012

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Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "entered today into a full coma," according to Interior Ministry spokesman Alaa Mahmoud, CNN says.

Piers Scholfield of the BBC, though, reports on his Twitter page that a ministry spokesman has told his nework that Mubarak, 84, "has some health problems but is not in a coma."

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And now let's turn to Europe's economic troubles. Over the weekend, finance ministers in Europe agreed to lend a hand to Spain - up to $125 billion, specifically - to save the nation's banks from collapse.

The fighting in Syria escalated again on Monday as the Syrian army pounded the central cities of Homs and Hama, two places that have been the scene of repeated clashes.

U.N. monitors confirmed mortar fire, heavy artillery and machine gun fire in the assaults. A live streaming video from Homs showed billowing smoke from explosions and the rattle of gunfire.

Activists in Homs say more than 50 people have died, and they called for immediate assistance for the scores of wounded who, they say, are being treated by paramedic and medial students.

NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep is taking a Revolutionary Road Trip across North Africa to see how the countries that staged revolutions last year are remaking themselves. Steve and his team are traveling some 2,000 miles from Tunisia's ancient city of Carthage, across the deserts of Libya and on to Egypt's megacity of Cairo. In his first story from Libya, he looks at what has changed in a country that was dominated for decades by one man.

An Israeli court last week upheld a government plan to deport all South Sudanese residents now living in the country, a move that comes amid a wider government crackdown on the 60,000 African nationals who've entered Israel illegally over the past few years.

Human rights groups have objected to Israel's handling of the Africans, saying the government does not do enough to differentiate between economic migrants and genuine asylum-seekers.

In India, A Different Kind Of Austerity

Jun 11, 2012

In Europe, the concept of austerity has meant deep, painful cuts to government spending. In India, however, austerity looks a little different.

India's government has started by reeling in departmental spending on things like hotel space and foreign travel. It may seem like window dressing, but it can be difficult to make deep spending cuts in that country. Many voters see government largesse as a right and usually applaud pork-barrel spending.

When the 2012 Summer Olympics begin in July, a culinary starting gun will go off: Fourteen million meals will be prepared for spectators and athletes during the Olympic and Paralympic games in London.

The criticism is already pouring in.

Jacquelin Magnay, the Olympics editor at The Daily Telegraph wrote a recent article calling the food to be sold at Olympic venues "bland and over-priced." In response, an Olympic caterer sent her a custom bento box of gourmet delicacies.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

The Role Of U.S. Aid In Pakistan

Jun 10, 2012

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Senator John Kerry is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And he is a key U.S. liaison to Pakistan. We asked him how relations stand between the two countries.

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Now, let's turn to how the country sees its own neighbors, Afghanistan and India in particular. This past week, we asked people in the streets of Islamabad whether those two relationships, or the one with the United States is more important.

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