Steve Inskeep

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations is defending shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz and says Tehran will not be forced back into negotiations with the White House.

"You cannot negotiate with somebody who has a knife in his hand putting the knife under your throat," Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, said in an exclusive interview with NPR. "That cannot be acceptable by anybody. Any reasonable person cannot accept to have negotiations with somebody who is threatening you."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Facebook says that by next year people on apps like Whatsapp and Messenger will be able to basically text payments. This news comes as regulators are asking if the tech giant is already too powerful.

With climate activists cheering on the Green New Deal, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is borrowing a different allusion from American history.

"We've called for ... an investment commensurate with John F. Kennedy's moonshot," O'Rourke told NPR. "We're going to invest in the technologies that will allow us to lead the world on this. It should be happening right here in the United States."

China and the United States are locked in a trade fight, a technology race and competing world military strategies. Leaders of these countries seem to be pulling the world's two largest economies apart.

These tensions are especially felt by those living with a foot in each country. The NPR special series A Foot In Two Worlds reveals the stories of people affected because of their ties to both nations. Reports from both the U.S. and China show how deeply and broadly the two nations are connected and what's at stake as they reshape their relations.

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has a plan to change immigration policy in the U.S. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary wants to address immigrant detention, family reunification and the immigration court system.

In stark contrast to current policy, he also wants to decriminalize crossing the border illegally, a plan he outlined in a Medium post in April.

China, known as the world's biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.

So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?

President Xi Jinping hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over the weekend, promoting his signature foreign policy of building massive infrastructure and trade links across several continents.

Preet Bharara was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York until he was fired by President Trump in 2017. His new book, Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law, hitting shelves Tuesday, explores the justice system through his experiences.

Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks juggle the chaotic life of raising a family while also fronting the Grammy Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band. The band's latest album, Signs, released on Feb. 15, explores that balancing act while also transforming grief and confusion into art.

At the beginning of Esi Edugyan's new book Washington Black, it seems the narrator is not going anywhere.

It's the 1830s, and the narrator, a boy named George Washington Black, is enslaved on the British-controlled island of Barbados. He seems likely to be worked to death in sugar cane fields — until he's carried away.

He's made into an assistant of a visiting white man, and they become friends. Sort of.

"Any true friendship between them is impossible because of the power imbalance – it's just too great," Edugyan says in an interview.

China's ambassador to the United States says his country is "ready to make a deal" to end a trade war with the United States — if they could find a trustworthy partner in Washington.

Cui Tiankai accused the United States of shifting positions and passing up opportunities for agreement. The United States has been escalating tariffs on imports from China, and China he responded with taxes on U.S. goods.

Writer Anand Giridharadas has a dark view of American philanthropy.

He has been writing about people who say they're changing the world for the better — except that despite their best efforts, it's not working.

Tim Cook, who has led Apple since 2011, spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep in a wide-ranging interview on Monday as the company kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The contradictions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are always on display, but rarely as starkly as this week, when the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem and the militant group Hamas and others planned a protest at the same time that turned deadly.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

As the U.S. Embassy to Israel officially moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday, "I think the move is going to permit the parties to focus on issues that are, first of all, important. And second of all, solvable," U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tells NPR's Morning Edition. "What the president did when he made this decision was to remove from the Palestinians the right to veto the recognition by the United States and other countries of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

The Trump administration is making plans to "prod" and "cajole" U.S. allies to stop doing business with Iran, a senior State Department official told NPR on Wednesday.

Andrew Peek, who oversees State Department affairs relating to Iran, spoke the morning after President Trump announced that he was withdrawing the United States from its 2015 agreement with Iran limiting its nuclear program and that he was reviving sanctions on Iran.

Patrick Shanahan is sitting in his sparse Pentagon office. The only picture is a framed portrait of his father, a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star. Now it's up to his son — the No. 2 defense official — to juggle both current and future wars.

And that means he works six or seven days a week. Both Shanahan and his boss, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, come from Washington state and have a good-natured rivalry about who gets to work the earliest, often before the sun rises.

When Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif walked into a roomful of reporters in New York on Saturday, he remarked on how his U.S. visit was going.

"Good," he said. "Not as good as the guy who spent $250 million on the trip."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

As people try to flee the war in Yemen — which U.N. agencies have labeled the "world's worst humanitarian crisis" — some Yemeni-Americans living in the United States have been able to get family members out of Yemen and to temporary safety in countries in East Africa. But the next step, to the U.S., is blocked.

About 10 years ago, a recent college graduate named Francisco Cantú told his mother what seemed like good news: He got a job.

"I think she was terrified when I decided to join the Border Patrol," he says. "And I think she was also confused about why I was doing this."

Cantú had studied the border in school, but he wanted to understand it more deeply. He attended the Border Patrol Academy and emerged equipped to patrol the Arizona wilderness.

Update on Feb. 1: The American Red Cross' general counsel and chief international officer, David Meltzer, has resigned since the publication of this story. In Meltzer's letter of resignation on Jan. 31, he said, "the language I used at that time in association with Mr. Anderson's departure was inappropriate." The Red Cross could not be reached for comment on Meltzer's resignation, but in a Jan. 25 statement, the charity acknowledged that its "subsequent actions fell short" after Anderson's resignation.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Pages