WITH 90.1 FM

Alice Fordham

April 2020 was a month Mohammad had yearned for. It was when he was set to fly to the U.S. with his wife and son to start a new life.

The Afghan had spent years painstakingly proving he was eligible for a special visa through his work as an interpreter with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan, and that he posed no danger to the American homeland.

"It took almost five years," he says with a sigh, speaking by phone from Afghanistan. He asks that NPR not use his full name because of threats from the Taliban against him.

High above the Mediterranean Sea, up a mountain wreathed in springtime mist and drizzle, is the monastery where the beloved Lebanese St. Charbel is buried.

The World Health Organization has begun working with doctors to test for coronavirus in opposition-held areas of Syria. So far, three tests have been conducted.

The samples — delivered across the Syrian border be tested in a lab in Turkey — all were negative. The WHO says that next week, 300 testing kits are expected to be delivered to a laboratory in Idlib province, so health workers in the rebel-held area can conduct tests themselves.

Turkey and Russia agreed to a cease-fire Thursday, to begin at midnight in northwestern Syria's Idlib region. Five Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib earlier this week and nearly a million people have been displaced in fierce fighting since December, as forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have made gains in the opposition's last redoubt.

The bond between the United States and the United Kingdom runs deep. The phrase "special relationship" was made famous by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a speech in Missouri in 1946, after the two countries fought shoulder to shoulder in World War II.

Security is still a cornerstone of the relationship, as are trade and less tangible things like shared language and the fact that many Americans are proud of their British roots.

President Trump arrives in Brussels Tuesday for a summit at NATO, the latest pillar of the international order left wobbling by his adversarial approach to allies.

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Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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On a bright afternoon outside the elegant facade of Trinity College Dublin, students hand out flyers to passers-by urging them to vote in Friday's referendum to lift Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion in most circumstances.

"Please vote yes on Friday! Thank you! Please vote yes," chirp the students, who have big smiles and colored sweaters with "REPEAL" emblazoned across the front.

"We've got massive flags with Harry and Meghan on," says Mike Drummond of the Red Bus souvenir shop next to the iconic London Eye. A Union Jack with the royal couple's faces in the middle hangs high on the wall and is selling fast.

There are commemorative plates in buttercup yellow and curly gilding, selling for $16, presentation stand included. And there are gold and white-fringed bookmarks, kitchen towels and bargain key rings ($4 each).

"The most popular item is the mugs, the souvenir mugs. But we've got coasters, teaspoons, magnets, everything," says Drummond.

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