Google has launched — quite literally — a new idea to bring the Internet to some of the world's remotest places.
The tech giant's engineering hothouse, Google X, is testing the use of 12-mile-high helium balloons to get coverage in areas where it's impractical to put in conventional infrastructure.
Google said Saturday that it has 30 of the balloons, or "high-altitude platforms" (HAPS), flying over New Zealand as part of something called Project Loon. They will hover at about twice the altitude of a passenger jet.
Syrian rebels take part in a battle Thursday in the northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan. The U.S. says it will begin providing arms to the rebels, who have been losing ground recently to the Syrian army.
Credit Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP
Salim Idris, the head of the rebel Free Syrian Army, says his forces badly need additional weapons and would not share them with extremist Islamist factions.
Now that President Obama's administration says it's prepared to arm Syria's rebels, this raises a question relatively few people can answer: Who exactly are these guys?
The rebels have been fighting President Bashar Assad's regime for about two years, and more than 90,000 people have died in Syria's civil war. But in the U.S. and elsewhere, the rebels have not established a clear identity.
Here are five things worth knowing about the rebels:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Iranian interior minister has announced on state TV that Hasan Rowhani has won that country's presidential election. Mr. Rowhani reportedly won 53 percent of the vote. He's considered a moderate on Iran's political spectrum. Karim Sadjadpour is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and joins us. Thanks very much for being with us.
Turkish riot police backed by armored vehicles sealed off Istanbul's Taksim Square, firing tear gas and water cannons to dislodge protesters after two weeks of anti-government demonstrations.
The police moved into the square hours after an ultimatum issued by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that security forces "know how to clear" the area. Erdogan had given the demonstrators until Sunday, but police made their move late Saturday.