Julie McCarthy | KERA News

Julie McCarthy

Julie McCarthy has spent most of career traveling the world for NPR. She's covered wars, prime ministers, presidents and paupers. But her favorite stories "are about the common man or woman doing uncommon things," she says.

One of NPR's most experienced international correspondents, McCarthy opened the network's Tokyo bureau, "and never looked back." She has come full circle, recently returning to Asia to open the newest in the constellation of NPR's overseas bureaus in Manila.

In an overseas career spanning 25 years, she's covered Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America.

Before assuming her current post as NPR's South East Asia correspondent based in Manila, McCarthy served as NPR's international correspondent based in New Delhi, India, where she spent six years. She'd crossed the border from Pakistan, where McCarthy had established NPR's first permanent bureau in Islamabad.

McCarthy won a Peabody Award for her coverage of Pakistan. She was named the Gracie Correspondent of the Year in 2011, and she was honored with the Southeast Asia Journalists Association's Environmental Award for her coverage of Pakistan's 500-year flood in 2010.

Before moving to Islamabad, McCarthy covered South America as NPR's bureau chief in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 2005 to 2009. She covered the Middle East for NPR from 2002 to 2005, when she was first dispatched to report on the Israeli incursion into the West Bank, and later the war in Iraq and the turmoil in Saudi Arabia.

McCarthy's stint as London Bureau Chief for NPR often took her far afield from Britain. She spent months at NATO covering the war in the Balkans, reported for weeks on the devastating earthquake in Turkey in 1999 and devoted much of summer of 2001 at UN headquarters in Geneva covering the run-up to the Durban Conference on Racism. She covered the re-election of the late Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and traveled to the Indian island nation of Madagascar to report on political and ecological developments there.

Following the terror attacks on the United States, McCarthy was the lead reporter assigned to investigate al-Qaida in Europe. She traveled extensively in Iran following the Sept. 11 attacks to report on the Iranian reaction and the subsequent war in Afghanistan.

McCarthy was the first staff correspondent in Japan, assuming leadership of NPR's Tokyo Bureau in 1994. Her tenure there was a rich tapestry of stories including including the Kobe earthquake of 1995, the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the turmoil over U.S. troops on Okinawa. Her distinguished coverage of Japan won the East-West Center's Mary Morgan Hewett Award for the Advancement of Journalism.

McCarthy's coverage of the Asian economic crisis earned her the 1998 Overseas Press Club of America Award. That same year, McCarthy chronicled the dramatic fall of Asia's longest-running ruler President Suharto and the chaos that followed his toppling from power.

Prior to moving overseas for NPR, McCarthy was the foreign editor for Europe and Africa. She served as the Senior Washington Editor during the first Persian Gulf War. NPR was honored with a Silver Baton in the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for its coverage of the conflict.

In her capacity as European and African Editors, McCarthy was awarded a Peabody, two additional Overseas Press Club Awards and the Ohio State Award.

NPR selected McCarthy to spend the 2002-2003 academic year at Stanford University where she won a place in the Knight Journalism Fellowship Program. Her time at the East-West Center in Hawaii in 1994 as a Jefferson Fellow helped launch her long career as an international correspondent for NPR.

McCarthy holds degrees in literature and history, and is a lawyer by training.

Fires are laying waste to wide swathes of land across Australia on scales that are tough to comprehend. In the southeastern state of New South Wales alone, where about 60 fires remain ablaze, the infernos have consumed some 4,000 square miles of land — or an area roughly eight times the size of Los Angeles.

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It looks like things are getting worse in Hong Kong. A fiery standoff at one of the city's major universities culminated with police storming the barricades before dawn this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF THUMPING, CLANGING)

Violence erupted this weekend around a besieged Hong Kong university, as protesters threw petrol bombs and fired arrows at police in an attempt to keep control of the campus.

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Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

Chaotic scenes overtook the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday, as protesters and police engaged in running street battles in a march billed as a rally against global totalitarianism. It also launched the 17th week of pro-democracy demonstrations aimed at China's tightening grip on the territory.

Hong Kong is bracing for more rallies and unrest this weekend as two important anniversaries loom, sparking fears that anti-government protests might once again boil over into violence on the streets.

Saturday marks five years since the start of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement that unsuccessfully sought free and open elections in Hong Kong, a former British colony that reverted to Chinese control in 1997.

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Amid weeks of mass anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong that have frequently turned violent, Beijing on Tuesday issued a stark warning to protesters: "those who play with fire will perish by it."

The remarks, at a news conference in Beijing, were made by Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council.

He said China has "tremendous power" to put down the protests and warned that anyone who engages in "violence and crimes ... will be held accountable."

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the extradition bill that prompted weeks of street demonstrations is "dead," admitting that the government's handling of it was a "total failure."

The measure would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trials in courts controlled by the Communist Party, sparking fears of politically motivated prosecutions targeting outspoken critics of China.

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Olowan Magarang recalls the moment he knew it was time to flee his home in Marawi, on the southern Philippines' island of Mindanao. It was in May 2017, two days into a siege by militants aligned with the Islamic State.

"I spotted ISIS fighters moving up my brother's four-story house, carrying long guns and high-caliber weapons," he says.

Magarang was living in what became ground zero — the epicenter of months of fighting — when Philippine troops waged house-to-house combat against hundreds of ISIS-affiliated fighters in Marawi.

Samira Gutoc cannot help but stand out from the crowded roster of candidates in the Philippines' midterm elections. The ebullient 44-year-old is a Muslim, and the only woman among the opposition's slate of eight candidates running for the Senate.

Half of the 24 seats in the upper chamber and all of the 297 seats in the House of Representatives will be chosen in Monday's polling. The Elections Commission says 62 million voters have registered, and if history is any guide, more than 70% of them will turn out.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte harbors a no-holds-barred hostility toward the Catholic Church and he's been hurling barbs at it as he stumps for candidates in the upcoming midterm election.

"Almost 90 percent of the priests are homosexual," he has declared. He also insinuated that others have secret relationships with women.

He cast bishops as "greedy" and urged people to "rob" and even murder them.

Sleigh bells, snowy skies and a glowing fire evoke an idyllic Christmas. But the tropics can be just as festive as any wintry holiday this time of year.

The Philippines boasts the longest yuletide season in the world. September inaugurates the start of what is known as the "Ber" months (September, October, November and December) when parades, parties and concerts crowd the calendar of a season that is as visually resplendent as it is long.

The Philippines and the United States have reached a rare meeting of the minds: Both are enthralled that church bells seized by the U.S. have been returned to the Philippines after 117 years.

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This week, the United States and the Philippines end a 117-year-old feud over church bells. American soldiers seized the bells during the U.S.-Philippines War. And now those bells will be formally returned at a Manila air base.

The optics were first-rate: Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed into the Gate of Manila's Malacañang Palace by hundreds of cheering Filipino school children, uniforms neatly pressed and shouting "ni hao," Mandarin for hello.

The two-day state visit to the Philippines, which wrapped up on Wednesday, was the first such meeting for a Chinese head of state in 13 years.

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It's not every day you see freed prisoners walk back into the arms of their jailers. But about 80 inmates from Indonesia's Donggala District Prison are doing just that.

They assembled this past week on the patchy grass of the prison grounds and counted off for prison head Safiuddin.

The diminutive warden's powers of persuasion worked for this group, but not for all of the 360 prisoners who had been serving time in the old jailhouse when an earthquake and tsunami hit Indonesia on Sept. 28.

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The road through central Bhutan rises through frost-dusted evergreens reaching a pass where travelers pause to take in the Himalayas majestically stretching across the north. Steep forests descend into valleys coursing with crystalline rivers and pine-scented air. The wind howls down the canyons furiously flapping prayer flags, and setting temple chimes to sing.

Shades of Shangri-La?

Perhaps, but don't tell the Bhutanese that.

The host of the Winter Olympics, South Korea, excels in the summer game of archery. They grabbed gold medals in all four categories in Rio.

But the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan may be less than awed. Bhutan claims archery for its national sport, and archers pay no heed to the plunging temperatures of winter when they compete propelling arrows across a field.

And if you think of archery as a decorous game, think again.

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