Julie McCarthy

Julie McCarthy has traveled the world as an international correspondent for NPR, heading NPR's Tokyo bureau, reporting from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and covering the news and issues of South America. McCarthy is currently NPR's correspondent based in New Delhi, India.

In April 2009, McCarthy moved to Islamabad to open NPR's first permanent bureau in Pakistan. Before moving to Islamabad, McCarthy was NPR's South America correspondent based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. McCarthy covered the Middle East for NPR from 2002 to 2005, when she was dispatched to report on the Israeli incursion into the West Bank.

Previously, McCarthy was the London Bureau Chief for NPR, a position that frequently took her far from her post to cover stories that span the globe. She spent five weeks in Iran during the war in Afghanistan, covered the re-election of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and traveled to the Indian island nation of Madagascar to report on the political and ecological developments there. Following the terror attacks on the United States, McCarthy was the lead reporter assigned to investigate al Qaeda in Europe.

In 1994, McCarthy became the first staff correspondent to head NPR's Tokyo bureau. She covered a range of stories in Japan with distinction, 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 coverage of Japan won the East-West Center's Mary Morgan Hewett Award for the Advancement of Journalism.

McCarthy has also traveled extensively throughout Asia. Her coverage of the Asian economic crisis earned her the 1998 Overseas Press Club of America Award. She arrived in Indonesia weeks before the fall of Asia's longest-running ruler and chronicled a nation in chaos as President Suharto stepped from power.

Prior to her assignment in Asia, McCarthy was the foreign editor for Europe and Africa. She served as the Senior Washington Editor during the Persian Gulf War; NPR was honored with a Silver Baton in the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for its coverage of that conflict. McCarthy was awarded a Peabody, two additional Overseas Press Club Awards and the Ohio State Award in her capacity as European and African Editor.

McCarthy was selected to spend the 2002-2003 academic year at Stanford University, winning a place in the Knight Journalism Fellowship Program. In 1994, she was a Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii.

The signs came early that Abhina Aher was different.

Born a boy biologically and given the male name Abhijit, Aher grew up in a middle-class neighborhood of Mumbai, India. The son of a single mother who nurtured a love of dance, Aher would watch enthralled as she performed.

"I used to love to wear the clothes that my mother used to wear — her jewelry, her makeup," Aher, now 37, recalls. "That is something which used to extremely fascinate me."

It's indestructible. It's fungible. It's beautiful. And for Indians, gold – whether it's 18-, 22- or 24-carat — is semi-sacred.

The late distinguished Indian economist I.G. Patel observed, "In prosperity as in the hour of need, the thoughts of most Indians turn to gold."

No marriage takes place without gold ornaments presented to the bride. Even the poorest Indian outfits girls in the family with a simple nose ring of gold.

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Today marks a milestone in India's marathon national election for a new Lower House of Parliament. One-fifth of the 543-seats will be decided. Nationally, the big fight is between the ruling Congress Party and the opposition BJP. But one of the most closely watched contests is in Delhi, where corruption and anti-incumbency are hot button issues.

India announced Wednesday that national elections for the lower house of Parliament will be staggered over nine separate days and begin April 7.

The voting to elect the 543-seat body will occur in stages to accommodate the scale of voters in what is expected to be the world's largest democratic exercise.

It's one of the most dangerous sports at the Olympic Games. And when Indian slider Shiva Keshavan crashed from his sled during a training run at the luge track Friday, his miraculous recovery went viral.

Flying through icy curves feet first, Keshavan thundered down the frozen tunnel, the scraping blades or "steels" of his small sled sounding like a runaway train.

Atrocious instances of gang rape over the past year or so have shaken India, but the one this week in West Bengal has a particularly sinister twist.

An all-male village tribunal, said to be upset that a 20-year old tribal woman had fallen in love with a man outside the community, is alleged to have ordered she be gang-raped as punishment.

In New Delhi an unprecedented two-day sit-in that pitted the local government against the national authorities has come to an end following altercations between police and protesters.

Some 30 people were injured during the demonstration that was led by newly elected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the local administrator who rallied members of his Aam Aadmi Party, named for the "Common Man," against the central government.

India's Supreme Court is set to hear a petition Wednesday against one of its own retired judges over allegations that he sexually harassed a former intern — the second such case to be made public in as many months.

The alleged incidents have cast a cloud over the country's highest court and pressure has mounted for it to comply with its own 1997 rulings requiring panels in the workplace to hear harassment complaints. Critics say such a panel for the Supreme Court itself is long overdue.

Bangladesh's parliamentary election Sunday proved to be among the most violent vote in the country's short history. At least 18 people were killed, including an election officer who was beaten to death, and scores of polling stations firebombed, according to local media reports.

Think Taj Mahal and then try to imagine what came before it. What was the inspiration for that masterpiece?

Archaeologists and architects say a 16th century tomb tucked in the southeast corner of Delhi presaged the jewel of Muslim art in India.

The recent restoration of the mausoleum built to memorialize the Muslim emperor Humayun has created a sensation in the city, drawing sightseers, schoolchildren and history buffs to the site that is now a showcase for India's architectural patrimony.

Sachin Tendulkar: The very name evokes Indian national pride, and it resounded through Wankhede Stadium Thursday in the cricket superstar's hometown of Mumbai.

That's when Tendulkar took the field for the final test match of his fabled 24-year long career. There are fevered celebrations for the 40-year-old batsman who has dominated the Indian imagination on and off the field, and whose self-effacing demeanor masked a steely determination to win.

The atmosphere was electric as India's favorite son stepped onto the field.

In Kashmir, the Shalimar Gardens of Srinagar, a relic of Mughal-era emperors, has been restored to its imperial tranquility with murmuring fountains, shallow pools and manicured beauty.

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The New York City Opera may be forced to cancel the rest of its current season and all of its next season, if it is not able to raise $20 million by the end of the year. It has been known as the People's Opera since it debuted 70 years ago. Its mission: Making opera more accessible and affordable. City Opera, as it's called, has experienced what it calls a cash crisis for some years. And now, it's started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money it needs to survive.

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Raghuram Rajan, the new governor of India's central bank, swept into office this week infusing a sense of optimism.

He announced hard-headed measures Wednesday that remove uncertainty that has characterized the Reserve Bank of India's moves.

By Friday, Indian equities and the rupee were clawing back.

But analysts say the exuberance — and honeymoon with the suave MIT-trained economist — is unlikely to last.

After decadelong high growth rates, India is now the sick man of Asia.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed a steep slide in the country's currency in recent weeks in a rare public speech on Friday, hoping to assuage concern over the rupee's sudden depreciation and blaming the opposition for inaction in Parliament that he said was sending the wrong signals to the markets.

For an introduction to India's cultural and culinary delights, you might hop a flight to Delhi or book a trip to Mumbai. But to meet the country sans passport free of airport indignities, you could just curl up with the crime novels of Tarquin Hall.

Vish Puri, Hall's opinionated private investigator, is a 50-something Punjabi super sleuth with a fondness for family and food. The mustachioed detective cracks open India's underbelly with a caseload that delves into forbidden love, corruption in Indian cricket and the deadly clash between science and superstition.

India has accused Pakistani troops of killing five Indian soldiers after firing across the Line of Control, the de facto border in disputed Kashmir. Pakistan denies any firing from its side, and calls the allegation "baseless."

This latest incident comes amid attempts to renew diplomatic overtures for peace between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian officials say Pakistani soldiers fired into Indian territory overnight, ambushing a patrol of Indian troops.

India's cartographers may soon be redrawing the country's map. If events go to plan, India will inaugurate Telangana, its 29th state, perhaps as early as next year — casting the spotlight anew on the challenges of governing a country as vast, and with a population as diverse, as India.

Telangana, on the arid Deccan plateau, is due to be carved out of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India's fifth most populous state, with a population of 85 million.

"We are small people. What can we really do about this?" asks Surendra Prasad, perched on the steps outside the Patna Medical College and Hospital in the state capital of Bihar in eastern India.

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In India, police have widened their hunt for the principal of an elementary school. It's the place where 23 children died last week after eating a toxic school lunch. The principal has been missing, along with her husband, since the day the children fell sick. An arrest warrant has been issued for her. In the meantime, parents of the victims are trying to cope with the tragedy. NPR's Julie McCarthy visited some of the families who live in one of India's poorest states.

(We updated this post at 11:58 a.m. ET to include a statement released Wednesday by Walmart. Click here to see that)

It's been 2 1/2 months since the Rana Plaza collapsed on garment workers in Bangladesh, exposing abysmal safety conditions in the country's factories.

In India, some of the most entertaining reading on a Sunday afternoon is found in the classified ads. Page after page, the matrimonial section trumpets the finer qualities of India's sons and daughters.

Parents looking to marry off their children often place ads such as this one: "Wanted: Well-settled, educated groom for fair, beautiful Bengali girl, 22, 5'3"."

The matrimonial ads are a hallowed tradition in the quest to find a life partner — part of the institution of matchmaking that is as old as the country itself.

In India, the mother of the 23-year-old woman fatally gang-raped on a moving bus last December appeared in court Friday and for the first time put eyes on the men accused in the heinous attack on her daughter.

The four men on trial have been charged with murder and face capital punishment for the crime that convulsed the country and prompted harsher punishments for rape.

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The last time Nawaz Sharif was prime minister of Pakistan, it did not work out so well for him. Sharif won a big election, moved to consolidate his power, and named a new army chief - only to see that same general overthrow him in a coupe in 1999.

After retiring as Pakistan's most celebrated cricket player, Imran Khan has dabbled on the margins of Pakistani politics for nearly two decades, trying to make a mark.

The sportsman turned philanthropist who led a playboy lifestyle in his younger days has attracted endless media attention, but until now neither he nor his movement has had any real impact.

As Pakistanis vote in a crucial parliamentary election on Saturday, could this time be different?

Flags of the competing political parties whip in the wind of seaside Karachi. But little else is stirring in this city of 18 million this day.

The MQM, a leading political party in the megacity, has shut Karachi down with a general strike in response to a deadly bombing at its election office. But as soon as the strike ends, the streets spring to life as if nothing were amiss.

In Pakistan, police say two unidentified gunmen fatally shot the special prosecutor investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Friday's attack on Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali in Islamabad deepens the mystery surrounding one of the country's most politically charged cases, which remains open six years later.

"What has changed?" That is the question echoing through Delhi on Sunday. Public frustration over sexual crimes against women is erupting again, this time over a gruesome sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl.

The protests are smaller than those that swept over the capital in December with the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman, but the incident has revived debate over the startling state of sexual violence in India.

The culling of candidates in the run-up to Pakistan's May 11 election is providing the country some badly needed levity.

The "Pakistani Inquisition," as it's been dubbed, has election commission officials grilling office-seekers on their Islamic bona fides.

Many have stumbled badly, only to be disqualified.

But not Mussarat Shaheen, who performed impeccably. The former dancer — fabled for her Pushto films — was asked by an official in the city of Dera Ismail Khan to recite a verse of the Holy Quran, to test her mettle as a candidate for the National Assembly.

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf suffered only a blow to his dignity when a lawyer hurled a shoe at him Friday as he entered the High Court in the southern city of Karachi.

The shoe missed its target but made its point. Many in Pakistan's legal fraternity still harbor anger toward the former president for a number of actions he took against the judiciary during his military rule from 1999 to 2008.

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