Deborah Amos

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

In 2009, Amos won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos returned to Harvard in 2010 as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School.

In 2003, Amos returned to NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight, and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline.

When Amos first came to NPR in 1977, she worked first as a director and then a producer for Weekend All Things Considered until 1979. For the next six years, she worked on radio documentaries, which won her several significant honors. In 1982, Amos received the Prix Italia, the Ohio State Award, and a DuPont-Columbia Award for "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown," and in 1984 she received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "Refugees."

From 1985 until 1993, Amos spend most of her time at NPR reporting overseas, including as the London Bureau Chief and as an NPR foreign correspondent based in Amman, Jordan. During that time, Amos won several awards, including a duPont-Columbia Award and a Breakthru Award, and widespread recognition for her coverage of the Gulf War in 1991.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Amos is also the author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East (Public Affairs, 2010) and Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (Simon and Schuster, 1992).

Amos is a Ferris Professor at Princeton, where she teaches journalism during the fall term.

Amos began her career after receiving a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida at Gainesville.

When President Biden announced this week that his administration would raise the cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 for this fiscal year, refugee advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief. The number is far above the historically low limit of 15,000 refugees set by the Trump administration.

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A German court has rendered its first verdict in a historic trial of two former Syrian military officials implicated in crimes against humanity after almost a decade of war in Syria.

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Sam Goodwin's first day in captivity was one of his worst. "This was the point where I was incredibly terrified," he recalls about his ordeal. "I felt like I had committed suicide but I was still alive."

A few hours earlier, on May 25, 2019, Goodwin was detained at a Syrian army checkpoint in the northeast part of the country. "A truck pulled up and two armed men jumped out and told me to get inside. I did not have a choice," Goodwin says.

The loneliest part of coming to America is the first few months, says Mustafa Nuur, who came as a refugee from Somalia in 2014.

Now, the coronavirus makes it so much harder for newcomers, he says. Despite the pandemic, the U.S. admitted 21,533 refugees in 2020, some arriving as late as September, according to refugee resettlement agencies citing official numbers.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reassert America's commitment to refugees after the Trump White House's slashing of the resettlement program, part of the current president's anti-immigration drive.

In 2016, President Barack Obama aimed to admit 110,000 refugees. President Trump lowered the cap on refugee admissions every year of his presidency. For fiscal year 2021, he set the cap at 15,000, the lowest on record.

After a five-week hunger strike, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Iran's best-known human rights lawyer, faces a grave health crisis in Qarchak prison, a notoriously harsh facility south of Tehran.

For more than two decades, Sotoudeh, 57, fought for some of Iran's most sensitive causes — the rights of women, children on death row, endangered minorities. She has won international acclaim, but her defiance has come at a heavy personal price: She is serving a 38-year prison sentence for "national security" crimes, after defending women who protested Iran's compulsory head-covering law.

It is remembered as one of the great atrocities of El Salvador's 12-year civil war. In 1989, a Salvadoran military battalion raided a private Jesuit university before dawn and executed six priests, their cook and her teenage daughter.

One of those killed, university rector Ignacio Ellacuría, had promoted dialogue between the U.S.-backed right-wing government and leftist guerrillas in the country's civil war. He and four of the other slain priests were Spanish citizens.

Editor's note: This story contains a graphic description of an alleged sexual assault.

It was a chilling description of torture in an infamous Syrian prison: "There were screams, they weren't normal," Syrian witness Feras Fayyad said in court. "I was very afraid."

Fayyad, 35, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, was the first witness to testify in a trial in Germany against a Syrian intelligence officer whom he alleges nearly killed him in a Damascus detention center in 2011.

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An unprecedented trial begins in Germany on Thursday. A former high-ranking Syrian intelligence officer, charged with crimes against humanity, will face Syrian torture survivors in a courtroom in the western German city of Koblenz.

A "talking" dog, a wiry 13-year-old Schnauzer, has become a pandemic hero since the canine made her first appearance on Facebook last week. She's very funny.

Pluto and her human, Nancie Wight, have been churning out viral videos with advice on hair trims, how to do without toilet paper, how to find snacks and how to stay cheery at home.

The dog looks straight into the camera and her mouth seems to move (with the help of a video program) and a high voice appears to come out of it.

Earlier this week, President Trump tweeted that the U.S. "will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic."

In Lebanon, cyberspace is the new battle ground between protesters and the security services that have increased measures to curb dissent, intimidating and arresting government critics for online speech.

Since October, Lebanese citizens have gathered to protest around the country, uniting across party and sectarian lines against an entrenched political oligarchy that protesters say has made fortunes mostly from government funds at the expense of the country.

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Like many Lebanese, Jesuit priest Gabriel Khairallah has been on the front lines of anti-government protests for more than three months.

"I mean, what am I doing on the front? I am against corruption and seeking social justice, and the same for the doctors," he says.

He's done much more than protest on the streets — in recent weeks, he also opened a low-cost medical clinic in the annex of Beirut's St. Joseph Church.

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In a bipartisan vote, Senate lawmakers on Tuesday approved a $738 billion Pentagon budget, which includes an authorization for punishing new sanctions on Syria, Iran and Russia for alleged war crimes in Syria.

The 86-6 vote in the GOP-dominated Senate followed a similar bipartisan vote in the Democratic-controlled House last week. President Trump was expected to quickly sign the measure.

Omar Alshogre can remember every detail of his torture in Syrian jails: the electric shocks, the brutal beatings, the rancid food and open wounds, the days he was suspended by his wrists from the ceiling for hours, then returned to a crammed cell where sleep was only possible in shifts.

Sometimes the torture consisted of forcing him to listen. "They put us in the corridor just to hear the torture, and this guy is saying, 'Please kill me. I can tell you whatever you want. Stop or kill me,' " he recalls.

Germany's government has been headed by a woman, Chancellor Angela Merkel, for 14 years. Another German woman, Ursula von der Leyen, recently was chosen to lead the European Commission, the first woman to hold the job. But there is a gap when it comes to women in powerful positions in the German workplace.

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The assassination last month in Germany of a popular pro-migrant politician has raised alarm about a growing threat of right-wing terrorism. It was the first political assassination by the extreme right since the Nazi regime, and it has shaken the country.

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In June 1989, days after Chinese authorities cracked down on protesters in Tiananmen Square, NPR international correspondent Deborah Amos landed in Beijing to cover the aftermath. Fresh off a reporting stint covering Poland's first democratic election — which took place on June 4, the same day as the Tiananmen crackdown — Amos spent the next six weeks reporting in and outside of Beijing, sometimes in secret. It was her first time covering China.

Saudi siblings Lina and Walid Alhathloul check their phones constantly for any mention of their sister on social media. They have already done four interviews on the day of the PEN awards and sit down for a fifth, because, they say, this is the only way to help their sister, 29-year-old jailed Saudi activist Loujain Alhathloul.

"We want to raise awareness," says Lina Alhathloul, a lawyer living in exile in Belgium.

After an 18-year-old Saudi woman, who said she feared death if deported to Saudi Arabia, arrived in Canada, she directed some of her first public comments back home. Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun encouraged other women to flee family abuse and the oppressive controls imposed on them by the conservative kingdom.

She has just showed them how to do it.

The family of an American citizen believed to have been jailed in Syria two years ago is making his story public for the first time, spurred by President Trump's announcement last month that he will withdraw U.S. troops from the country.

Majd Kamalmaz, a 61-year-old psychotherapist from Arlington, Va., arrived in Damascus on Feb. 15, 2017. He traveled to the Syrian capital for a condolence visit following the death of his father-in-law and to check on elderly relatives, according to his family. They say he was arrested at a checkpoint a day after he arrived.

It's well known that President Trump wants a wall on the southern U.S. border. He insists it's urgent to curb illegal immigration. But more than any wall, new barriers to legal immigration are likely to have more bearing on people trying to enter the United States. The United States is rejecting more legal immigrants than ever before.

The first casualty in 2018 was the U.S. refugee resettlement program, says Larry Yungk, a former official at the U.N. refugee agency and now co-chair of the advisory committee of Church World Service's refugee program.

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