In response to the situation in Ukraine, NATO's secretary general today announced a strengthening of alliance forces near NATO's eastern border. Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the moves are about defense, deterrence and de-escalation. In Rasmussen's words, we will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land.
For more on the thinking behind NATO's new deployments, we turn now to retired Gen. George Joulwan who is former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe. Welcome to the program.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. We begin this hour with the latest from eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian military is continuing an operation to oust pro-Russian militants from occupied government buildings, but today, it experienced a setback. Ukraine's defense department confirms that some of its armored personnel carriers began flying the Russian flag. NPR's Ari Shapiro went to investigate.
Spring has crept up to the foothills of the Himalayas and, in Islamabad, Pakistan's purpose-built capital, the air is full of the scent of roses and the yelling of birds.
Yet, even in this most stately of South Asian cities, it is impossible to escape the realities of an unstable nation that has yet to figure out how to meet some of the basic needs of its 200 million or so citizens.
The U.S. has denied a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran's choice as ambassador to the United Nations, which is based in New York. Aboutalebi is an experienced diplomat, but his past involvement as a translator during the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is problematic. Iran has complained to the world body, and a special committee is set to review the issue next week. Bloomberg reporter Sangwon Yoon explains the diplomatic controversy and how it may play out.
Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet Thursday with officials from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. They will discuss the crisis in Ukraine. While the Obama administration has said it has overwhelming evidence that Moscow is stirring up the unrest in eastern Ukraine, it says it wants to wait before expanding sanctions. Analysts say Washington has few other options.
On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from Kramatorsk, Ukraine
Confusion continues to reign in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia gunmen remain in control of many government offices even as the Ukrainian military sends in troops, tanks and armed aircraft in an attempt to dislodge them.
According to NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is in eastern Ukraine, locals who are pushing to separate from the central government and join the Russian Federation claim that at least some Ukrainian troops are refusing to move against them.
In a conflict that pits animal welfare against religious rights, Denmark has ruled that all animals must be stunned before being killed, a move that effectively bans ritual slaughter in its purest form according to Muslim and Jewish tradition.
Before you ask...yes, this is the same country that recently made news for killing a giraffe at the zoo and dissecting it in public.
Reality cooking shows have propelled many an aspiring chef to foodie stardom in the U.S. — Harold Dieterle, Jeff Mauro and Mike Isabella, to name a few.
But unlike her American counterparts, the most recent winner of Israel's Master Chef does not aspire to launch her own show or even open her own restaurant.
At first blush, the Arab Israeli cook Nof Atamna-Ismaeel has smaller ambitions: opening a Jewish-Arab cooking school. But her ultimate goal — to create common ground between Arab and Jewish Israelis — is anything but modest.
The drive to Luhansk takes you past fields of corn and sunflowers that are just beginning to sprout. You pass the town of Yennakieva, where the ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was born. Eventually the fields give way to factories, and about 15 miles from the border with Russia, you hit the industrial city of Luhansk.
Police have blocked off the center of town. The last few blocks to the heart of the protest, at the occupied security services building, is a journey by foot, past graffiti that say, "Luhansk is a Russian City."
Tensions that wouldn't seem capable of rising even further are threatening to do just that with the news that Ukrainian authorities say they're ready to use force if necessary to remove pro-Russia protesters from government buildings they're occupying in eastern Ukraine.
Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 12:21 pm
A 9-month-old Pakistani boy has been charged along with the rest of his family with attempted murder, according to reports.
Musa Khan was photographed last week crying as his grandfather held him for fingerprinting. He was with his family during a protest in a Lahore slum that turned violent in February. Police say the boy, who was 7 months old at the time, threw stones at them.
Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling more than 6 million vehicles spanning nearly 30 models in the U.S., Japan and Europe for a variety of problems, ranging from air bags not deploying to driver's seats not locking properly.
Authors of the first-ever global guidelines for treating hepatitis C went big Tuesday, advocating for worldwide use of two of the most expensive specialty drugs in the world.
The new guidelines from the World Health Organization give strong endorsement to the two newest drugs. Gilead Sciences' Sovaldi costs $1,000 per pill, or $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment. Olysio, sold by Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit, costs $66,360 for a three-month course.
Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 12:28 pm
"I'm now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not-too-distant future," the head of the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 told reporters on Wednesday after an Australian ship detected two more pings that may be signals from the plane's black boxes.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
Twenty years ago, a genocide was carried out in Rwanda. Almost a million people were murdered, mostly members of the minority Tutsi population. We've been looking, this week, at how that country has changed since then. Today, more than half of Rwanda's population is under the age of 20. They have no memory of that searing event. So this period of remembrance is offering a chance for a generation that endured the trauma to speak to a generation that has only heard about.
In the eastern city of Donetsk, protesters hung a huge banner declaring a government office building to be the "People's Republic of Donetsk."
These pro-Moscow activists want to pull away from Europe and align Ukraine more with Russia. The protests in Donetsk and elsewhere in eastern Ukraine are the focus of the ongoing crisis in the country and it has international repercussions that reach well beyond the country's borders.
Yet life in the rest of Donetsk is going on completely as normal.
Guinea is on high alert. At the international airport, travelers' temperatures are monitored for signs of infection. In the capital city of Conakry, people rarely shake hands and are advised to regularly wash their hands with bleach-diluted water.
This is what life is like nearly three weeks after an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.
Olive Mukankusi lives in a two-room house with mud walls and a dirt floor in a village called Igati, in eastern Rwanda's Rwamagana province. To get there, you have to drive about 30 minutes down a dirt road.
It's there, in her home, on a warm and sunny afternoon, that she tells a story that she's only told three times in 20 years: first to a local judge, then to an American genocide researcher — and now.
In South Africa today, the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius was adjourned early for the day after the Paralympic athlete broke down weeping on the witness stand. It was his second day of testimony and the first time he had publically recounted details of the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He claims he thought she was an intruder.
Led by his lawyer, Pistorius described the moment he realized he had shot Steenkamp and found her body behind the door of his toilet cubicle.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia today of stirring unrest in eastern Ukraine. He says Russian special forces and agitators are behind the seizure of government buildings in the region. Thousands of Russian troops and armored vehicles are masked nearby just over Ukraine's border with Russia.