Earlier today, we spoke with another protester at Independence Square, known locally as Maidan Square. Viktor Andrusiv has been part of the protest movement from the day it started last November. We reached Andrusiv just hours after he says one of his friends was killed by police. I asked him what happened.
VIKTOR ANDRUSIV: Actually, we still are trying to find out. But he was attacking the police and he has a lot of wounds from a gun.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
In Ukraine, protesters and police clash today in the worst violence yet during the three-month old uprising against President Viktor Yanukovych. A flurry of diplomatic visits to Kiev and the EU's threat of sanctions have failed to slow the carnage. At least 100 people are reported dead after two days of fighting. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Kiev covering the crisis.
Russia's president is also being criticized by Ukrainian-Americans watching the violent confrontations going on in their home country. Ukrainians in the U.S. tend to side with those protesting in Kiev's independent square. They're angry that President Viktor Yanukovych chose a closer relationship with Russia over a deal with the EU.
The Philadelphia area is home to more than 55,000 people of Ukrainian ancestry. NPR's Jeff Brady reports the community is holding rallies and lobbying their members of Congress.
Two self-styled amateur archeologists from Germany, who filmed themselves scraping off pieces of Egypt's Great Pyramid in hopes of proving that the ancient wonder was built by people from the legendary city of Atlantis, are now facing possible criminal charges in their home country.
During a trip to Egypt in April 2013, Dominque Goerlitz and Stephan Erdmann, along with a German filmmaker, were granted access to parts of the Great Pyramid at Giza that are normally off-limits to the public. They smuggled their samples back to Germany with plans to produce a documentary.
A wax sculpture of Stalin sits behind the desk he used at the dacha. From the time he first began to visit the villa, Stalin was signing death warrants for his rivals — and living in fear of retribution.
Credit Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP/Getty Images
Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's dacha, or summer villa, was built in Sochi, Russia, in 1934. Stalin used the villa — which was painted green to camouflage it from prying eyes — until 1945. The bucolic setting belies the violence of Stalin's rule.
Credit Alexander Demianchuk / Reuters/Landov
Two items in the conference room at the villa were not there during Stalin's time: the portrait over the fireplace (he claimed he didn't like portraits of himself) and the carpet (because he preferred to be able to hear approaching footsteps on wooden floors).
We're going to turn now to a side of sports we do not often hear about. Now these days in the U.S. and perhaps the U.K., we talk about the ugly side of sports, but we're talking about hooligans who overreact after a game or maybe abusive coaches or poor personal behavior by players. Now, though, we are going to hear the story of an athlete whose love for basketball landed him in the middle of a civil war.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Closing ceremonies for the Olympics are this weekend, but there's still plenty of action left in Sochi. So we're joined once again by William Douglas. He is a reporter for McClatchy, the news organization, and he's the founder and editor of "The Color of Hockey" blog. And he's with us once again from Sochi. Bill, welcome back.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 12:16 pm
Some 80 elderly South Koreans, long cut off from family members by the Korean War, arrived in North Korea on Thursday for a brief reunion with loved ones they have not seen in decades.
About 180 North Koreans were meeting with 82 elderly South Koreans and 58 of their family members who had traveled by bus to the North Korean resort of Mount Kumgang, or Diamond Mountain. The meetings between family members will take place Feb. 20-25.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 9:40 am
There's a sad symmetry to the news from Venezuela, where anti-government protests in recent weeks have been fueled in part by outrage over the shooting death of a beauty queen — a death that underscored that nation's struggle to control violent crime.
One of the five people killed this week during protests against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro, it's now being reported, was another young beauty queen.
This next story is a mindboggling mix of Russia's past and present. It involves members of the Russian band Pussy Riot. We heard them talk with David Greene on this program. You know, they're the music group imprisoned largely for opposing Russia's president. Yesterday they were at the Sochi Olympics and they were attacked by Cossacks.
The spark for these protests was Ukraine's relationship with its giant neighbor, Russia. For almost all of its history Ukraine was part of Russia and many Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language. For Russian officials, the question now is whether Ukraine leans toward the West, or toward Russia as it always has. So, let's see how Ukraine's troubles look from Moscow.
Lilia Shevtsova is with the independent Carnegie Moscow Center. She's on the line from there. Welcome to the program.
Journalists involved in a high-profile trial in Egypt made a brief and dramatic appearance in a Cairo courtroom today. The Egyptian government has been restricting press freedom, and it accused these journalists from the Al Jazeera network of terrorism, apparently because they were trying to interview members of a banned opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood.
If there is such a thing as a home rink advantage, that makes the competition in the women's figure skating program fierce. Russian fans erupted with glee for Adelina Sotnikova on Wednesday. And then there's Yulia Lipnitskaya, a 15-year-old Russian phenom who has thrilled Russian fans and stunned the figure skating world.
Scott Hamilton, a 1984 figure skating gold medalist, has been watching Lipnitskaya closely.
"She's beyond her years. Like, you look at her and she qualified [to be age-eligible] for the Olympics by days," he says.
Anti-government protesters throw stones during clashes with riot police in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the Ukraine's current unrest, on Wednesday. The deadly clashes have drawn sharp reactions from Washington and generated talk of possible European Union sanctions.
Credit Efrem Lukatsky / AP
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, reiterated his hope for negotiations between the government and protesters during a statement on the violence in Ukraine before a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday in Paris.
Credit Evan Vucci / AP
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, listens to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich as they walk at the presidential residence in Zavidovo, about 90 miles north of Moscow, Russia, in this file photo from 2011.
Foreign ministers from France, Germany and Poland are traveling to Ukraine in hopes of persuading all sides in the country's recent violence to pull back from the brink and restart a political dialogue. The U.S. is also urging the country's president to calm the situation and restart a dialogue with the opposition. But the U.S. and Europe seem to have few levers of influence, as the crisis spins out of control.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
President Obama is in Mexico today, for a one-day summit meeting with his fellow North American leaders. Trade tops the agenda. And President Obama signed an executive order today designed to speed up cross-border commerce. But the president's broader trade agenda appears to be slowing in the face of stiff congressional opposition.
The conflict that the world is witnessing in the streets of Kiev has deep roots and potentially very wide repercussions. Ukraine is a country of 45 million people and at issue these days is how it aligns itself and how it defines its future. Columbia University Professor Stephen Sestanovich is a former U.S. ambassador at large to the former Soviet Union. Welcome to the program once again.
The world's largest oyster is nearly 14 inches long and resides in Denmark, according to the folks at Guinness World Records. And it's still alive and growing, according to Christine Ditlefsen, the biologist at the Wadden Sea Centre whose world record was recently certified.
The oyster was found in October in Wadden Sea National Park, a shallow area off of the North Sea on Denmark's southwestern coast. Its size and shape could be said to resemble a huge plaintain. But when they found it, the Wadden staff compared the oyster to a large and sturdy shoe.
Anti-government protesters throw stones during clashes with riot police in Kiev's Independence Square on Wednesday.
Credit Efrem Lukatsky / AP
Armed with a large slingshot, anti-government demonstrators fire objects toward Interior Ministry members and riot police in Kiev. Police in Kiev attacked an opposition camp at the center of the massive anti-government protests that began in November.
Credit Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters/Landov
Anti-government demonstrators take cover behind shields as they gather in Independence Square in Kiev. At least 25 people were killed Tuesday and another 241 were injured, according to The Associated Press.
Credit David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters/Landov
Ukrainian riot police take cover behind their shields during clashes with anti-government protesters near Independence Square on Tuesday. Late last year, President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Moscow, leading to protests against his government.
Credit Konstantin Chernichkin / Reuters/Landov
Anti-government protesters guard the perimeter of Independence Square, known as Maidan in Kiev. Police dismantled some of the barricades, but, the AP noted, "the 20,000 demonstrators fought back, armed with rocks, bats and firebombs, and singing the Ukrainian national anthem."
Credit Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images
Flames engulf the main anti-government protest camp as riot police try to force demonstrators out. "The situation seems to be escalating even further, which is probably what most people are worried about most of all because it doesn't seem it will ever end," reporter David Stern says, "and there is a question of what will happen to Ukraine as a whole if this does spread ... beyond the capital."
Credit Genya Savilov / AFP/Getty Images
A demonstrator throws rocks during violent clashes between opposition protesters and riot police in Kiev.
Credit Yevgeny Maloletka / ITAR-TASS/Landov
An Interior Ministry member, who was injured during clashes with anti-government protesters, is transported on a stretcher in Kiev.
Credit Andrew Kravchenko / Reuters/Landov
An anti-government protester throws a stone during clashes with riot police Wednesday in Kiev. Streets and squares in Ukraine's capital are littered with rocks, bricks, spent stun grenades and tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and burning tires, the BBC's David Stern said on <em>Morning Edition</em>.
Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 2:08 pm
This post has been updated to reflect Friday's agreement reached between the government and the opposition.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and leaders of the anti-government opposition reached an agreement on a deal to hold new elections, form a unity government and restore a constitution drafted in 2004. The deal could lead to an end to the violence that has killed more than 70 people since it erupted earlier this week.
Anti-government protesters clash with police on Independence Square in Ukraine's capital Kiev early Wednesday. The protests have been going on for three months, and Tuesday was the deadliest day yet, with at least 25 reported killed.
Credit Sergei Supinsky / AFP/Getty Images
Anti-government protesters were wounded in clashes with the police Tuesday in Kiev. Ukraine is one of the many former Soviet republics still struggling to build a stable democratic system.
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 1:09 pm
The Soviet Union collapsed more than 20 years ago, yet genuine democracy is still a stranger in most of the 15 former republics. Ukraine, where at least 25 people were killed on Tuesday, is just the latest bloody example.
From President Vladimir Putin's hard-line rule in Russia to the 20-year reign of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus to the assorted strongmen of Central Asia, many post-Soviet rulers consistently display a fondness for the old days, when opposition was something to be squashed, not tolerated.