An American host for the Kremlin-backed Russia Today television has quit on air, announcing from the channel's Washington, D.C., anchor desk that she doesn't want to be "part of a network ... that whitewashes the actions of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin."
Liz Wahl announced her resignation on Wednesday, saying Moscow's intervention in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula is wrong and that she feels "very lucky to have grown up in the United States."
Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:25 am
We're updating this post as the day continues.
While conceding that his nation can't come close to the military power of Russia, the interim prime minister of Ukraine said Thursday that "we are ready to protect our country" if Russia does not stop its "military aggression" in Crimea.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters in Brussels, Belgium, that the presence of Russian forces in that autonomous region of his nation "is unacceptable in the 21st century."
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
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The European Union announced yesterday that it is freezing assets held by ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, along with the assets of more than a dozen other people believed to have embezzled state funds. Ukraine's new prime minister says $37 billion vanished from government coffers while Yanukovych was president.
In Pakistan, peace talks between the government and the Taliban came to a halt last month after militants executed 23 soldiers. Pakistan's military responded with airstrikes, and that led the Pakistani Taliban to declare a cease-fire. The government has now agreed to engage in fresh negotiations - even though attacks by splinter groups continue, underscoring just how decentralized these militants are.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden who prosecutors say became a mouthpiece for al-Qaida in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, faced a jury for the first time on Wednesday in a Manhattan federal courtroom.
On the first day of the trial, jurors were shown a photo that prosecutors said was Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti, sitting side-by-side with Osama bin Laden the day after the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.
Russia's actions in Ukraine are raising alarm in other former Soviet republics, notably the three Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. All three are members of NATO and the European Union, and they're worried about what Russian aggression could mean for them. To talk about that, I'm joined by Lithuania's ambassador to the U.S., Zygimantas Pavilionis. Thanks for coming in.
ZYGIMANTAS PAVILIONIS: Thank you for inviting me.
BLOCK: What is the Russian threat as you see it, from the Lithuanian perspective?
MELISSA BLOCK: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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Yesterday, he was in Ukraine. Today, it's Paris. Secretary of State John Kerry is logging a lot of miles these days, trying to find a diplomatic solution to the unfolding crisis in Crimea. In Paris, he met with Russia's foreign minister. Kerry said the discussions were substantive. Diplomatic sources tell NPR the results were inconclusive. But at least the talking had begun.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow has not sent troops to Crimea, despite being authorized to do so. Russia's defense minister says reports of Russian forces fanning out across Crimea are complete nonsense. And yet, Ukrainian and Western officials, as well as witnesses and journalists in Crimea tell a very different story. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from the Crimean capitol of Simferopol.
The Israeli military claims to have seized a ship carrying advanced Iranian-made weaponry bound for Gaza.
The Israel Defense Forces "intercepted an attempt to smuggle an Iranian shipment of advanced weaponry intended for terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. The operation took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning," the IDF said in a statement on its website.
Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:42 am
China said Wednesday that it plans to increase defense outlays by more than 12 percent, to nearly $132 billion, this year in the face of what a top military official described as increasingly severe security challenges for Beijing.
Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:24 am
Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula brought with it threats of U.S. sanctions, but Europe, while condemning President Vladimir Putin's actions, has been more circumspect. Part of the reason: Europe's dependence on Russian money and energy.
"It is a matter of simple economics," Alex Melikishvili, senior Europe/CIS Analyst at IHS Country Risk, said in an email.
He noted that the EU is Russia's main trade partner; bilateral trade is in hundreds of billion of dollars annually, in contrast with much lower U.S.-Russia trade (see chart).
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said all sides agree that the crisis on the Crimean Peninsula must be resolved through dialogue, but he acknowledged there has yet to be one-on-one discussions between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart.
An intense campaign is underway for the future of the United Kingdom. On Sept. 18, the people of Scotland will vote on whether to become an independent country. Here are answers to a few key questions about the issue.
1. Why would Scotland want to leave the U.K.?
There are some reasons grounded in logic and others based in emotion.
From Caracas to Kiev, protesters are organizing with the help of a social media tool called Zello. The walkie-talkie-like app allows smartphone users to send short voice messages from person to person or to a small group of people. And one key factor that's making Zello the go-to app among protesters, anonymity, something they don't get from Facebook or Twitter.
BILL MOORE: We've had multiple requests from authorities for information. And one way to solve it, in fact the way we solve is we just don't, we don't retain information.
Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. Social movements were scarce after the government crushed public protests known as the Green Movement following the 2009 elections. After the decisive vote for Rouhani, a surge of hope in Iran has attracted activists back to the political arena. Iranian women, in particular, are seizing the opportunity.
Among the delegations heading to Kiev this week, a team from the International Monetary Fund. Its task: to come up with a plan to help Ukraine's ailing economy. And Ukraine's interim government says it needs a lot of help. There are fears it will default on its debt. And that government pensions and state salaries could soon go unpaid.
Joining us is Anders Asland, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Welcome to the program.