Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 10:31 am
Escalating a long-running conflict, Russia said it has decided to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on Monday.
The move comes after the two sides failed to find common ground on the price of natural gas in light of Ukraine's outstanding gas bill. Perhaps more importantly, it marks another chapter in the conflict between the two countries, which flared after a popular uprising in Ukraine ousted pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych.
Government officials, scientists and business leaders from more than 80 countries are gathering at the State Department today and tomorrow. They're there to figure out ways to protect the world's oceans and commercial fisheries. Secretary of State John Kerry says this is an issue he's been working on for a long time, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: When Secretary Kerry talks about his hopes for this conference he reaches back deep into his childhood in Massachusetts.
When Sunni militants began seizing broad swathes of territory across northern Iraq last week, global oil markets shrugged it off. After all, instability in Iraq is nothing new.
But that all changed on Wednesday, when the insurgents swept into the oil refinery town of Baiji, says Robert McNally, president of the Rapidan Group, an energy consulting firm. The price of oil climbed nearly 4 percent in just a few short days.
The Obama administration says that it will soon appoint a U.S. ambassador to reopen the mission in Somalia. Now the U.S. embassy closed its doors in 1991 when the Somali government collapsed and warlords took over the country. The danger sharpened two years later when Somali fighters shot down two U.S. helicopters, killing 18 U.S. soldiers in an incident that came to be known as Black Hawk Down.
You can't hear it over the noise of London's traffic. But it's there. That faint, whining hum. Right under my feet, thousands of mosquitoes are dining on human blood.
To visit them, you have to go through a sliding glass door into the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This school started as a hospital on the Thames River, where doctors treated sailors returning from faraway places with strange parasites.
In a region torn apart by violence, a leader who promises security above all else can be appealing. Three years after the chaos of the Arab Spring, these strongmen types are rising again in the Middle East.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is one of them, though he has yet to overcome the disaster now unfolding in Iraq. Iraqi lawyer Zaid al-Ali tells NPR's Arun Rath that Maliki is partly to blame for the crisis.
Forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, now control much of Iraq, as the country's military has disintegrated in the face of the group's radical troops. NPR's Arun Rath talks to The Guardian's Martin Chulov in Baghdad about the latest.
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The Obama administration is drawing criticism from Republicans for its handling of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with national political correspondent Mara Liasson about the administrations choices and the possible political consequences for the President.
As many Iraqi forces abandon their posts in the far north of the country, the Kurdish Regional Government has moved in to try to fill that vacuum. The flag of the autonomous region now flies over the oilfields in Kirkuk. Now this move widely expands the territory that is claimed by the Kurds.
We are joined now by the foreign minister of the Kurdish Regional Government, Falah Mustafah Baktir. Mr. foreign minister, thanks very much for being with us.
FOREIGN MINISTER FALAH MUSTAFAH BAKTIR: Thank you. It's my pleasure.
Hillary Clinton calls for a new approach to Latin America in her new book out this week, and she told NPR that that began with an attempt to try to normalize relations with Cuba so the issue wouldn't get in the way of relations with others.
HILLARY CLINTON: It's really important that we pay more attention to our own hemisphere. And there's some great opportunities that we can pursue if we take a more creative, more collaborative approach to working with the rest of the hemisphere.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama is weighing a range of options to try to respond to the rise of radical Islamist fighters in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS, now controls a wide stretch of territory in Iraq's Sunni heartland, and they are threatening to march on Baghdad. Now this is a group that is so extreme, even al-Qaida's leadership has distanced itself from them.
MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: As ISIS militants have rolled south through Iraq, closing in on Baghdad, there's a very different story in the northern city of Kirkuk. There Kurdish peshmerga soldiers have taken over after the Iraqi army fled.
Kirkuk is a huge prize. It's got rich oilfields, and for years, the city has been hotly contested between Kurds and the Iraqi government. I'm joined now by the Kurdish governor of the Kirkuk province, Dr. Najmaldin Karim. Dr. Karim, welcome to the program.
When a popular Afghan journalist was killed shortly before the April election, his colleagues stopped reporting Taliban statements and downplayed violence on election day. Some say it was an acceptable display of nationalism; others see it as a sign that the young media need to get tougher and more objective in covering the runoff election.
President Obama said that he will help the Iraqi military break the momentum of the militants on the march to Baghdad. The Pentagon said that one possible option could include airstrikes. But the president said that any military help must include political solutions from the Iraqi government, which has helped fuel the unrest by failing to reach out to its Sunni minority.