The new sanctions that the U.S. and the EU imposed on Russia this week have done little to quell the violence in eastern Ukraine, but they have shaken Western oil and gas companies that have ongoing projects in Russia. The sanctions didn't specifically target Russia's energy sector, but as NPR's Jackie Northam reports, they're coming close to a largely state-owned oil giant.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Melissa Block. Ukraine's interim president says his military forces have lost control of the eastern part of the country. That declaration today came after masked separatists captured government offices in a key provincial capital. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in the city of Donetsk in the east where separatists also wield control.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. There are a lot of things to celebrate today. It's our seventh anniversary on the air, for one thing, so happy birthday to us. And what better way to celebrate than talking about music because it also happens to be International Jazz Day. That genre has come a long way from its birth in the American South.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Now it's time for a visit to the Beauty Shop. That's where our panel of women commentators and journalists take a fresh cut on the week's news. Sitting in the chairs for a new 'do this week are Bridget Johnson, Washington, D.C. editor of PJ Media. That's a conservative libertarian news and commentary site here in D.C.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:59 am
Iraqis are voting for Parliament Wednesday for the first time since American soldiers withdrew more than two years ago. Without their support, and amid intense violence, the poll will test Iraq's fragile democracy to its limits.
The election is for the 328-seat Parliament and offers more than 9,000 candidates on party lists. It will probably end up with no party winning a majority and lead to weeks or months of coalition haggling to form a new government.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:48 am
Australian officials are dismissing reports by a marine exploration company that wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet might have been located in the Bay of Bengal, thousands of miles north of the search area where the plane is presumed to have gone down.
GeoResonance, a private firm based in Australia, said earlier this week that in its own search for Flight 370, which disappeared from radar March 8, it had had found what appeared to be plane wreckage near Bangladesh.
Yesterday was the last day for Israeli and Palestinian officials to try to work out a peace agreement, the end of a nine month period they'd given themselves to do that. They did not succeed and now there are a lot of different ideas for what Plan B should look like. NPR's Emily Harris reports.
Let's go next to Iraq, which is holding an election today. The elections for a new parliament and prime minister are the first since U.S. forces withdrew from that country in 2011, and the voting comes amid escalating sectarian violence. Almost 3,000 people have been killed just since the start of this year.
We're going to talk about all this with Prashant Rao. He is the Iraq bureau chief for AFP. He's in Baghdad. Welcome back to the program.
Manuel Antonio Tejarino used to be a lean, fit field hand. During the sugar cane harvest, he'd swing a machete for hours, hacking at the thick, towering stalks.
Now Tejarino is slumped in a faded, cloth deck chair outside his sister's house on the outskirts of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.
Tejarino's kidneys are failing. He's grown gaunt. His arms droop by his side. In the tropical midday heat, he alternates between wiping sweat off his brow and pulling a sweatshirt up over his bare chest.
Bearing messages ranging from the inspiring to the insipid, "love locks" can be found clamped onto bridges in major cities around the world. But no place has it worse than Paris, where the padlocks cover old bridges in a kind of urban barnacle, climbing up every free surface.
Take the Pont des Arts, Paris' most famous footbridge across the Seine river. Hundreds of thousands of padlocks cover its old iron railings; the light of day barely passes through them.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 9:55 am
If we mention the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne, tucked up near the borders with Greece and Bulgaria, you may think, "Oh brother, not another story about olive oil wrestling."
Yes, it's true that each summer for the last 650 or so years Edirne has hosted the Kirkpinar Olive Oil Wrestling Festival, in which half-naked men slathered in fragrant oil grapple in the grass. It's activity that's even recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Event.
Egypt's leadership has faced a steady stream of criticism since the military ousted an elected government last summer and began cracking down on its opponents. In the latest development, an Egyptian judge on Monday sentenced nearly 700 people to death, many of them members or supporters of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.
In a town northeast of Baghdad, at least 17 people are dead and dozens wounded after a pair of bombs struck an outdoor market. As Tim Arango of The New York Times explains, it's just the latest deadly attack on the eve of Iraq's national parliamentary elections.
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President Obama returned to Washington on Tuesday after a weeklong visit to Asia.
The four-nation tour was designed to showcase U.S. involvement in the region, but it produced only modest diplomatic developments. And toward the end of the trip, the president offered a modest assessment of his overall foreign policy.
North Korea has conducted live artillery drills near a disputed western maritime border with the South just days after President Obama and his South Korean counterpart urged Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.
Let's examine just how much U.S. sanctions could affect Russia. President Obama yesterday announced the latest measures aimed at punishing Russia for its links to violence in Eastern Ukraine. Russia is accusing the U.S. and its allies in Europe and Japan of resorting to Cold War tactics.
NPR's Corey Flintoff is covering this story from Moscow. Hi, Corey.
Let's look at the Middle East now. The two leading Palestinian parties are trying to form a unity government. Israel wants them to break up again. The parties are Fatah and Hamas. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel says he will not deal with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, and he called off peace talks, at least for now. The question is how, if at all, Middle East peace can advance.
Some countries in Syria's neighborhood are feeling inundated with refugees, and countries like Greece are making it harder for them to enter the country. Now Bulgaria has followed suit, with growing reports of Syrian refugees facing violent beatings, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.
In Iraq, campaign posters cover the blast walls in Baghdad. Wednesday's national elections will be the first since U.S. troops withdrew in 2011. Change is a major campaign theme, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants one thing to stay the same - him. He's running for a third term. Critics worry his strong-arm tactics resemble those used by Saddam Hussein. NPR's Alice Fordham was recently in Iraq and filed this report.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Today brought another shocking sentence from an Egyptian court. A judge issued death sentences for nearly 700 people accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement. They were charged with committing violence during unrest last summer. This is from the same judge who outraged rights groups last month by sentencing more than 500 people to death. Today, he commuted all but 37 of those cases to life in prison.
North Korea is offering its view of President Obama's trip to Asia and it isn't pretty. The official North Korean news agency used especially harsh language about South Korea's president who hosted Obama last week. By the way, we're about to hear more about that harsh language, so consider this a head's up if any children are listening. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.
Among those on the sanctions list is an oligarch dubbed Darth Vader by the Russian press. To talk more about him and others targeted for U.S. sanctions, I'm joined here in the studio by David Kramer. He's the president of Freedom House, a pro-democracy watchdog group, and he was part of an independent taskforce of Russia experts that sent to the White House a suggest list of sanction targets. David, thanks for coming in.