And as Gregory said a few moments ago, the outcome of the referendum in Crimea is of particular interest to the Tatars, that minority community of Muslims that has a history of being oppressed by Russia. The Tatars have linguistic and religious ties to Turkey, just across the Black Sea. NPR's Peter Kenyon reported from Crimea last week, and has now returned to his base in Istanbul. He says that while Turkey might want to assert itself regionally and stand up for the Tatars, there's a limit to how much it can influence events.
On a Friday, this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
In its standoff with Ukraine, Russia has imposed its will but it's tried to hide its hand. Russian troops moved into Crimea but in uniforms bearing no Russian insignia. And there are other tools Russia's is believed to have used that leave virtually no trace: cyber operations. They're part of the modern arsenal. Now U.S. officials want to know if the use of cyber weapons could lead to cyber war.
With Russia making moves on Ukraine's Crimea region, German leader Angela Merkel has been talking tough, and perhaps no Western leader understands Vladimir Putin's intentions better than Merkel.
The German chancellor has been on the phone with the Russian president more than half a dozen times since the crisis began. Yesterday, she warned that Russia would suffer massive political and economic damage if Russia follows through on annexing Crimea - if, as many expect, Crimeans vote for that this Sunday.
Not one but two ousted presidents are on trial. In cages. As are a group of journalists from the Al Jazeera satellite channel. Then there are the countless activists facing charges that are widely seen as politically motivated.
If you like courtroom dramas, Egypt is the place to be these days. And while there's no shortage of high-profile trials, analysts say one thing hasn't changed in the three tumultuous years since the overthrow of the autocratic Hosni Mubarak: There's still no guarantee of a fair trial for the accused.
At the National Theater in downtown Tehran, "Waiting for Godot" seems to have captured the mood of a country.
The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett dramatized endless waiting in vain for someone named Godot. The play, translated into Farsi, got a standing ovation on the night I attended. The characters, in classic white suits, black top hats and black shoes, took endless bows as the audience whistled and clapped.
Crimea isn't the only region in Europe with cessation on its agenda. There's a referendum planned this fall in Catalonia. That's the Mediterranean coastal region of northeastern Spain that includes Barcelona. And the Scots are weighing independence from the United Kingdom. A few years ago in Africa, South Sudan became independent of Sudan, and before that, of course, the breakup of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia involved various declarations of independence, not all of them well received by the former power.
Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 8:00 am
Malaysia Airlines announced Thursday that it will stop using two flight numbers associated with the plane that disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8, following a long-standing practice of retiring codes after similar incidents.
Flight MH370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard. That number, which Malaysian Airlines uses to denote that particular route, will no longer be used after Friday as a "mark of respect" for the passengers and crew. MH371, the code used for the return flight, also will be retired.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Today marks one year since white smoke rose from a chimney at the Sistine Chapel and bells chimed, heralding the new leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. The Catholic News Service captured the moment and the cheers of the crowd standing outside.
As darkness fell Wednesday night in Caracas, the place where student protesters have regularly clashed with security forces was again a battleground. Altamira Square was ablaze with burning garbage, and the thud of tear gas canisters being fired echoed between the buildings.
On the edge of the square, medics treated the wounded, among them an 18-year-old protester who injured his arm as he stumbled when spray from a water cannon hit him.
I started my journey at the famed Gdansk Shipyard, home of Poland's solidarity movement in the 1980s. It was nearly midnight when I arrived and saw for the first time the Maersk McKinney Moller, the world's largest container ship.
I simply wasn't prepared for just how massive it is. The whole ship really can't be taken in, even standing at a distance, so I gave my neck a good stretch by scanning this behemoth end to end, and up and down.
A bill aimed at punishing Russia for sending its forces into Crimea by imposing sanctions on Moscow and providing economic aid to Ukraine has passed a key vote in the U.S. Senate.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-3 to pass the measure that authorizes $1 billion in loan guarantees to the new government in Kiev as well as the freezing certain Russian assets in the U.S.
Aid for Ukraine, sanctions against Russians. Those are key features of a bill that Senator Robert Menendez proposes. He is a New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And he joins us from Capitol Hill. Welcome to the program once again.