The crisis in Ukraine and Russia's action there has raised many questions about who wants what. We're joined now by Julia Ioffe, senior editor at The New Republic, formerly a correspondent for The New Yorker from Moscow. Thanks very much for being with us.
JULIA IOFFE: Thanks for having me.
SIMON: What do you see that's going on that's distinct from the way it's been cast in so many accounts as some people being pro-European in Ukraine, some people being pro-Russia?
On a sweltering August day in 2012, the mayor of a tiny Spanish town, fed up with the country's economic conditions, did something drastic. It was the height of the economic crisis and most Spanish politicians were away on summer vacation.
With dozens of supporters, Mayor Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo of Marinaleda marched into the local supermarket in a neighboring town.
To Ukraine now where tensions continue to rise between that country's new government and Russia. Yesterday, pro-Russian soldiers held a standoff at a Ukrainian military base and although it seemed to end without incident, it shows just how quickly the situation has become militarized. We're joined now by Steven Erlanger, reporter for the New York Times, who's in Kiev. Steven, thanks so much for being with us.
STEVEN ERLANGER: Happy to be here.
SIMON: What do we know about this standoff yesterday in Crimea?
Vietnamese military planes report seeing two oil slicks off the country's coast that could be a sign of a missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet Saturday. Officials say the search for the jet continues and that ships are being sent to the location of the sighting.
Biathlon may be the toughest endurance sport in the Olympics. After grueling circuits of Nordic skiing, athletes have to calm their breathing, steady their tired legs and shoot tiny targets with a rifle.
Andy Soule does it all with only his arms.
"It's a steep learning curve, learning to sit-ski," says Soule, a member of the U.S. Paralympic team. He's strapped into a seat attached to two fixed cross-country skis. He speeds along the course by hauling himself with ski poles.
Senior U.S. officials were warned of imminent Russian military action in Crimea about a week before the troop movements that have sparked a major international crisis over Ukraine, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency tells NPR.
On a Friday, this is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
President Obama and Russian President Putin have had another long telephone conversation about how to end the crisis in Ukraine. The White House says President Obama stressed that a diplomatic solution is possible, but Russian soldiers have to leave their current positions in Crimea and return to their base in the region.
You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene, good morning.
Since the television network RT hit American cable, viewers tuning in have generally found left of center coverage designed to appeal to an audience that's younger with an international bent. The network's name used to stand for Russia Today. RT is fully funded by the Russian government.
While watching the turmoil in Ukraine unfold, you may feel as though it has little to do with the United States, but the conflict is stirring a contentious debate in Europe over a topic familiar to many Americans: fracking.
Much of the continent depends on Russian natural gas that flows through pipelines in Ukraine. European countries are asking themselves whether to follow the U.S. example and drill for shale gas.
Chinese leaders and lawmakers are huddled in Beijing for the annual session of parliament, and one man towers above the rest. That's because he's seven feet, six inches tall. The former Houston Rocket center Yao Ming is one of China's best-known athletes. He's also in his second year as a member of China's nominal Upper House of Parliament.
NPR's Anthony Kuhn has this report from Beijing on the former basketball star's foray into law and politics.
The Obama administration's announcement of sanctions comes as Crimea's parliament voted to unite with Russia. It's also called for a referendum on the issue in 10 days. At the same time, lawmakers in Russia began taking steps that could streamline the process of making Crimea a part of Russia.
NPR's Corey Flintoff joins us on the line from Moscow. And, Corey, how has this sanctions announcement from the U.S. been received there?
This Carnival season, residents of Sao Paulo are taking to the streets in unprecedented numbers, but unlike the massive demonstrations that swept the city last summer, it's to party and not to protest.
Rio de Janeiro is well known as the queen of Carnival for its lavish parades broadcast live from the Sambadrome. Sao Paulo is the biggest city in South America and the economic engine of Brazil, but it's not known for its bacchanalian abandon.
In fact, it was the epicenter violent demonstrations over Brazil's plans to host the World Cup this summer and the Olympics in 2016.
Referring to Russia's actions in Crimea as an "intervention" and saying the U.S. will continue to "mobilize the international community to condemn this violation of international law," President Obama just delivered some of his most extensive remarks to date about the crisis in Ukraine.
Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 12:06 pm
One of Moammar Gadhafi's sons has arrived in the Libyan capital for the first time since the 2011 revolution that toppled his father after Niger, where he'd long been under house arrest, finally agreed to extradite him.
Saadi Gadhafi, 40 â€” the former head of Libya's soccer federation who was notorious for a playboy lifestyle during his father's regime â€” fled to Niger after his father was deposed and summarily executed three years ago.