World News

Europe
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

The Conflict Inside Ukraine Is More Than An East-West Divide

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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?

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Europe
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

How Sanctions Against Russia Could Come Back To Bite Europe

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

EU countries are threatening punitive economic measures against Russia for its involvement in Crimea, but longstanding ties between Russia and the EU could make sanctions a double-edged sword.

Parallels
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Spain's Robin Hood Mayor Fights For 'Communist Utopia'

Radical Mayor Sanchez Gordillo objects to agricultural subsidies for the land elite. At a rally, he embraces a unionista who wanted to start a communal agricultural project on military-owned land.
Jorge Guerrero AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

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.

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Europe
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Tensions Rise In Ukraine Standoff

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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?

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Asia
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight Vanishes With 239 On Board

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

A Malaysian Airlines flight went off the radar on its flight from Kuala Lampur to Beijing with 239 people on board. Three Americans were on board, including an infant.

Parallels
3:39 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Russia's Goal In Ukraine: Three Scenarios

A Ukrainian protester stands at a memorial for the people killed in clashes at Kiev's Independence Square, on March 1. The focus of Ukraine's crisis is now in Crimea, where Russian forces are effectively in control.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Russia has effectively taken control of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula without a shot fired in anger. Now a larger question looms: What is Russian President Vladimir Putin's ultimate goal in Ukraine?

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Education
3:23 am
Sat March 8, 2014

What The U.S. Can Learn From Finland, Where School Starts At Age 7

President Barack Obama sits with students during a tour of a Pre-K classroom at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C., this week.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:00 am

Finland, a country the size of Minnesota, beats the U.S. in math, reading and science, even though Finnish children don't start school until age 7.

Despite the late start, the vast majority arrive with solid reading and math skills. By age 15, Finnish students outperform all but a few countries on international assessments.

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The Two-Way
6:16 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Search For Malaysian Jet Spots Oil Slicks In Waters Off Vietnam

A woman, believed to be the relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing.
Kim Kyung-Hoon Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 2:57 pm

For the latest news, visit our new post about the missing flight.

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.

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Brief Standoff Over Ukrainian Base In Crimea Ends Peacefully

Unidentified armed men in military uniforms block a Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye, outside Simferopol, Ukraine, on Thursday. Similar pro-Russian forces forced a brief standoff at the missile defense base in Sevastopol on Friday.
Arthur Shvarts EPA/Landov

A tense standoff Friday between pro-Russian troops and Ukrainian forces at a missile-defense base in Crimea is reportedly over without a shot being fired.

Russia's Interfax news agency reported that a Russian military truck had smashed through the gate of the Ukrainian base in Sevastopol, the port city that is home to Russia's Black Sea fleet.

Interfax, quoted by The Associated Press, says about 100 Ukrainian troops are stationed at the base and about 20 "attackers" entered, some throwing stun grenades, the report said.

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The Edge
3:06 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Military Training Gives U.S. Paralympic Biathletes An Edge

Andy Soule, a U.S. Army veteran, lost both his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan in 2005. Four years ago, he won America's first medal — Olympic or Paralympic — in the biathlon event.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:39 pm

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.

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Europe
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Moscow's Ukraine Looks Different From The One Seen By The West

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Russian politicians are all voicing the same narrative: Ukraine's legitimate government was overthrown by neo-Nazis, while the armed men in Crimea are not Russian troops but local self-defense groups.

Europe
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

In Kharkiv, A Snapshot Of Ukraine's Tumult And Hope

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

In Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, both pro-Europe and pro-Russian groups are planning more rallies this weekend. Some residents fear civil war; others believe compromise is still possible.

Europe
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Behind Ukraine's Political Strife: One Big Utility Bill

Cossacks stand guard at the entrance to the Crimean Parliament building on Friday in Simferopol, Ukraine. Russian Cossacks, some heavily armed, have taken up guard duties at road checkpoints, border crossings and other key facilities that were previously guarded by local, pro-Russian militants across Crimea in recent days.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

One way to understand the situation between Ukraine and Russia right now: Look at the gas bill of an ordinary Ukrainian.

Valentina Olachenka, for example, pays $19 a month for gas to heat her house and run her stove. The average American who uses natural gas, by contrast, spends more than $100 a month.

Gas is cheap for Ukrainians because the government is paying most of the bill — 87 cents of every dollar, according to the IMF.

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Commentary
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Week In Politics: Ukraine And CPAC

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're joined now by our Friday political observers, columnist E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. Hey there, E.J.

E.J. DIONNE: Hey, good to be with you.

CORNISH: And Reihan Salam, a columnist for the National Review and Reuters. Hi, Reihan.

REIHAN SALAM: Hi, Audie.

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Parallels
10:39 am
Fri March 7, 2014

U.S. Steps In Response To Russia's Intervention In Ukraine

Secretary of State John Kerry talks Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting in Rome to discuss Ukraine. Diplomacy is among the several approaches the U.S. is taking to resolve the crisis.
Kevin Lamarque AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:01 pm

President Obama has condemned Russia's intervention in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, while Secretary of State John Kerry has been meeting with European, Russian and Ukrainian leaders in search of a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Here are some of the measures the U.S. has taken in recent days:

Sanctions

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Fri March 7, 2014

'Memory Wound' Will Be Stark Reminder Of Norway's Massacre

This illustration, provided by artist Jonas Dahlberg, shows his vision for a "memory wound" near the Norwegian island where dozens of people died during an attack by a right-wing extremist in 2011.
Jonas Dahlbert Studio EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 7:44 am

If you've had a chance to visit the Sept. 11 memorials at ground zero in Manhattan, the Pentagon and western Pennsylvania — or perhaps have been to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. — then you have a sense of the powerful emotions that such places can stir up.

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Kim Jong Un's Right-Hand Man Resurfaces After Mysterious Absence

In a photograph taken in July, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (from right) stands with Choe Ryong Hae and Jang Song Thaek, Kim's uncle.
Jason Lee Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 12:41 pm

Being North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's deputy can be bad for your health, as the sudden execution last year of the young dictator's No. 2 official has conclusively proven.

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Russian Lawmakers Welcome Separatist Steps By Crimea

Vladimir Konstantinov (in purple tie) is the speaker of Crimea's parliament. He was welcomed with flowers Friday during his meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament. She is at the far right of this photo.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:22 am

One day after President Obama condemned steps taken by Crimea's parliament to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, Russian lawmakers are welcoming such a move by Crimean separatists.

"Russia's parliament gave its defiant support Friday to Crimean lawmakers who want to see their region split from Ukraine and join Russia," CNN reports from Moscow.

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Europe
4:24 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Crisis With Russia Propels Ukrainian Nationalism

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

During Ukraine's recent revolution, ultra nationalist groups were prominent among the protesters battling police in Kiev's Maidan Square. A nationalist party was included in the interim government.

The Two-Way
4:13 am
Fri March 7, 2014

U.S. Knew Of 'Imminent' Move In Crimea, Top Official Says

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.
Lauren Victoria Burke AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

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.

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Economy
2:56 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Ukraine's Economy Was In Trouble Before Its Crisis With Russia

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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Television
2:55 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Crisis In Ukraine Reveals Tensions Within RT's Newsroom

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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.

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Parallels
1:17 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Seeking Energy Independence, Europe Faces Heated Fracking Debate

Many countries in the European Union are drawn to the benefits of fracking: cheap energy and energy independence. But many Europeans, including these protesters standing outside EU headquarters in Brussels, object to the practice on environmental grounds.
Virginia Mayo AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

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.

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History
3:23 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

How Bad Directions (And A Sandwich) Started World War I

This illustration from an Italian newspaper depicts Gavrilo Princip killing Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914.
Achille Beltrame Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:41 pm

This is part of an All Things Considered series that imagines a counterfactual history of World War I.

World War I began 100 years ago this summer. It's a centennial that goes beyond mere remembrance; the consequences of that conflict are making headlines to this day.

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Asia
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Chinese Superstar Lifts Ivory Cause Onto His Shoulders

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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News
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

In Both Moscow And Crimea, The Path Toward Union Made Easier

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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?

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News
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Obama Lays Groundwork For Sanctions Against Russia

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

With an executive order Thursday, President Obama authorized sanctions on Russia for its involvement in Ukraine. Speaker Boehner praised the sanctions and offered congressional support going forward.

Parallels
11:48 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Sao Paulo Residents Again Fill The Streets, This Time To Celebrate

Revelers participate in a block street carnival on Sunday in downtown Sao Paulo.
Victor Moriyama Getty Images

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.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Obama Condemns Russian 'Intervention' In Ukraine

In a news conference about the situation in Ukraine, President Obama said Thursday that the world is "well beyond the days when borders can be withdrawn over the heads of democratic leaders."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 4:06 am

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.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Niger Extradites Moammar Gadhafi's Son To Libya

Saadi Gadhafi, son of Moammar Gadhafi, looks on inside a prison in Tripoli in this handout after his extradition from Niger on Thursday.
HANDOUT Reuters/Landov

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 — the former head of Libya's soccer federation who was notorious for a playboy lifestyle during his father's regime — fled to Niger after his father was deposed and summarily executed three years ago.

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