This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
We're going to begin this hour with a developing situation in Crimea. Russian Parliment has approved President Vladimir Putin's request to send Russian troops into Ukraine. Now Russia has a naval base in Crimea, a semiautonomous region that is predominately pro-Russian. The request did not specify when or how many troops might be deployed but armed men in uniform are already on the ground.
And we are joined in the studio now by Ambassador Thomas Pickering. He has served his nation in many different posts, including U.S. ambassador to Russia. He was also, of course, the U.S. representative of the United Nations. Mr. Ambassador, thanks so much for being with us.
THOMAS PICKERING: Good morning, Scott.
SIMON: You just heard our correspondent on the ground in Kiev. President Obama said there will be costs. What could that be?
Earlier this month, reporters at Bloomberg and the Financial Times suggested that we might be nearing "peak salmon" — a play on peak oil, in which we theoretically reach maximum production, and the only direction left to go is down.
Their logic? The price for a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of Norwegian farmed salmon at the end of 2013 was 50 percent higher than it had been the previous year.
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:46 pm
Saying that the United States is "deeply concerned" by reports that Russia is taking military action in Ukraine, President Obama urged Russia not to intervene in the destabilized country, where tensions have reached new highs this week.
Obama said that he had spoken to Russia's President Putin in recent days, to foster cooperation in coping with the situation.
A photo from Syria is grabbing the world's attention: a sea of people lining up for food amid the rubble of a Palestinian refugee camp inside Syria.
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia was so moved by the image, he took to the Senate floor, saying "a country of 23 million people, a proud country, is being transformed before our eyes to a land of rubble, skeletons, refugees and ghosts."
When Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine, he abandoned a sprawling, opulent estate on the outskirts of Kiev. And before he left, he or his associates dumped tens of thousands of documents into a reservoir, documents that paint a stunning picture of government excess and corruption. Journalists have retrieved those soggy papers. They're drying them out and posting them online. Oleg Khomenok runs an investigative journalism project in Ukraine called Scoop. He's been at the presidential compound, helping to go through all those papers.
In Syria, some 1,500 groups make up the insurgency. Among them, according to U.S. intelligence officials, are 7,500 foreign fighters from more than 50 countries. They include al-Qaida veterans from Afghanistan and Pakistan and they may be taking aim beyond Syria.
JAMES CLAPPER: And they do harbor designs on attacks in Europe and the homeland.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with two stories of authorities tracking people online. In a moment, we'll hear how some police in this country are using software to look for potential criminal activity on Twitter. But first, something you might think would be more private: webcam chats.
Now we'd like to turn to Venezuela, where violent protests have filled the streets for two weeks now - a story that may have been overshadowed in this country somewhat by the turmoil in Ukraine. The unrest is putting a spotlight on President Nicolas Maduro and the country's economic problems. We wanted to hear more so we've called Andrew Rosati. He's a freelance journalist based in Caracas, Venezuela. And he's with us from there now. Welcome back, Andrew. Thanks so much for joining us again.
Now, as Michele mentioned, one flashpoint between Russia and Ukraine is the region of Crimea, a Russian province for hundreds of years that only became part of Ukraine in 1954. At the time, Russia and Ukraine were both Soviet republics, so the transfer was largely symbolic. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev did it to mark the 300th anniversary of a Russian-Ukrainian alliance.
On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We'll be adding updates as the day continues.
The crisis in Ukraine took another ominous turn when gunmen in unmarked military uniforms on Friday took control of two airports on the Crimean peninsula — where the majority of people are ethnic Russians and many want to break away from the new government in Kiev.
Update at 5:15 p.m. ET: Obama Warns Russia On Ukraine
Ukraine's ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, emerged Friday to give a news conference on Russian soil, not far from the Ukraine border. Russia is not only giving Yanukovych shelter — it's also carrying out military exercises that have raised alarms in Washington.
In the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant three years ago, Japan's government decided to phase out nuclear power. Other governments, notably Germany's, followed Japan's lead.
But Wednesday, Tokyo reversed course. It issued a draft energy plan that includes restarting idled nuclear reactors. Now, the energy issue looms large over Japan's efforts to stage a comeback from two decades of economic stagnation.
Morning Mass began with a hymn on a recent Sunday at the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in the Central African Republic town of Bouar. The Rev. Dominic Mbarta fretted about his sermon. The previous Sunday, whena Polish priest at the churchsimply asked the congregation to refrain from killing their Muslim neighbors or looting abandoned Muslim houses, the priest was threatened.
"They were so angry," Mbarta says. "They went back grumbling that the priest is not impartial. He is for the Muslims. He's not for the Christians."
Three years ago, Libyans began a revolution that toppled the regime of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. Today, their country still teeters between chaos and the emergence of a new state. Crime, violence and power outages are part of daily life in Libya. But many Libyans had had enough. And those with the money and contacts are getting out.
NPR's Leila Fadel talks to a businessman, a musician, and an activist about whether to stay or go.
Public outrage at corruption in Ukraine was a driving force behind the protests that lead to the ouster of President Yanukovych. Ukraine is considered among the most corrupt countries in the world. The transparency international index, which measures how corrupt the public sector is perceived to be, ranks Ukraine 144th out of 177 countries. Taras Kuzio joins me to talk about corruption in Ukraine.
He's with the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta. Welcome to the program.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Ukraine's new government was installed today, but it was completely overshadowed by events in the majority Russian Crimea. Armed men took over two government buildings in the Crimean capital and hoisted a Russian flag over the parliament. Meanwhile, the fugitive former president, Viktor Yanukovych, appeared to resurface in Russia, releasing a written statement declaring himself to be the legitimate leader of Ukraine.
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 4:05 am
When Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev, he left a trove of documents at his estate; many were thrown into a large reservoir. Journalists called divers and spent the weekend going over soggy papers in a house they had long been forbidden from entering. With the help of volunteers, more than 20,000 pages are now online.
Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:27 pm
"Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the U.S. National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of Internet users not suspected of wrongdoing," The Guardian writes today in its latest report based on material leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
"North Korea fired four projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its southeast coast Thursday," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports, citing a "South Korean defense ministry official" as its source.
On the NPR Newscast: Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.
Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.