The last big games of the Olympics, including the gold medal hockey game and four-man bobsled, concluded Sunday. After the closing ceremony, thousands headed for Sochi's tiny airport. NPR's Robert Smith provides a roundup of highlights.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West . I'm Arun Rath.
Ukraine is continuing to transform before our eyes. A new interim president has been named, and he's given parliament 48 hours to agree on an interim government. Pro-western protesters continue to fill Independence Square in Kiev, though it has remained peaceful since Friday. Some clashes have been reported, however, in the pro-Russian eastern part of the country.
In 1911, explorer and British Royal Navy officer Robert Falcon Scott had big plans. He intended to be the first to reach the South Pole, that holy grail of exploration, and claim the distinction for the British Empire.
The Afghan Taliban said it was cutting off talks with Washington to trade long-time captive U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five of the prisoners held at Guantanamo.
The Associated Press says it's received via email "a terse Pashto language statement" from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid blaming the "current complex political situation in the country" for suspending the discussions.
The AP says a U.S. official confirms that the talks have been suspended.
Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:26 am
An apparent grenade attack on an anti-government protest in Thailand's capital has killed at least two people and wounded nearly two dozen others, as unrest in the country continues amid a push by opposition forces to topple the elected prime minister.
NPR's Michael Sullivan reports:
"The blast occurred near Central World shopping mall in the heart of [Bangkok] and at least three children are among those most seriously injured, according to the government-run Erawan Medical Center.
Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 8:08 am
Just two medals remain to be awarded at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as Canada and Sweden face off on the hockey ice. If the Canadian men take gold, Canada will have swept all four traditional team sports. Canadian teams have already won gold in men's and women's curling and women's ice hockey.
[Add at 10:00 a.m. ET: Canada's men's hockey team has won the gold]
One of the world's most powerful drug lords has been captured. Mexico's head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was arrested in an operation that Mexican officials say involved the cooperation of U.S. authorities.
Guzman has been on the run for years and his capture puts an end to one of the longest and most profitable careers in the drug world. That capture began as the sun rose up over the hotel-lined beaches of Mazatlan early Saturday morning.
Brazil, a country usually known for its rainforests, has been facing a severe drought in its breadbasket region, leaving people in the cities without water and farmers in the countryside with dying crops. Global prices for coffee, in particular, have been affected.
Scientists in Brazil say the worst is yet to come — yet no one in the government, it seems, is listening.
On a recent day, farmer Juliano Jose Polidor walks through the desiccated remains of his cornfields.
What's happened to this crop, he says, is a total loss.
Leopoldo López is a rock star to Venezuelans living in the United States. But in west Caracas he's the rich guy. And those contrasting images could affect the outcome of street protests playing out in Venezuela right now.
But first the obvious: This week's arrest of López, a top Venezuela opposition leader, is a reminder that President Nicolás Maduro's credibility is plummeting during the anti-government demonstrations that have swept his country since Feb. 12.
Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 11:45 pm
The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.
"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Mexican officials have captured that country's number one drug trafficker, Joaquin Guzman, also known as El Chapo. The announcement was made this afternoon by Mexico's attorney general who says the head of the feared Sinaloa Cartel was arrested by special marine forces without a single shot being fired.
We're joined now by NPR's Carrie Kahn in Mexico City. Carrie, they've been looking for Guzman for 13 years. How did they capture him?
To better understand the protests in Kiev, NPR's Arun Rath explores the background of beleaguered Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych with Taras Kuzio, a longtime Ukraine researcher and political observer.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS)
RATH: The images from Kiev this week look like scenes from a revolution - riots, giant statues of former leaders being toppled, crowds chanting for the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych. Scores were killed, and hundreds injured as the capital city seemed to spiral out of control.
(SOUNDBITE OF SHOUTING)
RATH: Then on Friday, news that a peace deal had been reached.
A 43-year-old, six-time Olympian helped lead Finland to a bronze-medal win over the U.S. men's hockey team on Saturday.
Teemu Selanne scored two of Finland's five goals, shutting out the U.S. team 5-0.
Team USA had hoped to overcome Friday's crushing loss to Canada, which, if won, would have made the U.S. a contender for the gold. Despite playing great hockey the entire tournament, things seemed to fall apart against Canada and later, Finland.
The contrast couldn't have been greater: the protest band Pussy Riot in colorful ski masks and mini dresses, attempting to film a segment for a new video on Sochi's waterfront; and Cossacks in traditional uniform with black sheepskin hats and riding boots, patrolling Sochi streets as part of security for the Olympics.
The Cossacks, trying to enforce a government ban on protests, knocked band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to the ground, lashed her with a horse whip, and roughed up other musicians.
Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 8:41 pm
Events in the Winter Olympics can be highly technical, with arcane rules and specialized equipment that can defy easy explanation. On the question-and-answer site Quora, several interesting topics have come up in recent days, from why athletes use tape on their sleds to how a human can surpass 80 mph on skis.