To the list of political issues with which we began this mid-term election year, which had the Affordable Care Act and the economy at the top, we can now add Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
But while the domestic issues divide along fairly clear blue and red lines, the political question of what the U.S. should do about Russian President Vladimir Putin's deployment of the Russian military into Ukraine's Crimea is scrambling Washington's normal partisan lines.
On my third day in Tehran last week, I was detained by Iran's notorious "morals police." This volunteer corps, with a presence in nearly every city and town, polices infractions against Islamic values. These guardians patrol parks, recreation centers, shopping malls and cafes where young people gather.
My introduction to the morality squad began with shouts and threats and ended with fruit juice and a hug from a lady cop in a black chador that covered bleached blond hair and a snug red leather jacket.
<strong>Not quite jumping over the moon but ... :</strong> An animal<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/weirdnewsvideo/8429563/Luna-the-showjumping-cow.html"> named Luna</a> (get it?) jumps over an obstacle with rider<strong> </strong>Regina Mayer on her back in the Bavarian town of Traunstein, in southern Germany.
For history nerds, it's fascinating to see the word "Crimea" back in the news. The last time this peninsula on the Black Sea dominated world headlines was nearly 160 years ago. (Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin met there at the town of Yalta in 1945, but that wasn't really about the region.)
Long ago, McDonald's chose to honor St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland with its Shamrock Shake, made with real snake. It was known for its subtle flavor and powerful aphrodisiac qualities. While the recipe has changed slightly over the years, the powerful aphrodisiac qualities remain.
Peter: Sucking this up through the straw is pretty hard work just to get something that tastes like toothpaste.
Miles: Shamrocks are good luck, but I think the woman who rang us up took it too far when she said, "You're gonna need it."
When America entered World War II, some of Hollywood's most celebrated directors enlisted and risked their lives. But they weren't fighting — they were filming combat.
Through the 1930s, Hollywood and the federal government held a mutual suspicion of each other. But after Pearl Harbor, the War Department asked Hollywood directors to make short documentaries that could be presented in theaters before the featured films. The ideas was to show Americans what was at stake, give them a glimpse of what our soldiers were going through and stir up patriotic feelings.
The Chinese government has blamed the deadly stabbing attack in southwest China on Muslim separatists from the country's northwest, but it has yet to provide hard evidence for the claim.
Police said they have captured the final three suspects in a knife attack that killed 29 people and left more than a 140 injured in the city of Kunming on Saturday, according to the state-run New China News Service.
President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on June 17. Obama has strongly condemned Russian intervention in Ukraine but has not yet announced a concrete response.
Russian troops enter a former Soviet republic claiming they must protect ethnic Russians who have strong ties to the motherland. The U.S. and other Western nations threaten sanctions, but do little. Russia effectively gets its way.
We're talking, of course, about Russia's 2008 decision to send troops into South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgian region with a large Russian population.
Update at 12:45 p.m. ET: "Total Nonsense," Russian Official Reportedly Says:
Any claims that the Russian military has warned Ukraine to surrender in Crimea or face an assault on Tuesday are "total nonsense," a Russian Defense Ministry official says, according to The Voice of Russia.
And now we turn to Back Talk. That's where we hear from you about the week's stories. Editor Amita Parashar Kelly is with us for that. Welcome, Amita. And I know that we got a big response to one of our stories last week. So why don't you tell us about that?
PARASHAR KELLY: Yeah. Well, Michel, we got hundreds of tweets, comments and some actual mail about our conversation with evangelical leader Scott Lively. Now he's a pastor who's traveled around Africa and the world preaching against gay rights.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're headed to South Africa now where many people are focused on the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the famed Olympic athlete and double amputee known as Blade Runner for the striking prosthetics he uses to race.
As we mentioned, "12 Years a Slave" had a major impact at last night's Academy Awards. The film walked away with three awards - best picture, best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong'o and best adapted screenplay for John Ridley. The film was packed with star power, including a small but provocative role for Alfre Woodard as Harriet Shaw, the slave mistress of a nearby plantation owner.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. March is women's history month and we decided to observe it with a special series - Women in Tech. This month, we'll speak with women trailblazers about the advancements they're making in the tech world. They'll also share how they're mentoring young women and girls in computer science, and trying to get more girls interested in tech early on.