A Russian flag blows outside the entrance of Crimea's parliament building in Simferopol on Thursday. Crimeans vote Sunday on whether they want to join Russia, though the international community says it will not recognize the ballot.
Credit Filippo Monteforte / AFP/Getty Images
A member of the Crimean Tatar community holds the Ukrainian flag during a rally in front of a Ukrainian military base south of Simferopol, on Thursday.
Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 10:35 am
Redrawing national borders may feel like a historical relic that belongs to an earlier century, yet Crimea's crisis shows there are still places that don't fit neatly on the map — and may not for years to come.
Just last month, Crimea was part of Ukraine. On Sunday, Crimeans vote on whether they want to become part of Russia. Nevermind that the rest of the world rejects the validity of the ballot; no country appears willing or able to prevent Crimea from leaving Ukraine and joining Russia.
Russia has vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would invalidate Sunday's referendum in Crimea. In Moscow, demonstrators and military veterans march in support of the Kremlin Saturday; nearby, a large march was held to protest Russia's policies.
Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 5:54 pm
One day before Crimea holds a referendum on leaving Ukraine, Russia has vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution to affirm Ukraine's sovereignty and national borders. The measure would have declared the referendum in Crimea invalid.
Russia, a permanent member of the council, was the sole vote against the resolution, which had the support of 13 countries attending Saturday's emergency meeting. China abstained from voting.
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports for our Newscast unit:
What insurers offer to spouses in a traditional marriage, they must make available to same-sex couples, the federal government said Friday.
The change means that same-sex couples, who haven't been able to buy family health policies, will be able to do so now.
"It's a big deal," says Katie Keith, director of research at the Trimpa Group, a consulting firm that works on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. "If you identify as married, it's hard to stomach that you can't get family coverage."
Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 12:20 pm
On Friday, March 14, Lady Gaga gave the keynote at SXSW 2014, a long interview conducted by John Norris that covered her career in pop, from her roots in the rock clubs of downtown New York to her decision to partner with a corporate sponsor for the concert she performed at Stubb's the night before. (You can see the complete video of the interview on this page.)
NPR Music's Ann Powers was in Austin for the keynote, and she filed this report.
Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 5:58 pm
The hanging of two of the four men convicted for raping and murdering a woman in New Delhi in late 2012 has been stayed, according to a ruling by India's high court that was issued Saturday. The men had been found guilty of raping and attacking a woman on a bus; they've been appealing that finding.
Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 6:03 pm
Saying that more than a decade of warfare had been imposed on his country by the U.S. conflict with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai says foreign troops aren't necessary to Afghanistan's long-term security.
"I want to say to all those foreign countries who maybe out of habit or because they want to interfere, that they should not interfere," he said, according to The Associated Press.
An article last week in The New York Times reported that the scientific jury is still out on brain-fitness programs. It seems that playing computer games designed to work your powers of perception, memory and attention can lead to significant and lasting improvement in one's ability to play those very games. But the benefits don't transfer. You may perform the relevant tasks like a 20-year-old, but you'll still have the mind of a 60-year-old.
In New Zealand, the country's most important cut of cloth is at the center of a nationwide debate. New Zealand's flag has long been criticized by some as a symbol of British Colonialism. The U.K.'s Union Jack remains in the flag's upper left-hand corner. But it was only this year that Prime Minister John Key proposed a referendum to change it. Tim Watkin, journalist and founder of the politics and culture blog Pundit, is on the line with us now from Auckland, New Zealand to tell us more. Hello there, Tim.
The crisis in Ukraine has many in this country wondering what on earth Vladimir Putin is thinking. Hillary Clinton compared him to Hitler; many world leaders have called his actions insane in recent weeks. How is it that we know so much about Russia's president and yet so little? To help us with that, we've called in someone who's spent a lot of time thinking about Vladimir Putin. Masha Gessen is the author of a best-selling biography of Putin called "The Man Without a Face." Masha Gessen, thank you for joining us.
Iranian shoppers buy vegetables from a street vendor in Tehran last November, a day after a six-month nuclear deal took effect. The U.S. says crippling sanctions — which caused prices for necessities like bread, rice and soap to increase — forced Iran's hand.
It's hard to see crippling sanctions at a modern shopping mall in north Tehran — the shops are stocked, the cafes are full. The latest western electronics – even iPhones and iPads, are available for those who can afford it.
But talk to middle class Iranians and you hear dire stories. They say they suffered as prices on almost everything rose dramatically for two years. International sanctions fueled skyrocketing inflation, estimated at 45 percent. Practically, that means that necessities – bread, rice, soap – got more expensive every month.
Discovering Zara McFarlane's voice is like discovering something exquisite and lush and gorgeous.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
ZARA MCFARLANE: (Singing) There you are, though I cannot see your face. I feel you, your presence just entered this place...
LYDEN: Zara McFarlane's latest album is called "If You Knew Her." And she's at our London bureau to talk to us about her music and so that we can get to know here. Zara McFarlane, thank you so much for joining us.
LYDEN: This week, former Miami Dolphin's offensive lineman Jonathan Martin found a new home with his new team, the San Francisco 49ers. Martin tweeted this week that he's beyond blessed about being traded and can't wait to get to work. Jonathan Martin is, of course, the player who was the primary target of taunts and racist insults by his teammates on the Dolphins.
ESPN's Howard Bryant is with us now taking a break from the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. Hello there Howard.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. More than 20,000 refugees fleeing religious violence in the Central African Republic crossed into Cameroon just in February alone. The refugees are predominantly Muslim and many more are expected to cross over in the coming weeks. They're finding shelter in towns and refugee sites near the border and many are suffering from malnutrition and malaria.
Andres Caballero reports from the border in Cameroon's east region.
Every now and again I come across a book that makes me wish to do violence to my learning, to tear away words like tour de force and magnificent in order to excavate something more true, more raw, more appropriate to the experience of reading it. Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World is such a book. Like fire, it feeds as it consumes: It gives off the warmth and light by which to read, understand, marvel at it — but in order to do so it absorbs the reader's gaze, knowledge and attention and combusts them, transforms them into the brightness by which it is read.
Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 3:56 pm
As the search continues for the Malaysia Airlines plane that's been missing since last Saturday, we're hearing stories about some of the 239 people on board.
There is Philip Wood, one of three Americans on the flight, who worked for IBM in the Chinese capital where he'd lived for two years. He was returning to Beijing after visiting family in Texas. Wood and his girlfriend, Sarah Bajc, were planning to move to Malaysia.