Secretary of State John Kerry, who has described Moscow's military intervention in the Crimea an "incredible act of aggression," will travel to Ukraine's capital on Tuesday to meet with the country's embattled government.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement late Sunday that Kerry "will meet with senior representatives of Ukraine's new government, leaders of the Rada [Ukraine's parliament], and members of the civil society."
In Louisiana, Mardi Gras comes each year with dozens of parades filled with marching bands, colorful floats and parade-goers who scream, "Throw me something, Mister!"
That "something" the crowd wants are beads. The goal of any Mardi Gras parade is to catch as many as possible. After the revelry, people often have so many beads around their necks they can barely turn their heads.
Online competitive gaming is increasingly mirroring the world of professional sports. E-sports are attracting hard-working teams that compete for millions of dollars in prize money.
Generally, gamers wage battles with one another using rapid clicks of a computer mouse. "A lot of it comes down to reflexes, but a lot of [it] is strategy," says David Gorman, a sportscaster for the popular e-sport, Dota 2. "It's very much like chess, except it's in real time. Almost like speed chess."
On Tuesday, President Obama will unveil his budget proposal for the coming year. But for all the sound and fury surrounding the president's spending plan, it's likely to have very little significance. Congress routinely ignores the president's budget. And lawmakers have already settled on overall spending levels for the coming year.
That's led some to ask whether it's time to bring the curtain down on this annual exercise in political theater.
Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 10:07 am
For real estate agents, March Madness has begun.
The rush is on to throw out clutter, paint walls and clean carpets. Historic data show the peak time for selling homes is April through July, and that means this is the month for spring cleaning.
"Freshen up the landscape and add that mulch now," Dallas Realtor Jeff Duffey recommended in a phone interview. "Get your over-sized furniture out of the small bedroom and put more lamps in that dark room."
The economy has a lot riding on how well people obey Duffey's marching orders.
An ad on a bus shelter in New Mexico is part of an ongoing effort to educate law enforcement and the public about human trafficking. The Justice Department estimates that each year at least 200,000 children are trafficked for sex in the U.S.
We've all seen them: the public service announcements about sex trafficking in America. They're plastered on buses and billboards; images of young women exploited for their bodies, with hotlines to call for help.
The numbers are staggering. The Justice Department estimates that each year at least 200,000 children are trafficked for sex in the U.S., and it is said to generate upward of $32 billion a year.
The standoff in Crimea is increasing in intensity and has become a focal point of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Host Arun Rath talks to NPR's Michele Kelemen about the diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff in the region.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Last month, President Obama made a special trip to Michigan to sign the farm bill, finally passed after two years of disagreement in Congress. One important clause said to take effect this month is a major cut to food stamps. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cuts would affect about 850,000 households, saving about $8.5 billion over the next 10 years. That cut was achieved by closing what some see as a loophole regarding who qualifies for the program.
In fact, most of those 15 or so states that use the Heat and Eat loophole have Democratic governors. Along with New York and Connecticut are the likes of California, Massachusetts and Oregon. More than 20 percent of Oregonians are on food stamps. That's one of the highest rates in the country. These new cuts would affect over 140,000 people there. On average, they'd lose about $58 a month.
A gang of 10 knife-wielding men killed at least 29 people and wounded 130 others at a train station in southern China in what the government is describing as a "violent terror attack," Xinhua News Agency reports.
Four of the assailants were also killed by police, reports the Associated Press. One suspect was arrested.
Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 12:12 pm
Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum who last month debated TV personality Bill Nye "The Science Guy" pitting his Biblical literalism against Darwinian evolution, says the highly publicized showdown has been like manna from heaven for a foundering $73 million Noah's Ark theme park.
Thailand's anti-government protesters have temporarily abandoned their street barricades and quit mass demonstrations aimed at shutting down the capital and ousting the country's premier.
But the protesters vowed to regroup at a central location in Bangkok and continue their efforts to force the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was returned to power last month in an election boycotted by the opposition.
Hundreds of visual-effects artists are planning to picket the Academy Awards on Sunday for the second year in a row. They're hoping to bring attention to what's been happening in their industry.
The field is losing jobs and relocating to countries with bigger subsidies for employers. It's the result of a technical revolution that's changed the profession since it kicked off in the 70s with Star Wars creator George Lucas' visual-effects company, Industrial Light and Magic.
Shahidullah Shahid (right), spokesman of banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan sits with a local commander Azam Tariq as they speak to journalists at an undisclosed location near the Afghan border last month.
The Pakistani Taliban said Saturday it will observe a month-long cease-fire to revive failed peace talks with Islamabad.
"The senior leadership of the Taliban advises all subgroups to respect the Taliban's call for a ceasefire and abide by it and completely refrain from all jihadi activities in this time period," the militant group said in a statement.
Young people look at pro-Russian armed men blocking access to the Ukrainian frontier guard base in Balaklava, a small city not far from Sevastopol, on Saturday.
Credit Viktor Drachev / AFP/Getty Images
Armed men take up positions around the regional parliament building in the Crimean city of Simferopol on Saturday. Ukraine's defense minister said on Saturday Russia had "recently" brought 6,000 additional personnel into Ukraine.
Russia's parliament has unanimously approved a request by President Vladimir Putin to authorize the intervention of Moscow's forces in Ukraine until "the normalization of the political situation" there. In response, Ukraine put its own forces on alert and warned that a Russian invasion would spark war between the two countries.
This week, one-fifth of the biggest boy band in the world made up one-eleventh of an English professional soccer team. In a charity game, the One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson turned out to play for his hometown club, the reserve team of Doncaster Rovers.
In the desert outside of Phoenix, there have been 18 shootings in the last five years, a series of mysteries that has stumped federal investigators.
Let's be clear, we're talking about donkeys: specifically, wild burros, the federally protected asses of the Old West. In late January, out among the desert scrub and beavertail cactus, two from the Lake Pleasant herd were found dead.
South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius goes on trial next week for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Guardian reporter David Smith about the upcoming court case.
Online personality quizzes are going viral. The website BuzzFeed says their quizzes, which ask questions like which Harry Potter character are you or which city should you actually live in, break Web traffic records. But are these seemingly silly and inconsequential quizzes only for fun? With tens of millions of people filling them out, it could be a marketer's dream.
Contractors working for the state of Washington are planning a high-stakes operation to rescue Bertha — the world's largest tunneling machine.
Bertha is supposed to be boring a 2-mile highway tunnel under downtown Seattle, but it got stuck in December.
Bertha is on Seattle's waterfront, between South Main and South Jackson streets, about 60 feet straight down. At first, they thought the machine was being stymied by a big glacial rock. Then attention focused on the chewed-up remains of a metal pipe. But now it seems Bertha's ailment is mechanical.
Social media monitoring started in the world of marketing, allowing companies to track what people were saying about their brands. But now, with software that allows users to scan huge volumes of public postings on social media, police are starting to embrace it as well.
Many police departments in Britain use a product sold by CrowdControlHQ. CEO James Leavesley says the company is in the business of monitoring "social media risk."
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.
President Obama spoke about the Ukraine crisis Friday afternoon, saying, "The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."
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."