World

Parallels
7:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Spain's Robin Hood Mayor Fights For 'Communist Utopia'

Radical Mayor Sanchez Gordillo objects to agricultural subsidies for the land elite. At a rally, he embraces a unionista who wanted to start a communal agricultural project on military-owned land.
Jorge Guerrero AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

On a sweltering August day in 2012, the mayor of a tiny Spanish town, fed up with the country's economic conditions, did something drastic. It was the height of the economic crisis and most Spanish politicians were away on summer vacation.

With dozens of supporters, Mayor Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo of Marinaleda marched into the local supermarket in a neighboring town.

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Education
5:23 am
Sat March 8, 2014

What The U.S. Can Learn From Finland, Where School Starts At Age 7

President Barack Obama sits with students during a tour of a Pre-K classroom at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C., this week.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 12:00 pm

Finland, a country the size of Minnesota, beats the U.S. in math, reading and science, even though Finnish children don't start school until age 7.

Despite the late start, the vast majority arrive with solid reading and math skills. By age 15, Finnish students outperform all but a few countries on international assessments.

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Parallels
5:22 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Russia's Goal In Ukraine: Three Scenarios

A Ukrainian protester stands at a memorial for the people killed in clashes at Kiev's Independence Square, on March 1. The focus of Ukraine's crisis is now in Crimea, where Russian forces are effectively in control.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 5:39 am

Russia has effectively taken control of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula without a shot fired in anger. Now a larger question looms: What is Russian President Vladimir Putin's ultimate goal in Ukraine?

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The Two-Way
8:24 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Search For Malaysian Jet Spots Oil Slicks In Waters Off Vietnam

A woman, believed to be the relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing.
Kim Kyung-Hoon Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 4:57 pm

For the latest news, visit our new post about the missing flight.

Vietnamese military planes report seeing two oil slicks off the country's coast that could be a sign of a missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet Saturday. Officials say the search for the jet continues and that ships are being sent to the location of the sighting.

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The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Brief Standoff Over Ukrainian Base In Crimea Ends Peacefully

Unidentified armed men in military uniforms block a Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye, outside Simferopol, Ukraine, on Thursday. Similar pro-Russian forces forced a brief standoff at the missile defense base in Sevastopol on Friday.
Arthur Shvarts EPA/Landov

A tense standoff Friday between pro-Russian troops and Ukrainian forces at a missile-defense base in Crimea is reportedly over without a shot being fired.

Russia's Interfax news agency reported that a Russian military truck had smashed through the gate of the Ukrainian base in Sevastopol, the port city that is home to Russia's Black Sea fleet.

Interfax, quoted by The Associated Press, says about 100 Ukrainian troops are stationed at the base and about 20 "attackers" entered, some throwing stun grenades, the report said.

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Europe
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Behind Ukraine's Political Strife: One Big Utility Bill

Cossacks stand guard at the entrance to the Crimean Parliament building on Friday in Simferopol, Ukraine. Russian Cossacks, some heavily armed, have taken up guard duties at road checkpoints, border crossings and other key facilities that were previously guarded by local, pro-Russian militants across Crimea in recent days.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

One way to understand the situation between Ukraine and Russia right now: Look at the gas bill of an ordinary Ukrainian.

Valentina Olachenka, for example, pays $19 a month for gas to heat her house and run her stove. The average American who uses natural gas, by contrast, spends more than $100 a month.

Gas is cheap for Ukrainians because the government is paying most of the bill — 87 cents of every dollar, according to the IMF.

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Commentary
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Week In Politics: Ukraine And CPAC

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're joined now by our Friday political observers, columnist E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. Hey there, E.J.

E.J. DIONNE: Hey, good to be with you.

CORNISH: And Reihan Salam, a columnist for the National Review and Reuters. Hi, Reihan.

REIHAN SALAM: Hi, Audie.

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Europe
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Moscow's Ukraine Looks Different From The One Seen By The West

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Russian politicians are all voicing the same narrative: Ukraine's legitimate government was overthrown by neo-Nazis, while the armed men in Crimea are not Russian troops but local self-defense groups.

Europe
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

In Kharkiv, A Snapshot Of Ukraine's Tumult And Hope

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

In Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, both pro-Europe and pro-Russian groups are planning more rallies this weekend. Some residents fear civil war; others believe compromise is still possible.

NPR Story
4:08 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Military Training Gives U.S. Paralympic Biathletes An Edge

Andy Soule, a U.S. Army veteran, lost both his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan in 2005. Four years ago, he won America's first medal — Olympic or Paralympic — in the biathlon event.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:39 pm

Biathlon may be the toughest endurance sport in the Olympics. After grueling circuits of Nordic skiing, athletes have to calm their breathing, steady their tired legs and shoot tiny targets with a rifle.

Andy Soule does it all with only his arms.

"It's a steep learning curve, learning to sit-ski," says Soule, a member of the U.S. Paralympic team. He's strapped into a seat attached to two fixed cross-country skis. He speeds along the course by hauling himself with ski poles.

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