News From NPR

Parallels
2:54 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

What Are The Rules For Changing A Country's Borders?

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.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

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.

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National Security
1:22 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

Senate-CIA Clash Goes Behind Closed Doors

Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks with reporters after alleging that the CIA broke federal law by secretly removing sensitive documents from computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the panel tasked with congressional oversight of the CIA.
Win McNamee Getty Images

The dust is still settling on Capitol Hill after California Democrat Dianne Feinstein fired a verbal bazooka at the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday morning from the Senate floor.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's chairwoman — normally a stalwart of Washington's spooks — essentially accused the spy agency of illegally and unconstitutionally spying on its congressional overseers.

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Religion
1:00 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

Tiny Italian Town Thumbs Its Nose At Lenten Abstinence

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 5:53 pm

On the first Sunday of Lent in Poggio Mirteto, a priest in the town's cathedral recalls the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

He admonishes parishioners in this hilltop hamlet just outside Vatican City to resist earthly delights during the time of penance and self-denial leading up to Easter.

"We must remember we are weak before evil, because the devil is very tricky," he says.

Just outside the doors, the warning goes unheeded as a parade of revelers passes.

The Freedom Festival

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

Russia Vetoes U.N. Security Council Resolution On Crimea

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.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

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:

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Shots - Health News
11:58 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Gay Couples Entitled To Equal Family Health Coverage, Fed Says

The family health insurance rule applies only to married couples and not to those who are in domestic partnerships or civil unions.
iStockphoto

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."

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