Europe

Russian Forces
3:20 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S.: Russia-Based Artillery Targeting Ukrainian Troops

Ukrainian troops camouflage their multiple rocket launcher at a checkpoint in Kryva Luka, in eastern Ukraine, earlier this month. The U.S. says Russia is planning to provide similar systems to the rebels.
Evgeniy Maloletka AP

The U.S. says it has "new evidence" that Russian forces have been firing artillery across the border to attack Ukrainian military positions, and that Moscow is planning to ship powerful rocket artillery to the rebels it backs in the country's east.

"We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said during a daily briefing.

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Flight MH17
2:27 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Ukraine Accuses Rebels Of Destroying Evidence At MH17 Crash Site

With pro-Russian separatists standing guard, investigators from the OSCE arrive at the crash site of the Malaysia Airline jet near the village of Hrabove in Eastern Ukraine on Friday.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 11:45 pm

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET.

International investigators say armed rebels have limited their inspection of the Eastern Ukraine site of the downed Malaysian Airlines flight that killed nearly 300 passengers and crew, as Kiev accused pro-Russian separatists of destroying evidence at the scene.

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Netherlands
1:13 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Dutch Premier Decries 'Utterly Disrespectful Behavior' At MH17 Crash Site

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a news conference at the Ministry of Safety and Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands, on Friday. Rutte says he's shocked by the behavior of pro-Russian rebels at the MH17 crash site.
Bart Maat EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:02 am

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET.

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expressing shock and anger over the chaotic scene at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, where nearly 200 Dutch citizens were killed, saying Russia has "one last chance" to use its influence with Ukrainian rebels to provide access to the scene.

Reuters quotes Rutte as saying he had a "very intense" conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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White House
5:46 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

U.S. Sanctions Major Russian Banks And Energy Companies

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits forces stationed near the small city of Izyum on Wednesday.
Sergey Bobok AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:18 am

President Obama outlined a new package of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals on Wednesday.

"These sanctions are significant but also targeted," Obama said. "Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences."

The administration targeted large banks, as well as energy and defense firms. The sanctions stopped short of covering entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama said they were designed to inflict pain on Russia without harming U.S. companies or the nation's allies.

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Courts
2:56 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

UK Man Sentenced for Taliban Support

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

A British citizen imprisoned in Connecticut for supporting terrorism was sentenced in federal court in New Haven today.

Babar Ahmad was given 12 and half years in prison, with credit for the ten years he’s already served.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Germany: Who Are You Now?

Credit MomentCaptured1 / Creative Commons

Two snapshots: The first from the publication American Bazaar, right after the German World Cup win. "In the city of Leipzig, a solitary car scuttled along, with the flag attached to the roof. Waving the flag has yet to catch on. Jan Hoffman, who works in Frankfurt, was in New York when 9/11 happened.  'I had never seen so many flags in my life. Here, there are hardly any, although we won football's greatest tournament.

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Religion
12:58 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Church Of England Will Allow Women To Serve As Bishops

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, shown here in Kenya last October, supported the decision to ordain women as bishops.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 1:44 pm

The Church of England voted Monday to ordain women as bishops.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the church's spiritual leader, said before the vote that the public would find it "almost incomprehensible" if the church's General Synod did not approve the change.

A similar proposal was narrowly defeated in 2012. A revised proposal had been put to a vote and approved in 43 of the church's 44 dioceses, according to the BBC.

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Tour de France
11:56 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Another Former Champion Abandons Tour De France After Crash

Spain's Alberto Contador abandons the Tour de France after crashing during the 10th stage Monday.
Christophe Ena AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 8:49 am

These are not good days to be a former Tour de France champion on the roads of France. Spain's Alberto Contador left the race after suffering a heavy crash in a wet and foggy portion of Monday's mountain stage, five days after defending champion Chris Froome abandoned the race.

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Courts
10:43 am
Mon July 14, 2014

British Citizens Imprisoned in Connecticut for Supporting Terrorism to Be Sentenced Soon

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

Two British citizens imprisoned in Connecticut for supporting terrorism are to be sentenced in federal court in New Haven this week.

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Aerospace
9:44 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Connecticut Companies at World's Biggest Air Show

Farnborough Air Show

Connecticut aerospace companies are front and center at the world’s largest air show on Monday. The Farnborough Air Show in England alternates with Paris each year to host the biggest names in the world of aerospace.

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Soccer
10:45 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Liverpool Unloads 'The Biter,' Sending Suarez To Barca For $128 Million

Luis Suarez will wear the number 9 for Barcelona.
FC Barcelona

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 11:45 am

Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan striker who became headline news in the U.S. after biting an Italian player during the World Cup, is moving to a new club. He'll play for Barcelona, after the team reached terms with Liverpool in a transfer widely reported at 75 million pounds, or more than $128 million.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Escalates; LIRR Strike Looms; World Cup Preview

A missile from the Israeli Iron Dome.
Credit Israeli Defense Forces / Creative Commons

Once again, violence has escalated in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Rockets are now reaching northern Israel and that government is responding with barrages of its own rocket attacks on Palestinian targets. We talk with a local professor who recently returned from the region and studies this on-going conflict.

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Tour de France
10:14 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Defending Tour De France Champ Froome Quits Race

Britain's Chris Froome gestures to a teammate (right) after getting up from his third crash in two days. Froome, who hurt his wrist in Tuesday's fall, has abandoned the race that he won in 2013.
Laurent Cipriani AP

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 2:32 pm

Chris Froome, who raced to the top of the podium in Paris last July, is out of this year's Tour de France after falling in treacherous conditions on today's stage of the bicycle race.

Today's stage had been predicted to be harrowing, owing to the course's inclusion of cobblestones. But Froome went down twice before the race even reached that point, leaving his riding kit torn on both thighs and one shoulder, where a bloody wound could be seen.

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Ukraine
7:31 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Reports Of New Fighting Rattle Ukraine's Truce As Kerry Urges Russia To Help

A man who lives in Ukraine's Donetsk region shows part of a shell that exploded in the yard of his house Wednesday, after a reported mortar attack by Ukrainian government forces Tuesday. The area is under a tense cease-fire that will expire Friday.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:50 pm

An exchange of mortar fire has been reported in eastern Ukraine, where government troops and pro-Russian separatist forces had been observing an uneasy cease-fire in the past week. The news comes as Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia could face sanctions if it doesn't help end the violence.

Russian state news media are reporting explosions near the airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, where the armed groups reportedly absorbed and returned mortar fire. Similar clashes were reported earlier this week.

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Preserving Michelangelo
11:58 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Carrier to Install New HVAC System in the Sistine Chapel

The famous frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
Antoine Taveneaux Wikimedia Commons

Farmington-based Carrier is to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the Sistine Chapel as part of an effort to preserve the frescoes of Michelangelo.

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D-Day Commemoration
2:20 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

WWII Vet, AWOL From Nursing Home, Found At Normandy Ceremonies

Normandy veterans parade in Arromanches, France, during events to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Gareth Fuller PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 3:45 pm

An 89-year-old World War II veteran, reported missing by his U.K. nursing home, has been found at the D-Day commemorations in France.

Bernard Jordan, who served in the Royal Navy during WWII, is a resident at The Pines nursing home in Hove, Sussex, reports the BBC. He had previously attended the 50th and 60th memorial services in Normandy.

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Polish Stories
9:57 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Poland's Anniversary of Democracy a Time to Remember

Lech Wałęsa speaks at Gdańsk Shipyard's gate during the strike of 1980.
Polish magazine "Znak" Creative Commons

This week's big anniversaries of the Normandy Beach invasion 70 years ago, and the crackdown in Tiananmen Square 25 years ago have taken away from another important milestone: the 25th anniversary of Polish freedom from Communist rule. 

President Obama marked the anniversary in a speech, but the real reason for his visit was to highlight the success of Poland in the last quarter-century, while vowing NATO support for Ukraine in its struggle for independence from Russian influence. 

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Verse and Voice
12:00 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Cashel Man

TechnoHippyBiker Creative Commons

Cashel, Ireland, 2,000 B.C.

In ancient Ireland, bogs were sacred
areas; a cool wetland mirage meters
deep of peat during demoralizing
drought. Greenish-brown landscape
of mystery, insufferably slow plant
growth. What must a farmer have
thought as his wife offered a vessel
of golden butter to appease a merciless
deity? He plunges his hand deep into
the bog, brings a handful of drenched
soil to his eyes, squeezes and watches
as his hairy forearms stain a deep rust.

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Military Readiness
8:43 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Obama Seeks $1 Billion To Boost U.S. Military Presence In Europe

President Obama and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk at a meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday.
Radek Pietruszka EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 6:45 pm

President Obama said today [Tuesday] that he wants to boost the U.S. military presence in Europe amid simmering tensions with Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

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World
7:48 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Spain's King Juan Carlos Will Abdicate In Favor Of Son

Spain's King Juan Carlos signs a document in the Zarzuela Palace, planning his abdication, in this photo released by the Royal Palace. Juan Carlos will be replaced by his son, Crown Prince Felipe.
AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 12:54 pm

This post was updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The news comes as something of a surprise: King Juan Carlos of Spain is abdicating and will be succeeded by his 46-year-old son, Crown Prince Felipe.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy made the announcement at a hastily called news conference Monday, saying that Juan Carlos is "convinced that this is the best moment for a change in the leadership of state with complete normalcy," according to El Pais.

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Banking Regulation
8:45 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Reports: Royal Bank of Scotland to Slash Hundreds of U.S. Jobs

The Royal Bank of Scotland's headquarters building in Stamford.
Credit Royal Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland could lay off hundreds of its U.S. employees, according to new reports. The company has its North American headquarters in Stamford.

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Pharma Wars
11:52 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Pfizer's Quest for AstraZeneca May Be Over

Pfizer CEO Ian Read
Credit Pfizer

Pfizer's bid for rival pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca looks likely to fail, after the UK business turned down its latest offer.

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Ukraine Crisis
3:49 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Russia's Energy Giant Turns Up The Heat On Ukraine

A monument to Ukrainian writer Taras Shevchenko is silhouetted against a sign advertising Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom in Moscow. Gazprom has dramatically increased the price it charges Ukraine in recent months.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:59 pm

If Russia was aiming to target one of Ukraine's vulnerabilities, natural gas would be the bull's-eye. Ukraine gets about 60 percent of its gas from Russia.

Clifford Gaddy, a Russia specialist at the Brookings Institution, says as the dispute between the two countries grows, Moscow is more willing to use natural gas as a weapon.

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Ukraine Crisis
10:38 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Ukraine: Pro-Russia Crowd Surrounds Police Station In Odessa

Participants at a rally attack a police station in Odessa as they demand the release of people arrested after recent street battles between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian supporters in the Black Sea port city.
Gleb Garanich Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun May 4, 2014 4:50 pm

Urging the release of separatists detained during Friday's unrest that left dozens dead, more than 100 pro-Russia activists surrounded a police station in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa Sunday.

Update at 4:30 p.m. ET: More Activists Released

Police in Odessa say 67 pro-Russia activists were freed Sunday.

CNN quotes the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's website:

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Ukraine Crisis
5:19 pm
Sat May 3, 2014

Russia Condemns Ukraine With Comparisons To Nazis

Ukrainian soldiers stand at a checkpoint they seized Friday morning in the eastern Ukrainian village of Andreevka. The Russian government has referred to Ukraine's interim government and other Ukrainian groups as "fascists" and "neo-Nazis."
Vasily Maximov AFP/Getty Images

The Ukrainian government is describing its offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country as an "anti-terrorist operation," language that offends the separatists and Russia.

In turn, Russia is using even stronger language, saying that the Ukrainian military has launched a "punitive operation." While that may not carry any special meaning to Western ears, it has far more sinister implications for Russians.

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Ukraine Crisis
7:21 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Blaze In Odessa Kills 31, Marking Escalation In Ukraine Crisis

Trashed items smolder amid debris at a square following clashes in Odessa, Ukraine, on Friday.
Sergei Poliakov AP

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 7:47 pm

The situation in Ukraine escalated further on Friday: First, as we reported, Ukraine launched a military operation against separatists in the east, and then a fire in a building in the Black Sea port of Odessa killed 31 people.

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White House
7:17 am
Mon April 28, 2014

U.S. Announces New Sanctions On Russia Over Ukraine Unrest

President Obama speaks during a joint news conference with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, on Monday. Obama said the U.S. and EU were planning new economic sanctions against Russia.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 5:09 pm

Update at 9 a.m. ET:

The White House announced sanctions Monday against seven top Russian officials with links to President Vladimir Putin, including freezing their assets and banning them from obtaining U.S. visas. It also threatened to impose more economic sanctions on key sectors of Russia's economy if there is evidence of further Kremlin involvement in the unrest in eastern Ukraine.

The Associated Press reports:

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Polish Literature
12:21 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Book News: Polish Poet With Mission To 'Create Poetry After Auschwitz' Dies

Polish writer Tadeusz Różewicz is pictured in 2010 in Lodz, Poland.
Grzegorz Michalowski EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 10:11 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Ukraine Crisis
7:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Russia Wants To Start World War III, Ukrainian Leader Charges

On guard: a Ukrainian soldier at a roadblock near Slovyansk, in eastern Ukraine.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:52 pm

The crisis in Ukraine showed no signs of cooling Friday. Harsh rhetoric was flying:

-- "Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk accused Russia on Friday of wanting to start World War III by occupying Ukraine 'militarily and politically,' " Reuters reports.

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Crimea
9:38 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Russia Endorses Call For Protesters To Disarm

Armed men wearing military fatigues gathered on armored personnel carriers Wednesday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, where they and other pro-Russia gunmen took control of some key locations.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 9:04 am

This post was updated with a new top at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union emerged Thursday from a meeting that wasn't expected to accomplish much saying they had made progress toward resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

"We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to narrow our real differences," Secretary of State John Kerry said following the meeting in Geneva. He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the four parties at the negotiating table agreed:

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