Politics

Ukraine
8:42 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Russia's Parliament Approves Putin's Call For Troops In Ukraine

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.
Viktor Drachev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 6:32 pm

This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. ET.

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.

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Ambassadors
8:32 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Chinese Paper Calls Outgoing U.S. Envoy 'Yellow-Skinned, White-Hearted Banana Man'

The Chinese media may not like him, but Gary Locke, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to China, was praised by ordinary Chinese.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:05 pm

Gary Locke may have won over ordinary Chinese with his conduct in the country, but not everyone was impressed with the first Chinese-American to serve as the U.S. envoy to China.

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WAMC News
9:38 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Harness Racetrack Gets Nod For First Massachusetts Casino

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:21 pm

A harness racing track has been chosen by Massachusetts gambling regulators as the site of the state’s first casino.  If all goes according to schedule, the casino that will have up to 1,250 slot machines, but no table games, will open just over a year from now.

       The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, in the most significant decision of its two years in existence, voted 3-2 on Thursday to offer a license to Penn National Gaming to operate a slot machine parlor at the Plainridge harness racetrack.  The track is in Plainville on the Rhode Island border.

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White House
5:39 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Obama Warns Russia Against Using Force In Ukraine

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."
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 10:46 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.

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Wake of Newtown
9:42 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Sandy Hook Advisory Commission Hears From Law Enforcement

Scott Jackson, commission chair and mayor of Hamden.
Credit CT-N

A state panel reviewing the Newtown school shooting heard from law enforcement professionals on Friday, including Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe, about incident management. 

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WAMC News
6:43 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Approves State's First Casino License

An artist's rendering of the Plainridge Park Casino, a slots machine parlor in Plainville, MA. Penn National Gaming plans to open the casino in Spring 2015. It can have up to 1,250 slot machines, but no table games.

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:45 pm

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has voted to award the first casino gambling license in the state.

   The gaming commission voted 3 to 2 Thursday to award a license to Penn National Gaming to operate a slot machine parlor at a harness race track in Plainville on the Rhode Island border. Penn beat out two competitors for the lone slot license allowed by state law. Commissioner Bruce Stebbins said the vote is a milestone.

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White House
1:18 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Pentagon Cuts Promise Political Pain

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs reporters at the Pentagon on Monday. Hagel and President Obama will need to fight through a wall of resistance to their proposed defense budget cuts, say former members of a defense base closing commission.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:17 pm

Cutting defense spending in Washington is about as popular as proposing Social Security cuts. In other words, not very.

Which explains why, following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement Monday that the Obama administration's new budget would propose shrinking the Army, closing bases and ditching weapons systems, the responses from Capitol Hill lawmakers have been some version of "over my dead body."

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Transportation
12:45 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Metro-North Executives Say Efforts to Improve Are Underway

MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast before the state's Transportation Committee.
Credit CT-N

Two Metro-North Railroad executives said on Thursday that the rail line has slowed down its trains, installed new technology, and changed internal management, all in an effort to make commuter rail service better.

MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast and new Metro-North president Joseph Giulietti met with members of the state legislature's transportation committee to talk about reliability and safety with state lawmakers. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Diplomacy 101

Should American politicians have the power to appoint diplomats?
Credit 123ArtistImages/iStock / Thinkstock

Whenever we hear that a new U.S. ambassador has been nominated, it’s not unreasonable for us to assume that the nominee has been to his or her appointed country. But, as we learned from President Obama’s most recent ambassadorial appointments -- in America, at least -- that's not always the case. 

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Ukraine
7:10 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: New Government Takes Shape As Crimea Simmers

Flags fly outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol on Thursday during a rally by pro-Russian protesters. Gunmen seized government buildings in the city.
David Mdzinarishvili Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:58 pm

  • On the NPR Newscast: Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.

Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.

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Legislature
1:32 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Senate President Don Williams Retiring This Year

Senate President Don Williams at WNPR on December 28, 2010.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Ten years after being elected President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut State Senate, Don Williams announced he will not seek re-election this fall. The Brooklyn Democrat has served in the state senate since 1993.

Williams is the longest-serving president of Connecticut's Senate chamber and took the job during the political shuffle following Governor John Rowland's resignation.

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Special Election
10:28 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Holder-Winfield Wins State Senate Special Election

Gary Holder-Winfield thanked supporters at the The Greek Olive in New Haven alongside his wife, Natalie Holder-Winfield, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, far left.
Credit Thomas MacMillan / The New Haven Independent

Democratic State Representative Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven won a special state senate election on Tuesday. He succeeds veteran Toni Harp, who's now the mayor of New Haven.

The New Haven Independent reports that Holder-Winfield defeated Republican Steven Mullins with 76 percent of the vote. Holder-Winfield had the backing of top state Democrats for the 10th District seat, including state Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed February 26, 2014

The Wheelhouse Goes From D.C. to Hartford: Politics, Investigations, and Feuds

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy outside the White House on Monday.
Credit C-SPAN

For months, reporters have been asking Governor Dannel Malloy if he is running for re-election this year. On Sunday, he shared his future plans: He is not running for president in 2016.

Oh.

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we'll talk about Malloy's trip to Washington, D.C. for the National Governors Association meetings where he got into a well-publicized spat with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Closer to home, another investigation is taking place at the state capitol involving the use of a printer in Florida for campaign materials.

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DEEP Commissioner
8:15 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Malloy's DEEP Commissioner Appointee Clears a Hurdle

Robert Klee.
Credit Yale World Fellows

Governor Dannel P. Malloy's newly-appointed Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner is moving closer toward being confirmed.

The General Assembly's Legislative and Executive Nominations Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously, with one member absent, in favor of Robert Klee's appointment. 

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Pro-Life, Anti-Planned Parenthood
1:59 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Alveda King: Abortion Is a Civil Rights Issue

Dr. Alveda King

Dr. Alveda King has taken up the civil rights mantle of her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But her driving issue is abortion, and she has a vehemently pro-life stance. She says her uncle would agree with her. 

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WAMC News
1:17 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Panel Sees Possible Delay In Mass. Casino License

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:08 am

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission says it may have to push back the timetable for awarding the sole eastern Massachusetts resort casino license.

Because of a possible conflict of interest, the panel on Monday cut ties with a contractor that had been helping review surrounding community petitions for casino proposals in Everett and Revere.

Commissioners had been hoping to award the eastern license by May 30 and while that timetable is still possible, a delay in reviewing the petitions could push the decision back to the end of June.

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Minimum Wage
10:52 am
Tue February 25, 2014

U.S. Labor Secretary Touts Minimum Wage Increase in Hartford

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, at right, with Bridgeport business owner Douglas Wade, left, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Credit Skyler Magnoli

A top Obama cabinet member was in Hartford on Monday advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez joined with Connecticut's two U.S. Senators for a round table at the Hartford Public Library. 

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Governor Throwdown
9:30 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Malloy, Jindal Spar Over Minimum Wage

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy at the White House on Monday.
Credit C-SPAN

Governor Dannel Malloy locked horns with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at a press conference after the National Governor's Association meeting.

he press conference was supposed to outline the bipartisan progress made during the conference, held in Washington, D.C. But in his remarks, Jindal criticized President Barack Obama's plans to raise the minimum wage. 

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Last Dry Town
8:13 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Bridgewater Will Remain Dry, For Now

Bridgewater was ready for a town referendum lifting the ban on alcohol sales. A Connecticut law may keep Bridgewater a dry town for another 21 months.
Ray Hardman WNPR

A decades-old blue law has blocked the town of Bridgewater's effort to lift an ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcohol. That means Bridgewater will, for the time being, be the last remaining dry town in Connecticut.

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Drones
4:32 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Connecticut Lawmakers Consider Limiting Drone Use By Police

Legislators are considering a proposal to limit drone activity by police.
Credit Baton72/iStock / Thinkstock

State lawmakers heard public testimony Monday afternoon on a bill concerning drones. Next year, the FAA is expected to widely deregulate drone usage, which is leaving many states scrambling to control the technology.

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Legislative Session
10:03 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Drone Use Among Many Topics at Judiciary Committee Public Hearing

State Senator Eric Coleman.
Credit CT-N

A lawsuit brought against the Hartford Police Department has piqued interest in private drone use in Connecticut. The state legislature's Judiciary Committee is expected to address the topic, among others, during a meeting on Monday.

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Labor
9:55 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Minimum Wage Workers Meet with State, Federal Officials

Credit anopdesignstock/iStock / Thinkstock

Federal Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Connecticut's two senators are pitching for an increase in the minimum wage. Perez and Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are scheduled to meet on Monday with minimum wage workers at a Hartford Public Library forum. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Will Connecticut See a Second Maximum Security Facility for Girls?

Where We Live guest Martha Stone.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Each year, 1.4 million of the nation’s eleven- to 17-year-olds enter the juvenile justice system. Of these boys and girls, some 71,000 are sent to incarceration facilities, where they may remain for several months in seclusion from the outside world. 

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Gun Control
8:48 am
Mon February 24, 2014

New Gun Law Poses New Questions About Those Who Break It

Joel Cramer.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

It appears thousands of Connecticut residents may have failed to comply with the state's new gun registration law. The state banned the sale of certain so-called assault weapons after the Newtown shootings, and created a registry for residents who already own them.

Failure to register is a felony, but officials have no way to identify the new group of criminals, and no plans to round them up.

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Ukraine
6:56 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Ukraine's Yanukovych On Run From Mass Murder Charge

In Kiev's Independence Square, flowers have been left in memory of protesters killed there in recent days.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 8:10 am

Viktor Yanukovych, ousted Saturday from his post as president of Ukraine, is now wanted by authorities in his country on charges of mass murder, the acting interior minister says.

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Egypt
2:38 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Egypt's Morsi Accused Of Aiding Iran's Revolutionary Guards

Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi in a soundproof barred glass cage is seen during a court appearance on Feb. 16.
Mohammed al-Law AP

Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been accused of passing state secrets to Iran's Revolutionary Guard at a hearing at the jailed leader's trial in Cairo.

A prosecutor at the hearing said Morsi, who stands accused of numerous charges, was involved along with 35 others in a plot to destabilize Egypt.

The BBC reports:

"Mr Morsi's supporters say he and other senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders are the victims of politically motivated prosecutions.

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Ukraine
10:50 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Ukrainian President Voted Out; Opposition Leader Freed

Anti-government protesters stand guard in front of Ukraine's parliament in Kiev on Saturday.
Marko Drobnjakovic AP

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 1:35 am

This post was updated at 3:10 p.m. ET.

Ukraine's parliament has voted to push President Viktor Yanukovych out of office hours after he fled the capital and denounced events in the country as "a coup d'etat" in a television interview.

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Gun Control
4:21 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

New Law Stubs Toe On A Tough Unknown: Who Owns The Guns?

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:53 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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WAMC News
3:16 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Debate In Springfield Over Police Commission

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 12:51 pm

A debate rages in Springfield, Massachusetts over who should run the police department – a five-member part-time commission, or a single all-powerful police commissioner.  A showdown vote between the city council and the mayor looms next month.

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State Capitol
2:34 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

State Republicans Release Federal Subpoenas

Credit Chris Reed/iStock / Thinkstock

News broke Thursday that federal agents are investigating state Republicans at the Capitol. Today, Republicans formally released three federal subpoenas that they received. Here they are.

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