WYSO

David Greene

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, host:

President Obama today released a written statement calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign. In his statement, President Obama condemned, quote, "the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed that call in an announcement from the State Department.

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON (State Department): Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves.

Four years ago, Russian researchers made a bold, if unseen, move. From a submarine, deep beneath the icy waters of the North Pole, they planted a Russian flag on the ocean floor.

Russia has the world's longest Arctic border, which stretches more than 10,000 miles. And for Russia, that 2007 research mission was only the beginning of a major drive to claim ownership of vast portions of the Arctic, as well as the oil and gas deposits that are beneath.

NPR reporters are traveling the far North to report for an upcoming series on the thawing Arctic and what that's going to mean to nations in the region. Click here to see their dispatches. NPR's Moscow correspondent David Greene sent this curious photograph:

A group of NPR reporters are in different parts of the Arctic doing some reporting for an upcoming series on the thawing Arctic and what it's going to mean to nations in the region. NPR's Moscow correspondent David Greene sent us a few graphs and a couple of pictures:

The U.S. shuttle program will end after space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth on July 21. Retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao captured this reality on All Things Considered:

"After this mission, we will no longer have the ability to send American astronauts into space ourselves," Chiao said. "And arguably, we will no longer be the leaders in human space flight until we get that capability back."

Sixteen months out from the 2012 election, U.S. presidential campaigns are already in hyperdrive. There have been debates, stump speeches and attack ads, and the candidates are obsessed with winning over voters.

Russia also has a presidential election next year, but it's a very different kind of democracy. Russia will choose a president sooner, in March, but right now there's no visible campaign. And it's no secret that President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will essentially decide the winner behind closed doors.

In Russian culture, one iconic image is the elderly woman — in Russian, you call her a "babushka" — sitting on a roadside, selling vegetables from her garden.

One group of babushkas from the village of Buranovo, 600 miles east of Moscow, is blowing up that stereotype.

As China grows in power and influence, few countries are feeling the effects more than neighboring Kazakhstan.

Having broken from its past as a Soviet republic, Kazakhstan now has an up-and-coming economy and a desire to be a player on the world stage. China seems to be offering just what Kazakhstan needs — billions of dollars in foreign investment and deeper political ties with real-world powers.

But many people in Kazakhstan have a plea: not too fast.

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