Special Coverage

Ukraine
7:32 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Split Decisions: Ukraine Signs Up With EU, Russia Wraps Up Crimea

As Russian soldiers walked one way in the distance, a departing Ukrainian soldier carried some of his belongings Friday at a military base in Perevalne, Crimea.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 9:57 am

There will be few days that better symbolize the crisis in Ukraine.

On Friday:

As Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was signing an agreement on closer relations with the European Union ...

... Russian President Vladimir Putin was signing the laws his country has put in place to take Crimea from Ukraine and make it part of the Russian Federation.

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Borderlands
4:55 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Awash In Cash, Drug Cartels Rely On Big Banks To Launder Profits

A woman uses a cash machine at an HSBC bank office in Mexico City. The multi-national bank was heavily penalized several years ago for permitting huge transfers of drug cartel money between Mexico and the U.S.
Enric Marti AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:20 pm

The Sinaloa Cartel, headquartered on Mexico's northern Pacific Coast, is constantly exploring new ways to launder its gargantuan profits. The State Department reports that Mexican trafficking organizations earn between $19 and $29 billion every year from selling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines on the streets of American cities.

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Westboro Baptist Church
12:43 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Sr. Dies

July 2007: The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. prepares to protest outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:03 am

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., whose tiny Westboro Baptist Church has protested outside the funerals of fallen soldiers and celebrities to spread its views about homosexuality and abortion, has died, according to news reports. He was 84.

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Borderlands
4:45 am
Thu March 20, 2014

At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South

Many drug cartel members die young, and when they do, their families often spend lavishly to construct mausoleums that look like small condos.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 10:07 am

The international drug trade goes in two directions: Narcotics go north and money goes south. All the drug profits made on the streets of U.S. cities like Chicago and Atlanta and Dallas are funneled down to ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border where they're smuggled back into Mexico. In 2012, one federal agency alone, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seized $411 million in cash hidden in vehicles, mostly heading south.

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Borderlands
6:37 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Borderland: A Journey Along The Changing Frontier

Dob Cunningham (right) and his friend Larry Johnson stand on the edge of Cunningham's 800-acre ranch in Quemado, Texas, which touches the Rio Grande. On the other side, Mexico.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 4:42 pm

My colleagues and I drove 2,428 miles and remained in the same place.

We gathered a team, rented a car, checked the batteries in our recorders and cameras. We moved from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. We crossed deserts, plains and mountains. But all the while, we were living in Borderland — zigzagging across the frontier between Mexico and the United States.

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Malaysia Airlines
11:45 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Fate Of Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Still A Mystery

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday, prayers were said for the 239 people who have been missing since flight MH370 disappeared.
Lai Seng Sin AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 2:26 pm

We'll be updating this post throughout the day on Monday.

Nearly three days after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, there's still no definitive trace of the Boeing 777 or the 239 people who were on board.

As of Monday evening in Malaysia, none of the clues so far had led searchers to the plane.

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Special Coverage
12:11 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

WATCH: Julian Assange Speaks at SXSW via Skype

Watch live as WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange speaks via satellite video at SXSW Interactive. Livestream is courtesy the Texas Tribune.

unrest in ukraine
1:36 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Is It Too Late For Ukraine To Take Back Crimea?

A Russian naval landing vessel enters one of the bays of Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sunday.
Andrew Lubimov AP

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 2:27 pm

This post was updated at 1:20 p.m. ET.

Russian forces appear to be digging in after seizing key assets in the Ukrainian republic of Crimea, and despite tough talk from Kiev's new leaders, the former Soviet satellite's under-manned and under-equipped military is no match for Moscow's battle-tested troops, experts say.

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Unrest in Ukraine
9:16 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 5:32 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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Special Coverage
6:28 am
Thu February 20, 2014

#GoneToGhana: A Trip in Tweets

Jessica Opare Saforo, left, is a popular radio presenter at Citi FM in Accra, Ghana. I spent a few days at the station during my trip to Ghana.
Laura Rice, KUT News

I spent two weeks in the West African country of Ghana in late January and early February. The trip was part of an exchange program through the International Center for Journalists and was sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

The goal of my journey was to learn about the media climate of an another country and to collect stories to share via KUT. Along the way, I tweeted.

Here's a look at the story my tweets tell:

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Special Coverage
1:03 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Gone to Ghana: Answering Your Questions

The American journalists visiting Ghana are (left to right) Zoe Fox with Mashable, KUT's Laura Rice and Gwendolyn Glenn with WYPR. Vivian Affoah (far right) is with the Ghana-based host organization Media Foundation for West Africa.
Radio XYZ

My two-week visit to Ghana has come to an end. I was in the West African country with a program through the U.S. State Department and the International Center for Journalists.

The exchange program brought journalists from Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya to the U.S. Then, a group of American journalists is visited those African countries. I'm grateful I was chosen to visit Ghana and in my short time there I learned much about the people and culture.

Along the way, I invited you to send me questions about things you'd like to know about Ghana. Here are the answers to a few of your questions:

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Community Forum
9:17 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Why Bother? Austin City Government 101

flickr.com/utcomm

Thanks to the passage of the "10-1" plan changing the Austin City Council to 10 members who each represent a different part of the city, Austin’s form of city government just got a big overhaul, and it can be confusing knowing who does what inside City Hall.

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Special Coverage
9:06 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Gone to Ghana: Journalism's Not a Dirty Word

Citi FM Director of News Programming Bernard Avle (left) practices interviewing skills with a young journalist at a workshop.
Laura Rice for KUT.

The purpose of my journey to Ghana is to learn about the media industry and the daily lives of journalists. The exchange program I'm on through the International Center for Journalists also sent Ghanaian journalists to the United States. Three other countries (Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda) are also part of the exchange.

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NSA Surveillance
4:29 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

Edward Snowden, seen here in a photo provided by The Guardian, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two Norwegian politicians.
AP

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:46 am

Saying Edward Snowden has "contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order" by exposing U.S. surveillance practices and forcing a new debate over security and privacy, two Norwegian politicians nominated the former intelligence contractor for the Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday.

If he were to win the award, Snowden, who gave a trove of classified documents to media outlets last summer, would join the ranks of popular Nobel Peace laureates such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.

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Special Coverage
6:05 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Gone to Ghana: Stories Worth Exploring

For the most part, my journey so far to Ghana has been smooth sailing.
Laura Rice, KUT

As I begin my journey to Ghana, I'm thinking about the conversation topics I'm interested in broaching with my journalist hosts and the other Ghanaians I meet.

 As I mentioned in my first post, I'm most drawn to issues that connect Ghana with the U.S. and with Texas - but I also want to explore stories unique to this unique West African country.

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Special Coverage
12:53 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Gone to Ghana: KUT's Laura Rice Heads to West Africa With Journalism Program

Rice, left, with Ghanian journalist Lorrencia Nkrumah.
Bob Branson, KUT

KUT hosted a Ghanian journalist late last year as part of an exchange program through the International Center for Journalists. To complete the exchange, I'm heading to Ghana  for a couple of weeks.

While I'm there, I'll be meeting with journalists at a variety of media outlets, taking lots of pictures and gathering information on stories that are unique to Ghana as well as those that tie West Africa to the U.S. and, specifically, Texas!

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South Sudan
11:52 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Warring South Sudan Factions Arrive In Ethiopia For Peace Talks

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 1:14 pm

Delegates representing the warring factions in South Sudan's conflict arrived Thursday for peace talks in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

NPR's Gregory Warner, who has been reporting on the fighting in the world's newest country, tells our Newscast unit:

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Happy Holidays
9:42 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Yes, Virginia, NORAD's 'Santa Tracker' Is On

The view Friday morning on NORAD's "Santa Tracker."
North American Aerospace Defense Command

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:48 am

Some critics — perhaps others would say Grinches? — don't like the North American Aerospace Defense Command's annual online "Santa Tracker."

At WBUR, author Ethan Gilsdorf writes that "real-time digital imagery of Santa and his route, or calculations of the loot he's delivered, take the imagination out of Christmas."

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Russia
8:53 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Their Release Is Just A 'PR Stunt,' Pussy Riot Member Says

Maria Alyokhina, after her release from prison on Monday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
Sergei Karpukhin Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:03 pm

The remaining members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot have been released from prison in Russia, a few months short of serving their full two-year sentences for "hooliganism" — a charge that the band's supporters say was just a trumped-up effort to quash free speech.

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Special Coverage
9:58 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Harvard Issues 'All Clear' After Unconfirmed Reports Of Explosives

SWAT team officers on the scene Monday at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Four buildings on campus were evacuated after an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:58 pm

Update at 2:50 p.m. ET. Authorities Issue 'All Clear' For All Four Campus Sites:

Harvard's Emergency website issued has cleared the university's Science Center, the last of four sites that were searched for possible explosives.

After nearly 6 hours of searching by bomb squads and other experts, authorities at Harvard University on Monday had issued "all clear" notices for the four buildings apparently cited in "unconfirmed reports" about explosives on campus.

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