The Obama administration's announcement of sanctions comes as Crimea's parliament voted to unite with Russia. It's also called for a referendum on the issue in 10 days. At the same time, lawmakers in Russia began taking steps that could streamline the process of making Crimea a part of Russia.
NPR's Corey Flintoff joins us on the line from Moscow. And, Corey, how has this sanctions announcement from the U.S. been received there?
Chinese leaders and lawmakers are huddled in Beijing for the annual session of parliament, and one man towers above the rest. That's because he's seven feet, six inches tall. The former Houston Rocket center Yao Ming is one of China's best-known athletes. He's also in his second year as a member of China's nominal Upper House of Parliament.
NPR's Anthony Kuhn has this report from Beijing on the former basketball star's foray into law and politics.
The last two abortion clinics in Texas' Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border are closing today. New restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature last year require that doctors at abortion clinics obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Well, many hospitals have been reluctant to grant those privileges, and as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, today's closures have women's health advocates concerned.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
After months of anticipation, the Senate has rejected a proposal to fundamentally change the way the military prosecutes sexual assault. Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York needed 60 votes for a bill that would give military prosecutors, rather than commanders, final say over which sexual assault cases to prosecute. The legislation got 55 votes today.
The U.S. Senate's opening prayer on Thursday was delivered by the Dalai Lama — in his words, "a simple Buddhist monk."
The Tibetan spiritual leader has been in the U.S. for several weeks and his itinerary has included a White House meeting with President Obama, over the strong objections of China. As The Associated Press puts it:
Pharrell Williams, who frequently goes by just his first name, is the sort of pop star whom many people would like to view as a friend. Emerging from hip-hop, he makes charming recordings that suggest a deep appreciation of pop, soul and R&B music extending at least as far back as the 1960s. To hear Pharrell on his new album G I R L, you'd think his world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. It's a lightweight image that draws gravitas from his prolific work ethic and a shrewd deployment of those influences.
Referring to Russia's actions in Crimea as an "intervention" and saying the U.S. will continue to "mobilize the international community to condemn this violation of international law," President Obama just delivered some of his most extensive remarks to date about the crisis in Ukraine.