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Week In The News: Ukraine Tension, An Arizona Veto, Eyeing The Exits In Afghanistan

A high wire act in Ukraine. A big veto in Arizona. The world’s top drug kingpin, nabbed. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Pro-Russian demonstrators wave Russian and Crimea flags and shout slogans during a protest in front of a local government building in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday Feb. 27, 2014. Ukraine's acting interior minister says Interior Ministry troops and police have been put on high alert after dozens of men seized local government and legislature buildings in the Crimea region.  (AP)

Pro-Russian demonstrators wave Russian and Crimea flags and shout slogans during a protest in front of a local government building in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday Feb. 27, 2014. Ukraine’s acting interior minister says Interior Ministry troops and police have been put on high alert after dozens of men seized local government and legislature buildings in the Crimea region. (AP)

Armed men on the move in Ukraine this week, big Russian military exercises right next door, and real fear that Russia might move in, that Ukraine might divide, as Ukrainians struggle for something new. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes anti-gay legislation after a torrent of protest and dissent. In Afghanistan, a very open break over US troops and troop withdrawal. In Washington, the President calls for help for young men of color. We’ve got El Chapo in jail. Bitcoin in trouble. Rain and gold coins in California. This hour On Point: our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jill Dougherty, fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Former foreign affairs correspondent for CNN.  (@jillrussia)

Gerald Seib, Washington bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal. (@geraldfseib)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Reuters: Ukraine warns Russia after gunmen seize Crimea parliament — “Armed men seized the parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea region on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev’s new rulers, who urged Moscow not move troops out of its navy base on the peninsula. Crimea, the only Ukrainian region with an ethnic Russian majority, is the last big bastion of opposition to the new leadership in Kiev since President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted at the weekend and provides a base for Russia’s Black Sea fleet.”

Wall Street Journal: Why Some Republicans Are Happy to Move Beyond Gridlock — “Republican leaders in Congress made a basic decision in recent weeks: They calculated they are better off politically when getting some things done than they are simply fighting the Obama administration. That isn’t exactly a universally held view within the party, of course. Many in the tea-party movement are furious with their party’s leaders for agreeing to compromises to settle a long-simmering budget fight and to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.”

Politico: Chuck Hagel details Pentagon budget cuts — “Hagel and the Defense Department are sticking by their position that the U.S. needs a smaller, high-tech military as opposed to a larger but less modern force. He urged Congress to go along. It may be unpleasant, he said, but more gridlock and more sequestration would hurt even more.”

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
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The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

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