In Brief | Nation & World | 4-15-14


Putin urges Obama to discourage Ukraine from using force against protesters

MOSCOW — The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin has urged President Barack Obama to discourage the Ukrainian government from using force against protesters in the country’s east.

The Kremlin said in a statement following Monday’s conversation that the Russian leader rejected the claims of Russian agents’ involvement in protests as “speculations based on unreliable information.” Putin said the protests vented public anger about the Ukrainian government’s reluctance to recognize the interests of Russian speakers in the east.

More than a dozen government offices and police stations have been seized by mobs. The Ukrainian government and the West have accused Russia of staging the protests.

The Ukrainian authorities have pledged to dislodge protesters. The Kremlin said Putin urged Obama to use American influence in Ukraine to prevent the use of force and bloodshed.

Post, Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA revelations; Boston Globe honored

NEW YORK — The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service Monday for revealing the U.S. government’s sweeping surveillance efforts in a blockbuster series of stories based on secret documents handed over by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

The Pulitzer for breaking news was awarded to The Boston Globe for its “exhaustive and empathetic” coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed.

The winning entries about the NSA’s spy programs revealed that the government has collected information about millions of Americans’ phone calls and emails to try to head off another 9/11-style terrorist attack.

The disclosures touched off a furious debate in the U.S. over privacy versus security and led President Barack Obama to impose limits on the surveillance.

Two of the nation’s most distinguished newspapers, The Post and The New York Times, won two Pulitzers each.

Robotic submarine deployed for first time to search for Malaysia jet wreckage

PERTH, Australia — Search crews sent a robotic submarine deep into the Indian Ocean on Monday to begin scouring the seabed for the missing Malaysian airliner after failing for six days to detect any signals believed to be from its black boxes.

Meanwhile, officials were investigating an oil slick about 3.4 miles from the area where the last underwater sounds were detected, said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search off Australia’s west coast.

Crews have collected an oil sample and are sending it back to Australia for analysis, a process that will take several days. Houston said it does not appear to be from any of the ships in the area, but cautioned against jumping to conclusions about its source.

The unmanned underwater vehicle, the Bluefin 21, was launched from the Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, the U.S. Navy said. The autonomous sub can create a three-dimensional sonar map of any debris on the ocean floor.

The move comes after crews picked up a series of underwater sounds over the past two weeks that were consistent with signals from an aircraft’s black boxes, which record flight data and cockpit conversations. The devices emit “pings” so they can be more easily found, but their batteries only last about a month and are now believed dead.

By wire sources