Russia

It started with a report and erupted into a controversy involving a mufti, a Russian Orthodox priest and a rabbi.

The subject: female genital mutilation.

The chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign says he never received a single off-the-books cash payment for political work in Ukraine.

The statement from campaign chairman Paul Manafort comes after The New York Times reported that his name appears in a so-called "black ledger" recording under-the-table payments made by the political party of Ukraine's former pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

U.S. swimmer Wendy Boglioli dives in to the pool to begin the second heat in the women's 100 meter butterfly competition at the Olympic pool in Montreal, Canada, July 21, 1976.
AP Photo/Harry Cabluck

At the summer Olympics, 19-year-old American swimmer Lilly King is making headlines – and not just for winning gold.

After beating Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova, King openly condemned the Russian swim team for doping.

Russia is fighting a mysterious anthrax outbreak in a remote corner of Siberia. Dozens of people have been hospitalized; one child has died. The government airlifted some families out because more than 2,000 reindeer have been infected.

Officials don't know exactly how the outbreak started, but the current hypothesis is almost unbelievable: A heat wave has thawed the frozen soil there and with it, a reindeer carcass infected with anthrax decades ago.

Some scientists think this incident could be an example of what climate change may increasingly surface in the tundra.

Why would Russian President Vladimir Putin want to help Donald Trump win the White House?

That's the accusation from Democrats this week, after embarrassing internal Democratic National Committee emails appeared on Wikileaks on the eve of the party's convention in Philadelphia.

The emails were lifted earlier this year in a hacking breach that security experts have linked to Russian espionage groups.

More than 60 track and field athletes from Russia have had their bid for an appeal rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, dealing another blow to their hopes of participating in the Summer Olympics in Rio next month.

The CAS decision comes weeks after the International Olympic Committee backed a ban on Russia's track and field athletes who were seeking the right to compete in Rio as neutral athletes, after their country's sporting federation for track was suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

The International Olympic Committee held an emergency meeting Tuesday but put off a final decision on whether to ban all Russian athletes from the Summer Games that begin in Brazil on Aug. 5.

Though the games are less than three weeks away, the IOC said it would "explore the legal options" and would weigh a collective ban "versus the right to individual justice."

Russia is issuing a new 100-ruble banknote commemorating the annexation of Crimea.

But the new bill may serve as a reminder of the country's current economic pain. At the present rate of exchange, the 100-ruble note is worth about $1.41 — around half of what it was worth in February 2014, just before Russia seized the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

Alexei Nikolsky/Reuters

On Russian state television, the Russian military campaign in Syria is portrayed as one success after another — terrorists targets destroyed through precision airstrikes, the Syrian army counterattacking against ISIS, and ever new surprises up Moscow's sleeve.

While American officials have disputed the accuracy of those strikes, Vladimir Ryzhkov, a prominent opposition politician, says the Russian campaign, which began in late September, is in fact showcasing effective military reforms carried out under Putin in recent years; this is the new improved Russian army.

Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

The MacArthur Foundation, a prominent American non-governmental organization that has operated in Russia for more than two decades, is closing its Russia office as a result of government pressure on NGOs.

Scientists and crew prepping the Healy for a voyage to the North Pole
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The Shell Oil rig that left Elliott Bay last week isn't the only big vessel heading to the Arctic from Seattle. A Coast Guard icebreaker heads to Alaska on Wednesday. The Seattle-based ship will help a multinational team of scientists explore pollution at the North Pole.

Climate change has fueled competition at the top of the world, where shipping and resource extraction are becoming feasible for the first time. With a tiny fleet of icebreakers (the Coast Guard has just two in operation), the U.S. lags behind other nations. At last count, Russia has 41 icebreakers.

KUOW's John Ryan reports.

Jeannie Yandel talks with Anastasia Podlazova, the founder of DroWa, an annual festival for the Russian-speaking community in Washington, about how the Ukrainian conflict impacts the event.

Courtesy Tony Allison

During the Cold War, thousands of Soviet and U.S. fishermen worked together on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean, trawling by day and sharing Russian bread, vodka and off-color jokes in the evenings, while their governments maintained a posture of pure hostility toward each other.

Audie Cornish talks with reporter Noah Sneider, who's at the crash site of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region.

When Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the leader of the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953, one of the first things he addressed was the housing shortage and the need for more food. At the time, thousands of people were living in cramped communal apartments, sharing one kitchen and one bathroom with sometimes up to 20 other families.

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