Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad has put it at odds with other countries in the Arab world.
Russia drew a lot of flack from Arab countries and the West when it vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at pressuring Assad to stop his crackdown on protesters. That has some analysts in Russia doubting whether the Kremlin really has a cogent strategy for the Middle East.
The dilemma for Russia policy in the Arab world can be illustrated by two very different events that took place this week.
Morning Edition has been asking people what music makes them move, in order to create The Ultimate NPR Workout Mix. The mix already includes a good selection of Kanye West, 2Pac and Madonna — which is just fine for some people.
Donald Trump won't be living in the White House, but his brand will be a few blocks away. The Obama administration has chosen Trump to redevelop the Old Post Office. His company plans to build a luxury hotel in that stone Victorian landmark in Washington, D.C.
Syria's turmoil has overshadowed but not stopped talk about war in another country - Iran. The usual scenario is that Israel might strike Iranian nuclear facilities, with or without the approval of the United States. In The Daily Beast, historian Niall Ferguson dismissed concerns about a strike. In the Washington Post, David Ignatius wrote that U.S. officials oppose an Israeli strike but think it may come in the spring.
We put some basic questions to Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The deal Greek officials are working on includes several more painful concessions. Among them, reducing the minimum wage.
Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens on how strong unions secured those wages and why some economists say those guarantees have to go.
JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: The minimum wage in Greece is about one $1,000 a month before taxes. International lenders say it must be reduced to about $780 a month to make the Greek economy more competitive.
Some British companies are fuming over where the tickets for this summer's London Olympic games are being printed. Specialty printer Weldon, Williams and Lick in Fort Smith, Arkansas, won the contract.
There are three weapons in fencing: epee, foil and sabre. Mariel Zagunis is the best woman in sabre — she won Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2008.
To understand the world of Zagunis' weapon of choice, it may be more apt to consult the Sex Pistols rather than a fencing historian. That's because sabre fencers, Zagunis says, are the "punk rockers" of her sport.
"You have to be more aggressive and explosive and kind of crazy," she says. "I think that kind of plays into our personality."