With Russian soldiers fighting in eastern Ukraine, Russian soldiers are also all but certainly dying there. Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be mounting a campaign to find out that his constituents don't find out about that unpleasant and politically explosive fact.
A funny thing happened on the way to President Barack Obama's Thursday news conference: The Washington press corps came in convinced that the commander in chief was about to launch airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Syria. But Obama furiously pumped the brakes: "We don't have a strategy yet," he said. "I think what I've seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we're at than we currently are."
A quick glance at the sky today in Antananarivo, Madagascar, reveals a massive storm cloud rolling through.
On second look, though, it becomes clear that it's no nimbus cloud but a seemingly endless stream of locusts flying low through the city's already polluted skies.
Russia's largest bank wants to lend you a cat. Isn't that nice?
What did you do for the good folks of Sberbank, the Moscow-based lender, that would make them want to drive a van to your home and drop off one of their 10 cats -- which they keep just for occasions like this -- so you can hang out with it for not more than two hours? Well, they just lent you the money for the house and, as Russian superstition has it, it's good luck for the first creature to cross the threshold of a new home to be a feline. And, yes, the cat has to be returned to the bank.
Throughout the crisis in eastern Ukraine, a persistent mystery has complicated efforts to resolve a standoff that has erupted into open warfare: What does Russian President Vladimir Putin want?