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Europe
12:57 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

For Russia's Troubled Space Program, Mishaps Mount

Russia's unmanned Progress space freighter, headed for the International Space Station, blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Oct. 30, 2011. A string of mission failures has raised concerns over the reliability of Russia's space program.
STR Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 6:56 pm

Russia was once the world leader in space exploration, but its space program has suffered a string of costly and embarrassing mishaps over the past year.

NASA says Russia is still a trustworthy partner, but critics say the once-proud program is corrupt and mismanaged — good at producing excuses, but not results.

The Memorial Space Museum in Moscow showcases the achievements of the Soviet Union's space program.

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Afghanistan
12:37 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Afghan Shootings Could Complicate U.S. Mission

The deaths of Afghan civilians, who were allegedly shot by an American soldier, could make the U.S. mission even harder. Here, an Afghan soldier leaves a home where civilians were killed Sunday in the southern province of Kandahar.
AP

It's unlikely that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant, will drastically alter the course of the war.

U.S. and NATO strategy calls for a sizable contingent of international troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, with residual support after that. That timetable is unlikely to change.

But the task U.S. forces face in trying to stabilize the country could well be made more difficult by the shootings.

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Around the Nation
12:18 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Vegas Museum Offers A Mob History You Can't Refuse

Look Out, Copper: A 1928 Ford Model A car (left) and a 1938 Ford paddy wagon arrive at the Feb. 14 grand opening of The Mob Museum in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 6:56 pm

As soon as you step in the elevator of Las Vegas' new Mob Museum, a cop on a video monitor reads you your rights. When the doors finally open, you're greeted by a huge photo of 1920s-era gangsters standing in a police lineup, wearing fedoras.

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Middle East
12:00 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Government Crackdown Leaves More Dead In Syria

Melissa Block speaks with Al Jazeera correspondent Anita McNaught about Syria's governmental crackdown on Idlib. She was there over the weekend, and is now in Antakya, Turkey, on the border with Syria.

It's All Politics
11:43 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Presidential Speeches: Sound And (Partisan) Fury, Signifying Not Much

When presidents give major set-piece speeches, they're mainly engaged in exercises in futility since a commander-in-chief's high-flown rhetoric rarely shifts voter attitudes for long.

Indeed, the exercise could even be more negative than neutral since speeches by presidents advocating specific policy not only leave citizen unswayed but can fire up political opponents in the other party, according to Ezra Klein in an essay in the New Yorker.

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