David Greene

It's like a scene from an old Soviet movie playing out before our eyes in 2014.

Dozens of young Crimeans, with innocent faces and crisp blue uniforms, stand at attention and declare oaths of loyalty to Russia.

They are the first class of Crimean recruits training to be officers in Russia's Interior Ministry. Many will likely serve in the domestic security service, the modern-day KGB. Soviet music blares as the young trainees march beneath the looming statue of Lenin in the city square.

Nearby, the Russian flag flaps above a government building.

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Morning Edition host David Greene and producer Lauren Migaki traveled to Crimea to see what's changed since Russia sent troops in this spring and shortly afterward annexed the territory despite widespread international criticism. Their stories will be on air and online this week.

We're traveling through flat farmland on a two-lane road in the far north of Crimea, when suddenly it's interrupted by a checkpoint. Actually, Russia now considers it the border, a physical reminder of the new divide between Russia and Ukraine — and the West.

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Rochester, N.Y., was once the imaging capital of the world, home to Kodak, Xerox and the eye care company, Bausch + Lomb.

Led by these companies, the manufacturing sector once employed 60 percent of Rochester's workforce. Now, that's less than 10 percent. And so, like many cities in this country, Rochester is trying to build something new from its manufacturing heritage.

If you want to understand the story of Rochester, says historian Carolyn Vacca, you need to come to High Falls, where from a bridge visitors see a waterfall and a panoramic view of downtown.

When the residents of Liberia's West Point slum woke up Wednesday morning to learn their neighborhood had been completely sealed off by the government, a riot broke out. People screamed and hurled rocks at the police, who retaliated with gunshots and batons. Late last night, in a bid to curb the spread of Ebola, Liberia's president announced a 9 p.m. curfew in the capital, Monrovia. She also ordered a quarantine of the city's overcrowded West Point neighborhood, where some 70,000 of Liberia's poorest people live.

Every morning, Manuel Landin Rodriguez walks past the luxurious state-owned Xanadu Mansion hotel and crosses its neatly trimmed golf course all the way to its edge. He camps out on the cliff overlooking the turquoise Caribbean waters that make the resort town of Varadero on Cuba's northern coast so famous.

Landin, a retired physical education teacher, comes to the spot to fish. When we meet him on the cliffs, he's trying to catch mojarras -- small silver fish that hang out in the shallow waters to avoid sharks — which he will use to feed his family of five.

When you arrive at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, you're greeted with a barrage of billboards with the popular Cuban government slogan promoting tourism: "Cuba, where the past and the present converge."

Perhaps nowhere on the island is that statement more true than in the city of Mariel, about 30 miles from Havana on the northwestern coast.

When Americans think of business in Cuba, they think of government-owned enterprise. And the vast majority of Cubans do work for the state.

But in recent years, private business owners known as cuentapropistas have flourished on the island.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm David Greene.

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