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    Ukraine Calls Up Reservists as PM Warns of Looming 'Disaster'

    Ukraine's interim government ordered a full military mobilization Sunday, in an effort to counter what its new prime minister says is a Russian act of war.

    In an address to parliament, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned that "we are on the brink of disaster." He spoke as Russian troops bolstered their presence on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, and Western governments issued repeated condemnations of the Russian deployments.

    With Russian forces surrounding Ukrainian airports and military bases, Germany said Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed with Chancellor Angela Merkel to set up a fact-finding mission on Ukraine.

    A German government spokesman did not provide details. But he said the mission and an accompanying "contact group" aimed at generating Ukrainian-Russian dialogue could be led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- the continent's largest conflict management and crisis prevention group.



    Earlier Sunday, Russian news agencies said President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Barack Obama late Saturday that Moscow reserves the right to protect ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

    In Kyiv, prosecutors have opened a treason case against the newly appointed head of Ukraine's Black Sea fleet, after he renounced his post and swore allegiance to pro-Russian leaders in Crimea. Authorities said Admiral Denis Berezovsky, appointed Saturday, offered no resistance later in the day when his headquarters in Sevastopol were surrounded by Russian troops.

    Elsewhere Sunday, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Crimean parliament speaker Volodymyr Konstanynov as saying parliament will decide Monday on the date of a Crimean referendum that will give voters a choice between independence from Ukraine, continued autonomy within Ukraine or annexation by Russia. The vote was originally set for May 25, but the report said it could be moved up to March 30.

    In Washington, President Obama spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in a separate phone calls. The leaders expressed ``grave concern'' over Russia's intrusion into Ukraine.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blasted the Russian deployments, calling them "an incredible act of aggression." He warned of potential economic sanctions against Moscow for military actions he likened to "19th century" behavior on a "completely trumped-up pretext." Officials in Washington say Kerry will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday to meet with its new leaders and lawmakers, and to restate U.S. economic and diplomatic support for Ukraine.

    Also Sunday, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. to demand Russians leave Ukraine alone.

    Ukraine's top security official, Andriy Paruby, says military reservists are mobilized to "ensure the security and territorial integrity of Ukraine." But many Western analysts are questioning the effectiveness of the call-up, saying Ukraine's limited military capabilities are no match for Russian military might.

    At the United Nations, the Secretary-General has asked his deputy Jan Eliasson to travel to Ukraine immediately to ascertain the situation on the ground.

    Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev said 15,000 Russian troops are already in Crimea. His Russian counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, blamed the West for ratcheting up tensions in Ukraine and backing protests that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych last month.

    Crimea is a Black Sea peninsula placed under Ukrainian control in 1954 by then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. It became part of Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Crimea has a tiny border with Russia on its far eastern point. Most of the people living in Crimea are ethnic Russians, but the region also is home to ethnic Muslim Tatars who generally show disdain for Russia.

    Ukraine's troubles began in November when President Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties and economic aid from Russia. The move triggered weeks of pro-Western demonstrations in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine, and forced the pro-Russian Yanukovych to flee the capital in late February.

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    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
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    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
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    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
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    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

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    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
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    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
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    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
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    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

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    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
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    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
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    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
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    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
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    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

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