Rumors of possible Russian intervention abound as protests in the Ukraine escalate. And even the Pope's weekend prayer for peace in the country ended in an ominous sign. Working-class stiffs in the Republic of Congo show that style isn't exclusive to the rich. And a New Zealand doc doesn't let a shark attack ruin his day, in today's Global Scan.
US intelligence has concluded that Russian forces are ready to invade Ukraine at any time, if ordered. President Obama called on Russia to pull its troops back from the border. Ukraine meanwhile is collecting 50 cent phone-in donations to fund its military.
This summer, the first-ever Beringia Arctic Games brought Arctic natives from around the world to compete in far eastern Russia. But while the Russian government wants to make it an annual tourist attraction, the games may be a last gasp for Arctic cultures in the face of mining and oil booms.
Ukraine's latest easefire is finally holding, but the US warns that pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine are likely to resume the war in the spring. And in the meantime, Ukraine is suffering from the same economic woes as Russia as oil prices plummet.
An official investigation by Dutch authorities has concluded that Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine last year by a Russian-made missile. But it didn't determine who fired it. That hasn't stopped the story being spun in Russia.
Russia's opposition likens itself to Michael Phelps facing an extreme challenge. "If you have a champion swimmer, and you fill up the pool with acid, he won't be able to swim. But it doesn't mean he's a weak swimmer."